Farm fresh and for sale at roadside Produce stands bust out all over

August 01, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Travel almost any highway in Carroll County this time of the year and you'll find roadside stands offering a cornucopia of locally grown corn, tomatoes and other produce.

"We're doing a tremendous business," said Jennifer Seletzky, who runs a roadside stand on Route 30 in Hampstead. "Our NTC sales are up from last year. It's amazing how much business you can do at a roadside stand."

Ms. Seletzky sells corn, watermelon and other produce from the Eastern Shore, along with cucumbers, green peppers and other vegetables grown on her father's 60-acre farm in Millers.

Her father, Richard Seletzky, a retired North Carroll Middle School gym teacher, has been selling his produce at roadside stands since the 1970s. He started farming to supplement his income.

"He's been around here a long time. We have the market in this area but around this time of the year we do get some competition," said Ms. Seletzky, eyeing a produce stand across the street.

Edie Rice of Hampstead paid no attention to that stand. She bought her watermelon and tomatoes from the Seletzkys.

"I've been coming here for years," Ms. Rice said. "I know [Mr. Seletzky], and for a long time he had the only stand in this part of the county. His produce is good. I know it's coming right from the farm."

Like many other roadside operators, Mr. Seletzky opens his stand in June and sells produce from the Eastern Shore. He sells his own produce when it ripens in mid-summer, then he sells produce from Lancaster, Pa., later in the season, his daughter said.

"About 80 percent of what we sell is locally grown," she said.

Bill Pearson III of Westminster travels to the Eastern Shore every weekend to pick up corn, tomatoes, cantaloupe and watermelon to sell

off his pickup truck and a trailer on Route 27, north of Westminster.

Mr. Pearson, an electrical service worker for a Rockville sign company, began selling produce last summer to supplement his income when his hours were cut. His stand opens in early June and remains

open until September.

"A lot of people come back each week," said his father, Bill Pearson Jr., a Glyndon engraver who helps out at the stand. "They're going to get good stuff here. My son's real picky about what he sells. His prices may be a little higher, but he

sells quality stuff."

In Taneytown, Sewell's Farm sells tomatoes, corn, watermelon and cantaloupe from a stand on East Baltimore Street. Some produce comes from the Eastern Shore, some from Pennsylvania and some from the farm off Harney Road.

Business was brisk yesterday.

"Produce has been real good this year. We've been fortunate," says Linda Sell, a farm employee. "People come for the sweet corn and the tomatoes. Some days it's so busy here you can't even sit down."

Donald Gent has been selling home-grown vegetables at a self-serve stand along Route 482 for about 10 years. Although he generally relies on the honor system -- customers leave money in a box -- Mr. Gent was tending the stand yesterday.

"People have been better than 101 percent honest," said Mr. Gent, a retired salesman. "The biggest mistake I ever made was not keeping a scrapbook of the notes I get. Some notes have been so funny."

He recalled one woman who left a note asking whether she could write a check for the produce she picked up every day. She wrote that she didn't always have the correct change and asked Mr. Gent to respond to her request by writing "yes" or "no" on a slip of paper and leaving it in the box.

"I wrote 'yes,' " Mr. Gent recalled. "Every month when I'd get my Social Security check in the mailbox, her check would be there, ** too. I've never met the woman."

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