Columbia Farmers Market

the farmers behind the market

Next Market Date: 
June 28
10:00 AM
1:00 PM

Sunny Acres Farm: Three generations grow chemical-free vegetables and fruit

Bob and Helen Teerlinck have been growing vegetables and flowers in their Columbia garden since 1988, and they have sold under the name of Sunny Acres Farm at Columbia Farmers Market since 1992. Their daughter, Leanne Spurling, joined her parents in the business in 1996. When she married in 1999, her husband, Bart, joined the crew. Today, Leanne and Bart do the majority of the vegetable and fruit farming.

Besides tending the garden, Leanne and Bart also are parents to five children: a set of triplets, and a set of twins. “They all help out. The kids have their own crops. They each pick a couple crops and take care of them,” Leanne said.

Leanne, who holds a degree in agronomy from the University of Missouri, worked 4 1/2 years at Rodale Institute Research Center. “We were doing agricultural research, comparing conventional and organic systems side by side,” she said. She wanted to put what she learned about organic farming into practice, so she moved back home to Missouri to farm with her dad. 

Leanne and Bart feed their family from the garden, so growing chemical-free produce is important to her. “We grow chemical-free, using organic practices, but are no longer certified,” she explained. 

The list of produce the family grows is extensive and changes from year to year. The family staples include lettuce, kale, sweet potatoes, green beans, garlic, cabbage, onions, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, beets, okra, winter squash, pumpkins, herbs, leeks, and radishes. Leanne also grows some fruit trees. Recently, one of the children took an interest in beekeeping. Sunny Acres Farm now offers fresh, raw, and local honey.

For Leanne, growing food is a spiritual undertaking. 

“As growers, we have a ringside seat as we experience God’s unfolding re-creation, from seed, to plant, to beautiful harvest. It is an amazing experience that never grows old.”

Selling at the market never grows old either. “We love the friendly atmosphere and the enthusiastic, appreciative, and faithful customers at Columbia Farmers Market.”

“As growers, we have a ringside seat, as we experience God’s unfolding re-creation, from seed, to plant, to beautiful harvest. It is an amazing experience that never grows old."
-Bob Teerlinck
Leanne enjoys cooking with what she grows. She shares two recipes, which have been adapted from “Still Life with Menu Cookbook” by Mollie Katzen.

Supper’s in the Oven: Roasted Roots, Shoots, and Fruits

get the recipe

Szechwan Green beans

get the recipe
Columbia Farmers Market
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Photography by Drew Piester.