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Strawberry Hill Farms opening for spring season

Sunday, March 20, 2011 | 3:30 p.m. CDT; updated 11:25 a.m. CDT, Monday, March 21, 2011

*The average date of the last frost in Boone County was incorrectly listed in an earlier version of this story.

COLUMBIA — Greenhouses filled with flowers, vegetables and hanging plants emit warm moist air on a farm just south of Columbia. Red barns front the property, which is home to 23 greenhouses — 80,000 square feet occupied by an astonishing variety of plants. 

On the first day of spring, Strawberry Hill Farms prepared for its Monday opening.

Although the average date for the last frost isn’t until *April 10, the beginning of spring is an exciting time at the farm, and the greenhouses are full.

“It’s neat to see the transformation, starting with empty greenhouses, and seeing it flourish,” owner Steve Sapp said.

Strawberry Hill Farms was established by the Sapp family in 1980, and Steve Sapp is the original owner's son.

Up to 20 employees work at the farm during the spring season and transport each newly sprouted plant one by one into the soil that will be its home. Joyce Sapp, Sapp’s mother, referred to the workers as the “elves.”

Because everything is produced on site, Steve Sapp said employees are extremely knowledgeable and involved in the process.

“They see them from a seedling all the way to when they’re ready to go out the door,” Steve Sapp said.

For the beginning of spring, Steve Sapp recommends planting pansies, violas, cabbage and cauliflower. These plants, along with others that are ready to go in the ground, fill large open-air planters at the front of the farm, but customers can explore the entire property to find what they are looking for.

The plants and produce are available for purchase at Strawberry Hill Farms, just off Highway 163.


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