Perkins Produce Stand closes after 29 years
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!”
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