COVINGTON — As growing season shifts in to high gear, local produce farmers Joel and Maria Burns are working sunup to sundown, and then some, to meet the needs of their customers.
The husband and wife team owns and operates Burns’ Green Leaf Market, located at 6255 St. Rt. 41 between Troy and Covington.
Burns grows and sells nearly 30 kinds of fruits and vegetables on the family farm. One of the two most sought-after delights is, of course, fresh strawberries. Following along later in the summer is farm fresh sweet corn.
In order to keep up with the demand and ensure the produce is farm fresh, the Burns’ can be found on their knees, along-side family members, neighbors, and friends, picking the juicy ripe strawberries every morning during the peak of growing season.
As fast as they can put the fresh fruit into quart size containers and transport them to the nearby garage that serves as the retail market, customers pull into the driveway looking for berries, and other items.
A large portion of the sales of fresh produce has been the Burn’s Green Leaf Market participation in the Piqua Farmers Market for the past three years and the Troy Farmers Market for eleven years.
The Burns family has a long history in the production of fresh produce. Burns’ father and uncle began the business as partners when they were 15 years old. Joel joined them as a youngster, finally taking over the operation when he was 16 years old.
In the nine years that the younger Burns has run the operation, he has continued to grow and search for ways to build the operation.
Over the last winter, Burns added greenhouses to the farm operation. “We are hoping in the winter to put some salad vegetables,” said Burns. “Greens and carrots, things that can handle to cold.” The farmer explained several of the more hearty garden items are able to be grown in the winter providing they are harvested when temperatures are above freezing.
In addition to the Piqua and Troy Farmers Market locations, Burns’ Green Leaf Market will make their home-based market available even when the family is not on site. The fresh fruit and vegetables are at the market and may be purchased on the honor system while the Burns family members are at the Piqua Farmers Market every Thursday afternoon and the Troy Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.