Last year, the produce shop on Forrest Road in Fort Oglethorpe changed owners and its name. This year, Picker’s Produce has added a whole new fresh look.
Danny and Lynn Bishop bought the produce shop in 2016 and spent the winter remodeling it.
"Danny has taken so much pride in getting the store up to date and looking good," says Lynn Bishop of her husband. "We fixed the floor and painted it, tore out the checkout counter and built a new one in the middle of the store and painted the walls. We added built-in bins for potatoes and onions and brightened the place up with extra lighting. We wanted a crisp, clean feel for our customers."
But that was just the beginning of the changes. Danny Bishop, who grew up with a father who sold produce from his own garden, built a covered drop-off area behind the story for rainy days. "The front and back entrances are both handicap accessible," he says. "And the parking lot is level and has two ways to get in and out."
Along with their new look, Picker’s has a new manager – Echota. She’s only 17 years old, but the Bishops were so impressed with her when they met her at her former place of employment that they offered her a job.
"She’s great," says Danny Bishop. "She’s young to be a manager, but we’re pleased with her work. She does a good job."
Echota, named for the Echota Cherokee, plans to eventually get into radiology and possibly become a midwife, but for now she’s happy learning business management skills at Picker’s. "This place has a very relaxed atmosphere," she says, "and the people who come in are nice and friendly."
Bishop says his produce is coming mainly from Florida right now. "I get most of it in the day after it’s been picked, so it’s very fresh." As the season progresses, Bishop says he’ll be getting produce from closer and closer to home, including Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama.
"Some of our big sellers right now are tomatoes, cucumbers, corn and okra," says Bishop. "We just got in jumbo and hanging ferns – they move fast. We bring in fresh produce and more products at least twice a week."
Besides a full selection of fruits and vegetables ranging from apples, oranges, grapes and berries to greens, peppers, onions and four kinds of potatoes, Picker’s carries Amish Wedding products. Pickled beets, Southern chow-chow, relishes, sauerkraut, and jams made from rhubarb, cherries, peaches and blackberries are among the many Amish items available in the shop. Customers will also find Amish pork skins, Onyums, kettle corn, peanuts and muscadine juice.
In the refrigerated cases, Picker’s carries eggs, Amish butter, bacon and flavored cheeses. And elsewhere in the store: walnuts, pecans, herbs, Amish and old-fashioned candies, pinto beans, and Cajun and original boiled peanuts.
Customers can buy goat’s milk soaps and lotions for sprucing up after a feast, and if their shopping list includes "gift for Aunt Marge or cousin Susie," there’s a variety of antiques and collectibles from which to choose.
"God has blessed and guided us through this rewarding opportunity to bring something to this great community," says Lynn Bishop. "Danny and I have always had a garden and liked being able to can and freeze so we wouldn’t be eating so much processed food, and we wanted to make that more possible for other people."
Picker’s Produce will be celebrating their new look with a special event that will include free snacks and entertainment by a gospel bluegrass group between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on April 29.
Picker’s Produce is located at 4 Forrest Road near the Fort Oglethorpe post office. They accept EBT and credit and debit card payments, as well as old-fashioned cash. The store is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. They can be contacted at 706-944-4193 or 423-718-4167. They can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Pickers-Produce.