On any given Saturday at the Main Street Farmers’ Market in Kentlands, a wide variety of goods is for sale, from alpaca to vegetables and jewelry to cupcakes. But the real star of the show is always the produce. This is what most people think of first when they hear the phrase “farmers’ market” and, from what can be seen at a typical day, it’s the undeniable best seller. One of the most popular produce stands is run by Tuckey’s Mountain Grown Berries, Fruits and Vegetables.
On a recent Saturday visit, Katie Tuckey and her sister, Sarah Keckler, ran the busy stand with smiles and demureness as they helped customers find items they were looking for and deflected compliments on their beautiful fruits and vegetables.
“I love these beans,” effused one elderly shopper as she filled her reusable bag with the bright green string beans.
“We come here every week,” said market regulars Sally and Dudley Connell. “It’s one of our favorites.” Their top picks include corn and all kinds of fruit.
“Oh!” said Sally after a pause to consider. “And their ‘maters (tomatoes) are good.”
Tuckey’s farm is located in Gardners, Penn., which is approximately an hour and 40 minutes away from Gaithersburg, Md. The farm is run by Ryan Tuckey and his wife, Katie.
The farm was first purchased by Tuckey’s great-grandfather and has been passed down through the generations, owned and operated by Tuckey’s grandfather, father, and now himself. Tuckey took it over from his father after graduating high school in 2004. He and Katie have been married for four years.
“We actually met at a farmers’ market in Gettysburg,” said Tuckey.
The Tuckeys, either Ryan or Katie and sometimes both, have been bringing their produce down from their farm in Pennsylvania to the Main Street Farmers’ Market for three years and to the city’s Fulks Corner Farmers’ Market, for five years. Katie’s sister, Sarah, often comes up from her home in Alexandria, Va., to help Katie out at the market in Kentlands.
When choosing what to bring to the market, the Tuckeys go with their reliable staples, such as corn, tomatoes, peppers, peaches and string beans. They generally bring a bit of everything to each market they attend, as well as one new crop they try each year.
“[We will grow] a weird kind of squash or something — to see if it sells,” said Tuckey. Their most popular items, when in season, are tomatoes, sweet corn and peaches.
But every market regular has his or her own favorites. As Katie and Sarah busily helped weigh and count produce for customers, one shopper loudly and excitedly whispered to a woman sorting through the assortment of peppers nearby, “have you seen these poblanos?”
The Main Street Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., through Nov. 17 at the Main Street Pavilion in Kentlands.