Page 13: Family business supports farmers

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Jones Produce has been a fixture on Pass Road in Gulfport for more than 50 years.

An additional Jones produce stand, decked out in the fall season, sits on Highway 49 in Orange Grove. This family business sells a wide variety of fresh, mostly Mississippi grown fruits, vegetables and other homegrown products, like satsuma jelly.

"This is fine stuff from Bay St. Louis," said Billy Miller as he held up a jar of jelly. "Over here, we have honey from Woolmarket," he added.

This is a family operation with deep roots in South Mississippi. Billy Jones remembers watching the business grow when he was only a teenager.

"We started with one little place on Pass Road. Then, we had five places and a big warehouse. We even had our own trucking business," said Jones.

When you walk through the produce stand, it's almost like stepping back in time. There is rich history with the Jones family and this business.

"In 1958, my dad and mama opened the store in Handsboro. It started with them, then on to me, and now my kids and their kids are in the business," said Jones as he sat in his rocking chair made by Ohio's Amish community.

You never know what you will find at Jones produce, like a John Deere corn sheller that is about 75 years old.

"You would feed the corn cob and here, it would spit out the corn and you could feed the chickens," said Jones.

It's all about recognizing the importance of local growers and passing the Jones family taste test.

"The main thing is supporting local farmers. We also sample all this stuff. If we don't like, we don't buy it. It's that simple," said Jones.

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