Friday, April 18, 2014

I was surprised when I started out today and it was 37 degrees and overcast. No better way to brighten a gloomy day than to visit a greenhouse full of beautiful flowers. My first stop will be in Emporia, Kansas, I have never been to Emporia so am looking forward to the trip. The farther south I headed on I - 35 the more smoke I saw in the distance. I think these were possible controlled burns, at least I hope they were.

Marcus Jamison is just getting started growing microgreens which are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seeds and require very little space. Microgreens are not sprouts or young vegetables but grown from plant seeds such as beets, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, mustards or radishes then harvested when less than two inches tall. Marcus will be growing these in a small greenhouse which they built last year. As I said, he is just getting started so does not plan on attending the Market till next month. Marcus’s father also has a small garden so he might bring a few cucumbers, tomatoes and onions during the summer.

I wanted to make sure I visited the Flower Farm before this coming weekend. Keith Johnson grows beautiful Easter lilies which I knew he would have at the market this weekend. Keith showed me the beautiful Martha’s geranium and azaleas he will also have in his stalls on Saturday, they are perfect for Easter. I always love visiting the Flower Farm, in addition to a great selection of bedding plants and hanging baskets he has wonderful tropical’s. I think the bougainvilleas are my favorite; they line the top of one of his greenhouses. Keith is at the City Market now through July in the middle shed in stalls 69-71. His greenhouse in Gardner, Kansas is opened to the public Monday – Friday 8am to 6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit the Flower Farm web site at

I have time for one more stop today so head towards Platt City, Mo. The Oberdiek’s are currently selling at the Parkville Market and Leavenworth Market on Saturdays and will include the City Market on Sundays. Today I am checking their greenhouse tomatoes which they started back in January. The plants are loaded with green tomatoes and according to Zach should be ready to bring to the market in a couple weeks. I will visit their farm in July when they will be harvesting corn, green beans, potatoes, cucumbers, squash, beets and field tomatoes. I have three other vendors who live in that area who will need to be inspected at the same time so I will have very little driving that day.

Next week I am heading to Rockville and Garden City Missouri which is south of Kansas City. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a nice warm sunny day.

The Farmers Market will be bustling tomorrow. Many of our vendors have returned so I expect to fill at least 100 stalls in the morning. The Saturday Market hours are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Sunday Market starts at 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Today was the perfect day to get out and visit a few greenhouses .After this terrible long winter it was nice to drive out in the country and see all the trees starting to bud out. The grass along the highway has started turning green and there were cute baby cows frolicking in the fields. Spring is a wonderful time of the year.

Today I visited two of our vendors who live in Versailles, MO. Versailles is located south of 50 highway and east of Sedalia. When I started at the Market in 2003 I had many more vendors to visit in this area. Since that time many of them have retired, sold their businesses or opted to sell their produce at the auction house in Fortuna.

My first stop was at The Busy Bee located off highway 52. Darrel and his wife Diane have been bringing bedding plants to the City Market since 2004. Diane told me she was selling at the Market with her family when she was 18. I am always amazed by the number of people I meet who have a story about the City Market. This is one of the things that makes the City Market so special. The Unruh’s have two greenhouses which they heat with propane and wood. During the extreme cold spells Darrel had to get up during the night to stoke the fire so the plants would not freeze. I don’t think people always appreciate what it takes to get healthy plants ready to bring to the Market by April. As always their greenhouses are immaculate which insures healthy plants free of disease. They have started bringing the plants out of the warmth of the greenhouses to get them ready to plant. This is very important so as not to shock the plants. They had a wonderful selection of annuals and tomato plants. I especially liked a new plant Diane put in hanging baskets this year. They should bloom all summer and have already started to trail out of the baskets. They also had King Tut, which is a grass that looks great when planted in a large pot surrounded by colorful annuals. Darrel said it also does well in a pond, they placed one in water and it did well all winter. Darrel and Diane do not sell plants directly to customers from their home but they do have a roadside stand which is located on highway 52 a few miles from their home. The roadside stand will open tomorrow, it should do well since it is located near a very busy intersection. You will find the Unruh’s at the market every Saturday through June in the middle farmers shed in stalls 60-63.

 My next stop is only about ten minutes down the road and is also located on 52 highway. Chris Pifer started selling at the Sunday farmers market last year. Chris starts his tomato plants very early in the winter so is the first vendor to have vine ripened tomatoes at the Market. He is able to do this since he heats his greenhouses by burning sawdust instead of using propane. Chris took me on a tour of his tomato house, wow was it impressive. He planted 544 plants and hopes to get 25# to 30# of tomatoes from each plant. He should get 1 ½# to 2# of tomatoes per plant per week, that’s a lot of tomatoes! When I entered one of his 5 greenhouses the smell of the petunias was unbelievable. The Pifer’s specialize in extra-large hanging baskets which they start a little earlier than most of the vendors, they are beautiful. In a few weeks he will also be bringing some potted pepper plants, succulent planters and knock out roses. The Pifers sell at the Columbia Farmers Market, City Market and the Merriam Market on Saturdays.

I had the scariest thing happen to me on the drive back from Versailles. A wild turkey came flying out of the tall grass along the road on highway 50. All of a sudden it was in front of my windshield at the nose of the truck, I am sure I screamed. I don’t know how it did not crash into my windshield. I had to pull over for a minute. Wild turkeys are much bigger than you think!

Next week I will be heading to Emporia, Kansas to visit a new vendor for the Sunday farmers market.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What a long...cold...winter! I visited with many of the vendors off and on throughout the winter and what struggles many of them have had. For those that raise live stock it was a constant struggle to keep the animals water from freezing and keep them safe from the extreme cold. Vendors who operate greenhouses struggled with the high price of propane and keeping their greenhouses heated. I am hoping for a mild spring this year, please no snow in May!

The City Market is a year round market, which many people don’t realize. We had farmer market vendors in the heated pavilion every Saturday this winter and even a few on Sunday. The number of farmer market vendors will increase every weekend as spring produce, vegetable plants and bedding plants become in season. If you’re not sure what items are in season in this area visit the City Market web site at and check out the “Harvest Calendar”. Some of the time frames may vary a little due to the weather and some items might show up a little early if the vendor has a greenhouse or high tunnels.

A couple of weeks ago I started doing a few farm visits. This time of year we receive a lot of new applications so I am usually very busy checking these new vendors. One of the City Markets newest vendors is Andy Grevitt owner of Anna Mae Farms in Drexel, Missouri. Andy is fairly new to the hydroponic world but has done an excellent job with his first greenhouse. When I visited Drexel Andy was harvesting basil, Chinese kale and bibb lettuce. Since that time he has been at the City Market twice, it was wonderful to see fresh produce again. Anna Mae Farms will be at the Sunday farmers market starting in May.

For those of you who are not familiar with hydroponic growing methods here is a little bit of information. “Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Researchers discovered in the 18th century that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant's water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive.” (Information from Wikipedia)

On my way to Drexel I stopped in Edgerton, Kansas and visited Sue and Steve Enright. They own and operate Enright Gardens located on N 400 Road just west of Edgerton. In addition to having a wonderful selection of bedding plants, vegetable plants and assorted yard accessories they also operate an event space on their farm. Normally when I visit this time of year their greenhouse is bursting with beautiful hanging baskets. But this year, due to the extreme cold, they have just recently started planting the baskets. I was a little bummed out; I was in the mood for a blast of spring colors. I guess I will just have to be patient. ( )

Last week I broke away from the office to visit a new vendor from Parkville, Missouri. Pamela Houck started a home business a couple of years ago making salsa. Her business is called Pammy Sue’s Kitchen and she currently offers ten different varieties of salsa with varying heat. All of the vendors at the City Market who make a processed food item are required to have a licensed kitchen and in this case Pamela had to also complete the “Better Process Control” classes. Pamela hopes to start selling her salsa at the City Market every Sunday starting in April. For more information visit her web site at

I can’t wait to get back on the road again. Spring is finally here!

Friday, December 6, 2013

I know its December and really cold but the farmers' market vendors are a hearty group and will be setting up at the Market tomorrow. The City Market is a great place to find unique holiday items and many of our artist/crafter vendors will be setting up in the heated pavilion located on the south side of the Market. You can expect to see:
  • Heirloom Green (crocheted items)
  • White Truck Originals (stained Glass)
  • Surya Shakti (jewelry)
  • Glen P. Davis Studios (portraits)
  • Elegant Home (soy candles, incense)
  • Terri's Designs (purses, aprons, infinity scarves, hair accessories)
  • Constance Smith Custom Oil Painting 
  • Garrison Wildlife Art
  • Scrunchies Galore (scrunchies, children's toys)
If you are looking for that special holiday bakery item, Pallo Poviticia will be selling wonderful poviticia bread. If you have never tried it he does offer samples, yummy!

Bristle Ridge Farm has incorporated baked goods into their farm stall, Jeanette will be bringing fresh baked pecan pies, banana bread and pumpkin bread. All of the baked goods sold at the City Market are made in licensed kitchens which are inspected by the county where the vendor resides, just thought you would want to know this.

The Market has vendors selling free range/grass fed meat every Saturday during the winter months (unless we have a ice or snow storm of course) and farm fresh eggs. (Golden Rule Meats, DanJo Farms and Natasha's Farm) If you are looking for something a little different KC Buffalo is a great option, Peter has wonderful summer sausage. This always finds its way into more than one of the gift baskets I give to my family at Christmas, they love getting baskets filled with items I purchase at the Market.

For those of you who use honey in your holiday baking Stephen's Orchard will be selling their local honey. They also have wonderful whipped honey in a variety of flavors, my favorite is cinnamon. These are great to put in that special someones sock.

So dress warm and venture out tomorrow to support your local farmers and those creative craft vendors.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The City Market was very busy on Saturday with vendors and shoppers. It was a beautiful day for November, I am sure one of the few 60 degree days we will have anytime soon. It was so nice to still see an abundance of winter squash, sweet potatoes, onions, apples, turnips and other fall vegetables. The City Markets farmers' market is open year round for those of you who prefer to buy local produce. Over the years the Market has increased the number of farmers selling a variety of meat and fresh eggs, these vendors are usually here every Saturday.

The EBT/SNAP program continues year round and  Beans and Greens will continue to fund the matching program. SNAP customers purchasing $15.00 from their EBT card will receive an additional $15.00 once a day on Saturday and on Sunday as long as we have vendors at the Market. Customers can purchase their SNAP tokens at the City Market office located at 20 east 5th street.

In addition to fresh produce, baked good, jams, jellies, honey and meat products the farmers' market also has a great group of Artist/Crafter vendors. Saturday the Market had vendors selling, soaps, lotions, candles, incense, jewelry, paintings, purses, scarves, dried flower arrangements, tag art, and children's toys.What a great place to find that perfect holiday gift.

If you have not shopped the Sunday market in a few years you will be pleasantly surprised. Today there were 23 farmer market stalls filled with a variety of food and craft items and 51 yard sale vendors selling a wide range of unique used items and collectibles.

Please stop by the City Market on the weekend and support all your favorite farmers and buy local for the holidays.

Pumpkin Bread
16 servings

Rinse fresh vegetables under running water. Scrub firm-skin veggies with a vegetable brush while rinsing.

1 cup pumpkin (1/2 of a 15 oz can or fresh, cooked and mashed)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup plain low fat yougurt
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup whole wheat flour

Wash hands and surface. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large mixing bowl, beat together pumpkin, sugar, oil and yogurt. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to pumpkin mixture, stirring until moistened. Stir in raisins and pour into greased 9 x 3 inch loaf pan. Bake for about one hour or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 

Cool ten minutes and then remove from pan. Refrigerate leftovers immediately.Show Me Simple and Health Recipes - University of Missouri Extension.

Friday, October 18, 2013

I have wrapped up my farm visits for this year so will keep you updated on the winter farmers' market. I am amazed by the number of vendors we have still coming to the Market this weekend. We have been very lucky not to have had a frost yet this month, but after the terrible spring we had I think the farmers deserve a break. We will have vendors braving the early morning temperatures in all three covered pavilions tomorrow.

There are still a few field tomatoes hanging on so you might want to get one more fix for the year. I have found so many wonderful ways to use tomatoes this summer but will have to wait till next year to try the recipes again, once you have fresh you just can't go back to store bought. I talked to a vendor from Versailes, Mo today who will have tomatoes starting in March. Yeah!

Fall is a wonderful time to get fresh lettuce, greens such as kale, radishes, squash and broccoli since they thrive in the cool weather. I have included a few recipes this week using fresh greens, apples and squash, ENJOY.

Greens Sauteed with Apples

2 tsp olive oil
6 cups greens, chopped
1/2 tsp coriander
3 apples peeled and chopped

Heat oil, then add greens and coriander. Toss to coat. Cover and steam until limp, 5 to 10 minutes. Add chopped apples and saute for 2 minutes.

I made the butternut squash  recipe last night, it was really taste!
Butternut Squash and Apple Bake

2 pounds Butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 baking apples, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine melted
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a 12 x 7 1/2 inch baking dish, layer squash slices. Layer apple slices on top of the squash. Mix brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon. Sprinkle over top of squash and apples. Cover and bake 50 minutes or until tender.

From the University of Missouri Extension, Seasonal and Simple cook book

Friday, October 11, 2013

I was unable to visit farms this week but I thought I would post a new fall recipe. I spoke with Randy Tillery this morning (stalls 46-48) and he said his produce is still producing, in fact the tomatoes are still coming on strong and look as nice as they did during the summer. I am keeping my finger crossed that Jack Frost stays away  for a little longer, I am not ready to give up eating summer produce.

Sweet Potato Brulee

12 oz. Sweet Potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup chopped pecans
6 Tbsp. sugar

Pierce sweet potatoes several times with a fork and microwave until tender. Split in half lengthwise and let cool. Scoop the potato out of the skin and place in a food processor. Add butter, brown sugar and salt. Process briefly until smooth.

Stir in the pecans then divide the mixture between four one-cup ramekins. Microwave until hot. Top each dish with 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar. Using quick, lateral motions and a short flame, heat the sugar until it turns brown and bubbly. (you can place under the broiler if you don't have a torch) let cool one or two minutes for the sugar to harden. serves 4

I found this recipe in "In Season Cooking Fresh From The Kansas City Farmers' Market" by Julienne Gehrer

Nutty Apple and Spinach Salad

You will be able to find spinach, apples, goat cheese and honey at the farmers market this weekend.

1 large Jonathan apple washed, quartered, cored and sliced thin
2 cups washed spinash
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup fetta or goat cheese, crumbled
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. honey

Wash hands and surfaces before beginning. For dressing whisk lemon juice and honey in a small bowl to blend. In a large bowl combine apple and spinach. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Mound salad on four plates. Sprinkle with walnuts and cheese. Refrigerate leftover immediately.

Recipe from FNEP (Family Nutrition Education Programs)