When Nelson and I married a few years ago, we deliberately began working on projects where we could work as a team. Nelson was a long-time general contractor in Springfield, primarily doing commercial buildings. He built a few projects and I was able to keep the books and pitch in where needed. Additionally, Nelson has farmed for many years with his brother on their farm in Golden City.
One of our projects together was the renovation and expansion of our home near Fair Grove. Nelson had rented out the little, worn-out ranch house with a barn on six acres for many years. I thought the property was beautiful, so I anxious to make it our home. After we renovated the house, next came the barn. We now have great event space—even having my daughter’s wedding reception in and around the barn.
In 2014, we began growing sunflowers, selling them at Bootheel Produce farm stands around Springfield. I have been anxious to ramp up our farming in anticipation of retiring from Drury University, where I have been an accounting professor for 22 years. This year is the inaugural year of the Sunflower Festival, representing another step toward our post-retirement plans.
Nelson and I love all things outdoors—fishing, hiking, gardening, farming, skiing, boating, hunting (that would be Nelson) and cooking and dining al fresco with family and friends.
I want to express my gratitude to Mike Dawley with Burnside Farms in Virginia. Their farm has been our inspiration and Mike’s advice has been priceless in our switch to a new model for our sunflower farm.
Nelson and I are excited to provide an opportunity for area families to picnic, take pictures, play, relax and cut sunflowers. Sunflowers just make you smile!
All my best,