It’s 5 am, and while most people are still sleeping, Roger Ball has already started his day. Roger is a local farmer and owner of Ball’s Berries & Produce, located in South Raleigh. He is also one of several featured vendors who will be participating in the WakeMed Farmers Market, which kicks off May 17th.
I was born on a farm, but I did construction work most of my life and came back to farming in my later years.
No Stranger to Hard Work
I throw my car into park and approach Roger Ball’s farm store. As I make my way up the couple of steps, I take in the sight and smell of the sweet strawberries on display, perched in neat rows on the ledge. The store is small but cozy; and inside, an old air conditioner hums along to the rush hour traffic that passes by outside.
I am immediately greeted by Roger, who is standing behind the cashier’s area. He extends a huge, rough hand while speaking in a soft voice. As we start chatting, I look around and soak everything in. Every inch of the store is filled with color.
There are modest yet impressive displays of tomatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables. To the far left, a commercial, glass refrigerator houses cartons of farm fresh eggs of varying kinds – each distinguished with neatly penned handwriting. On the counter is a large wheel of cheese, protected by a glass cover.
At 69 years-old, Roger is no stranger to hard work. He still tends to all of his crops by hand, taking great care to package and sell a wide variety of produce at his store. He has 5 – 6 part-time workers, but routinely, Roger is up before the sun, tending to his chickens, turkey, and crops. When he isn’t out in the fields, you can find him tucked behind the counter at his farm store, conversing with customers, answering the phone, or arranging produce displays. Most days, he doesn’t call it quits until well after 8 pm.