Reed’s ProducePosted: May 22, 2009
Reed’s Produce is a local institution. I can’t think of summer without Reed’s. Through the long cold months of winter, I long for the ripe, hot smell of peaches filling the air and wafting on a summer breeze, swirling under the mimosas and along the river. Box after box, basket after basket of peaches and green apples and summer vegetables. Fresh tomatoes, okra, squash, cucumbers, shelled creme peas and butterbeans. . .
When I went looking for butterbeans to be photographed for the cover of my book, the first place I scouted was Betty Reed’s, but alas, she only had shelled beans in her cooler.
Reed’s Produce is in the Library of Congress! My book contains a story that gave it this distinction. It begins: “Last Saturday morning, I put some frozen Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits in the oven. They cook up like the real deal. That first bite of hot biscuit spread with blackberry preserves I got last summer at the produce stand on Fourth Avenue by the Harpeth River put me back in time smack dab in the middle of my grandmother’s kitchen at jelly-making time.”
Reed’s Produce is a destination. I go to downtown Franklin just to visit the stand and buy fresh vegetables. For the ambiance, for the old-time feeling of being at grandma’s farm, for the low prices, for the fresh, homegrown food. On the way to or from my destination, I might buy gas at the Mapco, or a bottle of wine, or stop for lotion or film at Walgreens.
I’ve lived in Franklin 20 years, and I’ve been a regular customer of Reed’s for many summers, selecting tomatoes, peaches, squash, okra, and butterbeans. I buy preserves and jellies and honey and chow chow. I even buy herbs and flowers and ferns there. A few years ago, I bought big flat stones to make an outdoor sitting area in my backyard.
I can’t do without Reed’s! Mayor, what are you thinking? Aldermen, what are you thinking? Franklin is an old town, founded in 1799. We bathe ourselves in the pride of traditions, of yesteryear. We are a mix of the “old” and the “new,” and we should strive to keep it that way. We live among dwindling old establishments and progress, pastoral scenes and development. A downtown diner that serves fried chicken livers. An upscale restaurant serving fancy shrimp and grits in a newly remodeled old factory. Old decaying barns and cows grazing beside four-lane bypasses. It’s what makes our town special.
Please, leave that patch of land that houses Reed’s Produce intact! Please save this Franklin institution. Please save my peaches and tomatoes!