The Job My hometown in Tahlequah, OK has a produce stand that has been in the same place for years. The stand is open from the third week in May until the week of the fourth of July. They try to carry produce from local farmers but with the days they are open it is not always possible. Most of their produce is trucked in to Bixby, OK from places that can have warmer weather sooner than northeast Oklahoma places such as Texas and Florida. They carry produce such as tomatoes, squash, zucchini, green beans, red and sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, cantaloupe, watermelons, onions, okra, cucumbers, peaches, various peppers, strawberries, plums, blueberries, and blackberries their main items that are available on a regular basis. Every now and then they have not so regular items such as pineapples, grapes, and other fruits. Their big ticket item is the Ft. Gibson sweet corn. People from all around come to buy bushels of this sweet corn to put up to last them until the next year’s corn is ready. Customers also really love the vine ripened tomatoes. They come weekly to purchase pounds of tomatoes and they all swear they have a real taste unlike grocery store tomatoes. I have worked at this produce stand for the last six summers. In the summer I have a crazy schedule due to the fact that I have to help my family in the hay fields and I am gone to rodeos every weekend and for the whole week of July 4th since that is what they call “Cowboy Christmas.” The owners have always worked around my schedule wonderfully every year. I have always enjoyed working there even when the temperatures were in the 100s. The owners are very family oriented and are there to lend a helping hand when any of their work “family” needs it.
The New Challenge When I first started working at the produce stand is when the stand began to get the Ft. Gibson sweet corn. We were the only ones in town allowed to sell the corn. This was great for us since everybody loved it and did not have any competition to be concerned about. People had been driving the 20 miles pick up this corn and could only get bushel and half bushel counts. With the produce stand now being the only one in town to distribute it people did not have to drive as far to purchase the corn. They also could purchase as much or as little as they would like to have. If the customer wanted to buy five bushels they could. If they wanted to only purchase a couple ears for a small family dinner they could do that as well. This brought in so much more income. The stand would be making $500 in sales before the corn was offered to us. With the corn available this upped the daily amount in sales to over $1000 a day. This was huge due to the fact that the stand was only open for roughly two months out of the year and was only a side job. With the corn it was hard to really know how much we would sell a day. Some days the stand could easily sell up to 40 bushels a day and some days would only sell 20. This was very hard to predict. Even with the corn being available to us for six years, it is still very hard for the managers and owners to know just how much corn to purchase for that particular day. Roughly 90 percent of the customers only want corn picked that day. Even when the price had been reduced and the ear count for each bushel has been increased, customers