One of Westport's oldest fruit stands is no longer standing.

Walt's Fruit Stand on the corner of Briggs Road and Sanford Road has been a staple of Westport for generations. As a kid, I would stop by on my bike for some strawberries, and I recall them being the sweetest around. Sadly, this tiny little fruit stand has finally been knocked down as of Tuesday morning, October 5.

Courtesy Bria Collasius

Following the passing in 2020 of Walter Pietrzyk, the owner/operator of Walt's Farm and Walt's Fruit Stand, the farm was revitalized by the Westport Land Conservation Trust. His fruit stand, however, didn't quite make it.

The land that the stand was on was purchased by the adjacent church, Our Lady of Grace. Parish priest Father Chris Peschel explained the reasoning for the removal of the structure.

"It was structurally unsound," Peschel said. "We hired a professional business to remove the asbestos from the inside, and then our groundskeepers dismantled the rest."

Unfortunately, the stand was becoming a safety hazard and since Father Peschel is busy preaching at both St. John the Baptist and Our Lady of Grace, there is simply no time for him or the church to take care of a rundown fruit stand.

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As far as the vacant area, Father Peschel has no current plans to do anything with it. The idea of a new sign for the church was tossed around, but nothing is set in stone.

Between the church purchasing the fruit stand property and the town buying the farm to remain as farming land only, this is what a community is all about. As much as we'll miss those sweet summertime strawberries and crisp apples, we'll always remember the place where the stand once stood.

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