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US (MO): Family-run farm sees demand go up

Walking up to Triple M Acres – a family-run farm located in Warrenton, Missouri – for its farm tour and demonstration is a lot like walking up to your own family reunion.

Around 20 local farmers and residents (and just as many kids) are gathered around a modest bonfire situated between the Marks' family home and their microgreen nursery. Farther back, the family's Great Pyrenees keeps a watchful eye on the farm's nearly two dozen chickens, and the Marks' four sons are loosening carrots from one of the many rows of crops that expand across the yard.

At the center of the gathering are Triple M owners Melissa and Andrew Marks. Followed by her entourage of children – six in total – Melissa makes a point to greet each and every visitor with a smile and genuine interest in their lives. All around her, the children are hard at work selling Triple M t-shirts, preparing the field for demonstration, and leading step-by-step tours of the farm's production process. As Melissa says, "[The kids] are the most comfortable ones here."

Purchased by the family in 2003, Triple M Acres was registered as an official LLC in 2019 and had its first season at Lake St. Louis Farmers Market in April 2020. Since its conception, Andrew Marks has focused on creating a highly efficient, automated farming process. "You're always looking for little things to improve," Andrew says as he demonstrates his latest seed-planting device. The well-ordered farm produces a variety of microgreens, kale, lettuce, carrots, radishes, farm-fresh eggs, and more – all of which the family sells at the farmers market throughout the year. The family's microgreens are produced indoors year-round and planted and grown on a weekly schedule led by their eldest daughter, Alyse. "Our demand has gone up a lot," Melissa notes. To keep up with this demand, Triple M has undergone multiple expansions in the last three years: It's added heated concrete tables for the nursery, two new caterpillar tunnels (structures used as a temporary covered growing space for crops), a new walk-in cooler; and industrial spinners made from recycled dryers for washing harvested produce. This year, the Marks are planning to add two to four more caterpillar tunnels.


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