Missouri at the Market: With the Wild Farm raises produce for kids, without chemicals

Abbey Innes and her husband, Guy Schlapper, started With the Wild Farm in 2009 so they could know exactly what they were feeding their three kids.

“We don’t want to feed our kids the pesticides and herbicides because they really do affect you in a negative way,” Innes said.

Innes and Schlapper have about 18 acres of land in Higbee, located 35 miles northwest of Columbia, and they strive to grow their produce as naturally as possible, avoiding the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. They grow a variety of crops, including garlic, potatoes and cherry and heirloom tomatoes.

They started coming to the Columbia Farmers Market in 2012 to expand their business. They enjoy the range of customers that they see, and they try to meet all of their needs with varied produce.

“There’s definitely a wide variety of customers, and they all kind of have different things that they’re looking for so we try to keep a wider variety of produce,” Innes said “There’s a lot of the same produce at the market, but we try to have different varieties or enough of a selection of each thing. We constantly try to think of different things that we can grow that we don’t see here.”

Balancing the family and the business has been hard, but Innes said they try to keep their kids involved as much as possible. The kids help plant the seeds and help harvest little things like cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. Innes said their favorite thing to do is grow flowers to help sell bouquets at the market.

“Our kids enjoy it,” Innes said. “It can be a lot of work when they have their agenda and we have something we have to get done, but we really just try to incorporate what we’re doing in a way that they can be a part of it.”

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