Saturday, January 26, 2008

We are now the proud owners of...

Carter's Red Wagon Farm Market on East Hwy 34 in Park Rapids, MN
Posing with the produce
The new owners....
Some of our non-produce goodies
Look at what we grow!

debt! This past week, we took a huge step in the on-going process of the farm transfer from Dad and Mama Carter to Tony and myself. Tony and I officially bought Carter's Red Wagon Farm Market. We have a loan we are paying for the purchase price, less a sizeable down payment. This is the first time my husband has ever been in debt!

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of visiting Carter's Red Wagon Farm Market, you should definitely try to come at least once in your life. (I'm sure my mom will post some comment about what a great place it is!) This is a wonderful, unique building built by my husband and a few of his family members. It is a "post and beam" barn built with timber from our farm land. He and his brothers spent one winter carefully measuring and cutting the wood, numbering and lettering each piece. Come spring, with a little prayer that the measurements were correct, they put everything together...with pegs, not nails. This is an old-fashioned way of building, and it is quite strong and sturdy. Every year, we always have several people stop in just out of curiosity.
This is a huge step towards our future, and one we pray God will continue to bless us with as we go forward with the "next generation" of Carter's. Dad Carter has built a great business with his excellent produce and good reputation. I hear so many stories each summer from customers -- stories from those who remember actually buying tomatoes and other produce from the original "red wagon" which gave the business the name...stories from tourists who come back year after year after year...stories from young adults who come in to show their friends the "really cool place we always bought our corn from each summer." I hear about "Mr. Carter's" excellent reputation and how people wouldn't buy their produce from anywhere else...and I hear complaints from people who DID buy their produce somewhere else and aren't happy with the "shipped in stuff" from the "turkey" that has a roadside stand half a mile from us or from the less fresh produce at the grocery stores or the produce that is sold by people from the back of pick-ups around town, getting hot and yucky in the summer sun. I get dozens of questions from folks wondering about different Carter family members, and a retired librarian reminds me everytime she comes in that she remembers my husband and most of his siblings from their school days.
I'm going on my sixth year working at the Market (seventh, if you count the few times I worked there when I'd visit Tony during our "courtship" year), and I love it. I love hearing the customer comments. I love finding out where all they come from. I love watching their faces when they sample something....then buy six or seven jars of the item. I love buying the different items we sell. I loved when my friend Kathy was visiting this summer, came to the market, and told me "Whenever I go on vacation, I always try to find a quaint little store with all kinds of good things to buy. You have that store!" I love listening to the comments people make when they take a good look at the workmanship that went into building our Market.
I'm a bit worried going into this, "our first" season. We are entering the second of three years of road construction here in Park Rapids, and this year our business will probably be affected negatively because of it. There will be lots of road construction for the mile or so leading to our market all summer long, and I hope our local regulars and out-of-towners won't be too deterred to get through the mess to get to us. Keep that in your prayers, okay? That we'll have a great season even through the construction mess!
Yes, we have that "store"....and it's now officially under our ownership. I hope and pray we'll be able to continue building on the excellent reputation my father-in-law has built. Thank you for the legacy you have built, Dad!


precious grandma and papa said...

Carter's Red Wagon Farm Market is a WONDERFUL place to visit and shop! Trust me, I was able to find unique cookbooks for my collection, MN products, yummy good tasting stuff in crock pots to sample, pumpkin parties that are so much fun and exciting, and for some reason, I even found products made in OHIO! Wonderfully good noodles, etc. So yes, a trip to their market is well worth your time and money. Strawberries, corn, tomatoes, you name it, if it's Carter grown. it's got to be good!
(And I am NOT a bit biased!)

precious grandma and papa said...

PS: I know you'll even enjoy visiting with the new owners!

GramSchley said...

Wow! What an awesome responsibility. I'm happy for you, but I know how much work Grandpa's garden was, and I don't envy that part. If I lived closer, I'd apply to work there in the summer to enjoy your customers with know, the "Carter Greeter".
Blessings in this new chapter of your life's book of adventures.
Love, Aunt Carole

Martha said...

Congratulations, Lin! I'm with my mom. If I lived closer I'D apply to work there, too!! It reminds me so much of my days at Rittman Orchard and I'd LOVE to work at a place like that again!! If we ever move to MN, save me a position there, ok? :)

LindaSue said...

I'd hire you both in a heart beat!