Homegrown Goodness

   Located across the street from Randolph High School, Peaches and Cream is an ice cream parlor, fresh produce warehouse, and decorative plant haven with goodies galore. Whether you seek a top-heavy cone of Moose Tracks to devour as you watch the sunset, vibrant hanging baskets to adorn outdoor entertainment spaces, or a quart of the freshest homegrown strawberries available, it is the one-stop-shop for all that and much more.
   Twenty-nine years ago, Gary Boser, a third generation purveyor of farm-fresh goods, ventured from his grandfather and father’s South Bradford Food Market just over the border to the quaint town of Randolph, NY.  He began selling produce and flowers out of the back of his truck in the center of town. He dreamed of one day running a full market similar to the one from his youth, with fully stocked produce, plants and treats - a spectacle of offerings from local producers - while providing customers with the freshest and fullest possible array.
   Randolph seemed - and has proven to be - the perfect location.  It was far enough away from home that he wouldn’t have to compete with his family’s business, and it offered a tight-knit community with plenty of charm, as well as the comforts of an extended family nearby that to this day assists in the family business. Randolph also boasts a fanciful setting overlooking the Enchanted Mountains near the Amish Trail, offering a vibrant market of local producers in need of a venue to reach the public. So, out of the back of his truck, Boser began selling flowers and produce.
   As time progressed, Gary’s business expanded. First, he started selling flowers on Easter and Mother’s Day. Then, he found a place to set up a greenhouse and grew and grew and grew for more than twenty years until the spring of 2010, when his youthful dream came to fruition with the opening of a full-sized warehouse.  Now, the shop has a loyal following, including out-of-towners from Ohio, Ontario, Pittsburgh, each stopping by on their way through to Ellicottville or elsewhere in Cattaraugus County.
   Peaches and Cream sells hundreds of decorative plants, including Fuchsia, Wave Petunias, Zinnias, Gerbera Daisies, and ground covers. Seasonal edibles abound and entice in its open-air setting. Next to the ice cream shop and patio, one can purchase Mrs. Miller Amish noodles, pre-packaged soups, Lancaster pickles, local honey or maple syrup, fudge, chocolates, and handmade candies - certainly sweets galore.
   Gary and Heidi Boser currently live in Napoli, NY with their three dogs - two Brittany Spaniels and one Golden Retriever. Gary uses the spaniels for bird hunting, and Heidi likes the Golden for company around the house. Their children are all grown up and live independently in Bradford, PA. Heidi takes care of bookkeeping, while Gary manages the store.
   “Thank God for my wife,” Gary says. “She does the hard part and really takes the burden off me.” Heidi also works with their eldest child at American Refining Group in Bradford. Terri, a first cousin, assists Gary as the store’s only other full-time employee.
   Eight part-time staff members work for the business. Gary affectionately calls them “kids,” saying he has “wonderful kids” working for him. Though three are immediate family, the Bosers consider all employees part of their extended family.
   He was quick to express his appreciation for the Randolph community as well. He spoke nostalgically of the town grabbing his heart and not letting go. “Everyone here will bend over backwards for you,” he says. “That’s the kind of town this is.”
   Peaches and Cream opens each spring, about a week before Easter, with Easter flowers brought in from greenhouses or shipped in from out of the region. Produce is also trucked in from throughout the country, or is selected from greenhouses throughout the Southern Tier, Bradford, and Greater Buffalo Niagara region. As summer approaches, more and more local produce becomes available, which then replace edibles brought in from elsewhere. July is an excellent month for local corn, peaches, peas, berries, beans, and cucumbers.
   Since Peaches and Cream is his passion, at this time of year Gary enjoys working up to 100-hour weeks and being on the road six days ensuring delivery of the freshest possible produce to his customers. He conducts business with many of the same people his grandfather worked with.
   Customer satisfaction is Gary’s top priority, and the friendliness of his staff shows why he is proud to call all employees extended family. Throughout the summer, Peaches and Cream is open from 10am-9pm.
   On a hot summer day, make sure to grab a cone or bowl stuffed full of Hershey’s frequently delivered variety of flavors. Due to a Bradford colloquialism, Gary calls the stand a “Tasty Freeze.”  Regardless of how you identify it, “delicious” is a necessary addition to its description. Newly available are smoothies and toppings featuring fresh, local berries.
   As the heat of summer mellows into its late-season and nights begin to cool, and we descend into fall, the local produce changes. It is at this time that apples ripen and tumble to the ground. Peaches and Cream offers eleven types of apples, including the classic Macintosh, New York’s own native Courtland, and the coveted Honeycrisp. The leaves brighten and decorative gourds such as the Cinderella come to fruit; hearty winter squashes like butternut replace the moist summer favorites, zucchini and yellow.
   Come Halloween, pumpkins accompany corn stalks, hay bails and mums to decorate for coming Trick-or-Treaters. At the end of October, Peaches and Cream closes for three weeks to prepare for the holiday season, during which time it will sell Christmas trees, wreathes and poinsettias, as well as dry goods and Amish gift baskets.
   A true outdoorsman, when Peaches and Cream closes after the holidays, Gary Boser works at Holiday Valley Resort, as he has for many years.
   Next summer will bring the addition of another greenhouse, raising the grand total to three. Currently, two keep plants safe as Southern Tier temperatures have continued to dip below freezing through Memorial Day weekend. One additional unit is planned for completion by next summer, allowing for more local edible and decorative plants.
   Then, the Bosers plan to build a 19-hole miniature golf course on the business’s property - eighteen to keep score, and one to try for a hole-in-one to win a free game. The course will solidify Peaches and Cream as a one-stop-shop for entertainment in the beautiful summer weather for which the Enchanted Mountains are known. Certainly, a trip to Peaches and Cream will be one for the memories.
   Peaches and Cream is located at 19 Main Street in Randolph, NY. It is open seven days per week, phone 716-358-2241.
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