Saturdays this summer have the parking lot of coming alive with color with the arrival of the Orchard Country Produce farm stand selling everything from sunflowers to grass-fed beef to red beets.
The farm stand opened in May and sells fresh produce, meats and other goodies from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays now through the fall at the church, located at 8009 Fort Hunt Rd. Orchard Country Produce grows its fruits and vegetables on a 50-acre farm in Gardners, PA, north of Gettysburg, and raises cows and pigs on 10 acres up the road.
Oliver Keckler, son of owner Greg Keckler, was running the market Saturday. Keckler said business has grown rapidly since May.
“It’s been pretty good,” he said. “Once the news traveled out, people let other people know we’re down here, it’s been really getting busy.”
Keckler’s sister produces baked goods, such as pies, for sale at the market. On Saturday, the farm stand offered free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, pork, tomatoes, blackberries, lettuce, blueberries, three varieties of plums, apricots, three varieties of peaches, nectarines, green beans, red beets, kale, Swiss chard, cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, onions, eggplant, sunflowers and zinnias.
They also had a batch of the season’s first sweet corn.
The Kecklers also sell artisan cheeses purchased from a nearby Mennonite farmer. Their farm had been involved in a local community-supported agriculture program, and a contact from that program helped them connect with the church for permission to set up a weekend stand.
Customer Marlene Skimmons of Fort Hunt has been coming weekly since the market opened this summer. On Saturday, she purchased beets, onions, green peppers, summer squash and green beans. She later returned for the tomatoes and lettuce she forgot to buy on the first trip.
“It’s great produce,” she said. “They’re friendly. They know their products. So it’s great.
A first-time customer Saturday was Kirk Logie of Fort Hunt. A neighbor told him about the farm stand, and he dropped by to purchase a bouquet of sunflowers.
“Now that I know you guys are here, I’m going to be back,” he told Keckler. “It looks good.”
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