James River Farmers Market

james-river-farmers-market-jpg.jpgIt was just the bare beginnings
of the new James River Farmers Market when it opened for the first time January 12th, 2013.
       It was cold, it was windy. But still people came, and they bought goods, and before long the atmosphere warmed with congeniality, good humor, and excitement.
      This new farmers market, the fourth to open in Springfield, Missouri, is the creation of several folks who've sold in other markets and for various reasons needed and wanted a new venue for their products.
      "Our goal with this market is to reestablish the kind of market Roland Netzer started 38 years ago, where vendors are all friends and like family." So said Laura White, better known as The Plantlady.
      The market is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. till noon in the Remington's parking lot at 1655 W. Republic Rd. in Springfield.
      As the market grows and the vendors bring plants and more products to sell, we'll be giving them their own pages in the Plantsellers section on this website. For now, this is our personal take on the market's beginnings.


Leo and Laura White, shown here with daughter Ashley, have been selling at farmers markets since 2000. Laura, the "plant lady" of the business name, has won a world of regular customers for the family's tomatoes, peppers, other plants, and crafts. This year they'll be selling more than 50 tomato varieties, including heirlooms, over 30 pepper varieties, and various vegetable starter plants.

the-mix.jpgWe've been covering the Whites on gourmet_pepper_jpg.jpgthis website for quite some time as they sold such goods as the mix of specialty peppers and figurines shown at left and the
'Valencia' sweet pepper shown at right, a gourmet variety from Spain that's extra-sweet as well as extra-colorful. Of Laura's figurines, we were especially taken with the sleeping gnome at the lower left. (We had to have one.) We also liked the Whites' plants shown at the right. These four pics were taken when the couple sold at the asleep_in_the_garden_jpg.jpgGreater Springfield market_regulars.jpgFarmers' Market. We'll be updating their page now that they're at the new market, of course, but if you'd like to see much more of their earlier doings just click here.


Roland Netzer and wife Katy
have long been major positive forces in local farming. Roland, in fact, was a founder of the Greater Springfield Farmers' Market some 38 years ago and has served as president of that market. Shown here at the new James River Farmers Market, he's holding the book Echoes from the Hills, which he says "...took me 18 years to write." Incredibly, the book contains 2,385 Ozarks "country sayings." Roland will sell you a signed copy, along with the organic vegetables he Katy grow at their Netzer Farms northwest of Springfield.

okra.jpgNetzer Farms also has its own page on _shawnee__blackberries_jpg.jpgthis website, where you can see such incredibly appetizing goodies as the garden-fresh okra at left and the unspeakably delicious 'Shawnee' blackberries at right. For more organically grown treats, click here.


Mike and Paula Sherwood grow beautiful ornamental plants and organic vegetables and berries on 13 acres in Crane, Missouri. "We'll have certified organic vegetables in summer," says Mike. "We'll also have organic blackberries and gooseberries." The couple also specialize in highly colorful hanging baskets. Mike adds that they don't go it totally alone in their farming. "We have six grandkids who come out and give us a hand.'

baskets-jpg.jpgThe Sherwoods create their hanging bordeaux-supertunia-jpg.jpgbaskets to showcase some of the newest, most colorful new plants on the market--for example, the Border Supertunia at right. At lower left, 'Coralberry Punch' Callibrachoa is a winner all the way, a Superbells series plant that's becoming a great favorite for its cascading habit and great profusion of salmon-and-coral blossoms. Finally, at coralberry-punch-calibrachoa-jpg.jpgright, Paula holds up an engaging mix bidens-and-royal-velvet-jpg.jpgof bright yellow Bidens and the Royal Velvet Supertunia. And that's all just a beginning. There's much more to come when we give Blackberry Lane Gardens its own page on the website in the near future.

sharon-hunt-ozark-belgian-blue-beef-jpg.jpgOrdinarily we don't cover farmers market vendors who don't grow plants. Here, though, we're including Ozark Belgian Blue Beef for these reasons: first, we want to tell you exactly what the JRFM has at its outset; second, we bought and tried the beef and were blown away by it, and we're not kidding; and third, we much enjoyed talking with Sharon Hunt, who with husband Jim for 18 years has raised Belgian Blue cattle near Walnut Grove, Missouri. The breed's said to provide the leanest, tenderest beef available, and so help us, we'd add "most flavorful." We know, we know. It sounds like an ad, but we don't do ads. We just like good beef.


Carl Thayer, holding what looks to us like the Sweet Potato of the Ages, and his wife Lisa grow tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, sunflowers, winter squash, gourds, cucumbers, and asparagus on their four-acre Thayer Farms.
We hear that the couple are the third largest asparagus growers in Missouri. Lisa says they have a full acre planted with asparagus this year. Oh, they also sell their own handcrafted garden stepping stones and stained glass.

thayer-farms-jpg.jpgCarl and Lisa, who previously sold at primo_asparagus_jpg.jpgthe Greater Springfield Farmers' Market, have their own page on this website. Here they are in younger days--Carl now has been a farmers market vendor for some 18 years. At right, the couple's primo crop, and there's more if you click here.

Stephanie  Wigger is the Happy Gardener, and Stephanie's forte is delicious foods. On this day it was homebaked cookies, cinnamon rolls, and other sweet treats. Not so incidentally, Stephanie in December 2012 won the Farmers Market of the Ozarks "Grand Champion of the Christmas Cookie Throwdown Contest" with the cookies she calls "Chocolate Crinkles."
   There's much more to Stephanie's story, though. She also co-owns the Nature's Way Pet Cafe, which makes organic treats dogs love. The biggest news, however, is that she'll soon start bringing her Daily Special food truck to the market with very special dishes she prepares from locally grown produce and meats. For examples, see the following.

laura-and-stephanie-jpg.jpgAt left, Stephanie transacts a little farmhouse-dipper-jpg.jpgbusiness with Laura White, the Plantlady. At right, the unbelievably delicious Farmhouse Dipper sandwich with French onion au jus, which we liked so much when we had it recently that we crowned it the best lunch we'd ever had, and we never say stuff like 2-alarm-chili-jpg.jpgthat. At left is another creation we've roast-chicken-jpg.jpgtried, Stephanie's 2-Alarm Chili with Pulled Pork, which we thought insanely good, and at right, succulent Roast Chicken, which we haven't tried but are betting is also terrific. By the way, the Chili, Dipper, and Chicken photos are Stephanie's, and we thank her for their use.


Deborah Malas and husband Wayne are winning lots of customers and plenty of testimonials for their goat milk soap and lotions. Their Windwood Farm operation in Springfield, Missouri, began in 1989. They also make goat milk cheese they say is wonderful, but we didn't see any of the cheese at the market. Are they eating all the cheese? Oh, they also have a nifty website you can find by Googling "Windwood Farm Goat."

Amy Maples creates colorful handmade heating pads filled with rice or cracked corn in her Hollister, Missouri, home and sells them at market as A Pocket  Full of Rice. Amy, shown here with son Aston, says the pads hold heat much better than those that use other fillings, can really keep folks toasty in winter, and if frozen also make excellent ice packs. If all that weren't enough, this enterprising young mother also makes and sells at market custom-size pillows and blankets in all sizes from infant to adult.

amy-heating-pads-jpg.jpgAmy's heating pad/ice pack creations more-amy-heating-pads-jpg.jpgare more than  functional, thanks to her choices of fun colors and fabrics.


Sue Barbaglia is a most unusual farmers market vendor. First, we think she does exceptionally beautiful crochet work in her Craft for Cause enterprise. Second, every penny of the proceeds from her sales go to research in breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and autism. "These are things that have affected members of our family, so we support their research," she says.

We think Sue's work nothing less crocheted-caps-jpg.jpgcolorful-crochet-jpg.jpgthan amazing for its quality and variety. A close look at the table at left shows everything from crochet owl hats to gorgeous scarves to mittens, and at right, an especially stylish crochet hat stands out. All this and absurdly reasonable prices, too? Yep. You bet.

sue-and-flowered-childs-dress-jpg.jpgWell, on our next visit to the market, we had sue-and-blue-childs-dress-jpg.jpgto add these delightful goodies to Sue's offerings: three ultra-nifty little girls' dresses and a very cool apron. "My mother taught me to sew," said Sue, "and she was a perfectionist."

sue-and-hemmed-flowered-childs-dress-jpg.jpg                      sue-and-apron-jpg.jpg     


Chris Garoutte is the amiable market seller of Lizzie Jeanne's Gourmet Jams & Jellies. They're all made in Mt. Vernon, Missouri by Chris's mom, we're told, and we can tell just by the names that they're really something special. But you can check them out for yourself.

lizzie-jeannes-goodies-jpg.jpgReady? Here they are, all the flavors of Lizzie Jeanne's Gourmet Jams & Jellies: Cherry Bomb Red Jalapeno Jelly. Fire & Ice Jalapeno Jelly. Jeanne's Emerald Greed Jalapeno Jelly. Lizzy's Ruby Red Jalapeno Jelly, Raspberry Jalapeno Jelly. Peach Tiger Jam Jalapeno Jelly, Baked Apple Pie Jam. Blackberry Cobbler Jam. Blue-Goose-Berry Jam. Blueberry Patch Jam. Fuzzy Peach Jam, Purple Passion Grape Jelly, Razzle-Berry Jam, Strawberry-Goose Jam, Strawberry Delight Jam, and--whew--Triple-Berry Jam. Quick! Where's the bread? Where's the butter?

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