In the early 20th century, most Newtonians grew some of their fresh food in an orchard or garden. During World War I and World War II, citizens were encouraged to keep victory gardens so that surplus food could be shipped to the war effort. Volante Farms, located on Dedham Street in Newton before it moved to Needham, opened one of the first farm stands in the area in the 1940s. By the 1950s, it had become the farm’s primary source of income, according to the Volante Farms website.
The Newton Farmer’s Market began around 1980 as a way for farmers to sell produce outside the War Memorial Auditorium at Newton City Hall (pictured above in a photo from the Archives at Historic Newton). When construction of the new building for the Newton Free Library began in 1989, the market moved to Cold Spring Park, where it was held for many years until the pandemic caused it to temporarily set up at Newton South High School. It is now back at Cold Spring Park, where it will reopen for the 2023 season on June 20. A Farmer’s Market also operates on Saturdays at Newton North High School.