Great Brook Farm ice cream stand opens with BOH approval

by Karina Coombs

During a meeting that is typically without large numbers of attendees—or any attendees—Great Brook Farm’s Mark Duffy, his wife Tamma and 13 supporters streamed into the Board of Health (BOH) meeting on April 16 to ask its members to allow the ice cream stand to open for its 26th year. The board voted unanimously in the Duffy’s favor and the group broke out in applause.

For the second consecutive year, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Edward Lambert had informed the Duffys that they would not be allowed to open the stand as planned. The issue cited by Lambert was a plumbing violation—the lack of toilets inside the building, which is an old barn. There are toilets in both the visitor center and the new barn. (See “Great Brook Farm ice cream stand opening hits snag,” April 10, 2013).

On April 12 the BOH received an email from State Plumbing and Gas Inspector Scott Padden explaining that the ice cream stand was not in compliance with the plumbing code. Padden said the state felt it was up to the local BOH to determine whether or not the stand should open, but noted the facility had “never been in compliance with plumbing code.”

“We are the town of Carlisle and we are here for you,” said Chair Jeffrey Brem to the Duffys, explaining he felt that while plumbing code compliance on state properties fell outside the BOH domain, he felt there was no public health reason to keep the facility closed. Brem also noted that the last inspection of the stand was rated “stellar.” “We are a food production business,” said Duffy, explaining the facility had been inspected by the Federal Department of Agriculture and other various state agencies and inspections were not uncommon. “We try to run a great operation and appreciate [the] community support,” said Duffy.

“Next time bring some ice cream,” said Brem after the vote, to which Duffy replied, “next time we’ll hold it at the farm.”

As a condition for opening, the town’s food inspector Randy Phelps inspected the ice cream stand on April 18 and noted the inspection was great and without any issues. The facility opened for business on April 19 and the Duffys are attempting to obtain a variance from the state plumbing board for the bathroom and resolve the issue going forward with the state. ∆ [Updated 4-27-13 to correct spelling error.]