Hello, this is Marsha Morris Sanders with Project WORTH/Grow Appalachia. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Missy Conn, one of our very hard working participants. Missy has attended each one of our meetings. She sometimes even assists us in conducting the meetings. Missy loves to talk with the other participants and help them to be successful in their gardening. Missy is very innovative. She often reuses items that would otherwise end up in the landfill such as, an old swing set to make greenhouse for her garden. She is a very enthusiastic gardener and most serious about her gardening. Her whole family is involved and encouraged to work in the gardens. Their latest endeavor is to become involved with the Rowan County Farmer’s Market program. I talked to her about this experience as well as her feelings about Grow Appalachia. This is what she had to say on these subjects.
Q How big is your garden?
A 2 ½ acres
Q What do you grow?
A 3 kinds of potatoes, 3 kinds of sweet potatoes, 1 acre of sweet corn, 3 kinds of green beans, cabbage, broccoli, water melon, cantaloupe, okra, cucumber, tomatoes, 7 types of peppers, 50 strawberry plants, egg plant, and zucchini. I have already started my fall garden. I have 1/8 acre of pumpkins
Q What do you sell at the Farmers Market?
A Cucumbers, beans, sweet corn, potatoes, June apples, tomatoes, okra, leaf lettuce, and zucchini
Q Do you enjoy the Farmer’s market?
A I’m a people person. That’s why I have a lot of sales. I ask people what they have done in the past. People are looking for good home grown food that’s not physically able to grow their own gardens or live in a place too small for a garden. They can come and choose locally grown vegetables they like from the Farmer’s Market. I like to talk about farming to the customers and see the kids. It’s good wholesome family fun. I barter with the other vendors for things I don’t grow.
Q How many vendors are there at the Farmer’s Market?
A 10 vendors on a good day
Q Do you do a good business?
A Yes, I do real well. I sell by the pound so that elderly people that are just 1 or 2 in the family can buy only 1 pound. The money is good and the atmosphere is good. The work is hard so you have a lot of good produce to sell. I have started making goodie boxes for businesses. I put a mess of beans, new potatoes, 6-12 ears of corn (Depending on family size), a head of cabbage and some garden fresh tomatoes. That way they can have a good country meal for supper.
Q Who else helps you at the Farmer’s Market?
A My 2 daughters help me. We get up the morning of the market and pick the produce fresh. One of my daughter’s has already earned $75 for new school shoes.
Q Overall, what do think about the Grow Appalachia Program?
A I love the Grow Appalachia program because it has taught me that I can eat directly from my garden without worrying about pesticides. I had never tried organic gardening and didn’t know it would work. It makes me feel good to eat a little better with organic foods.
Q How has GA helped you directly?
A I would not have tried organic gardening on my own. Grow Appalachia gave me the materials to grow organic. I learned that the organic pesticides work. I wouldn’t go any other way now. I have regular customers that come to me for the organic vegetables. They would rather have the organic vegetables with a few bug bites than the non organic ones that look perfect.
Q Do you have any suggestions for improving the Grow Appalachia Program next year?
A We should have everyone bring in a sample of the thing they are most proud of from their garden. Some people are shy and this would help them to open up and feel more comfortable by showing off their produce.
I hope you found this talk with Missy as interesting and informative as I did. Good luck with your gardens. Happy Gardening!!