Popular seasonal fruit stand returns

April 30, 2009

By Jim Feehan

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Joanna Bifone looks at pineapples and mangoes April 18 at the Newcastle Fruit and Produce stand, on the first weekend of its 17th season at the corner of Newcastle Way and Coal Creek Parkway Southeast. By Greg Farrar

Joanna Bifone looks at pineapples and mangoes April 18 at the Newcastle Fruit and Produce stand, on the first weekend of its 17th season at the corner of Newcastle Way and Coal Creek Parkway Southeast. By Greg Farrar

For Diane Wells, it’s not springtime without the Newcastle Fruit and Produce stand.“This is such a tradition on the Eastside, shopping at the fruit stand,” said Wells, who lives in Bellevue. “I love the selection of vegetables, and the atmosphere is unmatched.”

The fruit stand, with its familiar red-and-white big top tent, opened for business April 17.

The seasonal stand sells fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition, it sells plants and trees for landscaping, as well as Christmas trees and wreaths during the holiday season.

Motorists honked and waved at owner Dave Franklin and his co-workers as they assembled the tent and made preparations prior to the opening. 

“For people in Newcastle, this is a sign that spring is finally here,” said Franklin, who is in his 17th year of operating the popular stand. “Kind of like our version of the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano.”

Customers will no longer be able to park in front of the business along Newcastle Way, because the area was purchased as part of the downtown bus stop project. Franklin said customers and suppliers with tractor-trailers would share a narrow, gravel parking strip on the east side of the fruit stand.

Whether the stand would open at all this season has been the source of speculation for months because of the bus stop project that will cut into the front parking lot of the fruit stand.

“I’m just thankful it’s open in time for Mother’s Day,” Wells said.

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