The Ellicott City produce stand is flanked by a rustic barn and hand-painted signs, and shadowed by tall trees. Many Howard County residents can recognize the stand, but few know the history behind it.
"This stand has been in our blood for so long," says Kim Taylor, current owner of Harbin Farms produce stand.
It all began when Kim's aunt, Sylvia Harbin, began selling homegrown tomatoes from her front yard in 1958. Sylvia's small business flourished, and in 1968, then-owner Bob Harbin moved the stand next door to the empty lot at Route 99 and Bethany Lane.
The business was passed through the family tree and is now owned by Kim and her husband, Mike, and staffed in part by their four children.
Long gone are the days of Sylvia's tomatoes. Since deer destroyed much of the farm's produce in the late 1990s, the Taylors now stock the stand with goods from small, family-run farms from Southern Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Harbin Farms now boasts an impressive array of fruits and vegetables, as well as flowers, eggs, and juices. The stand, open from April through mid-December, also offers seasonal selections, such as flowers in the spring, mums, apples, and pumpkins in the fall, and Christmas trees in late November and December.
The Taylors' decision to sell Christmas trees has benefited the community in more ways than one. Five dollars from every tree sold is donated to the Howard County public school of the customer's choice. Kim estimates that between $3,000 and $4,000 is donated to the public school system each year.
Family members also plan to volunteer its services at Waverly Elementary School's Fall Fest, where their two daughters, Katelyn and Madison, are enrolled.
Sons Brian and Joe Sennett are Mount Hebron graduates, like their mother, and have worked at the stand since they were about five. Their friends also have spent time as Harbin Farms employees.
"Whenever she needs someone to help out she can just call one of my friends," says Brian, 19, adding that many of his friends also like to hangout at the stand when they're not working.
"A lot of my friends, probably 8 to10, have worked here," says older brother Joe.
"We tell employees that we've been here for so long so you got to treat everyone like family," says Mike. "You may not know this lady, but she may have been coming here for 30 years. We're on a first name basis with a lot of customers."
He adds that they have built a lot of friendships when his wife, who he says is "an amazing cook," shares recipes with customers.
Currently, bulldozers and dirt piles loom behind the stand. Altieri Homes is building homes for a 55 and older community on Old Mill Lane, directly behind Harbin Farms.
"The growth isn't bad," says Mike. "It's not going to hurt us."
The new development does require Harbin Farms to make a few minor adjustments. The parking lot will have to move about 100 feet to the left, making room for a new entrance and a curbed perimeter. The current parking lot is what Mike deems a "free-for-all" with no clear entrance or parking spots.
The Taylors plan to pave their new lot, which will make things easier for their disabled customers who have trouble on the gravel. Now, Kim says, those customers can just pull up and honk the horn for window service.
"We make so many close relationships with our customers. We just hope they'll bear with us," says Kim. "I think once people get used to the changes, we'll be fine."
"In the end, I see it as being positive. The curb will make it more safe," says Mike.
He added: "From a business standpoint, [the 55 and older community] is a good demographic. Most of the young families don't see the value of going to the grocery store for everything else then here for just produce."
"I think what makes us different is we hand-pick everything every morning. We pride ourselves on quality and the way things look," says Kim.
The stand is the only job for Kim and her sons, though Mike works 40 hours a week for the Department of Defense.
"Our prices are very fair," she says. "We're not out to make a killing, just a living."
The stand is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.