Jim Thies, owner and operator of The Veggie Patch, has been bringing produce to the Columbia Farmers Market for 23 years.
His daughter, Deanna, started the fruit and vegetable business when she was just 14 years old, and he took over in 2010 when he retired from 33 years of teaching.
The family has 67 acres, with five used for production, in Boonville. Thies said they sell just about everything they can grow, from squash, to broccoli and heirloom tomatoes. They try to bring 20 different types of produce to their booth each week.
Besides the farmers market, the Thies family distributes produce to local grocery stores and several mid-Missouri restaurants. The Veggie Patch also established a community-supported agriculture program, through which it provides produce for customers in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Thies likes coming to the farmers market with his family to see familiar faces.
“(It) gives me a consistent customer base,” Thies said. “And after 23 years, we’ve got a pretty good following of regular customers. It’s just nice to visit with the people. We talk farm to table, but I think it’s farmer to consumer; that’s the real deal there.”