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Someday the For Sale sign will change Parsons Farm operation

by: SUSAN MANSFIELD From left, Parson Farms employees Allison Halan, Diane Parry and Brandie Emminger help check out Jan Freeman-Bauer of West Linn while Kathy Halvorson of Southwest Portland and Linda Fildes of Lake Oswego wait their turns to purchase farm field-fresh produce.

Customers will miss the day they can visit the familiar Parsons Farm stand on Carman Drive and know there will be fresh produce that night on the dinner table.

The property on which the stand is located, between Kruse Way and Meadows Road in Lake Oswego, is owned by the Kruse family. Herbert Kruse died in November of 1997 and his wife died in September of last year, and it is inevitable that someday the 'For Sale' sign will be exchanged for a 'Sold' one.

'Mr. Kruse, (Herbert's grandson) is a great person,' says Parsons Farm staff member Diane Parry of Lake Oswego, who has worked at the stand since 2008. 'He will let us know as soon as he knows (there is a sale), and then we will be looking to find another location.'

It was nearly 31 years ago that Parsons Farm started selling produce on Kruse land. That was because Mr. Parsons and Herbert Kruse had a very good relationship, according to Parry.

'Mr. Kruse brought to the public an opportunity for fresh farm food long before the current farmers markets were so popular.'

Now Parsons Farm has stands at Wankers Corner, off Scholls Ferry Road and, more recently, one in Northeast Portland at 52nd and Fremont streets. Produce comes from farms, run by three brothers, located in Canby, Dayton, Dundee and Sherwood.

Parry first became acquainted with Kruse when she moved here from Seattle, Wash., in 1988 and walked onto his lot and bought her first Christmas tree.

'I can still remember the smell of Mr. Kruse mowing grass,' she recalls fondly. 'And just the other day there was a robin that pulled something out of the ground, probably from a tree that had been planted on the farm.'

This year there is a list being established at the stand to get client base information with loyal customers' emails so they can be notified of updates and a change of location when and if the property does sell.

Where might they relocate? 'That will have to be determined,' said Parry, who added hopefully, 'maybe someone will offer something.'

Until that time, there is a daily steady stream of customers. Even on Tuesday, with many coming in the late afternoon for the raspberries that had unfortunately sold out earlier that day, every customer left with something else that promised to be fresh off the farm.