Friday, July 29, 2011


I made a mistake when I listed Dan Heryer and Brook Salvaggio's web site. The correct web site is

Farm and Crafter Visit July 28, 2011

I was a bit of a lite weight this week and opted to stay close to home and inside as much as possible. When the temperature gets to be 100 plus it is the perfect time to visit one of the markets contracted artist /crafter vendors. The vendors in this category are required to make the items they sell at the market so every now and then I stop by and watch them work on the items they sell each week. In addition to watching them work I also check to make sure they have the supplies it takes to create the finished product.

Terri Mick, Terri's Designs, is known at the market as the "embroidery lady". Terri makes beautiful purses, backpacks, diaper bags,aprons, embroidered t-shirts and sweatshirts. Each item can be made to order and even include the name of your favorite someone or your business. Terri is constantly coming up with new and unique items to bring to the market and has a very cute gift idea for Christmas. (Just a reminder, many of the craft vendors set-up at the market every Saturday through Christmas.)I was fascinated to see how Terri's embroidery machine works. I had always thought that you just needed to program the design in and walk away, I found out I was mistaken. Terri has to constantly monitor the machine in case the thread breaks or the color of the thread needs to be changed. Terri's work space is filled with piles of assorted materials sorted by color and theme, beads, purse handles, ribbon and a few unique items waiting to be turned into something wonderful. Terri is at the market every Saturday on the east side of the market square.

I really hated to leave Terri's air conditioned house but I want to check a farm today before I go home. Dan Heryer and Brook Salvaggio better known as the owners of Bad Seed Market located in mid town have been coming to the market off and on since 2008. Dan has had an abundance of produce so has been coming to the market on Sunday for the last few weeks. When I first met Dan and Brook they were farming in a residential area on Bannister road. Due to many zoning issues they opted to relocate to an area a little farther out of the city. In doing so they were able to have some livestock and expand the amount of produce they are able to grow. I was very upset to hear that they lost their goats to a pack of wild dogs this year. There seems to be so many ups and downs in farming. As Dan walked me through their fields it was pretty evident that the heat and deer are taking it's toll on their tomato crop. We were both surprised to see a deer in the middle of the field in broad daylight. Dan will be at the market this coming Sunday, you can't miss his stall, his display of fresh produce is always very nice. For more information about Bad Seed visit their web site at

If you are looking for fresh corn, tomatoes, peppers or green beans you will need to visit your favorite farmers' market this weekend. The heat and lack of rain is destroying many of these items. The only thing that seems to be doing really well are eggplant, squash and okra.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Farm Visits July 21, 2011

I was really hoping the weather would break before it was time to go out and visit farms this week, but no such luck. I only have two farms to check today, both are located north of Kansas City.

My first stop is east of Trenton, Missouri off highway 65. Lewis and Marie Kamphefner were regulars at the market quit a few years ago, you might remember Strawberry Lane Farm. Marie's family has farmed their land since 1898 and has seen their share of floods due to the "Muddy Creek" which meanders through their farm. Years ago the creek was straightened and does not cause too many problems anymore. Strawberry Lane sells at the Saturday Weston Farmers' market and plans to sell at the City Market on Sunday's once their tomatoes start to ripen. In addition to tomatoes their acorn and zucchini squash are doing well, bugs are starting to feast on the leaves of their Kohlrabi and they have planted a second crop of cucumbers and assorted onions. I had a hard time seeing the row of carrots due to the tall weeds but in this heat the weeds helps to protect the plants from the scorching sun.

I really enjoyed my visit with Marie and Lewis who sent me on my way with a very tasty loaf of chocolate zucchini bread which I need to remember to get the recipe for.

My second and last stop of the day is in Hale, Missouri. There is really no good way to get to Hale without doing a lot of backtracking. Bryson's Farm Fresh produce is a family operation and today Joe's son and grandson were on hand to show me around. The heat is definitely starting to take its toll on the tomato plants in the green houses. The plants are looking a little ruff but are covered with green tomatoes. The black berry bushes look great and are thick with berries. Joe will be transplanting more bushes next spring so hopes to continue to increase the amount of berries he can bring to market. Yesterday they spent hours watering their cantaloupe field, they do not have water available for their watermelon crop so will more than likely loose it. Many of the vegetable plants are hiding among the weeds which seems to be the case with most farmers that do not use pesticides or at least very little. Joe is in the farmer with local supplement category at the market, so 50% of the produce he sells can come from neighboring farms. An Amish family provides Joe with some of the supplemented produce he brings to the market.

I am hot and dirty so very happy to head for home. Not sure where I will head next week, I still have some farms to check as well as crafters. Maybe I can visit a few of each next Thursday.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Farm Visits July 14, 2011

After a few very busy weeks at the market I thought I better get back on the road and visit a few farms. Today was a little challenging since I had trouble getting from point A to point B thanks to the Missouri River. Twice today I had to back track due to flooded roads.

I will be revisiting a few farms today since I visited them in the spring when most of their vegetable plants were still in the greenhouses waiting for the soil to warm up. My first stop today will be to visit a new vendor who has patiently been waiting for me to make it too his farm. Eric Lockard has been farming his farm in Higginsville for the last 2 ½ years and has three acres of corn ready to bring to the market. He had planted three varieties this season, one of which is already done and not a crop that Eric was very happy with. I was so busy taking pictures of the corn that I almost walked right into his electric fence. One of those times when it is obvious I am a city girl. Eric has been battling raccoons in his corn fields even with the electric fence; he has started setting live traps and has caught 8 so far. In addition to corn the Lockards have a small garden mainly for their own use. This garden consists of apple, pear and peach trees, blueberry bushes, tomatoes, peppers and his sons Indian corn. Eric will be at the market on the daily waiting list so his location will more than likely change weekly.

Not too far from the Lockard farm, just east of Higginsville, is Peacock farm. Betty’s farm is one I checked earlier in the spring. Betty was able to get a grant to have a commercial kitchen installed which she will be able to rent out by the hour. They are getting very close to getting it done, in fact tomorrow the lighting, floorboards and phone lines will be installed. Once the equipment is installed they will be ready to go. An open house for the kitchen is scheduled for August 6th and 7th. Betty’s husband Kenneth gave me the grand tour of the farm. Peacock farm has also been having trouble with raccoons, they are killing their chickens. They have caught two in their live traps but know there are many more still lurking around. I think the weeds are getting the best of Betty’s vegetables, but maybe they are also helping to keep the plants shaded. Kenneth had just picked zucchini yesterday; there were plenty of cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, fresh herbs, carrots and cone cabbage. In addition to vegetables Peacock farm also sells farm fresh eggs at the market, but with the extreme heat we have been having they are not laying very many eggs.

I wasn’t planning on checking a peach orchard today but I received a call asking me if I could check their farm since I was in the area. Sherry and Matt Thorp farm 10 acres of peaches in Waverly, Missouri and raise 23 different varieties. They normally sell most of their peaches at their roadside country store “Mother Earth” but due to all the flooding many of the roads are closed and customers are unable to easily find their store. Sherry had me follow her in the markets truck through the peach orchards, the peaches looked wonderful. Some of the trees were producing so many peaches that the branches were breaking off; Sherry told me they did not get pruned enough last year. As I stood in front of their home I noticed all the beetles flying around the yard. Matt told me they burrow into the peaches and do quite a bit of damage to the peach crop. If beetles weren’t enough they also have fruit bats which bite into the peaches and hang on, unbeknown to the person picking them . Okay maybe the raccoons aren’t so bad. Mother Earth is located just west of Waverly, Missouri on highway 24.

I had planned to visit Fahrmeier Farm today but part of 24 highway is under water so it can wait till another day. Due to all the roads and some bridges being out I have to take the long way to Buckner, Missouri and Frye Farms. I caught Marlin and his family taking a much deserved lunch break when I arrived, it was nice to have a chance to visit with them and have a nice cold glass of ice tea. Marlin showed me the greenhouse which was full of tomato plants, most of which were green since they had already picked some yesterday. Behind the greenhouse was a new area they were working on the last time I visited the farm. They had built planting beds which were now full of 1200 tomato plants and green peppers. The eggplant was not in planting beds and looked a little sad, they had been hammered with rain and not doing very good. Marlin will probably plant squash in its place. I was happy when Marlin offered to drive to the 10 acre field where they are growing pumpkins, cantaloupe and watermelons. His van had air-conditioning, my truck does not. The fields were too wet to drive into but you could still see the plants and rows. Hopefully the cantaloupe will be ready in the next two weeks. I almost forgot to mention that the Frye’s also raise sorghum and have an event on their farm the first of October where you can watch them turn it into syrup, so mark your calendars.

Next Thursday I will be heading north to Trenton and Hale Missouri. I am hoping the heat wave breaks by then.