It was a productive year at Sipma Farms
By KRISTIN DANLEY-GREINER
MITCHELLVILLE – Before the weather turned colder, Sipma Farms was bustling with shoppers seeking delicious homegrown food. Now with the arrival of fall, the Polk County operation has been just as busy with customers hoping to find perfect pumpkins and an assortment of seasonal gourds.
The Mitchellville century farm operation had gorgeous red ripe tomatoes during the growing season, along with other produce such as zucchini, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, squash, watermelon, jumbo cantaloupe, cucumbers and cucamelon, as well as a huge variety of herbs. They gather farm-fresh eggs regularly from their 50-plus chickens roaming the farm that’s been in business since April 2018.
“A cucamelon a Mexican gherkin the size of a grape. It looks like a miniature watermelon and tastes like a cucumber with a hint of lime,” said Tim Sipma, co-owner of Sipma Farms with his wife Tracy. “We also sold sweet corn and everything in-between. We do have fruit trees and trees native to Iowa, such as a peach tree, honey crisp apple tree, pears, apricots, bing cherries and plums. We use heirloom seeds to grow produce that we sell after it’s been harvested and we sell the plants to those wanting to create their own gardens.”
While Sipma Farms grew a tremendous amount of their own produce, they did team up during the farmers market season to have another farmer supply the sweet corn.
“Small producers can’t grow everything and networking with others benefits everyone,” Sipma said. “When we first started farming, we went out into the communities for farmers markets and they were a lot of fun, but it’s easier to sell an abundance of produce along with other goodies on our property. The response from our biggest fans has been fantastic.”
During the summer, Sipma Farms offered a variety of fireworks for sale after having a display to showcase what they carried. Because they are a registered farmers market with the State of Iowa, seniors can come in and use their Social Security checks and others can use WIC money to purchase fresh produce. Because Sipma Farm’s produce has received a reputation of being tasty, people drive from as far away as Adel, Waukee and Knoxville.
“It’s crazy that they’ll drive past so many well-known greenhouses to purchase from us,” Sipma said.
Sipma Farms also has expanded the business model to include dog boarding, training and grooming.
“Those clients come from all over central Iowa like Pella and West Des Moines. That side of the business took off faster than we expected. We have a couple of groomers working with us who have more than 40 years of experience,” Sipma said.
The entrepreneurial couple also carries handmade products from area individuals such as wooden planters and jewelry, along with items they make themselves including goats milk soap and lotion, handmade jams, dehydrated peppers and honey.
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