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Big Chuck

September 9, 2013

Farm honor system can grow on you

What a difference the flip of a calendar makes. I love September and the produce stands!

The farmers’ vegetable stands are all over already and loaded with what looks like a promising harvest. From Fly Creek to Worcester to Otego and Gilbertsville, I saw picnic tables out in front of the farmers’ houses groaning with enough dazzling crop colors to make any artist cry. Gorgeous tomatoes, cukes, corn, green and yellow peppers, zucchini and more. These little farm stands have been a presence in my life as far back as I can remember.

In Sidney we had a bunch of them, but it was always Johnson’s Farm Market that we went to. Millie and Walt Johnson were the owners. They had everything from pumpkins to corn to pies to homemade gifts to, well, almost everything. When the fields were kissed with autumnal bliss and the chill of October settled in, old Walt would crank up his ancient tractor and take all the kids on a ride through the countryside. It was perfectly charming and was a hallmark of harvest season growing up in Sidney.

The thing I always admired about most farm stands was the fact that they were on the honor system. Just an old cigar box or a glass mayonnaise jar on the table for you to put your money in. These stands were almost never manned. The farm family, including the kids, were usually out in the fields. I always thought it was endearing that before the family went out to work all day in the fields, that they brought out some corn and tomatoes and apples for us to enjoy when we drove by. Some places even had a sign that would read: “Pay what you think is fair.” What do I know about the price of a summer squash? I think I must have way overpaid every time I visited the stands.

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Big Chuck

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