By Merrill Weber, Digital First Media email@example.com
As individuals and families throughout the Pottstown area struggle to make ends meet, a local farmer is helping to ensure that those in need have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. During the month of July, farmer Peggy Davis, 59, of Barry Davis Produce Stand in Collegeville, donated more than 1,200 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to promote food security. And, she isn’t stopping there. For her role in tackling hunger, Peggy Davis is an Unsung Hero.
Peggy and her husband, Barry, farm 35 acres on Collegeville Road in Collegeville near Skippack, where they grow corn, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, lettuces, summer squash, zucchini, cantaloupes, watermelons, herbs and much more.
For the second year, Peggy is donating fresh produce to the Community Meals program sponsored by the Pottstown Cluster Outreach Center. With the thermostat hovering at 100 degrees, those in need recently braved the oppressive heat and humidity to dine on 100 ears of just-picked corn on the cob, a salad created from the farm’s cucumbers, tomatoes and onions, and fresh watermelon and cantaloupe. “Because we grow it, we can donate it,” said Peggy happily.
Tabatha Smith, Food Services Administrator at the Cluster, estimates that Peggy’s most recent donations fed well over 100 families, averaging 10 pounds of fresh produce per individual, via the Cluster’s food bank program. This is in addition to those fed at Community Meals.
Peggy lives in Upper Pottsgrove and grew up in Lafayette Hill with her parents and four sisters. Her father was a gardener, and his father was a gardener from Ireland. They were poor but always helped others. Peggy would often bring a covered dish to an elderly neighbor, and would shovel snow from her driveway until the day she moved to a nursing home. She was raised to help. “Caring for others should come naturally. I help people because it feels right,” Peggy said.
“I grew up in a non-prejudicial household. Everyone was the same. My dad was kind to every stranger on the street. People loved him. His kindness made me want to do more.”
Her house was next to a greenhouse where she would wander up and down the rows. “I loved the way it smelled, and the colors – the brown and the green. Then I ended up having my own greenhouses.”
Peggy and Barry’s farm stand has been a well-known establishment in the Skippack area for over 20 years. “We take pride in growing fresh fruits and vegetables for customers locally so they can take home the best that they can get.” And, nothing goes to waste. Anything not sold goes to local charities. “It has always felt good to give,” Peggy said.
Peggy works long hours. Rain or shine, seven days a week, she arrives at the farm by 6:00 a.m., after waking up at 4:30. She picks and runs the produce stand until 7:30 p.m. and is in bed by nine.
The farm stand has a loyal following. Pottsgrove High School biology teacher, Gary Christ, said, “We have visited the produce stand for over ten years. Their produce is great and Peggy’s super friendly, funny and helpful. We’ve seen her helping people carry heavy loads to their cars. We travel 40 minutes from Douglassville to get to the stand, and it’s worth it!”
Peggy said, “I couldn’t do this without my husband, Barry. He is the backbone of this operation.” Barry, who has farmed land in the Skippack area since he was 15, enjoys farming and seeing people happy. “I wholeheartedly support my wife’s work with local charities to help feed those in need,” Barry said.
Peggy is passionate about giving back to her community. In the winter months, she can be found serving food at the Community Meals. “Everyone should help others when they have the means, no matter how small. No one should go hungry.”
Barry Davis Produce Stand, 821 Collegeville Road, Collegeville, PA, (610) 327-2821, Hours: Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., on Facebook and barrydavisproduce.com
Pottstown Cluster Outreach Center, 57 North Franklin Street, Pottstown, PA 19464, (610) 970-5995, pottstowncluster.org
Want to nominate an Unsung Hero? Email Merrill Weber: firstname.lastname@example.org