Harvest sharesBy Marie Gilmore

Lithia resident Larry Peeples may be retired from Teco after 34 years, but the father, grandfather, and part-time produce share business owner, is far from done working. Peeples started a produce share business just over a year ago after reading about Community Supported Agriculture. Peeples has been a gardener for several years and had other friends who gardened. Because of the availability of local vegetables, the idea for Old Welcome Harvest Shares was born.

Now, every Monday, Peeples gathers from his and friends gardens the items for the shares. In addition he collects eggs from a vendor in Lithia and other vegetables from the commercial produce markets in Plant City. His wife Angela makes jams, jellies and pickles along with gluten free cakes by special order.Harvesteggs

Every Tuesday, Peeples divides up his ‘shares’ into almost 30 bins which are all individually named and marked. Then, between 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tuesdays, 30 families either pick up their share for the week or have it delivered directly to them for a small fee.

“It all started with my neighbors,” described Peeples. “Then, pretty soon it grew to friends and families around us and before you knew it, it was a business.”

The family is no stranger to being entrepreneurs. Peeples lives on a property where both his daughter, Aimee Peeples Carter-who used to own the Delightful Sounds music for children program in Brandon and his son, Matthew Peeples, also an entrepreneur, have homes on the property.

“We like it a lot out here,” said Peeples, also a member at Hopewell Baptist Church where he is also very involved with senior adults. “We talked to our kids and they wanted their children to grow up on a property surrounded by family so we bought and subdivided the 40 acres.”

Peeples enjoys spending his two days per week doing the harvest shares. The pick-ups are in his air conditioned out-building connected to his pole barn behind the garden area. For the Harvest Share Group, Peeples said he has room for about 10 more families per week.

Currently a full share for a large family is $30 per week and offers five to seven items of vegetables and fruits, a medium share is $20 per week and small one to two people is $15 per week. Add-ons include farm fresh free range brown eggs for $4.50 per dozen and between $5-$8 for the jams, jellies and pickles. Delivery is $5 additional within an 8 mile radius. For information on joining the group, email lpeeples@tampabay.rr.com or call 393-7711.

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Marie Gilmore
Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!