Staff photo by Joshua Curry
Edens Produce is selling fresh local produce every Monday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market.
Commanding the largest produce trailer at the Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market, Ronnie Edens of Edens Produce has been farming his family’s land since his father, Jimmy Edens, gave him the responsibility of running the farm’s roadside produce stand at the age of 6. To date, that gives Edens about 50 years of farming experience. Located off N.C. 50, between Holly Ridge and Topsail Beach, the Edens’ plot spans roughly 130 acres.
At Ronnie’s side are his wife Sharon, and his three sons, Ronnie Jr., Jeremy and Ethan. Unlike a lot of the growers at the farmers’ market, the Edens’ farm is simply too large to be tended strictly by members of the family.
“We have about 60 full-time employees who work in the fields ... and we pick fresh daily,” Ronnie Edens Sr. said.
The Edenses sell their produce at the Kure Beach, Carolina Beach and St. James Plantation farmers’ markets. They also have a stand in front of their property across from Poplar Grove Plantation, which is open seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Edenses and their produce have always been a staple at the farmers’ market. Featuring the largest selection of fresh produce on the grassy field to the east of Town Hall, Edens estimates that about 80 percent of his customers come to the farmers’ market every week.
Nearing the end of the Wrightsville Beach Farmers’ Market’s first season at its new location, vendors have ultimately seen the location’s pros and the cons firsthand. The Edens family stated that overall the new location has hurt their business a little bit due to lack of visibility from Causeway Drive. However, Edens added that he does appreciate the additional parking the new location offers. The people at the farmers’ market are what ultimately motivates him and his family to load up their signature trailer every Monday.
“There’s always nice, polite people here who know good food,” he said.