|The Fassnight story|
Dan Bigbee, shown here selling at the Greater Springfield Farmer's Market, has owned and worked Fassnight Creek Farm for more than 20 years. He and wife Kelly grow ornamental plants and an enormous variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. Dan says the farm has been producing commercially for 70 years. This year, 2012, the Bigbees will be selling at the farm and at a new farmers' market, the Farmers Market of the Ozarks located at National and Republic Road in Springfield.
|A huge bounty|
A partial list of the Fassnight produce: sweet peppers of all colors; hot peppers; cabbage; broccoli; eggplant; beets; kale; mustard and collard greens; snap beans; arugula; leeks; green onions; bulb onions (e.g., 'White Vidalia', 'Texas Supersweet', 'Candy', and 'Superstar'); pickler, slicer, and burpless cucumbers; herbs; and tomatoes. Later in the season it's watermelon; winter squash; and white, blue, and tan pumpkins.
|A Familiar Face|
In addition to working fulltime with the farm and the Farmer's Market, Dan also gives gardening advice on local television (KY3 in Springfield at noon on Wednesdays). "I think I'm kind of a draft horse," he says. "I think I was just made to get into harness and get on with the show."
|A field of larkspur|
Greeting farm visitors in June is this field of larkspurs destined for fresh and dried bouquets. The Bigbees' ornamental plants and flowers include hostas, daylilies, ferns, bachelor's buttons, peonies, hibiscus, hollyhocks, lilies, and sunflowers. "This year we're experimenting with some new sunflowers," said Dan. "Red, multicolored, and yellow with a green disk."
|The experiment works|
The Bigbees brought the green-disk sunflowers to market July 3rd, and they were a hit. That's Kelly in the background.
|At the farm|
Inside the sales building at the farm, this quiet scene.
|The Farm In Stained Glass|
It was many moons before we noticed the beautiful stained glass piece, it was placed so inconspicuously at the top of an old woodframe window at the back of the shed.
Annabel helped out at the farm. She had one brown eye and one blue eye, and was a sweetheart. She's gone now, but remembered by all who met her.
Another resident of the farm is this vibrant orange-and-yellow canna lily, species name Canna x generalis, varietal name 'Rosemond Coles' (sometimes 'Rosamond Coles' or 'Rosemond Cole'). If you're lucky enough to locate one for yourself, give it full sun and get out of the way. Said to grow to 4 feet tall, these specimens reach at least 8 feet in the Ozarks.
|Lord Baltimore Hibiscus|
The phrase "accent plant" is an understatement for Lord Baltimore Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos 'Lord Baltimore'), which also grows at the farm. Brilliant red flowers, deep green foliage, and a height that can reach 8 feet make it nothing short of spectacular. With full sun and plenty of water, it'll bloom beautifully from summer to frost.
|The Old Pump|
An old pump and a homemade sign invite visitors to choose among just-picked vegetables at the farm.
Early August may be the most colorful time for Kelly and Dan's multicolored bouquets at the Farmer's Market.
The Bigbees grow flowers at the farm and also on two other lots at other locations. Kelly dries a good many at the farm to go into baskets, wreaths, and bouquets of her own design.
The dried flowers find better-than-good use in festive baskets and floral arrangements.
This basket really caught our eye for its rich content and pleasing colors.
Kelly's decorative wreaths, simple or elaborate, are always colorful and interesting.
Fassnight Creek Farm wreaths often reflect seasonal themes, as with this fall creation.
Colorful dried plant arrangements and decorative baskets are a great way to carry a bit of garden cheer into winter. We loved the skates in this one.
|Vivid Color for the Home|
Some of Kelly's wreaths are simply spectacular.
Ashton Anderson, whose mother Shirley manages the greenhouse at Wickman's Garden Village in Springfield, Missouri, helped the Bigbees out at the Greater Springfield Farmer's Market.
Kelly also creates some unique dried potpourris, as notable for their fresher scents as their colorful ingredients. "A lot of potpourri oils are cut with dipropylene glycol," she says. "We don't use it and that means more fragrance and the fragrance lasts longer." The practice of using potpourris to freshen rooms with herbs, spices, and oils is at least 6,000 years old.
Nancy Kays of Springfield, Missouri, seems extra-pleased with her Fassnight Creek Farm sunflowers and bouquets. She says she loves the Farmer's Market and goes whenever she can.
Ornamental Millet (Pennisetum glaucum), with its deep purple leaves and striking seedheads, is a spectacular focal point in dried arrangements. The variety 'Purple Majesty' in 2003 won the All-America Selections Gold Medal Flower award. Soaring in popularity, it's grown by many gardeners nationwide and does beautifully in the Ozarks, growing to 5 feet or taller.
Precious things come in small packages, and Kelly's smaller arrangements are no exception.
Visitors also like Kelly's color-coordinated hydrangeas.
Kelly also makes some truly remarkable hand-crafted soaps. Available in beautiful colors and several fragrances, the soaps have the added advantage of lasting much, much longer than commonly available commercial soaps. (We know because we've tried some.) New this year: goat milk soaps scented with essential oils and colored with natural earth pigments, which Kelly whips up in her own kitchen..
To spice up the kitchen, bundles of glossy dried red peppers.
|Sammy Goes to Market|
Samantha (Sammy) Grace Bigbee, age 3 months, has her place at the market, too.
|Beauty by the Load|
You can make up your own name for this trailer load of mums. We just happened upon it at Fassnight Creek when no one was around to explain it. It remains a lovely mystery, which is just fine with us.
|Dan and Laura Bigbee|
12-year-old Laura (AKA Laura Lee, AKA Tater Baby) Bigbee decided to
dress up like her farmer daddy Dan on Halloween, 2012, this was the result. It's hardly a wonder. Laura's been helping at the farm and at the farmers markets since she could barely toddle.