Santa leaves fruit baskets, treat bags at The Produce Patch

Photo by John Bryant
Santa has visited Elizabethton a little early, and he left a variety of fruit baskets and treat bags at The Produce Patch. Pictured, (l-r) Jill Orton, Holden Orton, Renee Orton and Debbie Cole.


star staff
  gmiller@starhq.com

  Santa has visited Elizabethton a little early, and he left a variety of fruit baskets and treat bags at The Produce Patch.
  The smallest baskets contain seven or eight pieces of fruit, said Renee Orton, who along with her husband, Tim, own the business.
  In addition to a variety of fruit, the largest baskets will also have such items as hams, cheeses, jams and jellies. "If they specify that that they don't want grapefruit, then we don't put grapefruit in them, because a lot of people don't like grapefruit," Orton said. "We make them how people want us to make them."
  Some churches have already placed their orders for treat bags, according to Orton. The bags can contain a variety of items, such as chewing gum, candy bars, apples, oranges, and nuts.
  Orton encourages those who want to order the fruit baskets or treat bags not to wait too long to place their orders. Fillers, such as fake grass, are not placed into the fruit baskets, according to Orton.
  Orton notes that tomato prices have started coming down. "They have started on the downswing," she said. "They were a couple dollars cheaper per box at the market the other day, so that's a good thing."
  The Lee Citrus is available at The Produce Patch. "It's a tangerine-tangelo-orange cross," Orton said. "It's real sweet. A lot of people ask for it. It's really good. It's a best seller right now."
  In addition to fruits and vegetables, The Produce Patch sells eggs, milk, bread, Amish cheese, butter, country ham, jams and jellies, candy, Pinto beans, October beans, bacon, and sausage.
  Orton, who has been in the produce business for 16 years, previously worked for Farmer John's.
  Workers at the Produce Patch include the Ortons' son, Timothy; their daughter, Krystianna; and Tim Orton's sisters, Debbie Cole and Jill Orton.
  "They're very competent," Orton said. "They're very willing to help. I have the best workers. I'm very lucky to have the help I've got."
  The Produce Patch is located at 1447 Highway 19-E. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  For more information, call 543-3663.