Hudsons tend family farm, offering goods at farm stand and farmers’ markets

Anyone looking for a little history with their homegrown vegetables should look no farther than Hudson Produce, off of Route 20 in Roxana.

Albert Hudson and his wife, Sharon, have a stand right outside the house where Sharon grew up. Albert grew up not far away, in Williamsville. Every day in the summer from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., “until the mums are gone” — which is usually sometime in September — Albert mans the stand, selling tomatoes, strawberries, garlic, sweet potatoes, beets, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, lima beans, string beans, mums and pollen-less sunflowers. Hudson said the sunflowers are one of the most popular items they offer, especially at local farmers’ markets.

“People love them. You put them on your table, and there’s no mess,” he said.

In addition to the eight or nine acres behind his mother-in-law’s house, Hudson has planted 750 tomato plants and about 500 hard-to-miss pepper plants closer to his own house, further down Route 17.

“You should check them out,” he said. “They’re beautiful.”

Hudson uses plastic and drip irrigation to fertilize and keep his plants hydrated. Every year, he hooks up his plastic-laying machine to the back of his tractor and lays it down. The vegetables then get planted through the plastic, all to ensure weeds and grass stay away from the growing vegetables and that the plants stay moist. A hose is at the end of each row and that gets hooked up to the well, or to a water-soluble fertilizer source.

This year, Hudson has peppers “in every color you can think of” — red, yellow, orange, chocolate and ivory — and has planted 2,400 mums in 11 different colors. For the start of next week’s farmers’ markets in Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island, he hopes to have beets, potatoes, garlic, onions, squash and cucumbers, with some more goodies added each week.

Hudson, who has been gardening part-time for a while now, started full-time in 1994 and tends to his gardens with the help of wife Sharon. Asked if he enjoyed the hard work that goes into providing fruits, vegetables and flowers he answered, smiling, “Oh, you gotta love it. It wouldn’t be any fun if you didn’t.”