Ada Beachy’s front yard bears two weathered signs.
They can be seen on the east side of U.S. Route 42 on the southern approach to Plain City. One says Bantams, and the other advertises vegetables.
At the edge of the driveway now sits a new produce stand on wheels, built for the vegetables.
“This is better than the tables,” said Beachy, on a recent day, in between rain showers.
When the sales week ends Saturday afternoon, the stand — now on wheels — is rolled to the back of the driveway until Monday morning. There are no Sunday sales.
Beachy, 91, has lived in the same location for 61 years and has been selling edible goods there nearly as long. Once upon a time she sold baked goods: bread, coffee cake, nut bread and for a time, donuts.
Customers came into the house through her sun room, which would be filled with the aroma of baked, yeast-raised dough. Rising early in the morning, she baked and then offered her products for sale. It supplemented their income while her husband, Sanford, farmed, and they raised three children, a daughter and two sons.
She baked for decades until a health issue forced her to stop in the early ’70s.
“I was the first one around here to bake bread,” she said. “I still have some people that remember that.”
In more recent years, she’s focused on summertime vegetables: squash, tomatoes, sweet corn, potatoes, etc.
“At one time I had 90 tomato plants,” said the diminutive Beachy with a smile. She had so many because her customers loved them.
“People love tomatoes and sweet corn,” she said.
While the produce remains available on the honor system to her customers (most are honest, she says), she has given over the truck garden production to her grandson, Mark Beachy, who farms nearby.
“I’m too old,” Beachy said with a smile.
Age has also caught up with her on another chore, mowing the grass. She said though she likes to mow, the big mower bumping over the yard jostles her a bit too much.
But at her age, maybe it’s time to cut back.
While moving into her 10th decade in June did take place, Beachy fondly recalls her 90th birthday, which concluded nine decades on the planet.
“I got 90 presents,” she said, beaming. One of the occupied a corner of the kitchen table. It’s a round plaque, festooned with butterflies and flowers and a verse from the book of Philippians from the New Testament: “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
Beachy was born June 12, 1925 “not far from here” as Ada Troyer. She grew up in the Depression, but doesn’t remember being adversely affected by it.
“We had cows, chickens and eggs,” she said. “We probably didn’t go to the restaurant to eat.”
At 18 she married Sanford Beachy and remained so until his passing in 1995. They enjoyed vacations on Middle Bass Island and fishing for walleye.
In addition to raising vegetables and flowers — a special hobby — she raises bantam chickens for pets and youth 4-H projects.
She still drives, mostly to church and around the village.
“I watch where I drive,” she said. “Not too far.”
She said she has had an interesting life and has seen many things change.
Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.
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