Couple planned to expand their own produce operation, but ended up with a growing business
CASSVILLE, MO. – There’s a new gathering place in Cassville, Mo., for those with green thumbs and for those who would like to acquire them: Harvick Farms, located just south of Cassville on Highway 76.
Joseph and Lainey Harvick, of Eagle Rock, acquired the garden center in January through circumstances that surprised them.
“We needed another greenhouse for our garden at home, where we grow some lavender,” said Lainey Harvick. “We passed by the vacant greenhouses (the former home of ‘For the Birds’ Garden Center), and, on impulse, we stopped by and asked the owner if he’d be willing to sell us one of them. He told us no, but that he would sell us the entire garden center (which included six greenhouses).
The Harvicks thought about it for a bit, but time was of the essence if they were going to rehabilitate the center in time for a spring opening.
“We signed a contract in January,” Lainey explained. “Now we’re giving it everything we’ve got.”
After replacing overhead canopies and clean-up work outside and on the inside of the houses, the Harvicks opened their new garden center on March 26. The community’s response was overwhelming, and the support from the community continues.
“We’ve had a lot of people tell us they’re sure glad to see this place re-opening,” Lainey said.
Because Lainey, an R.N., works remotely for Mayo Clinic by day, Joseph runs the garden center on weekdays.
“I leave some business decisions to Lainey, though,” he admitted.
The Harvicks – who moved to the area with sons Samuel (8) and Alex (4) from Fort Worth, Texas, four years ago – are passionate about community education.
“We envision Harvick Farms as a place where people can gather to learn about different aspects of gardening and related activities,” Lainey said.
They are making that vision a reality. Taught by local gardeners, business owners and extension agents, classes began in April with Landscaping 101.
“We only had four people show up for the first class,” Lainey said, “Attendance for the second class jumped up to 19.”
Bee-keeping, seed-starting and vegetable gardening classes followed in April and May.
According to Lainey, the feedback from the community has been enlightening.
“We’re learning what people are interested in,” she said. “We have people asking for classes on skills related to homesteading, so we’re going to plan a canning class and one about the disease process in crops. Later, we hope to offer classes in trellis-making and growing lavender.”
The future class schedule is still evolving, the Harvicks said.
“The nice thing about community education is that when we have local business owners come in and teach a class, we can promote other local businesses along with our own,” Lainey said.
That spirit of community is what the Harvicks have in mind for Harvick Farms.
“We participated in the city of Exeter’s annual Arbor Day tree-planting event,” Lainey said. “We plan to work with the Cassville FFA chapter for their annual fall mum sale.”
In addition to classes, Harvick Farms offers trees, shrubs, veggie and flower plants, custom hanging baskets, decorative pots, potting soil and mulch.
Raised garden beds – another of Joseph’s projects – have been constructed in one greenhouse in the center. There, one of each variety of vegetable plant sold will be planted in a type of test garden.
“We’ll see what varieties we like best and decide what we want to offer next year,” Lainey said.