- ABOUT US
The Tomato Patch Café's strawberry bacon pecan salad comes with feta, pecans, red onion slices, strawberries, and plenty of bacon on a bed of fresh baby spinach and romaine.
Photo by JOHN JERNIGAN
A Tecumseh native’s love of community breathes delectable life into a sleepy downtown strip.
By Becky Carman
Published March/April 2017
A few months back, a man pulled up to The Farmer’s Daughter Market in Tecumseh after it had closed and found owner Linda Praytor sitting on the porch, talking with a friend.
“I forgot my wife won’t be home tonight, Linda,” the man said. “I don’t have anything to eat!” Praytor sent him inside, and he soon returned with a bake-at-home pot pie.
“The registers are already closed for the day,” Praytor said. “Just come back and pay tomorrow.”
And he did.
That’s the sort of place Praytor has worked so hard to build. Before opening her shop in October 2014, Praytor grew up on a dairy farm southwest of Tecumseh. That lifestyle saw her up at dawn to work, off to school, and back to farm chores in the evening. This sense of responsibility helped her have a successful five-decade career as a registered nurse. It also instilled in her an admiration for the often-overlooked details of life.
“I learned to appreciate little things like the sunset and sunrise, the grass, the smells of the farm,” Praytor says. “We live such busy lives today; some of us don’t appreciate just waking up in the morning.”
It’s those small details that have made the market a success. The main building houses distinct mini-shops, all decorated in farmhouse chic with Mason jars, raw wood, and farm antiques. Old painted doors cover the walls, and a bathtub taken from Praytor’s grandmother’s home sits in the foyer. Farmer’s Daughter is expansive for an idea with such humble origins.
“I retired in 2013, and this was a dream I had,” Praytor says. “It was supposed to be a little sandwich shop to try to give my town a boost, and it became an adventure.”
The sandwich shop still is there: The Tomato Patch Café features items like strawberry salad with pecans, bacon, and homemade strawberry poppyseed dressing, and one of the market’s bestsellers is the decadent, gooey tomato cheese pie. The Dinner Bell Takery sells cook-at-home versions of some of the café’s recipes, bottled salad dressings and jams, and local milk, sorghum, and honey.
Pickles & Pigs BBQ, open on Fridays and Saturdays, features the handiwork of pitmaster Jeff Sigman. The smoked turkey is peppery and smooth, and the crowd favorite nachos include dripping white queso and spicy Sriracha sauce with a choice of brisket or pulled pork.
The Kalico Bakery offers dozens of cakes and pies, but the star is the Cloud 9: two chewy pecan cookies sandwiching fluffy cream.
In the spring, Farmer’s Daughter also hosts an outdoor flower market, and truck farmers sell their goods next to the restaurant’s thriving herb garden. The Farmhouse Home Décor store stocks candles, gifts, and home accents, and The Homestead, a refurbished house next door, was converted in 2016 and sells antiques like vintage Pyrex bakeware and quilts. If all this seems like a lot for a retiree hoping for a little sandwich shop, that’s because it is.
“Very few of us get to live our dream, and the people I have here are fulfilling mine,” Praytor says. “They are so dedicated to making this business thrive and making it good for this community. It’s a little town, but we love it to death.”
Get There: The Farmer’s Daughter Market, 302 North Broadway Avenue in Tecumseh, (405) 598-2683 or farmersdaughtermarket.com.