When Great Grandmother Elizabeth Bauman started farming in 1894, I’m sure she had no idea how many people her farm would eventually serve. Today Bauman Farms grows an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables sold exclusively at the fruit stand on Howell Prairie.
It wasn’t always such a large, well-run operation. For many years a horn honk signaled the arrival of a customer. A customer wanting a bushel of peaches or sack of potatoes or just a friendly chat. Elizabeth’s grandson, Clyde, liked the friendly chats as well as the extra cash to feed his family of eight children.
Rick, one of Clyde’s younger children, married his next door sweetheart, Barb Zollner and moved to the current location in 1977. He & Barb followed in Clyde’s footsteps raising seed & cannery crops and always a few fruits and vegetables to feed their family and the “city folks.”
In 1988 they started a small farm market in hopes of raising enough money that Barb could stay at home with their budding family. It wasn’t much; just an addition Rick built beside the barn with two garage doors, handmade vegetable bins and an old family freezer that did double duty. It held the frozen berries and fruits inside and served as a bed for their kids on the outside. With kids in tow Barb would pick the berries & vegetables in the morning and open their little fruit stand at 1:00 and sell what they had. The few customers they had loved it, but they wanted more, more berries, different veggies and wanted them available longer than just 1 planting. So they grew & grew. Rick hasn’t stopped building since.
Each year another greenhouse or store section has been added to better serve the growing variety the family offers. First it was a few seedlings so customers could enjoy growing their own vegetables. Then people asked for petunias and hanging baskets. Barb kept having good ideas. Rick kept building. Barb offered customers a taste of her homemade zucchini bread. Rick added a small bakery. Barb bought a machine to make donuts using their fresh apple cider. Rick enlarged the bakery. They listened to what people wanted and that’s what they produced.
As the farm grew so did their family. They end up with 4 kids Brian, Amie, Cari & Sarah and all help on the farm, in recent years they have also added 3 grandkids Austin, Allison, & Hailey.” Their son Brian and son-in-law Jeremiah both joined the business with an interest in horticulture. They expanded the nursery selection and include container plants and nursery stock. Rick built more greenhouses. Their daughter Sarah had a passion for technology and photography. Rick add a Point of Sale System and added on to their display gardens for more photo opportunities.
To celebrate the harvest, October started out as a month for their 4 kids to bring their classmatees out to pick a pumpkin and play in a small maze made from left over straw but it now has became a full month of tours for over 8,000 school children during the week and family fun on weekends. Rick expanded his building to ziplines and larger hay mazes, pedal carts, hay castles. Some family members say he spent more time “testing” the entertainment than building it. Great Grandmother Elizabeth would have approved. Her farm included watermelons planted between the field corn just for fun. A community swimming hole complete with beach sand along the Pudding River. And a picnic area in a shady grove for family gatherings.
The family hasn’t changed much in these 100+ years. Oh, They’ve gotten much larger. And much more diverse. But they still work hard. They still gather for special occasions. And they still like a good time.Thanks for joining the family on the farm today. All of us, Great Grandma Elizabeth to the youngest family members (Austin, Allyson, and Hailey) hope you have a good time!