Good Business

Knaus Berry Farm

I visited this place with a friend over the weekend. They sell baked goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, preserves and milk shakes. The parking lot was jammed and we had to wait in line to buy cinnamon buns. We also bought tomatoes, strawberries and some other vegetables.

It is a simple business, selling simple products. It is located in a semi-rural agricultural area that is probably a bit out of the way for most customers. The prices are not cheap and they take cash only. They are closed on Sundays. Yet on Saturdays there is always a wait to buy sticky buns, and they seem to sell plenty of fruit, vegetables and milk shakes.

What distinguishes this place is the quality of its products. The buns are excellent. The strawberries we bought were perfectly ripe and sweet, and the grape tomatoes were the best I’ve had in as long as I can remember; I ate them like candy.

I have no idea about their bottom line, but they have been in business for a long time so I guess they do OK. It seems from this example that the only thing you need to do to prosper in business is offer first-rate products. But, of course, that is also one of the hardest things.

We may need to go back there and do more research.

11 thoughts on “Good Business”

  1. I was reading and thinking this sounds a lot like Baugher’s. Family run, own their orchards, make their own cider, grow their own pumpkins and Christmas trees, run a simple little restaurant with simple fare. Very successful.

  2. It’s a Pennsylvania Dutch thing, and typical of other German-settled areas. This sort of business is very much like those found in many locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, and parts of Texas and the Great Plains where there was a significant rural German population, often those who had migrated from Pennsylvania in earlier generations. Sounds like Knaus family fit that mold. Mennonites, Brethren, and other Anabaptist types have some really cool country stores and supermarkets with quality produce and products not found everywhere. And non-Anabaptist types as well, who appreciate solid value and old fashioned quality.

  3. About now I’d shop at any place without snow on the ground. If only the Amish could find a way to make that go away.

  4. Mrs Davis – I used to visit my aunt and uncle who had a winter place in first Vero Beach then lake Wales. There were a couple of timed during Dec they had a deep freeze – remember once it was 17 degrees.

    There used to be stands where they would sell fresh squeezed orange juice by the gallon for a ridiculous price – $2-$3? Always like to stop there.

  5. There was a little market just out the north-west gate from Hill AFB that looked just like it was a roadside vegetable stand that just expanded and expanded again – I rather loved stopping there on my way home, as they sold eggs from a local monastery, and milk in half-gallon glass jugs that you just kept returning … as well as fresh fruit and veg in season. They also sold – if memory serves local bread and things like dried hominy. I looked on google earth, and it seems to be gone, now. *sad face*

  6. Judging by that line, you’ll want to return during weekday working hours, and soon at that. I’m sure that there’s a new EPA/IRS/Dept. of Agriculture mandate hovering that will put these independents out of business for once for all. Lots of new hires that need busy work. Oh yeah, Perez’ Dept. of Labor, too!

    These farm stands are another wonderful rural American tradition. We started a small one when I was a kid, tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers and squash. Nothing ever went unsold, and demand only grew. My mother had us out there by the road, on the tailgate of the pickup truck every morning once the crops came in. Although we now live in suburban metro Atlanta, one can jump in the car and in five minutes be in farm country proper. Thanks for posting this reminder.

  7. We go to a monthly village market. There are the usual stalls selling their own fruit, flowers, veg and herbs. Others sell their own meat, game, and honey (although, alas, the girl with her own excellent pork pies has stopped coming. Her pork and black pudding pie was a dish of wonder). There’s a stall of Greek food, one of Indian, a coffee stall (beans or ground) and a good baker. There’s an excellent fish van, and a girl from Réunion who sells her own patisserie. But close to my heart there are two cheese stalls, one British, one Italian. We tend to leave with Gorgonzola, Crucolo, and Lincolnshire Poacher. Brilliant.

  8. Dearieme, I’m curious how EU rules have effected these markets, if at all. I recall seeing a news clip about the EU shutting down village cheese makers in Greece because the process did not conform to health and safety rules. Here in the States we had of run incidents where, for example, the Health Department Gestapo was emptying out vats of fresh milk sold at small farms because they weren’t pasteurized.

  9. @Michael: there was a moment when it seemed that the loons of Brussels would ban cheese made from unpasteurised milk, but that seems to have passed. I don’t know much else about EU interference. As a generalisation, what tends to be most at risk is any British custom which is unfamiliar on the Continent. Markets are so familiar in France, Germany and so on that they may not be at great risk.

    We also have a lot of “farm shops” locally, akin to the places described in the post. If such places are less familiar on the Continent, they may face political risks.

    I do know the fate of two weekly markets in nearby market towns, though. In each case the entrepreneur running the market was replaced by an officer of the town council. In one case this led to the market fading away. In the other it still thrives, but then the council officer in question happens to be the daughter of a family that used to run a market stall, so she understands what she’s in charge of. When she’s replaced, of course, ……

    There’s one local idiosyncrasy that amuses me. One nearby village has an Auction Rooms. It has become a place of resort because its little cafe is so good.

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