- Associated Press - Sunday, June 19, 2016

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - Twenty-year-old Jerrod Bradley of New Hope stands under a blue tent covering the tailgate of a white truck.

Baskets of peaches sit on the tailgate as Bradley organizes them. Bradley is working a roadside produce stand with Chilton County Peaches.

The stand, located on Highway 45 North next to Goose Hollow Furniture, has been operating during the summer months for over five years.

Bradley, who attends the University of Mississippi, is a first-timer at the peach stand. He refers to the gig as his summer job during his months away from school.

The owners of the stand worship with Bradley at Mount Vernon Church in New Hope and hired him to sell the fruit baskets during weekdays. With loads of peaches arriving each morning from Chilton County, Alabama, Bradley endures the 90 degree temperatures to help.

He keeps a blue lawn chair nearby to return to between customers.

While roadside produce stands may appear year-round, many set-ups such as Chilton County’s are unique to summer, when peaches and similar warm-weather fruits are in season.

Luckily for produce stand owners, children, teens and young adults alike look for summer jobs and are willing to help.

Columbus’ Hitching Lot Farmers Market serves as the hub of local produce and foods.

Seventeen-year-old Beau Ellis of Mayhew, also works a summer job with a produce stand.

He picks everything from tomatoes to squash to okra and sells it at the Farmers Market for Mayhew Tomato Farm, helping his parents and grandparents who own the family business.

Ellis has worked with the family business every summer for 10 years. The teen attends Starkville Academy and says his busy schedule during the school year usually prohibits him from helping on the farm during the fall and winter months.

During the summer, however, Ellis joins his grandfather or another family member at nearby Farmers Markets several times a week.

He says they try to sell at the Columbus Farmers Market Monday evenings, at the West Point market Thursday evenings and again at the Columbus market every Saturday morning. With the recent emergence of an Aberdeen Farmers Market, Ellis may begin selling produce there, as well.

Summer marks a break from school, summer jobs and warm-weather fruits. Bradley and Ellis take advantage of all three.


Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, https://www.cdispatch.com

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