Thursday, October 6, 2016

What a beautiful day to visit Farms. Today I'm making a really big loop around the Kansas City area I'm going to start my day in Edgerton Kansas. I am meeting Steve and Andrea Myers the owners of Be Love Too Farm, their specialty is growing sprouts. I'm really excited to visit with this new vendor today since they have an item we don't currently have available at the Market. The Meyers have found a way to grow sprouts year-round in their basement which is perfect because they can control the temperature and the humidity. Their specialty is wheatgrass, sunflower shoots and pea shoots but they will eventually add mung bean shoots, alfalfa shoots broccoli shoots, clover shoots, radish shoots and fenugreek shoots this year. Be Love Too Farm is a non-certified organic sustainable farm. The Myer’s anticipate selling at the City Market starting in November and will remain at the market throughout the winter. In addition to selling their sprouts they will also be selling farm-raised mushrooms from Wakarusa Valley Farm located in Lawrence, Kansas. Wakarusa Valley Farm was a very popular vendor at the market last year so I'm very excited that we will once again have their wonderful product at the market.

After leaving Edgerton I headed towards Weston, Missouri to visit with Don Browning who owns Centennial Iris Gardens. I thought this would be a really easy visit since Don grows all of his irises, mums and lilies in the front yard of his home in downtown Weston, I was mistaken. Weston, Missouri unbeknown to me was preparing for their annual Apple Festival.  Between the roads being under construction, no street parking and all their parking lots being barricaded I was unable to get anywhere close to Don’s home, not for the lack of trying. I thought I could park out and walk in but that was not an option especially when driving the City Market purple veggie truck. My next course of action visit  Google Earth where I was able to see he does indeed grow plants in his front yard.  Don will be coming to the Market within the next few weeks on Sunday and possibly Saturdays later this year. For additional information about Centennial Iris Gardens visit his web site at

After a quick lunch break and some ice cream from Green Dirt Farms cute little restaurant in Weston I headed towards Buckner, Missouri.  I wanted to stop in to check Frye Farms tomato greenhouse one more time this season since this is the main item they sell at the City Market and many greenhouses have stopped producing by now. I found their road side store a bustle with activity, they were preparing for a busy weekend where they demonstrate how sorghum is made. It is pretty cool to see! Marlin had just picked the last of the greenhouse tomatoes earlier in the week so when these are gone they will be buying local tomatoes to resale. This is allowed in the supplement category but all produce must be harvested within 500 miles of the market and cannot be more than 50% of the product being sold by that vendor that day.  In addition to supplemented greenhouse tomatoes Marlin will also be selling fall mums at the Market.  You will find Frye Farms located in the third pavilion in stalls 129-131 for a few more weeks.

Today I took a little field trip on the street car to visit Annette “Gigi” Jones. Annette owns Zafar which is located in the Power and Light District in Kansas City. After some business adjustments to her salon/spa/boutique she is working on reopening her store in the near future but wants to sell her hand made body scrubs and Shea butter at the Sunday farmers market. Annette gave me a demonstration of how she makes and packages her fragrant body scrubs. She only uses scents which have a therapeutic or healing component to them and I must admit after trying some on my hand the results were very noticeable. Zafar will be at the market for the first time this coming Sunday in the third pavilion. For additional information visit her web site at

I am slowing down a little on farm visits but hope to continue visiting with the many artist/craft vendors who sell at the City Market over the next couple months.

Once again the weather looks beautiful for the farmers market this weekend. Just a reminder we are a year round farmers market so don’t forget to support local farmers, crafter and small businesses this winter!

Friday, September 30, 2016

It is the end of September and officially fall and I have yet to visit all the City Market vendors this year. So far this year I have traveled 4,151 miles and have checked 56 vendors farms or workshops. Much of this year has been spent visiting new vendors who sell during the Sunday farmers market. 

Last week I once again stayed in the Kansas City, Kansas area. Although the City Market allows vendors to participate in the farmers market from within a 500 mile radius of Kansas City many of our vendors farm and live just across the state line. Most of the vendor I visited on the 15th sell cut flower bouquets so I thoroughly enjoyed myself while walking through the rows of dahlias, zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos, gladiolas and cockscombs.

See Vang and Nao Thue Thao have the tallest dahlias I have ever seen, See explained that she plants a special variety which is better suited to our weather. As we walked through the rows See was constantly clipping flowers to send back to the office with me, what a wonderful treat. I was fretting about getting them back safely. In addition to flowers See also grows eggplant, banana peppers, mustard greens, lemon grass and bok choy.  You will find See and her family at the Market most Saturdays and Sundays April through October. Saturday pavilion 3 stall 135 and 136 and Sundays Pavilion two stall 82.

I was barley back in the truck and I had arrived at Cha Vang’s. Cha farms this large plot of land with his son Chenou Vang and the rest of his family. I was amazed how his farm had expanded since my first visit a few years ago. Everyone was busy when I arrived so I wondered through the rows on my own. I love the trellises they make out of sticks to support the bitter melons, they are quite beautiful. Cha had rows of Moonshadow hyacinth beans which were climbing along wire suppor. I always thought they were poisonous to eat but apparently if you eat the pod when it is small and tender it is okay but as the pod gets older and the bean starts to dry it could be poisonous. I have one of these plants at home as an ornamental, it is very pretty and grows quickly. Cha also grows cut flowers, his gladiolas were beautiful. Chenou Produce is at the Market every Saturday and Sunday April through October. You will find them in the third pavilion in stalls 123-125 on Saturdays and in Pavilion two in stalls 76, 77 & 83 on Sundays.

My last stop for this day was at the home of Alissa Pang Her and Chao Her. They farm in the area located behind their home on a pretty steep slope. No one was home so I walked through only a portion of their back yard. I am always fascinated by the bamboo that is growing along the side of their yard; it spreads every year I am there. They still had okra to harvest, kale and eggplant along with zinnias and cock combs. Alissa Pang Her is at the Market most Saturdays during the summer and occasionally on Sunday.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

After stopping by the office to check emails I headed out to Fort Scott, Kansas to visit with Linda and Dennis Clayborn. I double checked with them before I left Kansas City to make sure their road was not washed out, this happens a lot. Turns out the road was okay but their drive was a little dicey. Dennis met me at the end of the drive and we headed west to his property where he grazes their cattle, only 25 miles each way.  I always love a road trip and the area around Fort Scott is beautiful. We had to search a little for the cows since they are free range and have a lot of area to roam in, we found quite a few along the fence line soaking up some shade. On the way back to their farm we drove by the Bronson Locker where Dennis has all his beef and pork processed, Bronson Locker has been in business for years.  Linda was busy picking pumpkins when we got back to the farm which they were planning to bring to the market on the weekend. Their tomatoes are pretty much done for the year except for a few cherry varieties. On Friday they were going to dig potatoes, onions and pick greens for Saturday. In addition to cattle Dennis and Linda also raise pigs and chickens which they have processed to bring to the market.  Clayborn farm will be at the market throughout the winter selling mainly beef, pork and eggs.

The day got away from me while I was at the Clayborn’s so I was only able to get one more stop in before heading back to Kansas City. I headed down 54 highway to Walker, MO where Mark Curtis raises Argentine style grass fed beef which he has processed to bring to the Market. Mark works a full time job so is never at the farm when I visit. It was obvious that he had cattle, although I was unable to take any photos since all the animals were along the tree lines in the shade, smart animals! Mark sells in the supplement category at the market and supplements pork from Lamar, Mo and chicken from Button Wood Farms. Vendors in the supplement category are allowed to supplement no more than 50% of the product they bring to the market and that product/produce must come from within a 500 mile radius of the City Market. Golden Rule Meats is also at the City Market on Saturday throughout the year. For more information visit his web site at

I am taking a few days off over the holiday so will not be visiting any vendors next week but will get back on the highway the following Thursday.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Last Thursday was a beautiful day to drive to Saint Joe Missouri and Wathena Kansas. It has been a year since I've visited John Goods Farm, Goody Acres. I'm anxious to see how many different kinds of peppers John is growing this year. Goody Acres is located in the first Pavilion in stalls 7 – 9, he is the only vendor at the market that actually brings a pepper roaster in each week. You always know when John is roasting peppers you can smell them all over the market, the smell is AWSOME. I am sure I missed a few varieties of peppers as we walked through the fields but I know John was growing Anaheims, poblano peppers, habanero peppers, banana peppers, green peppers, purple bell peppers and a variety I've never heard of before pasillabajio peppers. John told me this variety has a little smoky taste. John still had quite a few heirloom tomatoes growing in his greenhouse; he picked a few as we walk through. They just dug potatoes earlier this week and hope to finish up on Friday. John’s late squash is also starting to come on really good, he has acorn, zucchini and butternut squash. The eggplant looks beautiful and is really starting to come on with all this heat and the dry spell. On the lower terraced area, which once housed a greenhouse, John is now growing watermelon and cantaloupe. John is getting ready to plow under the cabbage and broccoli which is done and replant turnips, beets and celery for the fall. Whenever I am at John's I need to make a point and stop by and look at the sheep, John raises Katadyn sheep which are a short haired variety which do not require sheering.   I also make it a point to see Rocket who is the male sheep or I guess it would be called a ram. Rocket it is always kept in a separate pen for obvious reasons. You will find John at the City Market every Saturday March through October. 

My next stop was only about 15 minutes from Wathena; it's in Saint Joe on Highway 169.  Nature's Choice owned and operated by Fred and Helen Messner has just wrapped up their u-pick blackberry patch. Fred started raising berries a few years ago and things have really taken off. I was hoping to visit before the blackberries were done for the season but just didn't make it. I caught Fred at a bad time; he was just sitting down to eat lunch so I just showed myself around. Tomatoes and green beans were about all that was left in the fields, at least that I could see.  They also have a few herbs in their greenhouse that they will be bringing to the market. Fred and Helen start coming to the Market early in the spring with vegetable plants and beautiful lilies on both Saturday and Sunday. Natures Choice is a biodynamic farm which means in addition to organic practices such as crop rotation and composting, biodynamic farmers rely on special plants, animal and mineral preparations and the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets and stars. You will find Natures Choice in the first farmer pavilion in stalls 12-14 on Saturdays only this time of year.

My last stop on Thursday, August 18th was in Kansas City, Kansas at the farm of Chiong Vang. The Hmong Vaj Farm is located off of I-70 and 78th Street they have been farming in this location for quite a few years. Chiong’s father met me when I pulled in; since I knew he had been working in the fields all morning and it was super hot I told him I would walk through the fields by myself. Some crops were obviously done for the year, others were thriving and some sections were being readied to replant. The key to having produce all season is to constantly be rotating crops. As I walked from row to row I saw various varieties of eggplant, kale, okra, peppers, long beans and beautiful zinnias, huge sunflowers, gladiolas, cosmos and cockscomb. I love walking through all the rows of flowers! Hmong Vaj Farm is at the market every Saturday in pavilion two and three and Sunday in pavilion two.

I had a really neat vendor to check today. Tyler Kimball with Monarch Glass Studio makes beautiful unique blown glass items. Tyler has been studying his craft for the last 17 years and opened his own studio about a year ago, so his business is fairly new. I was really impressed when Tyler told me he built or rebuilt all of his equipment used to make these beautiful works of art. Unfortunately he fires up the equipment on Mondays so I missed seeing him in action but he promised to send me some photos. The pictures I took will not do the pieces justice so you might want to visit him in person or visit Tyler’s web site. I loved the unique lighting fixtures, these can be special ordered and each piece is unique. Monarch Glass Studio will be at the Market on Sundays in October selling blown glass pumpkins. 

Since the weather was looking a little dicey I thought I would visit another vendor that was located inside so I stopped at Yappy Hour which is located in Gladstone Missouri. Nicole Duvall and Curtis Kelly own Yappy Hour which is a pet resort, so it makes perfect sense that they make nutritional gourmet dog treats which they sell at the City Market on Saturdays and Sundays. Their dog treats look so much like cookies that I have witnessed more than one customer trying to purchase them for a snack. As I entered the building I was greeted with a very loud welcome from all the resort guest and found Nicole busy putting the final touches on this week’s treats. For additional information visit their web site at

Thank goodness the rain stopped for a little while and I was able to stop by Vang Farm which is located in Kansas City, Kansas on Parallel Parkway. I always love visiting the Vang’s Farm it reminds me of a big patchwork quilt. The farm is located in a valley behind their home. Weeds have taken over part of the field but you can still see the zinnias popping up above the weeds. As I walk down the winding path I walk by long green beans, eggplant, Thai peppers, water spinach and the list goes on and on. You will find the Vang family at the City Market every Saturday and Sunday.   As I neared the truck the sky opened up once again so I decided to call it a day. 

Next week I am heading south to touch base with a few vendors near Fort Scott, Kansas unless the rain continues and the roads are washed out.