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Chicken, Fish, and Fresh Fruit — Oh My!

Chickens on a Small Family Farm Featured

Publisher’s hobby farm memories: ‘Giant black snakes’ and beating the birds to the cherries.

This issue was really fun for me. I enjoyed watching my city friends learn about all the ways agriculture in mid-Missouri impacts all of our lives as we put the issue together. We went from “How in the world are we going to fill the magazine with stories on ag?” to having more than we can use in the printed edition.  

I personally love to garden. I mean, LOVE to garden. I love flowers. I love trees. I love vegetables. I love houseplants. Pruning and weeding is a stress reliever for me. I can zone out for hours perfecting my outdoor space and giving my little green buddies the best chance they have to be healthy and to produce flowers or fruit.  

My family’s favorite home was a small hobby farm outside of Columbia where we were able to raise chickens, tend a giant garden, fish out of our pond, and have fresh fruit from our orchard. I remember finally figuring out that three-day span in early June when we could harvest our cherry tree after the cherries ripened but before the birds descended on them and completely cleared out the tree in the blink of an eye. I learned to watch for giant black snakes in the hen house while gathering eggs. (I’m still not over that one.) My children helped not only in the raising of chicks but also in the processing of grown chickens for the dinner table. I made grape, peach, and plum jams, pickles, salsa, put up corn, froze chickens, and fish and had a dream homestead. My asparagus patch was one to be envied! While it took quite a bit of work to maintain, the satisfaction I felt from being able to feed my family and friends with things that I had grown myself was immense.  

I remember having to work out watering schedules if we didn’t get rain, composting for fertilizer, and praying the late frost wouldn’t kill my peaches and plums for the season. I can’t imagine how that would feel for a real farmer with hundreds and thousands of acres of crops or with herds of animals that need tending. I have nothing but respect for the men and women who battle the elements, rising expenses, and any myriad of things outside of their control to feed our families while maintaining their businesses.  

Regardless of how “citified” you are, I hope you enjoy learning how our local agriculture is big business and how it impacts and improves our lives in Columbia.  

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