Written by F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State University, and published in the Charlotte News, April 21, 1947
Start To Fortune
Here’s a story of almost fairytale quality that began when an average farm woman sold two dozen eggs at a curb market in Statesville in 1938.
There are now 47 farm curb markets in North Carolina and Mrs. Carl Stevenson of Rt. 1, Stoney Point, is one of the many women who has helped to make these markets a success. During the war years, they were particularly valuable.
Back in 1938, Mrs. Stevenson took her mother to the curb market and, while there she sold two dozen eggs. This gave her an idea and she began to sell her surplus vegetables, cream, and eggs on market days.
In 1939 there developed a great demand for butter and so Mrs. Stevenson discontinued selling cream and began selling butter. She enlarged her garden and began to sell more and more vegetables during the summer season. She added acorn squash, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower to the other vegetables she had been growing.
During the summer months her average income was about $50 a week, and during the winter, it sometimes dropped down to about $25.
Today Mrs. Stevenson is a member of the Sharon Home Demonstration Club and has three daughters who are outstanding members of the Scott’s 4-H Club.
What did she do with the profits from her curb market sales? Practically all of them went into home improvements and what a list of improvements this is. The first thing Mrs. Stevenson did was to buy a washing machine on the installment plan.
Just as soon as the washing machine was paid for, a bank account was built up and soon the Stevensons decided to wire the home and some of the other buildings for electricity. Mrs. Stevenson paid half the cost of this bill with her curb market savings.
Later through the Production Credit Association she purchased an electric refrigerator. Through the years she added an electric iron, had a well drilled and an electric water system installed, paid one-half of the expense on a brick pump and a wash house, and brought pipe for a water line to the chicken houses.
Then other home improvements came in rapid succession as her profits from curb market sales jumped. She bought an electric brooder, a new wood range, an electric motor for the cream separator, and a set of aluminum ware for the kitchen.
During all this time Mrs. Stevenson was buying the children’s clothing with curb market profits. She paid a hospital bill of $150 and put aside $500 in war bonds and a savings account of $1,000, which is to be used in building a new home one of these days.
As the children became older, they caught the spirit of their mother. First, they earned the money for their own clothing. Last year Martha had a cotton crop of her own and she made a profit of $265 on this project.
Marie began a garden along with her mother. Last year Marie sold her vegetables in the curb market and showed a profit of $170 on her 4-H activities.
Marjorie, the youngest, is beginning a poultry project this spring, but she has been getting her share of all the 4-H profits, even before she was old enough to join the club. The sisters have always pooled their profits at the close of the year and divided them into thirds.
Home Agent Mary B. Strickland says that the Stevensons have done a remarkable job in building up the income of their farm and that the whole idea dates back to the sale of two dozen eggs in 1938.