Taking a Fresh Approach


Customers still shopping for their favorite fruits and veggies

  • Toree Ashe rings up a customer Tuesday while Dawn Brown helps at County Line Produce Stand.
    Toree Ashe rings up a customer Tuesday while Dawn Brown helps at County Line Produce Stand.

County Line Produce bustled with activity Tuesday morning as customers sought fresh fruits and vegetables even as many other Putnam County businesses closed due to coronavirus concerns. 

Located on State Road 207, just inside the Putnam County line, the produce stand has been selling local picks for 54 years and the pace hasn’t slowed down as the pandemic continues. 

“Until (someone) tells us we can’t work anymore, then we’re not shutting down,” said Dawn Brown, a County Line worker. 

She said the stand is running out of items quicker than usual. If beets or radishes are set out in the morning, they can be gone by the afternoon, Brown said. 

“We’ve had meningitis scares in Palatka not that long ago and we’ve never ever seen anything like this,” worker Toree Ashe said. 

Smith Farms owner Wesley Smith said the virus has not affected the production of potato farmers.

“We’re just moving along,” Smith, of Hastings, said. “It’s affected the individuals away from the farm. …We’re fortunate to be out in that rural area and doing our work.” 

LuAnne Owens is owner of The Stand, 225 US-17 S., East Palatka. She said she, too, has seen an increase in demand for produce. 

Owens said her stand recently moved from Satsuma to Palatka and the demand may be related to that, but the virus does play a part she believed.  

“We’re getting people from other counties coming to us now. There were two people,” Owens said, “one from Clay County and one from Duval (County). They said they can’t get any produce out there.”

Produce from The Stand is from local farms in Putnam County and in Plant City, according to Owens. She and her husband, Matt Owens, pick the produce to sell at the stand. She said their prices are significantly different than grocery stores. 

“(Grocery stores) are out and our stuff is fresher and cheaper,” LuAnne said. “We keep running out of food and I think a lot of it is from the virus.”