Marion and Nancy Terpstra know how to raise vegetables. Their wide expanse of tables at the Pella Farmer’s market since the mid-1980s have been filled with color, cruchy freshness and state fair rivaling beauty. When the farm economy in the ‘80’s forced the Terpstra’s to be creative about diversifying, they started raising vegetables in a relatively small patch and selling in town at the market. Town folks appreciated access to the fresh early vegetables in the spring, then green bean and the abundant supply of slicing and canning tomatoes. The demand grew and the season was extended. The number of farmers markets increased from one and two to as many as 8 in one week. That meant a lot of planting, hoeing, harvesting, cleaning and preparing for good presentation. More land was included, more help hired, more invested in vehicles to transport from farm to market and market. For years Marion served as Market Manager in Pella and encouraged other vendors to participate.
Pella residents have benefitted immensely from Terpstra’s vegetables. Many have stood in line 15-20 minutes in advance of the market opening to select just the right radishes, sweet corn, and spinach. Many a Dutch mess has been made from the fresh green lettuce they have sold. Freezers hold frozen corn for the winter months and canned tomatoes in one form or another sit on many shelves because Terpstra’s had tomatoes.
Marion and Nancy are hanging up the hoe and have announced that they are retiring at the end of October. They are ready to write a new chapter in their lives. For folks who have made so many friends over the years in various communities by providing great fresh home grown food, the Terpstra’s will miss seeing their customers.