Columbia Farmers Market

the farmers behind the market

Gieringer’s Produce: Gardening for joy and fine flavor

Jeanette Gieringer grew up with six siblings in Glasgow, Missouri. Her husband, Herman, had five siblings. Their respective parents were raised in the 1940s when everyone took pride in growing large victory gardens. Something about that cultural enthusiasm for gardening “sparked something in us,” Jeanette said. 

Their parents also canned a lot. Similar to the days of victory gardens, Jeannette feels that learning food preservation techniques such as canning and freezing are more important than ever. 

Since 2005, the Gieringers have been selling some of the produce from their garden.  They grow vegetables, strawberries, and blackberries on about two acres in Marshall. Though they are not certified organic, they use sprays only as needed. “We try to grow a variety, and we always try to add something new each year,” she said.

“Our signature vegetable would be our perfect green beans. We strive for good flavor,” Jeanette said. In order to enhance the flavor of their green beans and other vegetables, they “amend the garden with organic matter, making sure we have the proper sweet, mineral-rich soil.”

The couple has passed along their love for gardening to their children.

“Our children helped in the garden when they were young, but that didn’t last long,” Jeanette said. “When they started having their families, however, that’s when they started asking the gardening questions. Now they all have gardens for their kids.” That interest delights the grandparents.

In recent years, after Herman retired from the post office and Jeanette retired from nursing, the two empty nesters have spent their days with their plants. Every morning, the couple walks to the garden, cups of coffee in hand. “We figure out what we want to do that day. We don’t have employees, and we are not [a] huge [operation]. We just both love being here.”

Their passion — and that of their fellow growers — has not gone unnoticed. The Columbia community has taken interest in fresh, local produce, she said. “All the nutrients are still in the fresh produce that has been harvested just hours ago,” Jeanette said. The farmers market “is not just a fad. If you are going to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, the market is where you will find it. It is just amazing.”

Columbia Farmers Market is a place to find “treasures,” she said. The vendors “aren’t big producers. This is where you get the uniqueness; from table to table you see great variety. That makes the market so special in my mind.”

Herman and Jeannette thank all of their customers for their support, past and present. They truly enjoy growing flavorful food for the community.

Jeanette, a minimalist when it comes to cooking homegrown vegetables, likes to “add a little heat to whatever fresh vegetable you just bought, and a little salt and pepper if you have to.” To her, in the spring and summer, a recipe “will simply mask the goodness of what just came out of the garden. 

“All the nutrients are still in the fresh produce that has been harvested just hours ago."
-Jeanette Gieringer
Columbia Farmers Market
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Photography by Drew Piester.