COLUMBIA — Dean Jenkins would sell produce for free, even if his brother didn’t pay him.
“He can’t be on his feet for long and I need something to do since my wife passed away,” said Jenkins. “So I come here to work.”
Jenkins, whose wife, Marlyn Don Jenkins, passed away from kidney cancer in December 2009, works at his brother Jerry Jenkins’ produce stand on Business Loop 70 East. Jenkins Family Produce is a family-owned operation, and Jerry Jenkins’ wife, Shirley Jenkins, is a co-owner.
Most members of the family help out in one way or another.
"Well, we're all pretty close," said Dean Jenkins.
Shirley Jenkins makes homemade salsa, and her daughter, Jerrie Ornburn, often helps manage the stand. Richard Jenkins accompanies his brother Jerry Jenkins on long drives to southeast Missouri to retrieve the produce. Peaches are what they’re known for. They’re brought from Campbell, which Dean Jenkins said is the capital of Missouri for peaches.
Dean Jenkins, now retired after working 41 1/2 years with Pepsi, helped his brother Richard Jenkins and niece Jerrie Ornburn set up on Thursday.
The fruit stand has been located at the corner of Range Line Street and Business Loop 70 East for more than three years and was on the corner of Eighth Street and Business Loop 70 East for 10 years.
Tommie Harris, was one customer to stop by on Thursday.
"I love summer tomatoes," Harris said. "I'm a tomato freak, anyways. Born and raised on a farm."
"He's been buying produce here for at least three years," said Dean Jenkins.