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story.lead_photo.caption PHOTO SUBMITTED The Thurlo family, Harlon (left), Jen, Quinten, Jason and Owen, supply produce to local farmers markets and offer a vegetable subscription from their farm, which is partially located in McDonald County.

Jen Thurlo of Sulphur Springs, Ark., can be found every Tuesday at the Pineville Farmers Market.

She and her husband, Jason, own Thurlo Family Farms, located in southwest Missouri near Bluff Dwellers Cave and in southeast Kansas. They have 32 acres in southwest Missouri and 40 acres in southeast Kansas.

"I've lived on a farm most of my life," she said. Jason grew up in the city, she noted.

"Jason decided three years ago, we bought a farm, we were going to grow sweet corn. Sweet corn wasn't a good fit for us. We just went from there."

Jason farms full-time, and Jen substitute teaches during the school year and does photography in addition to working on the farm. In the summer, she attends the farmers markets at Siloam Springs, Ark.; Southwest City and Pineville.

"I like visiting with people a lot and meeting new people," she said of the markets. "Little kids get excited when they see where their food's coming from."

The couple has three boys, Harlon, 13, Owen, 11, and Quinten, 8, who help out on the farm.

"The boys are a big part of our daily operation," Jen said.

The family grows a wide variety of produce, including 15 varieties of lettuce, radishes, spinach, green onions, beets, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, onions, peppers, kale, kohlrabi, okra, peas, potatoes, squash, chard, tomatoes, cantaloupe, melons, watermelons, purple hulled peas, collards, pumpkins and gourds. They also raise flowers, pigs and chickens.

The farm offers a vegetable subscription, known as consumer supported agriculture. For $500 per season, customers get 20 weeks of vegetables. Jen explained the customers get a share of what the family harvests for the week.

"Most of them really enjoy it because they like trying things that are new to them, like kohlrabi and turnips. Many of them tell us they eat way more vegetables than they would if they had to go to the grocery store," she said.

Asked what she enjoys about the farming life, Jen said, "Probably my favorite thing is raising my boys the way I was raised, because I grew up on a farm in northern Missouri, and that's all I know."

As for the challenges, she said, there are plenty. The weather, pests and deer, to name a few. One night last year they had raccoons wipe out an entire sweet cornfield with Jason sitting right next to it, she said.

Before the family had the farm, Jen stayed home with the boys when they were smaller and did photography on the side. Jason was a maintenance machinist.

General News on 08/08/2019

Print Headline: Thurlo Family Supplies Produce To Farmers Markets

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