ROGERSVILLE, Mo. – Former computer technician Jeremy Hill left his old career in the dust last year as he and his family started their own small business just outside of Rogersville called Gooseberry Bridge Farm.
Hill and his wife, Staci, bought their property in 2016 with no intention of turning their farm into a business. The couple simply envisioned raising their kids in the country and wanted to teach them character and responsibility at an early age.
But as the pandemic caused many, including Hill, to work from home in 2020 and 2021, he and Staci had a change of heart when it came to returning to the office – even as COVID-19 cases declined.
“It came time to go back to the office and that’s when Staci and I had one of those soul-searching conversations about ‘Is this really what we want to do? Do I want to go back into the office and not be here at all?’” Hill said.
“I got used to being with the family, being with the kids, being able to help more and having a more flexible schedule. The idea of going back to leaving the house at seven o’clock in the morning and not getting back until six o’clock at night was not a good feeling.”
Gooseberry Bridge Farm holds two flower seasons a year, when customers have the chance to pick fresh flowers from their fields, free from harsh chemicals often found in store-bought flowers.
“We don’t use harsh chemicals or anything that would be unsafe for a person, or even for a baby to touch,” Hill told The Heartlander. “We’re proud of that.”
Visitors can also purchase a range of farm-produced goods and interact with various farm animals on Gooseberry Bridge’s “Farm Experience Tour.” The family farm features goats, sheep, ducks, chickens and rabbits along with the new addition of piglets.
“We realized a lot of people that live in cities are never around these animals and it could be a service we could provide to help them be around animals,” Hill said. “We educate them about farms, where food comes from and that animals are more than just something you see at the zoo.”
Another addition to the farm are beehives. Hill said his family will sell honey once the bees have produced an ample amount, but in the meantime, Staci makes bee’s wax, lip balm and skin salves for visitors to purchase.
One main part of the Hills’ business is truly making it family-owned and operated, including their children, as the family has not lost sight of its original mission to teach their kids character and responsibility.
“All of our kids have a job, even the littlest ones,” Jeremy said. “As they get older they have more responsibilities.”
Credit to the family farm’s namesake belongs to a bridge on the property lined with gooseberry bushes.
“We thought that was really a cool feature when we bought the place. It adds to the ambience when people drive in. It makes it a pretty drive down the driveway.”
Visit the Gooseberry Bridge Farm website here for times, scheduling, pricing and more.