Nestled into a creek bottom, Callaway County’s Danamay Farm is located in the heart of Central Missouri. Gabe and Amy Craighead, along with children Isiah and Alexandra, enjoy having several hives of honey bees, a native Missouri meadow, vegetable gardens in the summer, and lots of u-pick berries for their customers.
In 2012, with the help of an amazing group of family and friends, Gabe and Amy planted one acre of blueberries. Two years later, they expanded by planting one acre of blackberries. In 2015, they opened for their first season of u-pick.
“Having a berry farm is a lot of hard work,” Amy said. Sharing the farm with others makes all the hard work worth it. “We think it’s something special and hope you do, too.”
On picking days, the family typically starts picking as soon as it’s light enough to determine berry color. They pick throughout the day, under tents if necessary. They will cool the berries as soon as they are picked, but not so cool that they sweat and rapidly decline at market. During picking season, they will spend anywhere from 10 to 15 hour days tending to the farm. So far, their practice is to only pick the day before bringing fruit to market.
“Berries are super perishable, and we want to bring you the best product possible,” Amy said. The growers feel that way about all the products –– blueberries, blackberries, raw honey, and jam –– they bring to market.
“We are not a certified organic farm, but we strive to use healthy, sustainable methods for growing our produce. We use organic practices whenever possible. We eat everything we grow, so having safe and healthful food is important to us.”
They love selling at Columbia Farmers Market. “The customers are so loyal and kind. The market staff are solid supporters of both farmers and customers,” Amy said. “Seeing the joy on people’s faces when they taste and enjoy our products brings us true enjoyment.”
One of the most-asked questions at market is the origin of the farm’s name.
“Imagine three little kids running across hilltops as fast as they can, usually on the way to the lake for a swim or the creek for a treasure hunt,” Amy said. “Hollering in the background you hear ‘Daniel, Amy, Clay!’ Only, it’s said fast and with plenty of emotion. It kinda sounds like ‘Dan-Am-AY!’ We heard this a lot.”
The name Danamay stuck.
For more information about picking times, farm facts, farm etiquette, and the farm store, visit danamayfarm.com.