‘Big Green Bus’ puts unique spin on produce

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The ‘Big Green Bus’ offers a variety of produce in Florala.                                              Michele Gerlach/Star-News

The ‘Big Green Bus’ offers a variety of produce in Florala. Michele Gerlach/Star-News

Scott Varnum and his wife, Amanda, can usually be found at Laurel Hill School in Okaloosa County, Fla., where Scott coaches basketball and softball and Amanda teaches second grade. But, during their off time in the summers, folks in the Florala area know to look for their “Big Green Bus” around town.

“That’s what the tourists have started calling it,” Scott said of this family’s produce stand. “They want to take a picture with it. They’re looking for it when they come through.”

This year marks his family’s fourth summer with the stand, something Scott said they began as a family project.

“We started this as a family business with our four girls, who have a big hand in it,” he said. “We try to teach them a little bit about running a business.”

And Scott said even older family members get in on the fun.

“My dad has been paralyzed my whole life and he just loves going down there and meeting the people,” he said, adding providing those people good products is also a must.

“We try to sell watermelons, boiled peanuts and produce like tomatoes and peaches,” he said. “We will take local farmers’ produce if they have any they want to move; we’ll try to help them out.”

Scott said the “Big Green Bus” has changed locations several times over the years, but is stationed this summer securely in front of Country Folks Buffet on Fifth Avenue.

“We usually start a couple of weeks before Memorial Day and run all the way through to Labor Day,” he said. “We’re normally there every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

Scott said the stand is typically open on Fridays and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Sundays from around 9 .m. until 4 p.m.

Scott and Amanda’s four girls are 13-year-old Maddie, 12-year-old Sadie, 10-year-old Cassie (Red) and 8-year-old Hydie.