The Higleys' new Shokan farmstand opens for business

The Greenheart Farmstand is selling pumpkins and produce this week at the former Bank of America building on Route 28 in the Ulster County hamlet of Shokan, according to its customers and to Drew Boggess, the chair of Olive Planning Board.

The farmstand opened on Oct. 3, and will be open 24 hours a day, according to a customer who spoke with Alfie Higley Jr. this week.

Higley owns the farmstand with his father, Al Higley Sr. Neither Higley could be reached for comment.

Boggess told the Watershed Post yesterday that the Olive Planning Board granted permission for the farmstand to open in Shokan at a meeting on Sept. 16. The Ulster County Plannning Board has given the go-ahead for it as well, he said.

The Greenheart Farmstand is a reincarnated version of the Higleys' popular and embattled Hanover Farms farmstand, which operated in the neighboring town of Shandaken for over a decade.

The Hanover Farms farmstand lacked proper permits in a location in Mount Tremper that was not zoned for commercial use. Last November, Hanover Farms was forced to shut down by a state judge, and the Higleys' attempts to get variances to re-open it have gone nowhere

In the summer of 2014, the Higleys gave up on doing business in Shandaken and applied for permits to open the Greenheart Farmstand eight miles away in the neighboring town of Olive, where the family has long history of running grocery stores.

No "permanent structures"

According to Boggess, the Higleys had to make some changes to their plans for the Greenheart Farmstand to get town and county approval. It helps that the new location is zoned for commercial use.

"Probably the most important things about the whole site have to do with parking, traffic flow, and lighting," Boggess said. "It's a small lot, and he's got setback issues. He can't put up permanent structures."

For example, the Higleys' plan to erect a large outdoor tent, similar to the one they had in Shandaken, isn't allowed, Boggess said.

"He can't do that because of setbacks,' he said. "He can use the inside of the bank, and he can use the canopy over the drive-through, which is what he's doing now."

As the weather gets colder, the Greenheart Farmstand will move inside the bank building, Boggess said.