COLUMBIA — By 8:05 a.m. Saturday, five minutes after the Columbia Farmers’ Market opened, visitors were already streaming back to their cars, boxes of peaches in hand. Other visitors, noticing the steady stream, asked where the peaches were from. The answer? The three peach vendors at the back of the market.
“Last week we sold 200 boxes in 20 minutes,” Randy Thiessen of Sandy Creek Farm said.
This week, Thiessen also sold out.
This year’s peach crop looks promising for the vendors at the market, especially compared to last season.
“We only had one peach last year,” said David Wiseman of Wiseman Peach Orchard near Franklin. “We thought all of the peaches died, but I was out mowing one day and I saw one. We took it off the tree and ate it. That was our peach for the year.”
Peach production was significantly lower last year due to spring freeze damage. Roy Jacobs of Jacobs Orchard in Montgomery City said the trees look much better this year.
“We had a few peaches last year, but this year, there’s an abundance of them,” Jacobs said. “Every tree is loaded.”
He said growers had to thin trees earlier in the season so they would not get small peaches and so the branches would not break.
Wiseman said he has already received many calls asking if the peaches are ready.
“It’s hard to resist the smell,” said Jill Wiseman, also of Wiseman Peach Orchard. “We’re reeling people in this time of year.”
The Columbia Farmers’ Market is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon from April to November and also Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. from May to October. It is located behind the Activity and Recreation Center at the intersection of Ash Street and Clinkscales Road.
Columbia is home to two farmers markets. The Boone County Farmers Market is located at 1005 W. Worley St. It is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon from April 5 to October 25 and also Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. from May 12 to September 24. Vendors at both markets sell local products including fresh produce, meat, bread, eggs, cheese, honey, flowers and crafts.