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Sunday, October 27, 2013

NEW LIFE FOR AN OLD FARM STAND

Resource: Library of Congress

Once upon a time our country's back roads held thriving farm stands that brought in some extra cash for families and fresh garden and orchard food for the locals.  What was in season could usually be bought for less than commercial stores could sell it for. Do you remember these farm stands? 

Farm stands were usually closed during off-growing seasons. Soon as the produce began to be able to feed more than the family -- it landed in the farm stand located out their door and down by the road where the it was visible to passing traffic. Stands came in all sizes and shapes.  

Above is a farm stand photo taken by a Mr. Pointer during the mid 20th century. Farm stands like the one above were usually run by the farm family and maybe a friend or relative  The photo shows how serious some were about selling -- they went all out in presentation.





Today, it is rare to find a farm stand along a back road. Farms are busy mono-cropping for corporations. But if one is diligent one can still possibly find remnants left over from the past.

Above is a stand that I found recently while riding the back roads of Oregon. The crop being sold was hazelnuts both cracked and un-cracked. It was a family endeavor and the nuts came from the acres of nut trees on their property. 




The stand was an old one -- refurbished forty years ago when they bought it from a family that sold flowers from it down the road.






Here is a look at the orchard of Spring Brook Hazel Nut Farm where I bought some already cracked nuts from the above farm stand. With nuts in hand I continued down the road smiling while I chewed down a few.  They were delicious.



14 comments:

  1. They are still around in England but not so many as in the past. Farm shops are increasing in number - usually situated and operated by one farm but also selling produce from others in the neighbourhood. In addition there are many farmers' markets where farmers rent a stall to sell their produce direct to the customer. Buying local is on the increase here.

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    1. John -- Farm markets are very popular in the U.S. All seem to have different policies -- some can sell produce bought from commercial warehouses (not local) or some have policies that only local farm raised products can be sold at their market. It is up to the buyer to realize which vendor sells local only. I like the idea of your farm shops. Buying local is on the increase here also. Many home gardens have been enlarged in order to sell their extra produce at farm markets.

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  2. A move cross country and you still find the same old treasures. Back roads are best roads.

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    1. Joanne -- I wish that I would have had the stamina to travel the back roads when I came across country -- instead of the major highways. When I lived in KY I lived in the country and back roads were everywhere. Now I am in a large city and finding it difficult to find backroads. I do not plan to stay in the city -- only a temporary stay here until I get the lay of the land. thanks -- barbara

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  3. What I'm seeing nowadays are those tent things, or they simply set up in the back of a pickup. And, they bring the produce here, to the city.

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    1. turquoisemoon -- I know what you are talking about -- I used to see them set up along a busy road selling corn, pumpkins, squash etc. I wrote a blog about one of the tent vendors a couple years ago. In my post I called them "Local Tailgate Farmers." thanks -- barbara

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  4. Oh, I'm glad to say, farm stands are big here in Maine & there is a strong emphasis on sustainable agriculture. But they don't always have little structure/shelters, sometimes it's just a cart on the side of the road. Even here in town, in the summer, one family down the road would out free veggies, surplus from their garden. Now there are some pumpkin stands, but soon we will all hunker down for winter. I remember farm stands in Virginia & W. VA, but I grew up in city/suburbs wehre there were none. Great post, Barbara!

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    1. Rita -- Maine is a wonderful state and I would imagine that local produce sales would be high on their list of priorities. I remember going through Maine when I was a young adult and there being berry stands along roads. Apparently berries grew well in Maine, In Michigan, where I lived when younger and traveled back to as I aged, there are many farms that have fields of pumpkins selling as "pick your own." I guess the move is on to sell local whether you have a stand or not. thanks -- barbara


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  5. Ran across one some time back in new Hampshire. Nobody there and sweet corn/tomatoes being sold. You put your money in the money box and made change out of the same.

    We could have kept much more of this type of thing but when corporations entered the picture after WWll the whole country bought into big is better in every way. What a huge negative that has become.

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    1. One Fly -- New Hampshire -- yes the honor system. I do wonder if that is still being practiced at farm stands? I also ran into a few -- years ago -- wonder if that is still a tradition?

      The corporate policies have tried their best to wipe out local food -- by their seeds, mono cropping, and farm contracts. A farmer that hooks up with a corporation to grow for them is literally hooked. And yes, corporations have promoted a whole new lifestyle of eating -- processed and more processed. Maybe this will slowly change? I sure hope so. thanks -- barbara

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  6. The boy in the top photo looks just like my husband at that age.
    I wonder if the stand that sold strawberries at a roadside along Oregon Highway 26 on the way to the beach is still in business.

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    1. Hattie -- I am just getting to know certain parts of Oregon. I am most familiar with the Newport/Rt 20 and Corvallis/Eugene areas. The farm stand was on 99W. I was a late bloomer and attended OSU for my grad studies in my early 50s.

      The couple in the photo were sweet,

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  7. The little villages and farm stands were always what made travel off highways a particular pleasure. In the late 20th century we had a great time finding a variety of used bookstores especially in New England. This century we try not to buy new ones as we unload the ones on hand. I was just in Powell's in Portland on one of those ventures...a little at a time, of course.

    Barbara, have you been to Silverton? You might consider area around there.

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    1. Naomi -- Oh yes -- that would be a great trip to Powells -- thanks for the suggestion. I found that 99W has some nice back country. I have to be patient to find traditional culture here. In KY it was in your face in the mid and eastern part of that state. I did look up Silverton after I read your comment today. Beautiful country! I think I will start a file on different parts of Washington and Oregon that might fit my lifestyle, Thanks for your info-- barbara

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