Friday, July 16, 2010

Farm Inspections July 15, 2010

Today I have two new vendors to visit and two contracted vendors. My first stop is Vesecky Family Farms in Baldwin, Kansas. William was not home when I arrived but his father was nice enough to give me the grand tour. The Vesecky's have a you-pick strawberry and blueberry farm which has run its course for this season. When they come to the City Market they will be selling chicken and eggs year round, duck in October and November and turkey in November. I had a great time seeing the menagerie of farm animals. Running free in a very large fenced in area was 1500 "Heritage" chickens which had recently been sold and will be replaced with the very young chickens being kept in another large area. In addition to "heritage" chickens they also raise "Cornish" chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, geese and a few cows. I was lucky enough to be able to see the 150 baby turkey's which are kept in an enclosed area with heat lamps. They were really cute and surrounded my feet when I walked in. I have a feeling no visit to the Vesecky farm would be complete without seeing their pet elk. I must say this was the first time I ever had an elk eat out of my hand.

My next stop is quite a drive so I had to stop and get a coffee to go. What a beautiful day to drive through the Flint Hills of Kansas. It was so pretty I stopped at a scenic overlook for a quick picture. Flores Farms is located in Manhattan, Kansas and is one of the larger farms that sell at the Market, about 350 acres. Barbra and her daughter Andrea have been coming to the market for years starting when Andrea was a child. Now Barbra's grandchildren come to the market every Saturday with their mom. Flores farm currently has 13 greenhouses many of which are filled with flowers in the early spring. This morning they had just picked cabbage to take to a farmers' market near their home. Although the weeds seem to be growing at record speed due to all the heat and rain it was easy to see all the melons, peppers, tomatoes, squash, corn and eggplant. I caught everyone as they were finishing up their lunch, I don't think they were anxious to get back in the hot fields.

Another long stretch in the truck down I-70 and lunch. Next stop is in Weston, Mo. I arrived at Green Dirt Farm just in time to watch them make their sheep cheese. Green Dirt Farm has been at the Market for three years in the 3rd shed in stall 119. In addition to sheep cheese they also make yogurt and sell lamb. I think the sheep had more sense than I did today, they were back out of sight enjoying the shade.

I have one more vendor to check in Weston, James Mc Pherson. In addition to growing garlic he also runs the local paper with his wife. James had already picked the garlic at the Weston location so there was not too much to see. In addition to the area behind his business he also has a plot of land near Smithville which I will check another day. Due to a limited amount of garlic this year James might not sell at the City Market until next year.

I am hoping for cooler weather next week as I am sure everyone is. It should be a great day at the Market tomorrow, produce is coming on fast with all the heat.Hope to see you there.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Farm Inspection July 1, 2010

I only have time to check one farm this week, Frye Farms in Buckner, MO. Marlin Frye has been farming for sixty years in the Missouri river bottom area. Frye Farms has become a little smaller during that time but Marlin and sons Jarred and Mark still grow quit a few tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelons, summer squash and egg plant. The amount of rain in that area has made it difficult to get the crops all in, they are planning to plant a late crop of 1500 tomato plants and pumpkins right after the 4th. Their early field tomatoes should be ready in about 3 weeks if all goes well.

In addition to coming to the market the Frye's also have an Agri Business in Buckner where they sell bedding plants, produce and sorghum that they make. Marlin, Mark and Jarred are in the farmer with local supplement category at the Market. This means 50%of the produce on their table must be grown by them and 50% can be supplemented from a neighboring farm or local auctions within a 500 mile radius of the City Market.This week they will be bringing tomatoes and summer squash. In a few weeks they should have eggplant, cantaloupe and watermelon.

I will be taking a break from checking farms next week due to the holiday but will be back at it the following week.

Have a safe 4th of July.