Jennie and James Boosey are co-owners of Blue Heron Farm and Bakery on Commercial Street in Springfield. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

After a successful first couple of weeks in business, the owners of Blue Heron Farm and Bakery, Commercial Street’s latest addition, are excited for what the future holds with their first brick-and-mortar location.

On Nov. 4, a line stretched past the door when the bakery opened for the first time.

While long lines of customers isn’t unfamiliar for Blue Heron owners James and Jennie Boosey, the weekend of Nov. 4-5 was different. With their own location, they opened themselves up to new possibilities.

“We had a really good first couple of days,” Jennie said. “Sold out of all of the pastries and did lots of coffee and it was really good. Over the next couple of months, we’ll just be honing in on that.” 

Jennie Boosey fills lemon galettes with lemon curd. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

Marshfield-based Blue Heron has been a long-time staple of the Farmers Market of the Ozarks, known for farm-fresh duck eggs, pastries, bread and home-roasted coffee. Every Saturday, James and Jennie and their two sons lugged a full-service espresso machine with their farmers market setup and eventually had to reorganize their increasingly longer line from disrupting the rest of the market. 

“Once we started doing espresso — I had already started doing the pastries — it just blew up,” Jennie said.

Located at 206 E Commercial St., James, Jennie and staff will sling pastries and sell house-made breads and other local products for breakfast and lunch. Hours aren’t fully set in stone yet, but those interested can follow updates on Instagram and Facebook.

Local everything: Blue Heron can relate to their providers better than most

Through the windows of the peacock blue storefront, European pastries line a glass case. Seating, handmade by the shop’s owners from local wood, line the interior. 

Upon entering, guests walk onto a newly stenciled floor top and are welcomed by a staff that seems truly proud to be a part of the Booseys’ project.

In the kitchen, which stretches back some distance, Jennie can be seen busy baking, trying to keep up with the demand, all the while smiling. James is behind the steam of the espresso machine — he very much looks and acts like a farmer with a flannel shirt and gruff, albeit friendly, demeanor, but not out of place as a barista.

James Boosey prepares a coffee order for a morning customer. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

In addition to a display case that houses the pastries, they put in two open-air coolers that will have grab-and-go items, drinks, and local produce. Scattered throughout the shop are plants and paintings and books, all a nod to who they are and what they represent. 

Ever since they began putting more emphasis on the baked goods and the coffee, they’ve shifted focus from the farm to the café. However, they underscore the importance of buying and serving local products. 

Blue Heron roasts its own coffee at the farm, and will supplement the menu with their own duck eggs and micro greens. They also use a multitude of local purveyors, including Terrell Creek Farm, Box Turtle Farm, Ozark Mountain Creamery and Willow Mountain Mushrooms. And for what is perhaps their most important ingredient — flour — they use Kansas City-based Marion Milling.

The morning menu of pastries and coffees at the Blue Heron Farm and Bakery. The shop also sells loaves of sourdough bread and some produce. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

Many of the produce and wholesale items available for purchase also go into the from-scratch menu, which features croissants, galettes, sausage rolls and pot pies, among many other European pastries and dishes. 

“We were farmers here first,” Jennie said. “Not only do we understand the importance of supporting other local businesses, we also understand that buying local means you buy the freshest, best-tasting thing available. … We love food, it’s important to us, and I think that comes through in everything that we do here.”

Jake Boosey, 12, son of Blue Heron Farm and Bakery owners James and Jennie Boosey, waits for customers at the shops counter. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

Farmers market favorite, now available outside of Saturdays

Blue Heron Farm and Bakery is the culmination of years of hard work. Between attending the farmers market every Saturday to selling product to local restaurants to their CSA (community supported agriculture) “Farm in a Box” program, it has all led to this. 

However, the path to owning the bakery hasn’t come without its roadblocks, as the COVID pandemic threw a wrench into operations in 2020.

“COVID really changed the way we had to approach things and it made us focus and hone in on what was and could be the most successful,” Jennie said. “We used to sell meat, we did lamb and beef and we would sell that at the market. But then when COVID hit we couldn’t even get it processed because all the [processing plants] were full. That really affected us, we kind of had to back out from that and that was a main income source for us as a farm.”

At that point, Jennie, who had always enjoyed cooking and baking for her family, began making pastries, bread and tortillas at a much larger scale to sell in CSA boxes and at the farmers market. 

Jennie Boosey removes a tray of almond croissants from the oven. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

“Our passion is food, and we’ve been known in the last few years as farmers,” James said. “And now the bakery has kind of evolved, Jennie is known as a baker. And I think that’s kind of just been a natural evolution, we’ve always wanted to explore those things and we’ve just figured out a way of combining them all.

“I think that the depth of our knowledge about food is what makes us a little bit different because we know how to cook food, but we also know how to raise it and grow it and make it. I think that’s what it’s about.”

Almond croissants cool on a rack after emerging from the oven. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

From England to Omaha, Blue Heron brings concept to life in Springfield

James, a native of Kent, England, isn’t new to restaurants, as he was in charge of operations for a group of independent cafés and coffee shops in the UK before moving to the U.S. 

Jennie was born in Omaha, raised in Houston and has lived as far west as Washington state and as far east as England. However, she grew fond of the Ozarks when, as a kid, her family would travel here for camping trips. 

When she and James decided to try out farming, they eventually decided on Missouri due to the inexpensive land and low taxes. With their growing success and help from the city of Springfield to secure their new brick and mortar location, it appears Springfield wants them to stay as much as they want to stay in Springfield.

LeeAna Trinidad, proclaimed by Jennie Boosey as “baker’s assistant extraordinaire,” removes puff pastry for lemon galettes from a baking tray. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

“We started this farm, not as a business venture, but as a sort of personal project to, it’s cliché, but get back to the land,” James said. “We were inspired by that old get-back-to-the-land movement in Europe.”

Initially, there was buzz about their current concept being housed at Farmers Park in southeast Springfield on the same campus of the Farmers Market of the Ozarks. Eventually falling through, fate led the Booseys to Commercial Street.

Closing of a long-time Springfield bakery left Booseys to fill the void

An opportunity eventually came along that allowed them to take over the former home of The Artisan’s Oven, owned by baker Craig Crosby, who closed its doors in July after 18 years in business.  

The transition, while not without renovations to make it their own, was made significantly easier by having a lot of the necessary equipment for a bakery already in place.

“I think as a lot of people know we tried to set up at Farmers Park and for a multitude of reasons that didn’t work out,” Jennie said. “And so ever since then, we have been looking for a storefront space that we can move into and this was just a perfect opportunity because we came in and we just bought all the equipment from Craig and just made it into our own space.”

Jack McGee

Jack McGee is the business and economic development reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. He previously covered politics and elections for the Citizen. Before that, he worked at documentary film company Carbon Trace Productions and Missouri State University’s student-led newspaper, The Standard. He’s an MSU graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and a minor political science. Reach him at jmcgee@sgfcitizen.org or (417) 719-5129. More by Jack McGee