Feed Your Soul: Produce Ridge in Pioneer
At Produce Ridge in Pioneer, Louisiana, the first rays of sunshine have to play catch up with Charles Holley.
He’s already laying out his buckets for the first light produce picking.
“You know squash and cucumbers you have to pick every 48 hours no matter what or they’ll get too large,” said Charles Holley.
Holley was raised on this land in West Carroll Parish. And his love for growing things was passed down from his father.
“It started with, 'Boys get up, it’s time to pick peaches!'”
But he’s not just peddling peaches. He’s got some 25 varieties of fruits and vegetables. And varieties of veggies. Holley has an app to keep up with it all.
“I can’t remember all of them June, gold harvester, gold alberto, Monroe varieties of tomatoes,” laughed Holley.
He and his sidekick Sophie select the squash, cucumbers, peaches, and eggplant for the day’s haul to the Monroe Farmer’s Market. It’s more than an hour’s drive and he’s normally there at 6:00 a.m.
“You see your product that you’re growing and I can’t wait to see those folks faces when they see these tomatoes or these cucumbers or these peaches that cantaloupe or that watermelon.”
Meanwhile, back on the farm, the whole family is involved.
Granddaughter Addie is rattled out of bed just after daybreak to help wash and prep the produce. Wife Lisa is busy in the kitchen turning some of their fruits into all natural spreads and ice cream. Creamy, old fashioned homemade ice cream featuring their homegrown fruit.
The Holley’s even invite folks to come out and sit a spell, listen to some music and celebrate their bounty.
On this weekend it’s the tomato festival featuring some toe-tapping music from Mike McKenzie and mater and bacon sandwiches.
“Hmmmm that’s good. Is it really that good? Yes,” said Larry Denmon.
Good enough to make you get up and dance a jig here on Produce Ridge. Bringing happiness to the Holleys.
“Because it’s a passion, it’s not a have to thing. I love cooking and he loves raising it,” said Lisa Holley.
“We have people coming from Monroe and farther that don’t want to leave and they’ll tell me we don’t want to leave cause I haven’t left in 50 years,” said Charles Holley.
Produce Ridge is at the Monroe Farmer's Market six days a week during the summer.
Their next musical event will be their own "Watermelon Festival" on July 20, 2019. You can also go to their location at 195 Orchard Lane in Pioneer, La. to pick up your produce.