Ozarks Life: Kyle and Jen Strickland’s unique Laclede Co Farm

Midwest Worms ships up to 100 lbs. of worms a week during its busy season.
Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 6:26 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CONWAY, Mo. (KY3) - On I-44 near Phillipsburg, there’s a popular candy shop.

Redmon’s has everything including a sour treat: toxic waste worms.

But for some real worms that eat waste, just travel three miles to the west and you’ll find Midwest Worms.

“I’ve been thinking about getting my T-shirt that says ‘I’ve got worms,’” Kyle Strickland jokes.

Kyle has been growing composting worms since 2017.

“People are intrigued,” his wife, Jen said. “They say, ‘Well, what’s that?’ or ‘What do you do with that?’”

The idea crawled into Jen’s mind when she was diagnosed with Alpha-Gal. The tick-borne illness makes people allergic to mammal meat and products.

“Once I found out I had Alpha-Gal, I knew I had to start raising my own food to be really clean for me,” Jen said.

So she started reading on how to produce the best garden. That’s when the composting worm wiggled into the conversation.

“My first thoughts were, it’s another one of those creative ideas that my wife’s come up with to keep me busy,” Kyle remembered. “So I just kind of ignored it.”

But the more this retired firefighter read, the more he was intrigued and so Kyle bought 2/3rds of a pound of red wigglers.

“Whenever (Jen) would cook,” Kyle said, “I would go in the kitchen and take like a piece of zucchini scrap or some food scraps and just put them in there for the worms to eat. And I just kept watching them.”

“I was impressed with how fast they multiplied,” Kyle continued. “And I thought, man, somebody can make a business out of this.”

And that’s how the Stricklands came to own Midwest Worms. The composting worms eat what would end up in a landfill. In the garden, you don’t need to spray chemicals onto the plants and you will yield better fruits and vegetables.

And the worms... uh... poop introduces a hormone to the soil.

“One of the things those hormones will do is they will create within the plant a natural resistance to pests and disease,” Kyle said.

And you might have guessed it, you can buy worm castings, or poop, from Midwest Worms also.

“It’s better for the environment, better for you, it’s better for me,” Kyle said. “It’s just better.”

Mondays are the busiest days at Midwest Worms as Jen and Kyle are shipping out nationwide. With fall coming up, they’re getting ready for a busy season.

“It varies between 70 and 100 pounds a week,” Kyle said.

That’s a lot of worms to shift through by hand, weigh, and mail out every week. That’s on top of moving worms, by age, into different bins to keep them safe and healthy.

“Over the years we’ve got a good system going,” Jen joked.

And these retirees are like kids again playing up to 40 hours a week in the dirt.

Kyle says right now roughly 60% of their sales are for fishing worms.

Click here to see what Midwest Worms has to offer on their website.

To learn more about Alpa Gal, click here to see Jen’s Facebook group page, or here for her YouTube channel, or click here to visit her Etsy shop.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com