4215 N. Hanley Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63121
Thies Farm dates back to 1885 when a 25-acre parcel of land was purchased at what is now North Hanley Road and Highway 70 in St. Louis, Missouri. Ten of those original 25 acres are still home base for the existing farming and greenhouse business. This family farm operation began as a truck farm, raising fruits and vegetables and trucking them daily to the produce market in downtown St. Louis. Today, the fifth-generation Thies’s carry on this tradition with a second location at 3120 Creve Coeur Mill Road in Maryland Heights, Missouri.
The farm in Maryland Heights consists of approximately 120 acres of fruit and vegetable production along with the greenhouse operation, which covers almost 40,000 square feet. A retail market at each farm brings the fresh harvested produce and bedding plants directly from the fields to the consumer.
Co-owner Dave Theis shares more about their farming operation.
Would you describe your farm as a family farm?
We are the fifth generation of the Theis family to farm here in St. Louis County. The ten acres on Hanley Rd. are part of the original farmstead that our great-grandfather purchased over 125 years ago. We have grown up on the farm, and our families are still involved in helping with the farm today. So, yes, we are a family farm!
How long have you been farming?
All of our lives. I became part-owner in 1982 after graduating from college. My brother, Darrell, became part-owner in 1978 after his college graduation.
Who works with you on your farm?
Along with Darrell and me, a number of people work the farm, including Andy Welle, Loretta Panhorst, Sharon Findley, Cindy Thies, and Mark Thies, just to name a few. At the peak of our season, we will employ 25 to 30 people.
What do you grow on your farm?
We are somewhat diverse. We start in the greenhouses with bedding plants, herbs, potted plants, and hanging baskets. We grow fruit including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, and peaches. Vegetables are our mainstay—we grow over 30 different veggies on approximately 200 acres. Tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, and cabbage are our largest acreage crops.
How did you get into farming?
We grew up on the family farm, went off to college (majoring in agriculture), and decided to come back to the farm. As they say, it’s in our blood.
What do you enjoy most about farming?
Growing crops and the outside work are what draw us to farming. But the challenges are also exciting. In addition, we have recognized the need for locally produced fruits and vegetables and feel as though we are truly serving a purpose.
What makes your farm special?
We are sometimes referred to as “The farm in the city.” Our locations, and the fact that we sell direct at both our farms, set us apart. We have an action-packed and educational October festival that we call “Pumpkinland,” which has become quite well known in St. Louis. In addition, we are one of the few “truck” farms left in this area.
What do you envision for the future of your farm?
The near future is bright, with expanding markets and a better appreciation for our products by the consumer. Looking farther into the future is less clear because of rising costs and competing uses for the best farm ground in St. Louis County. It’s uncertain at this time whether a sixth generation will run Thies Farm.
Are you an organic grower?