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Churchills call it quits in produce business

Churchill’s Countryside Farm, a popular produce market in the Ramsey area, is calling it quits so its owner can start a new chapter in his life.
Brian Churchill, who has operated the produce stand with his wife, Kelley, for the past 19 years, has decided to change careers. He accepted the position of plant manager for Preston Farms LLC in Bradford about five weeks ago.
Preston Farms purchased Gettelfinger Popcorn Co., which was founded in 1936, in 1995. The company is a grower, processor and packager of premium popcorn hybrids. Their business includes bulk to poly, microwave, pre-popped, gift and gourmet items.
Churchill is no stranger to popcorn. He started growing popcorn for Ramsey Popcorn Co. when he was 18.
‘That type of career doesn’t come around too often,’ Churchill said yesterday afternoon of his new position.
The career move keeps him working close to home and allows him to still work with farmers while being outside most of the time. The Churchills are also expecting their first grandchild in January, so less hours in the field will allow Brian more time with family.
Churchill’s Countryside Farm has served the area for 19 years.
‘Hopefully, Kelley and I have had a positive influence on the community and the 50 or so young people who have worked for us’ during that time, said Churchill.
When Churchill began his own farm in 1989, he had just three acres of vegetables that overtook his row crops. This year, he farmed 120 acres that included tomatoes, corn, squash, pumpkins and cantaloupe. Churchill will continue his grain farm.
The couple plans to sell their house and the produce business.
‘I’m still going to farm,’ Churchill said. ‘Once that’s in your blood, it stays.’
This past produce season brought Churchill’s its largest customer increase. Churchill said it was good to go out on such a good year.
Churchill’s Countryside Farm will host its last Sensational Sunday, a fall favorite among area residents, on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Musical performances throughout the afternoon will include Janet Lynn Hattabaugh, Jill Robertson and the Lost Creek Band. Food and drinks prepared by Unity Chapel United Methodist Church Youth Fellowship will be available, and the North Harrison FFA with host a Kids’ Pedal Tractor Pull beginning at 2 p.m. Other activities during the five-hour event include horse-drawn wagon rides and straw and corn mazes.
For more information, call 347-3486.