Rosewood Farms: A sweet-as-chocolate destination

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Rosewood Farms Country Gifts is located on the line between Hartville and Grovespring.

HARTVILLE – Local hills and hollows hide a story that smacks of fairy tale sweetness: A chocolate farm, one that grows within rural Wright County. Its owners, members of a single family, sell more than 100 handmade treats — and a plethora of other gifts — in an Amish-built cobblestone barn.

It’s the story of Rosewood Farms.

Visitors pass rainbows of flowers, a wrought-iron pavilion and a garden filled with tiny cottages before even reaching the door. It’s a place thought so beautiful by some that weddings are held there.

“(People) just walk in the door and they’re like, ‘Oh my goodness! I can’t believe this is out here,’” says owner Melody Boyster. “They don’t expect it out here in the middle of nowhere.”

But despite its location, “we’re a destination,” she adds. “And we’ve been blessed with good word- of-mouth.”

How it began

The business came to be 18 years ago when Boyster and her husband, John, moved their four children from Arizona to middle-of-nowhere Missouri. “We wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle,” explains Boyster. The couple visited various Ozarks locations when searching for a spot, but acreage near Hartville grabbed their attention.

And with the new address came a new business venture: The family decided to make and sell chocolates. They were inspired by John Boyster’s grandfather — known as Grandpa Joe — for whom selling candy had always been a dream.

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A photo of Grandpa Joe hangs on the wall at Rosewood.

“He went to candy making school in California back in the ‘40s,” says Boyster of her husband’s grandfather. “He took his family there for several weeks and they came back to Arizona and started making chocolates.”

Grandpa Joe never fully realized his plan: He didn’t sell chocolates, but he did teach the craft to his family — and spread around the sweet results. “He gave all his chocolates away to family and friends,” says Boyster. “(He did it) for the love of it.”

When the Boysters moved to Missouri, they started with five of Grandpa Joe’s recipes: English toffee, ultimate chocolate, orange truffle, chocolate truffle and brown sugar pecan. “We started with those … few and then just kept going from there,” she says.

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The family started with five of Grandpa Joe’s recipes: English toffee, ultimate chocolate, orange truffle, chocolate truffle and brown sugar pecan.

Today, the family creates more than 100 types of chocolate, toffee and brittle in a temperature-controlled room located below the barn. “Wherever you walk is (above) our chocolate facility,” she says. But few besides family are allowed into the room itself — the recipes are too secret to share.

More than chocolate

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Clothing, sourced from Europe, is sold at Rosewood Farms.

Chocolate, however, isn’t the only thing that the family sells. A trip through the store reveals antiques (such as the shipment recently received from the Netherlands) and home decor including ceramic canisters, plates and inspirational plaques.

Flowy clothing, sourced from Europe, fills an entire room, and trays of sparkling jewelry are sold up front. “And of course, (we have) toys for the kids,” says Boyster. “We try to have something for everybody.”

But there’s more: The family also has its own line of candles, potpourri, and bath and body products, the latter which offer soothing medicinal benefits. “We ship out a lot to Texas and other places for radiation (patients),” says Boyster. “We didn’t know it was good for that until they started recommending us at the cancer institute.”

Peek inside Rosewood Farms

Even that, however, isn’t all the family does. They also create food items such as jams, salsas, and dip and soup mixes. “We’re working on four of the fruit dips for fall and a loaded baked potato soup for fall,” says Boyster, noting that the latter has taken months to perfect.

The family recently launched a line of inspirational clothing, and also operates a coffee shop, which serves up their signature Farm Frap — and have “pretty much everything up there that Starbucks would have,” says Boyster.

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Rosewood Farms’ candle line is another of its business ventures.

Who is involved?

Rosewood Farms is very much a family affair: The Boysters still run the business, and are aided by their children and spouses. Some are employed on a full-time basis, while others help out as the need arises — but “every aspect of the business, we all know how to do,” says Boyster.

And the next generation waits in the wings: Grandkids are literally growing up in the store, some spotted in a dedicated playroom behind the register.

But even with so many people involved in various aspects of the business, it takes a great deal of time to keep things running — especially since the family also fills online orders. “So, last week was a 2 o’clock in the morning start,” says Boyster. “Most times, it’s 3, 3:30.”

But despite those early days, when asked if the family has any new ventures in the works, Boyster simply smiles and gives a one-word answer: “always.”

When to shop

Rosewood Farms (7345 Highway 5, Hartville; 417-741-6915) is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, connect through their website or via Facebook.