KAYSVILLE — Perhaps you’ve seen Carolyn Andersen at a roadside stand just off Main Street, filling bags of sweet corn and other garden favorites for any who stop by.
Or perhaps you’ve seen her at Disneyland or in one of the 50 states or 63 countries she’s been able to visit with the proceeds from her sales.
For 50 years, Andersen has been a seasonal fixture at 671 N. Main in Kaysville, where she sells peas in June and sweet corn, cucumbers, beets, eggplant, peppers and carrots during the summer and pumpkins, Indian corn and winter squash in the fall.
It is a project that started when her mother passed away.
“My dad needed a project,” she said. It’s a project she helped with and then managed as time went on.
Fifty years ago, corn was 20 cents for a dozen ears, she remembers. Now, she’s offering it for $4.50 a dozen and friends and strangers stop by regularly for a supply.
“It’s the best corn there is,” said Doug Hyer, who has been stopping for a few dozen ears every summer weekend for 25 years. “There is no better corn around.”
One of the things Andersen enjoys most is meeting the people who come to buy and stay to visit.
She often gets to learn a bit about their lives and sometimes their troubles.
“I always like to talk with the kids and ask what grade they are in in school,” she said. “Their eyes light up.”
Besides her work on their garden acres, Andersen taught school for 35 years, divided between Layton Elementary, North Davis Junior High and Clearfield High School. She also taught cooking to 4-H groups.
While she said she misses her association with the teachers and the students. she said she can often look into the eyes of former students and remember their names.
Andersen never uses a calculator but likes to add the numbers in her head, something she remembers encouraging her students to do.
Work on the acres she and her son, Kyle, manage is more than what you see along the roadside.
It starts long before, when the land is plowed and prepared in the fall. Once planted, it is weeded and watered. And then there is the harvest and the selling.
When there’s not work to do, the two take the opportunity to travel.
“One of my goals was to see the world and I just thought I’d better get going,” she said.
While traveling, Andersen has visited every continent but Antarctica, which she said she probably won’t visit because “it’s nothing but ice and penguins.”
Her favorite state to visit is Pennsylvania because she loves the Amish and their quilts.
The most fascinating country she said she has “ever been in my life” was India. Women walking with water jugs on their heads and men sleeping on their camels fascinated her.
Australia, New Zealand and Fiji are just a few of the other countries she has enjoyed.
“I like to see the cultures and the way people live,” she said. “They are all striving for the same things. They want their families to be happy, they just go about it in different ways.”
During trips to Disneyland and Hawaii, she has heard people call out, “Hey, there’s the corn lady!”
“I think they recognize me by my hair,” she said of the perfectly coiffed, tall and white signature to her style.
It’s important for everyone to be concerned about agriculture and preserving farm land, according to Anderson.
“If you like to eat, you’ve got to have an interest in agriculture,” she said.
“It’s hard work,” she said. “It’s not easy, but working keeps you healthy. A good day’s work never hurts anybody.”