The Plowboy Produce Auction at Ethridge, Tennessee

Local produce auctions can be an important sales outlet for Amish farmers. An Amish person from Ethridge, Tennessee explains for a story in the Tennessean: “We nearly have to keep the auction going to keep our families together. It’s for our future. We want our kids to have an outlet to sell at a fair market.”

Okra Amish Auction Ethridge
Okra for sale at the Plowboy Produce Auction at Ethridge. This and image below from the auction’s Facebook page.

The Plowboy Produce Auction is one such venue serving the Amish growers in Tennessee’s largest community. Susan Ayers-Kelley took over the auction last year after the previous owner decided to sell. The auction has been running since 2006.

In the video below, Ayers-Kelley discusses the weekly event, describing it as “an Amish-based produce auction”. According to Ayers-Kelley the vegetables and fruits for sale are “99% Amish-grown”.

(Note: I removed the video because it annoyingly auto-plays when you load this page. You can view it at the link in the first paragraph)

Ayers-Kelley reports that up to 100 growers sell throughout the season. The venue did over $1 million in sales in 2013.

The auction is held Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It “starts at 1 p.m. and ends when the produce is gone.”  Try to arrive by 12:30 for registration. The address and contact:

Plowboy Produce Auction
469 S Brace Rd
Ethridge, TN 38456
(931) 829-1114

Plowboy Produce Auction Market Report
Market Report, Plowboy Produce Auction, June 25, 2014

Amish help auction owner rebuild farm

The Amish of Ethridge appreciate Ayers-Kelley. That much was obvious in a gesture of aid from the community earlier this month.

In a companion piece, the Tennessean tells the story of how Ethridge Amish helped clean up Ayers-Kelley’s Alabama farm, following storms which caused almost $100,000 in damage.

An auction employee and her husband drove 24 Amish men and their sons to Ayers-Kelley’s farm in New Market, Alabama. From the story: “It is not customary for Old Order Amish to drive or ride in an automobile, so this gesture was part of their offering.” To clarify that detail, most Old Order Amish will in fact ride in an automobile.

However, Swartzentruber Amish, the group found at Ethridge, generally do not do so, except in special circumstances. The point is that the Amish saw helping Ayers-Kelley as one of those occasions when they ought to get in a private vehicle and go.

The men’s explanation when asked why: “We wanted to respect Susan.”

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    15 Comments

    1. Emily

      Great Story

      Really nice story and I was very surprised to read that they were Swartzentruber and traveled to AL to fix up Susan’s farm. I was also surprised to hear they had over $1 million in sales! Impressive.

      I’ll definitely have to read more about this community. I am not familiar with this settlement, other than noticing the name in passing.

      Many thanks for this post!

    2. Margaret

      Great info! We traveled through the areas talked about in this article last May. It is kind of like hearing “the rest of the story.” We wondered where/how they sold the bulk of their products, etc. Thanks!

    3. Roma Beans

      I had only passed by this auction before, so I was curious about the story as well.

      It sounds like the members of the community have a lot of faith in Ayers-Kelley.

      On a related note, a reader has been asking if Roma beans can be found for sale in this community. If anyone knows I know she’d appreciate hearing about it.

    4. Alice Mary

      Symbiotic...

      Farmers Markets are win-win for everyone in this community, it seems…a symbiotic relationship, for sure. Ayers-Kelley and the Amish seem to have a good thing going, judging by their auction receipts and the way the Amish pitched in to help her after the storms. I hope it continues!

      We have a local farmers market in our town on Sunday mornings from June through Sept. in the parking lot of the local commuter train station (it would be too full of parked cars during the week, or even on Sunday if something “big” is happening in Chicago (it often IS). It’s a pleasure to shop there and come home with locally-grown food (muskmelons, tomatoes, corn, etc.) and bakery items baked by small, independent bakeries. Our FRIENDS group (from our library) even sells used books there on occasion. Buying “local” is a good thing!

      Alice Mary

    5. Alice Mary

      Ooops. I meant “Saturday” in reference to the parking lot being full on a non-weekday!

      Too bad it wasn’t held on Saturday—maybe then the Amish could come up this way once or twice a summer (not gonna happen on ANY Sunday!).

      Alice Mary

      1. Linda

        Chicago Amish market

        Alice Mary, you might try to Google Amish market in Chicago. Are you interested in produce, eggs, meat, cheese, bakery or jams?

        http://www.risenrollbakery.com/Locations/Chicago.aspx
        (or look on the Rise ‘N Roll Facebook for the Chicago schedule)

        http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Rise-n-Roll-Amish-Bakery-Market-Schedule.html?soid=1107826135478&aid=1LJkJSU6nXc
        (schedule for July 1-5, 2014)

        https://amishamerica.com/amish-markets-illinois/

        1. Leon Turner

          Okra

          Can some one tell where I can u fresh Okra.. i’m in southern Ohio

      2. Linda

        Amish at Chicago Farmers Market

        Amish people from Indiana take their baked goods to Wednesday farmers markets in the Chicago suburbs of:

        http://www.palosheights.org/government/brads/testdept/FarmersMarket.asp
        (Palos Heights Farmer’s Market)

        http://www.oaklawn-il.gov/residents/farmer-s-market (Oak Lawn)

        and Riverside Farmers Market

        https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=796396820393202&set=pb.144040902295467.-2207520000.1405221238.&type=3&theater

    6. Ploughboy Auction location

      Do they have an open market on Saturdays at the PloughboyAuction Location building? If so, what times? If not, is there another open market on Saturday in Etheridge or within 20 miles of Etheridge for an open market (Amish produce?) Thanks VHF

      1. Linda

        Vicki, the auction takes place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through the months of May to October, according to:

        http://www.plowboyproduceauction.co/

        https://www.facebook.com/plowboyproduceauction

      2. Maggie

        Produce in Ethridge

        Vicki

        Some farmers take produce over to the auction building on Saturdays to sell as a small farmers market. I drove by there this past weekend and there were a few sellers there.

    7. Linda

      Pumpkins at Plowboy Produce Auction

      An article, “Pumpkins: The harbingers of fall,” talks about the pumpkins, squash, and gourds now in season. Horse-drawn wagons have a drive-thru lane at the Plowboy Produce Auction.

      http://columbiadailyherald.com/news/local-news/pumpkins-harbingers-fall

      1. Ethridge Amish Pumpkins.

        That article was interesting Linda. Looks like it’s been a banner year for pumpkins, the auction owner says over $300,000 worth have been sold. I enjoyed learning the different names for pumpkins – “Atlanta Giant” or “Jaradale”.

        Also Lawrence County it says is one of the top pumpkin counties in the state, no doubt a chunk of that is Amish production out of the Ethridge community.

    8. Susan

      Produce Auction

      Hello, Since most of the information is from 2014, are you still having the produce auction on MWF? I am interested in buying squash, zucchini, and peaches to can and enjoy over the winter. Thank you. Susan

      Aug. 8, 2018

    9. Veggies

      The produce auction is Mon, Wed, and Fri, April through October. Their phone number is 931-829-1114.