For the 20th year in a row, Marcus Chapman and his family have opened their produce stand at 31985 County Road 17 in Windsor.
“It’s a milestone,” Chapman said as he watched the rain fall July 30 from the shelter of his garage, which he has converted into the space where he sells his produce.
“We love doing this,” he said. “At the end of the day, we don’t talk about what we sold. We talk about who we saw that day. A lot of our customers are just like family to us.”
Chapman runs the stand with the help of his wife, Missy, and his son, Robert.
“We started it before Robert was born,” Missy Chapman said. “It always fun to hear customers say, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe how tall you are now.’”
Chapman said he normally opens the stand between July 15 and 25, depending on the weather.
“I planted 250 tomato plants May 7 and two or three nights later we got that snowstorm. It went down to 20 degrees and it froze them right down to the ground,” Chapman said. “All those plants actually came back out and they’re actually pretty good-looking plants now.”
Chapman grows much of the produce he sells on the 4.5-acre farm behind his produce stand, but he also gets sweet corn and green beans from his brother-in-law, Andy Anders’ farm in Fort Lupton, as well as a few varieties of fruit from Palisade.
“It’s a family-run deal,” Chapman said. “My brother grows the sweet corn and I drive down there every morning and pick it.”
Chapman’s produce includes eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, onions, cucumber, squash, cabbage, herbs and other garden vegetables.
“Everyone wants tomatoes during this part of the season because store-bought tomatoes have virtually no flavor and a home-grown tomato is unbelievable,” he said. “I have a big following on my tomatoes, people just rave about them.”
Sue Easton stopped by the stand Wednesday looking for tomatoes. She said she and her husband come from Loveland often to buy produce from the Chapmans.
“We come here every year,” Easton said. “They’re wonderful.”
Chapman said he could never have made it these 20 years without the support of the Windsor community, especially last year, when a hailstorm killed off almost his entire yield and the many people in the community stepped up to donate money or time in Chapman’s farm.
“There were 30 volunteers one day and cleaned my entire cantaloupe field up,” he said. “There were people 8 years old to 80 years old out there. To witness it was awe-inspiring. It only makes me want to work harder.”
Chapman keeps the stand open as long as he can each year, until he gets a killing frost and has to close up for the season. The last four years he’s made it to October, he said.
“We’ve been blessed so much to do this,” he said.