Wide variety of produce at The Biggest Little Fruit Stand

Profile of The Biggest Little Fruit Stand which is located next to Chopsticks Restaurant in Castlegar.

Jamie Latkin and Tennille Martin are ready to serve you at the Biggest Little Fruit Stand in Castlegar.

Jamie Latkin and Tennille Martin are ready to serve you at the Biggest Little Fruit Stand in Castlegar.

For anyone craving fresh fruit and veggies, but not wanting to travel to Creston or the Okanagan, there is a fruit stand in town just for you.In fact, it’s the Biggest Little Fruit Stand around. Located next to Chopsticks on Columbia Avenue in Castlegar,

The Biggest Little Fruit Stand offers farm-fresh fruits and produce.“We started the business in 2003 and started this store in 2004,” said owner Jamie Latkin. The Slocan Valley native started with a fruit stand in South Slocan and has expanded into Nelson and Castlegar and will soon have a store in uptown Castlegar.

“I was playing volleyball for the University of Calgary and was really busy,” he said. “We trained for three or four hours a day and studied full-time. They didn’t have many full scholarships at that time. I needed a way to make money, so I would go to the farm and ask the guy to send me out with 1,000 pounds of asparagus. I would set up at the side of the road around Calgary and flog it.

My Dad actually got me and my brother into it when we were kids. That’s how I got the idea.”After finishing his studies and travelling, Latkin returned to the Slocan Valley and decided to try his hand at the produce selling business.“I went out and a bought a tent and set up a table at the corner of South Slocan Junction and started selling asparagus,” he said.

He eventually expanded into other vegetables and various fruits.  After his success at the South Slocan location, Latkin took over the downtown location in Castlegar and brought in Tennille Martin to manage it.The Castlegar location is open from the end of April until October depending on the weather. The stand has a great selection of fruits, vegetables and more.

“We do all kinds of stuff,” said Latkin. “In the springtime we get into our flowers and plants. We do a little bit of perennials, mostly annuals, and lots of herbs.”The store also has vegetable plant starters for residents who enjoy gardening.

“We want to encourage people to get their hands dirty, spend a couple of bucks and see what they can grow. It’s more sustainable farming and that sort of thing.”In the summer months, The Biggest Little Fruit Stand brings in fresh fruit and vegetables from the Okanagan as well as more plants and flowers.“We get our produce from all around B.C.,” he said.

“We get our asparagus from Creston, we get a lot of our soft fruits and veggies from Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton, that area. We get a lot of our berries from the Fraser Valley. We get beets, carrots, and turnips from Pemberton Valley north of Whistler. We try to go as local as possible. We even buy cucumbers and that out of people’s gardens here. “The store has also expanded to include delivery.

“We service the community five days a week with our delivery service,” said Martin. “It’s really growing.”“We basically take the fruit stand on the road,” said Latkin. “We’ll sell all the fruits and vegetables that we have on the road. We simply take it in the truck  and drop off at people’s homes or offices.”The Biggest Little Fruit Stand sells starters from a place in Grand Forks.

“There’s a lady in Grand Forks that has been growing pretty much exclusively for us,” said Latkin. “It’s all plants and flowers that are acclimatized to the area. They’re used to the cold. They’re hearty plants. They’re great starter plants from what our customers have told us. People get quite a bit of good fruit and veggies.”

“People are happy to support local producers,” said Martin. “They come back every year for their peppers and tomatoes. It’s the simple pleasure of growing your own food, knowing where it’s coming from. Putting the love and dedication in it.”

Latkin appreciates the great customers he has at the fruit stand. “It’s nice being a local and seeing friends and family come in and help them get their gardens going and providing them with great local fruits and veggies as well,” he said.

The Biggest Little Fruit Stand is expanding into uptown Castlegar and will move in right next to Boston Pizza in the Kootenay Crossing Mall.“We’re going to be opening up shortly,” he said. “It’s going to be a year-round location with a juice bar and a commercial kitchen where we’re going to be able to do pickling and canning for people.”