Owner: Micah Kuenzle
Location: Ozark, Mo.
History: Micah Kuenzle was doing landscape design and architecture for Dogwood Canyon when he began planning a produce farm. He purchased a 10-acre patch of land near Ozark, Mo., with a barn only a few minutes off U.S. 65. That location gave him quick access to markets both north and south of the farm, and also an advantage in potentially attracting agritourism.
“Real estate in this area is definitely at a prime. I felt like I was getting a good deal on it.”
Micah quickly began building a home, and growing fruits and vegetables, using about half an acre for the crops.
“I felt fairly confident, as confident as you can be your first year.”
Products and Services: This year, Micah has been wholesaling tomatoes, the main cash crop this season. He grew six different varieties with the experience he gained from tomato trials across the country.
He has also been selling a variety of produce at Greater Springfield Farmers’ Market and Nixa Area Farmer’s Market, including four varieties of watermelon, some herbs, okra, lettuce and salad greens. Additionally, he grew three different varieties of sweet peppers, attempting to offer something different than what might be found in a grocery store.
“The other big cash crop was pumpkins and gourds,” Micah said. He harvested more than 675 pumpkins this year, including Long Island Cheese, Valenciano, Blue Hubbard, Cinderella, Lunch Lady and Rival PMR standard pumpkins.
Future Plans: He plans to expand from growing 500 tomato vines this year to 1,000 next year.
“I’m looking into cucumber, zucchini, some other veggies as compliments to the tomatoes,” he added. “I’ve had a few people ask about cantaloupes, so we might do that.”
He plans to expand his pumpkin production, and he’s attempting to get a grant for a high tunnel.
Micah is also looking into agritourism for the diversity of income. “Some of the most successful farms in this area have on-farm events. I’m still trying to figure out what that looks like for me.”
Possibilities are a fall festival, a pumpkin patch, or a barn dance. In general, Micah is optimistically looking forward.
“There’s a farmer I know that’s been doing this for about 33 years, and he told me that if he had a worse year, he couldn’t remember one. The encouraging part for me is that as a new farmer, if I can make it through this year, I can make it through any year.”