In 1919, Ralph A. Adams purchased 50 acres of farmland on Dutchess Turnpike in Poughkeepsie.
Ninety-four years later, that purchase still resonates throughout the Hudson Valley, as Adams Fairacre Farms has grown into four stores, as well as three side businesses.
One of those stores is still located on Dutchess Turnpike, at the end of Main Street in Poughkeepsie. And while a lot has changed since Adams’ original purchase during the early 1900s, one thing has stayed the course.
“The main thing that we have maintained throughout our history is the ability to address our customers,” said William Lessner, marketing director for Adams. “Whenever a customer told us that they wished we sold this or they wished we sold that, we would start to sell it.”
Their emphasis on pleasing their customers has paid dividends, as what started out as a roadside farmstand now consists of a Meat Department, Seafood Department, Deli, Prepared Foods Department, Cheese and Coffee Departments, Bakery, Sweet Shop, Gourmet Grocery, Gift Shop, Flower Shop, Garden Center, and Greenhouses and Nursery. Still family-owned and operated, the Adams’ have also created Adams Landscaping, Adams Fences, and Adams Power Equipment.
“We have always provided customers with everything they asked for, and we continue to be who we are,” Lessner said. “The Adams’ family, they remember their roots. They still work and have the same priorities, which is customer service and serving the community.”
While not many Marist students have heard of Adams and ventured down Main Street to check out the selection of produce and other groceries, a select few were lucky enough to discover it. And most of them agree that grocery shopping at Adams is something more people should be doing.
“I was lucky enough to find out about Adams from some people at work who live nearby, and I saw it on Route 9,” said Michael Gosselin, a senior at Marist. “What I like most about it is that they have fresh produce and they get their food locally. You know that when you go to Adams you’re getting freshly grown stuff at a good price.”
The freshness of Adams’ produce is a theme that echoed throughout those who have experienced it. Darcy Cullinan is also a Marist senior, and someone who has started doing most of her grocery shopping at Adams.
“There is no doubt in my mind that everything there is much fresher than Stop & Shop,” Cullinan said. “You can actually see them carry fresh fruits and vegetables into the store and put them out.”
Cullinan understands that Stop & Shop is often students’ first thought once they become upperclassmen and need to start grocery shopping, but she thinks more people will start to explore Adams.
“I was the same way. For the last couple of years I always went to Stop & Shop for my groceries,” she said. “And it’s nothing against Stop & Shop, but Adams has, in my opinion, a better selection at better prices.”
“A really underrated part of Adams is the Sweet Shop,” she continued. “They have some stuff in there that is really awesome. I got chocolate covered gummy bears and other candy that you wouldn’t find in too many other places.”
There are numerous places to buy groceries in the very enclosed Marist bubble, whether it be right across the street somewhere or a quick trip down the road. It is not likely for students to discover Adams by chance, and even Lessner knows that their efforts to reach out to the many surrounding colleges have not been very successful.
“We have definitely been held back in that regard,” he said. “Every campus has different policies and different ways of getting to their students. We have tried getting cards and hand-outs to them, but we have not really been able to establish a presence or follow through.”
Nonetheless, the students who have visited the Poughkeepsie store appreciate it for the variety of goods that it has to offer.
“It isn’t just your average grocery store,” Gosselin stated. “They have a full deli with specialty sandwiches and great hot food. You can go there during any of their hours and either get a week’s worth of groceries or a single meal. The selection is really good.”
“There is a great variety of food that doesn’t just include the popular name brands,” added Cullinan. “The cheese selection is massive, and they even have a sushi station and the sandwich area. I can get pretty much anything that I need there.”
Another thing that separates Adams from the competition is their side businesses. Customers, besides from the groceries, nursery, and gift shop in the store, also appreciate the fencing and the power equipment that is easily accessible. They have done a great job gathering a large spectrum of needs into one place, and it has worked well, convenience wise, for so many in the community.
“Being able to get anything from food to power tools and fencing is not something most stores can offer,” said Marist student Alexandra Sarlo. “I’ve never really had to buy anything other than food from them, but because of the convenience factor, it would be the place I would go to if I ever did need anything else.”
Despite all of the variety and the great prices, the customer friendly atmosphere is something that stuck with the Marist students who have been to Adams. This is a telling sign that the goals of the Adams family and all of their employees continue to be achieved.
“Everyone who you deal with and everyone who serves you is extremely nice,” said Gosselin. “It makes you want to keep going back.”
For students who are interested in shopping at Adams, they are located at 765 Dutchess Turnpike in Poughkeepsie. Students can get 10% off of their total bill on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. until close, with some minor exclusions.