Columbia produce stand features Amish goods

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:17 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Kevin and Abby Holman look through boxes of fresh produce at a produce auction held by the Amish community in mid-July in Clark.

COLUMBIA — Abby Holman has been working with her father, Kevin, her whole life, so when he decided he wanted to open a produce stand this year, she was up to the challenge.

"He put me in charge of financial things like scheduling people to work and keeping inventory," Abby Holman said. "It’s made us business partners in a way that it hasn’t previously."

Missouri Amish Produce Co., located near U.S. 63 in the parking lot of La Crosse Lumber, 3408 Grindstone Parkway, echoes the Amish tradition of families working together.

Holman and her father visit an Amish produce auction north of Columbia in Clark twice a week to stock the stand with freshly grown fruits and vegetables.

People in the Amish community, who declined to be photographed, have been farming in Clark for the past 50 years. In 2003, they built a hangar where they auction off the fruits and vegetables they grow. Many also offer services such as building furniture and baking.

Abby’s father owns a contracting company, Holman Construction. Abby, a junior majoring in magazine design at MU, has been helping out with the business for years.

"I’ve helped him on jobs my whole life," she said. "This has kind of given me a little bit more of the full business aspect of it."

Holman’s mother, Nancy, gets in on the family business as well, helping with the bookkeeping and inventory.

"She does much more of the behind the scenes and keeping everything organized at home," Abby Holman said.

The stand is open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays through the growing season, probably until the end of September or early October. It employs six other people part time. Most of them are Abby’s friends from school.

Supervising editor is Quint Smith.

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Michael Williams August 6, 2013 | 9:05 a.m.

I go to the Clark auctions as well as the Fortuna auctions. They are my main source for canning/freezing ever since I found out both sets of folks could grow produce a whole lot better and a whole lot cheaper than I could. The quality of produce is phenomenal and one helluva lot cheaper, too. This father/daughter team is simply making such produce available to Columbian's who do not want (or can't) drive to the auctions and stick around to participate; good for them, and they're honest about the source, too.

You DO have to buy bulk for the most part (e.g., 3+ boxes of tomatoes or more of 25 lb/each and the like), but there are smaller (and limited) quantities available.

At the Fortuna market last week, 25 lb boxes of #1 maters were selling for 12-15 bucks, #2s for 8-10 bucks, #2 peaches for 40 cents a pound, and the like. Prices are coming down from the spring levels. Gentlemen, start your canners!

PS: The donuts at the Fortuna auction are to DIE for, like eating cream-filled clouds and I bet you can't eat less than 4. And the ice cream and pie at Clark.......ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh........ The places are GREAT family day trips, even if you don't buy anything.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders August 6, 2013 | 11:23 a.m.

Question is, will the City shut them down in order to protect the official farmer's market?

After all, if they know how to do anything, it's putting up barriers to entry to keep any unwanted competition at bay. Always under the guise of "consumer protection," of course.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 6, 2013 | 12:29 p.m.

Richard, there are two "official" farmers markets, and no, they won't.


(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 6, 2013 | 12:32 p.m.

And keep a close eye out, people, at CFM this Saturday, and see how many of those "Missouri Produce" boxes you see. Some people were getting pretty blatant about it when I stopped going.

It's great quality stuff. But I won't reward vendors at a producer-only market for breaking the rules.


(Report Comment)

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