Even as the rain began to pick up over Strawberry Mansion, Daniel Beiler and his son John set up their tent, displayed their produce, smiled and greeted their perusing patrons.
The Beilers have returned for their second year selling home and local grown produce at the northwest corner of 33rd and Diamond streets in front of the Mander Recreation Center in Fairmount Park every Tuesday of the summer from June through October.
“It’s an education for us and the neighborhood,” said John Beiler. “A neighborhood like this is very different from home and many people here have never seen things like freshly picked broccoli.”
In a neighborhood where grocery stores and fresh produce are hard to come by, the Beilers offer a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, sweet cherries, eggs and homemade pastries, such as double chocolate chip cookies and fruit-filled pies.
“Coming here is a family event,” said Daniel. “[The kids] are in charge, I just work for them,” he joked, pointing to John and his two youngest. “We offer something for everyone and everything is grown by us or within a few miles of where we live.”
Strawberry Mansion, except for corner stores and a Bottom Dollar Food supermarket currently under construction in Brewerytown, has no stores that offer fresh fruits and vegetables to the extent the Beilers’ stand offers them.
The Beilers’ produce stand is also known in the neighborhood for its deals. “Six moist chocolate chip cookies for under $3. You can’t beat that,” said Strawberry Mansion resident William Wallace, who said he was excited to see the Lancaster County Produce stand return to the neighborhood for a second summer.