Little Wagon Produce has been in business over 25 years. That’s a lot of time to reminisce and observe how customer preferences and questions change over the years. One transition we’ve seen is the way in which customers want their produce. For example, many non-locals want really small produce, especially when it comes to yellow and green squash.They want it little, before its even matured. This is challenging because it doesn’t keep well in the heat. Our locals usually want the exact opposite so we try to provide both options. I’m not sure why the preference for smaller. It doesn’t seem to taste as good to me and honestly, you get less for your money!
We also get a lot of questions on a daily basis. Customers want to know what’s in the field behind the stand. Mom explains the difference between soybeans, field corn, and sweet corn. At one time we even had a jar with shelled field corn and soybeans so we could show the difference. More and more customers are becoming removed from their food. They have never grown a garden or picked produce. But the questions are getting more complex. They may have read an article on GMO’s or the advantages of buying organic, but they have NO IDEA the physical effort it takes to grow, cultivate, and pick produce, especially corn, and even carry a full basket of corn. Farmer Dan even has carparl tunnel in his hands from pulling sweet corn so much. The consistent routine of twisting an ear off the stalk has given him much pain in his arm and elbow.
But just to give you some insight, here are a few customer questions from this season:
5. How many flowers are in a 6 pack? Yes, seriously, a customer really asked this.
4. Do we sell fishing poles? Uh, no. But maybe we should?
3. Is a green tomato ripe? No, a green tomato is not ripe. A red tomato is ripe. I still don’t think the customer understood.
2. Is our produce organic? No. Farmer Dan has a license to apply chemicals. He does so sparingly. Chemicals are very expensive so we do not waste them. A fellow farmer from Maryland wrote an excellent blog about how “Spraying isn’t Dousing“.
1.Is our sweet corn GMO? No. Although GMO sweet corn seed is available now, we have not tried it yet. Will we in the future? Possibly, if it yields well, has the same supersweet taste, and minimizes how many chemicals we spray topically. The customer shook his head and was not satisfied. His comment was, “It is GMO. How else do you get the bi-color (yellow and white) corn?”. Questions like this are getting harder to answer and the answer is not simple. Farmer Dan taught us that the customer is always right, but in this case, he was wrong. I’ll tell you more in my next blog…
As you can see from above, the questions vary tremendously. Some simple, some complex. There are many times where the markets are busy, the heat oppressive and questions are just too much. But Mom and Dad still go out of their way to be polite and try to educate them as much as possible. Our answers are simple. We tell the truth about our practices. We do not believe in false marketing and would never say we are organic just to attract customers. And we will never advertise that we are “GMO-free” just to attract more business.
Seeing how Mom and Dad treat customers with respect and tell them the truth taught us a lot growing up. It created a loyal, respectful business that our family is proud of. Our story never gets old. We had too much produce in our garden so we put out a wagon and an honor box. It grew from there. It’s that simple. We want to share our food and knowledge with you. So even as customer fads come and go, Little Wagon Produce will be answering your questions another 25 years from now. God willing.