Columbia Farmers Market

the farmers behind the market

Next Market Date: 
September 25
 
8:00 AM
-
12:00 PM

The Sage Garden: First generation family farmers make dream reality

Starting in 2017 Brandt and Erica Parker, along with their daughter Amelia, took the first steps in pursuing their “dream of having a market garden and providing healthy food” to the community. This dream, The Sage Garden, is now alive and flourishing on 3 acres in Hallsville.

Erica began selling at the Columbia Farmers Market in 2016, with only a few vegetables. She slowly learned how to grow and sell vegetables. The next year, (2017) Brandt and her decided they were both going to commit to pursuing their dream of having a market garden and providing healthy food to their community. Now both work full time on the farm. They’ve spent the past year building up their infrastructure, enabling them to be more efficient and sustainable.

While not certified organic, they adhere to organic growing practices, utilizing compost, cover crops and heavy mulching (to add nutrients and retain water). Erica and Brandt specialize in growing greens and roots. Specifically, salad greens and lettuce. For the 2018 season, they are growing a variety of salanova lettuce which can be used as a head lettuce or easily broken up into a salad mix. Their goal is to provide lettuce year round, at the summer and winter markets. To keep the lettuce growing, and delicious, they are using different techniques, during the hottest and coolest seasons. During the hottest months, to keep the lettuces cool and prevent it from becoming bitter and bolting, they use shade cloths and overhead irrigation. In the winter months they utilize a high tunnel, caterpillar tunnels, and row covers.

Erica and Brandt love selling “at the Columbia Farmers Market for many reasons. We LOVE the people and the atmosphere. It is a Saturday morning tradition, to be at market conversing with other farmers, listening to music, engaging with the people of our community, and educating people of all ages on the varieties and nutrition of our produce! The Columbia Farmers Market enables us to make a career of growing vegetables, rather than a hobby. It also opens us up to meet many local chefs and restaurant owners which in turn grows our business.”

For Erica and Brandt, farming isn’t “just a job, but a dream”. They enjoy watching the whole process, from start to finish, from “the seed going in the ground to a child biting right into a carrot at our booth”. As first generation farmers, Erica and Brandt have learned “lesson after lesson”, over the past year. Despite the trials and errors of farming, to them, it’s absolutely worth it. They “feel that what we are doing effects many people of our community in a wonderful way.

You can find The Sage Garden’s products, in addition to the Columbia Farmers Market, at many local restaurants and grocery stores, including Nourish, Main Squeeze, Barred Owl Butcher & Table and Clovers.

“The Columbia Farmers Market enables us to make a career of growing vegetables, rather than a hobby. It also opens us up to meet many local chefs and restaurant owners which in turn grows our business."
-Brandt & Erica Parker

Herb Salad Dressing

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Columbia Farmers Market

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