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I like Orlando Brothers Produce because it’s in my neighborhood, and shopping locally puts tax money into my city’s programs. Orlando Brothers Produce is an outdoor roadside produce stand under a big picnic-style pavilion right along the broad, red-stone sidewalks that border Saint Charles Rock Road at Wismer. It’s about on the border of two small, inner suburbs—Saint Ann and Saint John. It has limited parking adjacent to it, but I think most people walk to/from it from the surrounding neighborhoods in Saint Ann and Saint John.

A lot of mothers with children and even whole families can be seen walking along St. Charles Rock Road on the weekends pushing strollers and carrying bags of produce around it. Saint Charles Rock Road also has good bus service, and people come to the area by bus from a little further east and west of here for all their shopping with limited options in their own neighborhoods. My guess is that a lot of the stand’s neighborhood customers come by foot because they either don’t have cars, or they prefer to walk to save the gas.

farmers_marketThis is an area of predominantly low- to very modestly middle-income people, most working hard for their money at physically tiring jobs as cooks and landscapers and nurses aides and laborers and shop keepers, often working two jobs, as I’ve learned in conversations. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that walking as a sound ecological decision for most of them is a luxury they haven’t really thought about.

I’ve lived in this area for 14 years, and it it quite diverse. It continues to attract an immigrant population of younger families with children (Ritenour School district families speak 22 languages, with English, Spanish and Viet Namese being the top three.) It also is home to a large population of senior citizens, who were original home owners in these neighborhoods when Vatterott Company planned and built Saint Ann right after World War II. It’s not a high-income area, but a safe and friendly place to live, with lots of open park space. I can easily get to work in downtown St. Louis from here by public transit: catch the bus at the end of my street, which takes me to a MetroLink transfer station. Hey, isn’t that just like in DC, or SF, or NY?

nutritionOrlando Brothers has fresh produce, cut flowers, and a variety of annuals, all of good quality based on my own purchases over the years. They are set up to take payment by cash, debit or credit cards, and Missouri’s EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards that are used for the state’s food stamps program. It’s not fancy, but sure is a nice feature of the shopping options. They stay open most of the year, and they are a quick stop for roses on Valentine’s Day, pumpkins and gourds and straw in the fall, and Christmas trees and wreaths and evergreen garland after that.

A lot of people have an idea of Saint Ann from the problems that were allowed to develop at Northwest Plaza by one of the negligent, absentee corporate owners. Saint Ann is a lovely place to live, and Orlando Brothers Produce is one of the things that makes it so.

Orlando Brothers Produce

9801 Saint Charles Rock Road at Wismer
Saint Ann, MO 63074
(314) 426-0677

Image of woman at produce stand from viamagazine.com (AAA Traveler’s Companion) from the Web
Image of green apple from Rodale.com

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