HOLLIDAYSBURG — A longtime local business is up for sale, but its No. 1 product — sweet corn — will still be available this summer, albeit in limited supply.
The Baronner Farmer’s Market, established in 1950 by Bill and Richard Baronner, went on sale in January.
According to an announcement in the Mirror, the 1613-1625 N. Juniata St. site includes the farmers’ market, coolers, a second-level apartment, two barns and a finished parking lot.
Putting the market up for sale was not an easy decision, current owners Bob and Kelly Baronner said.
“We knew this was inevitable five years ago when we really downsized,” said Kelly Baronner.
Flooding, labor and production costs are among the reasons given for why the baroniers decided to sell.
Bob Baronner said due to commercial and residential development, flooding has increased along the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River in the area near their Lower Reese farm.
In addition to rising labor costs, production was becoming more difficult.
The Baronners have also had help from their son, Robert Baronner II, but he has recently taken up employment in his field of study, geology.
“There’s incredible regulatory pressure that he didn’t want to face,” said Kelly Baronner. “It was him, me and my husband. If one of us fell, what situation would we be in.
“When my stepfather spoke, you listened” she said remembering that “He said ‘you and Bob will know when to go out’ and it’s time.”
The Baronners have begun to downsize in recent years, preparing for an eventual exit from the market.
During the farm’s heyday—the 1970s through the early 1990s—about 100 acres were used to grow sweet corn, and the farm often sold 1,500 dozen cobs of corn a day. But over the years, the area for growing corn has been reduced to about 14.
Growing corn and selling it is not an easy task. “It’s physically demanding and devastating work,” said Kelly Baronner.
The Baronners plan to continue farming on a limited basis and plan to have sweet corn available.
If the market is not sold by the time the harvest is ready, they will sell the maize on the market in July. If the market sells, “We’re going to make something on the farm and sell it there. It will be very limited. said Kelly Baronner.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 814-946-7467.