Butler County produce stand has big plans to grow business

Four years ago, Larry and Peggy Landers had raised three children, retired from full-time jobs and were looking for a place to nurture their roots in the produce business.

A small building just across the bridge from Middletown along the railroad tracks in Madison Twp. looked like a spot to give it a try and Peggy’s Produce opened the day after Thanksgiving.

“The slowest day of the year,” Peggy Landers said with a laugh. “And not the busiest time of the year for produce.”

But that soon changed, and the little white store at the corner of Ohio 122 and Trenton-Franklin Road is now home to the bustling year-round produce market and so much more.

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Yummy pies and Amish goodies, including Walnut Creek products are stocked inside. Everything from jams, jellies, apple butter, relishes, dips and candies. Also available are cheeses and locally raised beef and pork. In the spring and summer, flowers and hanging baskets for sale decorate the outside of the building. And in the fall, a large variety of pumpkins are arranged on wagons beside the building.

The Landers met when she was 16 and he 20. Larry Landers was selling sweet corn from the back of a truck and she was his right-hand worker. After the couple married, Peggy went into the health care field and Larry into trucking. They raise three children in Madison Twp. before venturing into the produce business again.

“We wanted to see if we could work together every day and still stay married and in business,” she said.

It has worked out beyond their dreams. Last week the shop was closed for a few days while a new floor was installed and customers were distressed about the store closing.

“It took a little longer than expected … We had a lot of people wanting to know when we were going to open up,” Peggy Landers said.

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Larry Landers is the produce “picker” and hauls in veggies and fruit year-round from regional location in the spring and summer and further locations in the dead of winter.

“Beginning about March or April through October we are really busy,” Peggy Landers said. “It slows down after the holidays when we have gift baskets. But really that is when we can talk with customers more, which we enjoy. Sometimes in the summer I feel bad because we can’t do that since we are so busy.”

But, Peggy Landers knows the business that has grown beyond their dreams is blessing.

“We owe it to our loyal customers who keep coming back,” she said.

What’s next for the store?

“Well you always have to have the next dream,” Peggy Landers said. “I would love to have a deli, where we could serve sandwiches, homemade potato salad and lunch items.”

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