LAURINBURG — Nestled in the deep shade of a pecan orchard along U.S. 501, a familiar produce stand is getting a new lease on life this summer.
Monday was Earl Tyndall’s second day of multitasking outside the stand, which lies just south of Laurinburg’s municipal limits along one of the busiest thoroughfares in and out of the city.
Taking periodic respite from the stifling heat in a small tent that also sheltered locally grown peas, squash, watermelon, and cucumbers, Tyndall was hard at work setting up shop for an enterprise at which passersby might find much more than fruits and vegetables.
Tyndall hopes to have “T&T Produce and Flea Market,” a joint venture with Richard Tyson, running at full steam by the end of the month.
Expanding the selection to include peaches, tomatoes, okra, apples, and butter beans as available, Tyndall promised an array of vegetables not to be outdone in freshness.
“Anything they grow, we’ll have it,” he said. “Those peas came out of Maxton this morning; he picked them this morning and brought them straight here.”
Having worked at various area supermarkets, Tyndall claims a familiarity with a number of local growers. On Monday, he could be found spreading wood chips around the stand to deter insects, building tables to rent for the flea market on weekends, and hoping that rain will continue to punctuate a summer of relentless heat.
“Unless it rains, the heat will ruin the crops,” he said. “We’ve had some rain in the last couple of days, so that helped. Corn especially will die real quick if we don’t get some rain.”
Having witnessed heavy traffic cruising out of Laurinburg toward South Carolina’s beaches, Tyndall plans to help locals make a few dollars on household miscellany by opening his flea market. Opening during the busy summer season, he intends to keep the flea market schedule consistent year-round.
“It’s a wonderful location; on Saturday and Sunday it’s hard to get off and get back on the road,” he said. “People love flea markets now that the price of things got so high.”
Pricing for table rentals will vary by size, around $10 a day — enough for Tyndall to cover rent and electricity and let the produce make the profits.
“When there’s busy traffic and they’ve got their own stuff they want to sell, they just rent a table,” he said. “On this highway, on a weekend … if you don’t sell it on the beach highway, you ain’t going to sell it.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.