Show Me Produce & The Root Cellar: A Productive Partnership

Featured Sliders / Food & Drink / Stories / January 9, 2017

familyShow Me Produce certainly lives up to its name as owners Jeanne and Gary Schwartz grow a diverse bounty of vegetables on their farm outside of Cole Camp.

Although vegetables grow slower during the winter, there’s still a lot going on in their 12 greenhouses and their yield includes  carrots, kale, spinach, radishes, baby kale, chard and a wide variety of tomatoes. There’s also Shashito peppers, bulb fennel, lemon sorrel and a variety of lettuces from Bibb, romaine, broccoli raab, Pac Choi, Red Mustard and Mizuna, beets and rhubarb.

Their produce is distributed to members of the Bounty Bag program through the Sedalia Farmer’s Market and the food subscription boxes at The Root Cellar in Columbia and Jefferson City. The owners also sell produce to various restaurants in Columbia and St. Louis.

“We raise more unusual types of plants, like horseradish, shallots, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, turmeric, and Katuk,” said Schwartz.

tumeric2

Turmeric is a perennial spice. That’s a part of the ginger family. A vitamin and mineral-rich herb that’s used as a vegetable, sorrel imparts a sour, lemon taste and can be used fresh or cooked like spinach. Eat sorrel to meet your daily vitamin C requirements as well; one serving provides 113 percent of the quantity you need each day. Additionally, including a serving of this green in your meal plan introduces 32 percent of your daily riboflavin and lesser amounts of thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and iron. A classic culinary preparation of this herb/vegetable combines fresh sorrel with chicken stock, heavy cream, butter, eggs and onions for a creamy soup.

The first greenhouse on their property came in 2010 and they have utilized sustainable growing methods, too. Last year the Schwartz’s invested in a hydroponic house, where all the nutrients and hydration for the plants are programmed by computer. There’s 27 dutch buckets of tomatoes, including San Marzeno, a plum variety considered by many chefs to be the most flavorful, and black cherry, cherry tomatoes, both which were delicious picked right off the vine. 

Schwartz delivers produce two times a week to the Root Cellar in Columbia. 

Jake Davis who owns the Root Cellar with his wife, Chelsea, started working with Show me Produce in 2011 and this year all of their herbs and fall tomatoes and greens like kale and bibb lettuce comes from them. Currently more than 400 families participate in subscriptions between Columbia and Jefferson City, which go out 48 weeks out of the year.

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“We work hard to create a farmer network that grow more common vegetables as well as other things and Jeanne and I have grown together and created a close working relationship,” Davis said.  “That trust has allowed us to think outside of the box about what we can produce locally. They were one of the first farms to grow ginger successfully here and they also helped us bring back Jerusalem artichokes, a Missouri native plant.” 

toms“ I really appreciate how dedicated Jeanne and her family are to building a better food system. I have often asked them to take a leap of faith that we can sell a new product or to increase their volume and every time they find a way to make it work,” he said. 

Show Me Produce harvested 220 pounds of turmeric in 2016, which means digging it, cleaning and boxing it for delivery. An anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric has been used since ancient times and in India as a spice and an herb and provides the color for curry. Studies have shown that the compounds found in turmeric, mostly curcumin, can help improve memory, lower the risk of heart disease and may help prevent cancers of the digestive system and aid the brain in warding off Alzheimer’s. 

Schwartz suggests grating turmeric and ginger and boiling with honey for a restorative drink.

The lemon verbena they grow smells clean and citrusy and its thinly sliced leaves add zest and aroma to fish, salads, and steamed vegetables. It adds flavor to water and sun tea, too.

By Shelley Gabert | Photography By Asher Dale

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