Vendor Spotlight: Share-Life Farms
For 13 years, Jim Thomas Jr., his wife, Rose, and Jim Thomas Sr., of Share-Life Farms, have brought their certified organic vegetables, fruit and eggs to the summer and winter Columbia Farmers Market.
“This is a good retail market for us,” Jim Jr. said. “Many of our customers buy most of their groceries at the market during the season. We really enjoy providing high-quality food that our customers appreciate.”
Jim Jr. has been farming for 46 years. The farm has been chemical free since the early ’90s, and Share-Life Farm has been USDA certified organic since 2004.
Jim Jr. turned to organic practices on the farm after Rose’s health was compromised due to overexposure to farm chemicals, he said. Her health improved “when we began to eat our own organic vegetables.”
Family members and one employee help Jim Jr. with the planting and the harvesting on 5 acres of the family’s 120-acre farm in the Marshall, Missouri. They grow in two high tunnels and a small greenhouse; this spring, they added a second greenhouse. “We raise a wide-variety of vegetables,” Jim Jr. said, including spinach, asparagus, berries, and seven varieties of kale.
From May through October, Share-Life offers Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares in Marshall and Columbia.
Share-Life Farms also sells organic produce to Café Berlin, Main Squeeze, Clovers Natural Foods and Broadway Brewery. In addition, the Thomas family also works with After The Harvest, a hunger-relief nonprofit organization that provides healthy, fresh food to people in need in Missouri and Kansas.
One of the favorite “feel-good” treats at Share-Life Farms is Rose’s Green Smoothie. It can be easily adapted or changed up. Greens go into the smoothie, but “it tastes more like a fruit shake,” says Jim Thomas Jr.
Writing by Marcia Vanderlip.