Corn by the road

AT WORK

Some days he sells 60 dozen ears to motorists on Mount Carmel Road in Hereford

Working

August 02, 2006|By NANCY JONES-BONBREST | NANCY JONES-BONBREST,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Bob Clark

Produce stand operator

Hereford

Age --73

Salary --He averages $250 a week.

Years on the job --Seven

How he got started --Clark worked as a machine operator with Black & Decker for 37 years, then took care of animals on a farm for seven years. Baltimore County farmer Herman Kupisch asked him if he'd be interested in working a produce stand during the summer, so Clark decided to give it a try.

Typical day --He opens the stand on Mount Carmel Road just west of Interstate 83 at 10 a.m. and stays until about 6 p.m., rain or shine. Kupisch owns the stand, which is stocked with produce from his farm and other growers. Clark goes to a stall each morning to load a van with the fruits and vegetables Kupisch provides. It takes about a half-hour to unload the produce and open the stand for business.

Loading the van in the evening takes half that time since much of the produce has been sold. The vegetables and fruit are mostly from the Eastern Shore and local farms. When he first started, he worked seven days a week - now he works five.

Sweet corn --Corn on the cob is the biggest seller and Clark estimates that he sells about 40 to 60 dozen ears on a weekend day and about 25 to 30 dozen on a weekday.

The heat --"You just deal with it," said Clark, who brings along a half-gallon of water and an umbrella.

Passing the time --Hot rod magazines and music.

The good --"I love the people, and the customers are my friends. Everyone is so happy to see us; it's like the ice cream truck being here. We have fresh vegetables and fruit, everybody is pleased with that."

The bad --Setting up and loading up. "Especially if you are trying to get the table set up and you have two or three customers lined up."

Recipe swap --Clark said he's always getting and giving recipes. His best tips are for leftover squash and corn. He suggests frying the squash after dredging the cut pieces in flour and seasoning to taste. Cut the corn off the cob, heat it up in butter with diced onion, then add a teaspoon or two of brown sugar and let it caramelize.

Perks --Clark says he can make a few dollars in tips each day. He also is allowed to take vegetables home.

During the off-season --Clark raises a few steers on his small farm. He also works in his woodshop. His favorite things to make are baby cradles and small, oval-top chests.

Philosophy on the job --"To do right by my customers."

Nancy Jones-Bonbrest Special to The Sun

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