Farm market beginning its fourth year Whole Knill family joins daily harvesting and sale of crops


July 05, 1996|By Christy Kruhm | Christy Kruhm,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT'S HARD NOT to notice the endless, neat rows of vegetables lining the outskirts of the Knill farm. During my countless trips commuting on Route 27, I've been watching the growth of vegetable plants through the spring and early summer months, anticipating the arrival of fresh local produce.

Only a month or two ago, I noticed the garden showing signs of life, little sprouts pushing through the soil. It seems in no time, many of the plants have reached their full height and are starting to produce a bounty of vegetables.

With Wednesday's opening of Knill's Farm Market, Jim and Carol Knill of Mount Airy will begin the daily harvesting and sale of vegetables. This is the market's fourth year.

Offering daily-picked produce from their farm's extensive gardens, the Knills have expanded their market this year to offer new varieties of sweet corn, a new produce stand, and a converted dairy barn with air-conditioned storage for the produce.

Initially, the Knills will have to truck in local produce from the Eastern Shore to open the farm market, but as the season continues, these vegetables will be replaced exclusively with their produce.

Throughout the summer, the Knills hope to have a good supply of corn, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, melons, lima and string beans, beets, okra and onions at competitive prices. As the summer vegetable season winds down, the Knills will keep the market's shelves full with pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower and potatoes. The farm market closes Oct. 31.

Jim is optimistic that this will be a good year for corn. With more than 16 acres planted with sweet corn, he says that the abundance of spring rains got the plants off to a good start. With hot, sunny weather, it should be a bumper year for corn.

In the height of corn season, the Knills pick 30 to 35 dozen ears of corn each morning. It's not unusual for Jim to get an emergency call midafternoon when the corn supply runs low, and he goes to the field to pick more.

Jim and Carol rely on help from the whole family to operate the farm market. Sons J. W., Danny and Brian spend mornings with their parents picking vegetables, and take turns in the afternoon manning the produce stand.

"They like it best when it's busy," said Jim. "Just give them the radio and something to drink and they're OK." The boys have been put on the family payroll, says Carol. She keeps track of the hours each boy works, and they collect their "paycheck" each week.

Jim's parents, Bill and Jean Knill, take their turn helping in the garden and at the market.

Planning begins early in the winter for next year's market. Seeds are ordered, and decisions are made about what and how much to plant. This requires a lot of planning because the vegetable gardens cover more than 2 acres, the potato field another acre and a half, not to mention the 16 acres of corn.

Carol says that business has increased and become steady over the years. Weekends are the busiest, with an average of 75 customers visiting the market each day.

Knill's Farm Market is on Route 27, across from Watkins Park in Mount Airy.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

The market is closed Mondays.

Information: (410) 549-1869.

Fire queen contest

The search is on for Miss Mount Airy Fire Prevention. Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Department is accepting applications through July 20.The judging is scheduled at 7 p.m. July 22, opening night of the annual firemen's carnival at the Firemen's Activity Grounds at Twin Arch Road and Route 27.

Any single woman between ages 16 and 21 who lives in the Mount Airy Fire Department's first due-response area is eligible.

Miss Mount Airy Fire Prevention will represent the department at official fire-prevention activities. Information: 829-0100.

Christy Kruhm's Southwest neighborhood column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 7/05/96

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