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Learning to move peaches...and meeting delightfully unexpected neighbors

It's been a couple weeks since we started selling peaches from our house. I've met lots of neighbors--some of them old-timers who remember when this property had a commercial apple orchard. (Some of the old trees are still there. We don't know yet what kind of crop we'll get this year.) I love hearing the history of the property and the people who lived around here, and I've treasured my short visits with these folks.

One of my recent customers was Julia Harman. Julia, a life-long Ellettsville resident who now lives just a short distance from us, bought some peaches and chatted with my mother (I was out in the orchard) a little about our unexpected bounty of peaches.

The next day, Julia returned to tell me how much she had enjoyed the fruit. "Best peaches I've ever had," she raved. In fact, she thought they were so good that she shared an idea to help us sell them: Her family owns property along a busy nearby highway. Situated on the outside of a sweeping bend in the road, the site has excellent visibility from both directions, and she has used it to hold successful yard sales. Would we be interested in setting up a roadside stand there?

Wow. All of my experiences as a Girl Scout leader organizing booths for cookie and nut sales kicked in, and I started mentally scrolling through our list of needs. Table? Got it. Canopy? Sure--I've been tracking advertised sale prices, and now's my excuse to buy one. Shopping bags? I've got plenty from the grocery store. Pricing structure? I'll use ice cream buckets (already got 'em!) and some smaller baskets from the dollar store; it'll sure beat counting out the fruit individually, as I had been doing. Signs?

Uh-oh. It had taken me two days to hand-letter the 22" x 28" piece of foam board that I put by my mailbox. How was I, a handwriting-impaired individual, going to come up with big, legible road-side signs by TOMORROW? Before I could say anything, Julia offered, "Oh, I'll do signs." No, no, you're doing enough for us already! We went ahead and had our daughter spray-paint the word "PEACHES" on a couple 4'x6' scraps of plywood we had, but it was the bedsheet that Julia painted that really pulled in the passing motorists.

We ended up selling more peaches in that day than we had since peach season started. We will probably do it again, so look for our blue canopy on the west side of Ellettsville. I asked Julia if I could give her a portion of the proceeds as rent for the space we were using, and she would have nothing of it; it's just the way folks in a small town help each other out.

Thank you, Julia. I'll make sure you never want for peaches again.

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