Perkins Pro­duce Stand closes after 29 years

Record Observer - - News - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — Many peo­ple in and around Centreville are go­ing to miss Perkins Pro­duce Stand, lo­cated along Wrights Neck Road, only a half mile from the 4-H Park. John and Phyl­lis Perkins have run the stand ev­ery sum­mer for the past 29 years, the past 13 years di­rectly from their home. Satur­day, July 8, was the last day the stand was open for busi­ness. It’s closed for good.

“It be­gan 29 years ago with my daugh­ter, who was very young at the time, sell­ing toma­toes from the front porch of our home,” said John. “Even­tu­ally, we rented a lot of space next to the West­ern Auto in Centreville where we set up a stand. Once our chil­dren grew up and moved on, we moved it back to our house. We’ve had peo­ple from all over come here for fresh pro­duce, all of Centreville, Queen­stown, Gra­sonville, even fur­ther out.”

The good of re­tir­ing from the pro­duce busi­ness is they’ll have more time to be with their grand­chil­dren, among other things, they said.

John said, “I’ve had three close friends die in the past three weeks, and I couldn’t even go to their fu­neral be­cause we had to be here at the pro­duce stand. My two grand­sons are play­ing lacrosse, and we can’t al­ways get away to go watch them. It’s time for us to slow down to be able to en­joy our fam­ily.”

Be­fore the pro­duce stand, the Perkins also ran two chicken houses on their 12acre prop­erty, rais­ing and sell­ing chick­ens for mar­ket. They did that for 36.5 years. Their pro­duce busi­ness be­came known es­pe­cially for their fla­vor­ful, home­grown toma­toes.

John added, “We’ve been a hus­band and wife team. We’ve done this to­gether, al­ways.”

Phyl­lis said, “We’ve been blessed. So many won­der­ful cus­tomers. They’ve be­come friends with all the con­ver­sa­tions we’ve had over the years. I must say, young peo­ple to­day don’t cook the way our gen­er­a­tion did. Young peo­ple to­day have such a hec­tic, fast paced life. Oc­ca­sion­ally, one of them will ask me how to cook some type veg­etable. I tell them how I do it.”

John said, “The pro­duce busi­ness has changed in re­cent years. Most of our cus­tomers are over 50. I don’t think we have more than a dozen cus­tomers who are un­der 50. We ap­pre­ci­ate the many lo­cal farm­ers we’ve worked with. We’ve worked with a num­ber of other pro­duce stands over the years, sup­port­ing each other with pro­duce when items ran low. We’ve even sold some pro­duce to lo­cal restau­rants.”

The Perkins have been in­form­ing many of the cus­tomers that the stand is clos­ing for the past cou­ple weeks, and as John said, “This is bit­ter-sweet. We’re both in our 70s, we’re not get­ting any younger, and it’s time.”

The Perkins sign in front of their house now reads “Re­tired from the Pro­duce busi­ness. Thank you!”

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Perkins Pro­duce & Flow­ers closed, Satur­day, July 8. John and Phyl­lis Perkins, who have run their stand for the past 29 years are re­tir­ing from the pro­duce busi­ness. Their loyal cus­tomers will miss their fresh veg­eta­bles, es­pe­cially their won­der­ful home­grown toma­toes.

JAMES W. VALLIANT

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