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Murray Life Magazine Looking Back

Murray Life Magazine now offers you the chance to relive the past and read full copies of articles you missed. We like to call it "Looking Back" Every other week, we will deliver you a different article that helped make Murray Life Magazine what it is today. From our very first issues in the 90's to today's magazine, we have built a large collection of high quality content, and now we are now sharing it with you one more time.

This time we are flashing back to Fall 1997, with a story about County Line Produce.
Murray Life Magzine

A Delightful Patch of Ground
By Kasey Beckham

When Diana Tindell decided to start growing fresh produce in northern Calloway County about five years ago, she intended to sell the 20 or so acres worth of sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, peas and beans to local grocers. That part of the venture lasted one week.

“The grocers agreed to buy the fresh produce at first,” Tindell said. “However, in about a week or so, they started making new demands, such as wanting the produce unripened and iced down. That created a much larger work demand than we could handle, so what should we do with 20 acres worth of fresh vegetables? We just put it all out in our front yard and stuck a sale sign by it.

Thus began Country Line Produce, a traditional roadside produce market that Tindell runs. She and her husband Robby, farm about 20 acres of her brother's farm and grow fresh produce to sell all summer and well into the fall of the year. About mid-September, Tindell diversifies her summer fare into “fall-ish” items, such as a whole yard full of pumpkins and mums.

“Our pumpkin patch is pretty well known,” Tindell said. “We have people come from all around to browse through our large selection of pumpkins. Kids especially love pumpkins. We have preschool and school groups come quite often.”

This fall's display, however, will be smaller than usual. Because of a spring full of bad growing weather, the Tindells lost much of their pumpkin crop. “We lost many of our unique types of pumpkins,” Tindell said. “By the time the weather cleared up, it was too late to replant much of the crops.”

“We'll still have pumpkins, though!” Tindell added heartily, with determination on her face.

Tindell came up with ideas to grow a “country-wide garden” in order to find a way to work at home to be with her children. The job is not an easy one, though, with most work days being about 15 hours per day.

“I do this to be at home for my children, but I also want to provide a good product at a reasonable price.” Tindell said. “Sometimes when the work gets to be so much I can hardly stand it, it's my customers that keep me doing it. I have many customers who return year after year because they can no longer grow their own, or they don't have the time to do it themselves. I really love my customers.”

Although County Line Produce offers fresh produce that many find appealing during the hot summer months, Tindell has branched out in her business venture and on occasion sells more than just produce.

“I'm selling those birdhouses on consignment fro Ray Elkins from Lynn Grove right now.” Tindell said. “He tears down old barns and recycles them into birdhouses by using the old wood and tin. They really are charming.”

In addition to birdhouses, Tindell also sells some produce on consignment from local Calloway County farmers. Because of her own space limitations, many of the mums in her fall display are on consignment from local growers.

“It's become a county-wide effort in many ways,” Tindell said. “Several local county farmers and growers take part in County Line Produce. We offer home-grown products to those who want them.

County Line Produce is quickly becoming a tradition on the Calloway-Graves County line on Highway 121 North. Although the work is very physically and emotionally draining, the roadside produce stand reappears every year.

“Sometimes I think it would be so much easier to jus tget a part-time job elsewhere now that my kids are in school,” Tindell said with a tired smile. “But every spring I do it again. I remember how much I enjoy it and I remember the customers I love, so I'm out there again!”

The fall display of pumpkins and mums began in mid-September and runs until the sell out. This fall's display may be smaller, but one can bet that it will have just as much heart put into it as the other years, and as history will repeat itself, it will be back next year!




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