The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 21, 2013

Flea market yields exciting find


Every spring I look forward to browsing the antiques and crafts for sale at the annual Red Barn Market in Brocton in Edgar County.

Since the barn sale is always on the first Friday and Saturday in April, sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. In past years, shoppers and vendors have had to bundle up in winter coats to keep warm and protect themselves from the bitterly cold wind whipping across the prairie. This year, however, the weather was pleasantly sunny and warm.

The Red Barn Market has been gaining in popularity over its 13 years. Vendors sell their wares outside on the grounds and inside the giant horse barn.

I am particularly fond of the Red Barn Market because usually there are local vendors selling local antiques.

A few years ago I found some Plaut Dairy Farms milk bottle caps from Danville at the barn sale.

This year’s barn sale find is a real treasure, though. I was inside the horse barn in a line that was snaking through the vendor booths, which actually are horse stalls, when I could see it in the distance.

I could make out only the letters “ucers” on the wax paper cottage cheese container, but I was really hoping that it was a Producers Dairy cottage cheese container from Danville.

I tried to contain my excitement as the line slowly crept along and approached the shelf on which the container was perched.

Finally, yes, the words “Producers” came into sight and as I snapped up the container from the shelf, the lid had the exact words I was looking for: “Producers Dairy Co., Danville, Ill.”

Hooray! Yet another bit of nostalgic advertising from Danville to be displayed with my large collection of Grab-It-Here and Peyton-Palmer spice tins and Marvel fruit cans. I have a Joan of Arc kidney bean can from Hoopeston, too.

I must say, I love this container of Producers sweet creamed cottage cheese (empty, of course). For starters, the Producers’ cow is way cuter than Borden’s Elsie. And the phrase “every curd flavor filled” is enticing.

The price stamp is still visible, too. Only 49 cents for a 2-pound container of large curd cottage cheese. Wow! In trying to figure out what era this container came from, a coworker made an interesting observation. There isn’t any expiration date on the container. Maybe way back when people used common sense and a sniff test?

Does anybody remember this style of cottage cheese container from Producers Dairy or what era it’s from? If you do, please let me know.

Aromatic stores

Arlene Jaynes of Danville shared her memories of the Berkowitz Luggage store and another former downtown retailer, Stumme Tea Co.

In the early 1950s, Jaynes worked in the Chamber of Commerce office above the Sniders store.

“I often would go into the Berkowitz store on my lunch hour and looked at their beautiful leather purses, but I don’t remember ever having enough money to purchase one,” she lamented.

“I still remember smelling the aroma of the fine leather upon entering the store,” she said.

Another aromatic place in the same block of North Vermilion Street as Berkowitz was Stumme Tea Co.

According to a 1945 city directory, Stumme Tea Co., 121 N. Vermilion St., was run by Fred and Louis Stumme.

“They sold ground coffee and glassware,” Jaynes said of Stumme.

Jaynes said in 1949 she was working for the University of Illinois after graduating from Fairmount High School and riding the interurban back and forth to Champaign-Urbana, when she bought a beautiful pitcher and glass set for her mother, Georgia Howard, as a Christmas present from Stumme Tea Co.

“My neighbor Viola Catlett of Fairmount took it to her home to hide until Christmas,” she recalled.

“I still have the set and will give it to a granddaughter someday,” Jaynes said. “The whole set is still very nice.”

Does anyone else remember Stumme Tea Co.? Please contact me and share your memories.

Carol Roehm is the education reporter. Contact her at 477-5174 or by e-mail at