COLUMBIA - The Columbia Farmer’s Market brings in another year of serving the community, but with below freezing temperatures over the past few weeks, local farmers said there are three ways to keep the big bucks rolling in with their crops.
Farmers Market Ambassadors said there are three ways local growers keep the cold from their crops: 1) unheated hoophouses, 2) heated greenhouses and 3) small low tunnels.
“We have a large high tunnel. It’s an unheated growing system that really extends our market and our growing season. It doesn’t take the vegetables through an extreme cold they normally would have without is,” Jim Thies, owner of the Veggie Patch, said.
Thies said these tunnels take vegetable production into mid-December, and then allows them to start up again during the early spring months.
For Tammy Sellmeyer at Sellmeyer Farms, she uses the unheated hoophouse methods to protect her crops.
“Naturally, you don’t want things to freeze, so that’s where the hoophouse comes in. It’s the sun shining through a glass and it’ll warm things up, keeping the ground in our hoophouse from freezing.”
Other local vendors use the heated greenhouse method, and others all three.
Although 2018 has brought in some pretty low temperatures, 2018 will also be bringing in a renovated venue to shoppers at the Columbia Farmers Market.
“2018’s going to be a very exciting year for the market,” said Corrina Smith, executive director for the market. “We will be breaking ground very soon on our agriculture park over at Clary-Shy Park.”
Smith said with the cold weather for the winter market, they’ve moved inside to the Parkade Center, and even though “at the summer market, we see a much wider variety of produce vendors,” Smith said proper farming techniques like high tunnels and greenhouses keep the market hustling and bustling during the chilly months.
Deloris Matthews, a fairly new shopper at the Columbia Farmers Market purchased fresh garlic, chicken wings, beef bacon and a micro-grass palate for her new cat, Bernie.
Matthews said there’s something for everybody at the market, and “every time I come here, they get all of my money, but it’s for a good cause.”
Matthews said she appreciates the opportunity to pour into her Columbia community, and that’s what keeps here coming back on a regular basis.
The Columbia Farmers Market will head back outdoors to parking lot of the Parkade Center in April, but until then, check out seasonal vegetables being sold during the winter months at the market.