Farmstand returns to Clairton
Art Austin lives around the corner from the LifeSpan Steel Valley center for seniors in Clairton along Miller Avenue.
All this summer he's been checking for the weekly farmstand that was there in previous years.
His investigations had disappointing results. The produce program, which had been in operation for about 10 years, lost backing from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
But when Austin approached the center on Thursday, he discovered a table out front loaded with collard greens, onions, corn and other seasonal produce.
“I've been looking to see if this was here,” said Austin, who bought a tomato, zucchini and bag of beans. He said the farmstand plays an important role in the city. “We don't have a grocery store here in town.”
LifeSpan community services operations director Kim Rollinson said the agency serving Allegheny County seniors wanted to restore the farm program for exactly that reason.
“LifeSpan is providing this as a service to the community,” she said, noting the stand isn't just for senior citizens. She said the produce program is supported by funding from Jefferson Regional Foundation and produce supplied by Harvest Valley Farms of Gibsonia.
Rollinson said the stand will sell only locally grown produce that is in season. She said offerings will expand as the harvest season comes into full swing.
Though the stand was attracting steady interest its first day back, LifeSpan officials say traffic will increase once people realize it has returned.
“Once word gets out it will be booming,” said Michelle Craven, a LifeSpan regional manager. In previous years, demand has been so great the center has given numbers to customers lining up in the morning to buy produce.
The farmstand will continue through October. It opens at 10 a.m. and usually runs to about 2 p.m. or whenever the produce runs out.
The stand is one of many programs offered by LifeSpan, which receives much of its funding from the Allegheny County Agency on Aging.
LifeSpan has 13 centers throughout the county, with centers locally at 4231 Shady Ave. in Munhall, Olympia Shopping Center in Versailles and Century III Mall in West Mifflin.
The program recently closed an extension center at the old West Mifflin borough building along Lebanon Church because of the borough's recent move into a new facility along Lebanon Road.
Rollinson said West Mifflin deserves many thanks for enabling LifeSpan to offer programs at the old facility for several years. She said programs that had been in the old borough building are being offered at the Century III and Munhall centers.
Beside the relocation of the West Mifflin programs, LifeSpan said there has been a boost in recent weeks of the number of meals it serves through the home delivery program because of the closure of the Clairton Meals on Wheels kitchen at the end of June.
In the next few weeks, Rollinson said the Olympia Shopping Center facility in Versailles will become home to a fitness center thanks to funding from UPMC. She said that should be open by August.
Back at the Steel Valley Center in Clairton, a motorist stops his pickup truck by the produce stand and asks if there are any melons or cantaloupes yet.
“Not yet,” he is told. “Try back again next week.”
Norma Reza, site coordinator for the Clairton center, said it's good to have the farmstand back.
“They've been asking me when we're going to have it,” she said.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Dispute over iconic McKeesport lounge headed back to court
- Elizabeth Township Commissioners rescind health, life insurance policy coverage
- Former White Oak shelter executive sentenced for theft
- Kennywood to boost security in light of scuffle
- McKeesport police search for shooter
- Judge reduces charges against McKeesport assault suspects
- Push to honor coach spurs plans for West Mifflin Area hall of fame
- Tender Care at UPMC McKeesport will close June 5
- City memorializes sinking of SS McKeesport in World War II
- McKeesport candidates to be featured at annual NAACP forum
- Stamp Out Hunger’s haul to assist Western Pennsylvania food banks