You know when I start updating my blog that spring is not far away, thank goodness. What a long cold winter we had this year. In January and February, I spend much of my time working on vendor contracts, attending conferences and sitting through lots of meetings. Wednesday was a nice change of pace and a good day for a little road trip.
We have already started receiving new applications for the 2018 farmers market and a few of the vendors in the Farm Category have products ready to bring to market. Jake Fowler who operates Halo Farms in Hughesville, Missouri is my first stop today. Jake grows microgreens in a large green barn located on his family’s farm. At one time his family operated a greenhouse on this site and continue grow row crops across the street. I have had a few vendors over the past few years who apply to sell microgreens but have not been able to sell every week due mainly to lack of product.
Microgreens are the seedlings of vegetables and herbs. Once the seed of an herb or vegetable begins to grow, it is considered a sprout. Once the sprout begins to grow, the baby plant is considered a microgreen. The flavor of microgreens depends on the plant they comes from. It can range from mild to tangy, spicy, or peppery. Jake grows radish, sunflower, arugula, broccoli, cabbage, mustard, kale, pea, cress, beet, spinach, romaine and kohlrabi.
Jake has been growing assorted microgreens for some time and plans to expand his operation a little closer to Kansas City in the near future. He currently sells at the Saturday Columbia Farmers Market and delivers to various stores around the area. Jake has struggled this winter keeping the facility warm with all the extreme cold snaps we have had and the crazy winds. The day I visited with him his plants looked super healthy and he was working on adding another growing bench, all he has left to do is add the lights. Halo Farms plans to sell at the Sunday market starting in March; he is working on a new website which he hopes to have up and going soon. www.halogardens.com
I am starting off very slow this year so only visited one more vendor on my way back to Kansas City. Nick Villanveva has been a vendor at the City Market since 2003 and was one of the first Artist Crafter vendors I approved when I started managing the farmers market. Nick’s stall always seems to stand out at the Market since his items are unique and always made from materials collected from nature. Such as, stones, shells, wood, leather, copper, feathers and bone. Nick’s stall is mainly made-up of one of a kind jewelry pieces, dream catchers, leather purses and stone and woodcarvings. I was amazed to find out that Nick makes all his items using only a very few small hand tools. Nothing is made in batches, each item is well thought out. The material determines the design.
Nick has started taking orders for custom pieces, which has become an important element of his business. You will find New Village Arts at the City Market most Saturdays and Sundays year round. On Saturdays April through October Nick is in stall 143 on the north side of the Market Square. During the winter months and on Sundays you will find him in stall 19 located on the south side of the Market Square.
We are inching closer and closer to March so we should see more and more weekend vendors returning to the Market. If the weather warms up significantly by the last week of March we should start to see a few greenhouse vendors appear which is a sure sign spring has arrived. Just a reminder, the Saturday and Sunday farmer market hours November through March is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Our permanent stores are open every day year round.