We spent this past weekend at Baker Creek Seeds in Missouri being part of their first-ever Tulip Festival. It was a two-day event where thousands of folks descended on their farm to celebrate seeds and growing things, while hundreds of thousands of tulips and daffodils are in full-bloom all around. Here’s a fun video from the weekend…
Normally, we try to be home for Easter, and join many of our neighbors at Gabe and Mandy’s for a sunrise Easter gathering at their farm, just a mile or so from ours. But this year, we found ourselves in the Ozarks, hiding an Easter basket for Indy at the Airbnb.
Although we never made it to a church service that day, the weather was absolutely incredible, and it felt like the whole day was a reminder that Jesus has risen. The newness of Spring was in the air and beautiful flowers that had recently risen from the soil were everywhere.
Indy’s teacher Ms. Rebecca came with us. That first morning, as I ordered coffee in the mercantile, Indy and Rebecca, were across the way and upstairs from the Bakery, where they found matching dresses that they loved.
During our first trip to the area was last Fall when I was part of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Children’s Literary Festival (you can read about the festival here...) we stopped by and visited Baker Creek and where we met the owner Jere Settle and some of the nice folks that work there.
In the weeks that followed, they reached out and asked if I’d come back and be part of their event in the Spring. Since we have been ordering lots of our seeds from them for years, and I loved visiting their place the first time, I told them I’d love to.
The Baker Creek farm is basically all along a hillside and valley, and parking is limited, but they sold tickets to their festival by the carload, making out at about 2,000 cars or so. By the looks of it, there were way more than twice that many people there each day.
I was blessed to be a part of two panels each afternoon in a big tent that was maxed out with people, where Jess Sowards and I got to talk about homesteading. Jess and her husband have a farm and business in South Carolina called ‘Roots & Refuge’ and lots of folks follow their story, read her books, and watch her videos, filled with wisdom and their experience of gardening and many other things.
On Sunday evening, after the event at the farm ended, we had a nice dinner in Springfield with Jess, Jill Ragan, Jill's husband Nate, and their kids. Jill is another wonderful homesteader.
Both Jess and Jill will be speaking at The Homestead Festival here at our farm on June 2nd and 3rd, so it was a blessing to get to know them better and spend some downtime talking about life, family and future, hopes and dreams.
Baker Creek Seeds is an incredible place, where they not only grow tons of vegetables, fruit, and flowers in their gardens and greenhouses, but over the last fifteen years or so, they’ve built a little western town, right in front of the farmhouse where there is an old hotel (it’s actually an Asian vegan restaurant), a bakery, and tons of other little shops. One of my favorite parts of the event was the little ‘Opry’ stage, where different country and bluegrass family groups performed. Some were in their eighties and some were only ten, but all of them played and sang so well. We watched lots of them perform and at the end of the second day, I even got up and sang a couple of songs for the folks who were still hanging around.
I’m pretty sure Indy’s favorite part of the weekend was the big sand pit where you could ‘dig for Ozark treasures.’ She enjoyed playing with Jill’s kiddos and meeting lots of other ones whose parents had come from near and far to learn more about gardening, homesteading, and just learning how to live a more sustainable life.
Before we left, we even stopped by their big warehouse in the next town over, where they package and ship most all of their seeds (sometimes as many as 150,000 seed packets a day). It was incredible to see all they do and even more special to meet so many nice people who work there.