Veggies along the road

Roadside produce vendors offer variety, enjoy company

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Brad VanMeter, of Pomeroy, scoops up some cantaloupe samples for customers to try Friday morning at the Highway 7/20 Market fruit and vegetable stand on Kenyon Road.

They’re a long-standing tradition found along both city streets and rural byways.

They range from an elaborate setup of tables and roofs to a folding chair, umbrella and a pickup truck full of freshly picked sweet corn.

They have their season. As the corn matures and the tomatoes are ready for market, the selection changes.

It’s the produce stand along the road.

Brad VanMeter, of Pomeroy, was spending his day Friday tending to the Highway 7/20 Market fruit and vegetable stand. It’s set up across from UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center on Kenyon Road.

He’s assisting owner Greg Loots.

“I’m filling in to help out,” he said.

His day starts early because the stand opens at 8 a.m.

“I go through everything,” he said. “I make sure there’s no bruising and that everything’s fresh.”

During the day, he might have some busy moments and some lulls in the action.

“It comes in spurts,” he said. “Twos and threes usually.”

When he’s not helping a customer select a nice ripe cantaloupe or getting them a bag of sweet corn, he keeps the stand in tip-top shape.

“I restock and bag corn,” he said. “There’s plenty to keep me busy.”

As an added bonus, VanMeter gets to sample the wares.

“I usually mix up a salsa,” he said.

He also enjoys the social aspect of the day. Customers usually not only buy a few tomatoes, but they also like to chat.

“That part I really like,” he said. “They’re usually getting something for supper.”

That also means that they sometimes share their recipe, let him know how they plan on cooking what they purchased and even where the veggies will end up.

His day comes to an end at 6 p.m. when he carefully packs up the extra vegetables and fruits. He’s proud of what he’s selling, too.

“We have the best sweet corn around.” he said.