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Ponder couple put their own twist on farmers market

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Madison Wilson, Staff Writer

PONDER — Keith and Kassandra Copp saw the rise of the locally grown food movement in Denton County and had an idea to become part of it.

In 2014, when the couple's produce retail store Garden Ridge Farmers Market closed in Lewisville because of the Interstate 35E expansion project, the Copps had another idea ready to go. They launched a business, Harvest to House, that delivers fruits and vegetables grown on their 400-acre farm in Ponder they call D-bar Farms to the homes of their clients.

Arthur Lara, an employee at D-bar Farms in Ponder, examines the yellow squash he picked Wednesday.DRC
Arthur Lara, an employee at D-bar Farms in Ponder, examines the yellow squash he picked Wednesday.
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"People have busy lives, so that's where the delivery part came from," Kassandra Copp said. "People are busy on the weekends. They have to go to their kids' games on Saturdays, but they still want fresh food. We wanted to bring the farmers market to them."

Since 2014, the Copps have gained more than 1,000 clients. Their delivery routes span a 25- to 30-mile radius across Denton County.

The farm operation stays mostly in the family. Two of the Copps' three children help run the farm — from picking and washing the produce to making deliveries.

"I love that my kids can be with us in this business," Kassandra Copp said. "We wanted to build something we could all do together."

Keith Copp comes from a farming background. "We were wheat farmers growing up and had nothing to do with vegetables, but the knack of getting your hands dirty in the dirt came natural to us," he said.

The Copps grow several varieties of fruits and vegetables on the farm such as tomatoes, strawberries and cantaloupe, as well as several types of greens, including kale and spinach. They also sell lean beef from the Limousin cattle they raise on the farm and have more than 400 chickens that produce eggs, which are also available for purchase.

Two hens at D-bar Farms in Ponder drink water from a bowl inside their enclosure. Keith Copp estimates than he and his wife house at least 400 hens to produce eggs that are available for purchase.DRC
Two hens at D-bar Farms in Ponder drink water from a bowl inside their enclosure. Keith Copp estimates than he and his wife house at least 400 hens to produce eggs that are available for purchase.
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The Copps also purchase meat and other items from local farms and ranches to sell through their delivery service. They sell pork and chicken from Crazy Feather's Farm in Sanger. They get goat cheese from a farmer in Bonham and Bookish Coffee from West Oak Coffee Bar in Denton.

In 2014, when Harvest to House launched, Keith Copp also began growing produce in several greenhouses.

"We came up with the greenhouses because we wanted to keep our customers year-round," Keith Copp said. "We learned how to grow [food] hydroponically."

There are no training programs in Texas to operate greenhouses, so Keith Copp had to learn much of the skill through trial and error.

The Copps didn't foresee their business evolving as big as it has. Now, they produce food for restaurants and businesses as well, including the Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel in Grapevine.

"You never know how something evolves, but this has gotten way big," Keith Copp said.

Keith and Kassandra Copp grow strawberries inside their greenhouse at D-bar Farms in Ponder.DRC
Keith and Kassandra Copp grow strawberries inside their greenhouse at D-bar Farms in Ponder.
DRC

Currently, Harvest to House only makes deliveries on Thursdays and Fridays. By the end of the month, Kassandra Copp said clients will be able to get their orders delivered next-day, Monday to Friday. The service has a $20 minimum and a $3 delivery fee.

Though the produce is not certified organic, Keith Copp said he tries to be as environmentally conscious as possible. The couple mainly use an organic pesticide, Pyrethrum, but sometimes use a non-organic synthetic fertilizer in addition to compost fertilizer.

Though Kassandra Copp didn't grow up with the same farming experience her husband had, she always had a love of preparing and cooking food.

"I like to cook," Kassandra Copp said. "Once we got into the retail part, you have less time to cook, but you can share what you grow with other people. That's always nice. People appreciate having what you've grown for them, and they appreciate that it tastes so much different than what comes from another state."

To make an order from Harvest to House, customers can create an account and place an order online at https://harvesttohouse.deliverybizpro.com/home.php. They can also place orders by phone by calling 940-222-8707.