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Freeds produce stand touts local goods, low prices

Joe Freed enjoys showing off his produce. -
Joe Freed enjoys showing off his produce.
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ARLINGTON Joe Freed is passionate about local produce.
The former produce manager of Safeway has set up his tent on Joe Biwers property, just east of 3905 172nd St. NE, and he presents his goods with all the enthusiasm of a circus ringmaster.
Especially with gas prices as high as they are, this community needed a low-cost alternative for healthy foods, Freed said. Theres corn being planted in farms in Snohomish thats being set aside just for this store. Weve got cherries bigger than the sizers they use to measure them. Our everyday prices are the same as what most grocers sale prices are.
Freeds 23 years at Safeway, his first and only job, gave him contacts with produce growers throughout the region and across the state, and he shows off their goods as eagerly as a kid who owns a candy store. He boasts that theres not a single bad flavor in the Willamette Valley pies he sells, and he considers the Timberline frozen bee pollen on his shelves so effective that he uses it for his own allergies.
Our honey comes from Granite Falls, Free said. Its better if its from your own area. We have an entire section of organically grown produce, because the community is becoming more aware of the effects it can have on their health. We have mango nectarines and Saturn nectarines, and the cherries we sell on Tuesday were probably picked on Monday.
Freed still appreciates his years with Safeway, but he believes his own business emulates the best parts of what they did right.
We hire the same type of people, Freed said. We used to be open from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., but we got a lot more business when we started opening at 9:30 a.m. And now, with the church programs and the Fourth of July, were staying open even later. Its all about customer service.

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