Roadside fruit stands, where art thou?
By Jim Bucher
Think the older you get, the more nostalgic. Guess it’s all a part of the aging process, but while writing my memories of Hara column about the closing of the iconic venue and how it all began with a fruit stand, I got to thinking… are there any left?
Many remember Wampler’s, Mumma’s, and Monnin’s.
The latter of which is still going strong out Vandalia’s way on Fredrick Pike, but I recall piling in my family’s station wagon and trekking out to pick up apples, pears, melons, strawberries, you name it.
And always fresh!
Heck, going way back here, but when I was a young “Buch,” one of the last produce delivery mom and pop vendors would stop regularly at our home. The man who owned it was a character. His name, and I’m probably wrong here on the spelling, Socksy Bork.
Had a straw hat and never had his teeth in.
The truck would bound down the street, creaking and groaning seeming to be on its last breath, but not bad for a ’49 Ford.
My grandmother would meet Socksy at the curb and even though there was mutual respect, if Grandma Dori didn’t think she was getting a fair price, the conversation turned heated, and then the German words would come out.
Believe I knew how to curse in German before the English version.
Well, Dori and Socksy are both gone now, probably continuing the argument in heaven, but where art thou roadside fruit stands?
First, some memories of days gone by.
Carly writes, “My earliest memory is picking strawberries at Mumma’s with the cardboard carriers. Had so much fun picking two and eating one. Maybe that’s why they’re out of business,” she says with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
Frank says, “Buch, all the years of picking pumpkins at Mumma’s and then my wife Sandy and I lived in the house off Fredrick Pike where the pumpkin patch was located. And I can remember picking apples at my grandpa’s farm at Old Springfield and Peters Pike. Yes, right where Dayton International Airport’s runway is now. Those were the days, my much younger friend.” Much younger, Frank? Not by much. Lol.
Wanda says, “We went to Woody’s fruit stand before the infamous Woody’s Market in West Carrolton. A long time ago.” Remember the restaurant over the road?
Jim writes, “As a kid, mom would go directly to the farmers in Beavercreek. My dad had a pharmacy in the ’60s and ’70s and most were customers. We would support them like they supported us. It was the freshest fruit and vegetables you could get. Nothing better.”
Finally, Angela remembers, “I used to work at Lavy’s Strawberry Farm in Bethel Township on Route 40. Small hut with a very large strawberry on top. I picked berries for my first two years when I was promoted to working in the hut. It’s my ‘I rode four miles to work when I was 11, up-hill both ways’ story. Sadly, the strawberry hut is no longer.”
And now, the current up-and-running fruit stands.
Ginny is ecstatic: “Treadway’s Garden on South 48 near Centerville is open for business. Have the best corn, family owned for years.”
Yes, remember the Treadway’s, featured them on a TV story back in my news days.
John chimes in with “Check out Hidden Valley Fruit Farm on 48. Great peaches and apples.”
Sarah informs me, “Boulder Belt Eco-Farm in Eaton. Right now they offer heirloom tomatoes including the Lemon Drop cherry tomatoes. May be the most perfect tomato ever.”
Cathy says, “Still go to Jackson’s on Route 68. Best apple cider in the country.”
Ron writes, “There are a few on 725 between Union and Route 4. Been going for years and D&G. They grow a lot of produce. Owners are nice, hardworking people.”
Janice says, “Buch, don’t forget ‘Brownie’ at the Dixie Drive-In Flea Market every Sunday. Not only does he have fresh produce, but puts on an entertaining show, too.”
Janice, know him well. He’s awesome.
“Bayer’s Melon Farm outside of New Lebanon on Route 35,” Linda says.
Brentlinger’s on Needmore near I-75 get many thumbs ups from readers ,as does Lovely’s down Springboro way on Route 73.
Others include Fulton’s in Troy, Covered Wagon Farm Market on 48 beyond Union, Shiloh Church Farmer’s Market at Main Street and Philadelphia Drive every Saturday morning and Brumbaugh Fruit Farm in Arcanum.
Now, this isn’t a complete list by any stretch so, join the conversation on Facebook or email me your favorite here at the paper.
Gotta go. So much sweet corn to devour and so little time.
For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com