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Holiday harvest

GREENSBORO – As Representative Ralph Howard works to create a tomato greenhouse “niche” for the western Black Belt, the Blum husband and wife team continues to import fresh produce to the region.

Six years ago Mike and Debbie Blum traveled the region in their truck, selling sweet potatoes across the area, but now they have Deb’s Fruit Stand in Greensboro.

“This is the first year we’ve actually had a business,” Debbie said about the store at the intersection of highways 14 and 69. “Now we have peanuts, fruit and a little of everything.”

Included in the small stand’s vast selection is an array of honey and syrup along with a variety of homemade jams, jellies and pickled edibles.

Debbie said the fruit comes from all around but is purchased at the market in Birmingham while the sweet potatoes are Alabama grown in Baldwin County.

“We get our sweet potatoes from Baldwin County because they are good and we want to keep them in Alabama,” she said.

According to Debbie, sweet potatoes have always been their hot item, but sales have increased during the holiday season.

“People come down and buy five or six sacks to take back with them for Thanksgiving,” she said about out-of-towners. “We also get people who buy them to make sweet potato pies and then they sale them.”

But because sweet potatoes are only harvested from mid-summer until late winter, Debbie said she and her husband count on their other items during the in between months.

“The watermelons sold pretty well this past summer. So we should be able to fall back on this,” she said as she pointed to the other produce.

Although the stand is up and running, Mike still loads up the truck to bring Deb’s Fruit Stand to surrounding cities.

“He travels to Tuscaloosa, Demopolis, Marion and other cities around here,” Deb said. “There’s better business everywhere and plus our produce is a good deal.”