Friday, June 15, 2012

Country Roads

Welcome to S&J Herbs & Heirlooms!
This year I have the opportunity to visit each of our vendors at their farm sometime during the market season.  Last Tuesday I started out for my first adventure to see Stacey at S&J Herbs & Heirlooms just outside of Liberty, MO.  Okay, I'm a "City Girl" and so once I got on gravel roads I was a little out of my element.  I cruised past her address the first time, so she graciously waved me back.  Camera and clipboard in hand, I climbed out of the car as chickens greeted me.  Not knowing what they would think of me, I was cautious, but Stacey grabbed one, picked it up and started petting it.  I slowly put my hand out and gave it a soft! 

Stacey began showing me around and explained that she had planted, among many other things, 260 tomato plants!  "Where does she find the time?", I'm thinking to myself.  Squash, blueberries, basil, chives, mint, chard, onions and so on down the list.  Is there anything this girl doesn't grow?

Watering new plants

Stacey and her husband have a great love for nature and it is evident in everything they do.  Although they cannot call themselves officially "certified", they do not use any types of pesticides or sprays of any kind.  A quick look at her face as she explains it says it all, "I just look at these birds out here and say no, I'm not doing it."  She uses alternatives like coffee grounds on newspaper to keep out weeds.

Looks like dirt, but it's coffee

Giant Onions!
As we walked through the field it was fun to see Stacey's excitement when she spoke of her onions.  Cippolini and sweet, candy are two types she grows.  She said they've never had much luck in the past getting them to grow large, but finally this year they are HUGE! 

Keyhole Bed
Something new for Herbs & Heirlooms Farm this year are keyhole beds.  This type of planting creates a "keyhole" look when viewed from the front as the plants grow up and over the middle of the bed.  This, in turn, creates shade for some plantings, sun for others. 

Diakon Radish Ready to go to Market

Stacey & Jeff's "Labor of Love"

As the tour ends, we end up back in the front of the house looking at all the beautiful flowers that have been at the property for 20 years or so.  Then one little Gerber Daisy sits by the front door, purchased at this year's Gladstone market.  I can see that it has found a great home here with  people who love the environment, nature and most importantly LOVE what they do. 

I tried to take one more picture of the chickens before I left and as you can see, this is what he thought of this "City-Girl!"

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