Reporting Bill Hudson
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s hard to miss the hand-painted signs and billowing blue tarp on the front lawn — underneath are the tables loaded with tubs upon tubs of red and juicy tomatoes.
“I like gardening,” Garland Bullivant said. “I like to bring in a dollar.”
Garland and his wife, Eleanor, have been gardening since they were married in 1947. And much like their marriage, the garden seems to be getting better and better with age. It probably has a lot to do with the years of adding compost to help enrich the soil.
And the garden’s getting bigger in size, too.
What they grow in the backyard is sold in the front, at the couple’s roadside stand that they stock daily. But what’s so unique about this vegetable stand is that they leave it unattended.
“It’s the honor system,” one customer replies as she stuffs a few dollars in the plywood cash box.
If you don’t have correct change and put too much money in, you simply carry over a credit for the next time.
“In all the years we’ve been doing this, we can count on one hand the money we’ve lost,” Eleanor said.
“I get more tips than I get shortages,” Garland added.
Together, they’ve built a small business where conscience matters more than cash, and where trust is as good as the tomato it buys.
“We can go out on the weekend and when we get home, open the door and get the money out,” Garland said.