I had to skip farm visits last week due to the rain. The City Market truck is a little scary on wet roads and does not have working defrosters so better to skip a week. The Market is looking for a sponsor for a new truck so if anyone knows of a business looking to get their logo out there this might be the perfect opportunity.
What a beautiful day to visit farms, it finally felt like spring today. I had two vendors to visit in Edgerton, Kansas so made that my first stop. I met Frank and Melanie Gieringer at the Great Plains Grower Conference in St. Joe, MO in January and was thrilled to hear their farm was so close to Kansas City. Today I found them busy at work covering a new high tunnel they recently received through a grant. This will make their sixth tunnel which they use mainly for growing tomatoes, European cucumbers and sweet peppers. High tunnels are great for growing tomatoes. You can put the plants in the ground, roll up the sides and have the plants protected from the elements. High tunnel tomatoes taste wonderful and make it possible to have fresh local tomatoes available much earlier. The Gieringer’s have approximately 1000 peach trees which were just starting to bloom and were beautiful. Melanie told me about every two or three years they plant an additional 200 new trees just in case they lose some to a late freeze or some weather related disease. In addition to peaches they have one acre of strawberries, 16,000 plants, oh my! Today the entire field was covered to prevent the plants from freezing. We took a peak under the cover and the blooms were still white so all should be good. If the weather remains warm they hope to have strawberries by Mothers Day, if not by the end of May. I can’t wait, we have seen a few years in a row that have been tough for strawberries. Let’s hope we see a bumper crop this year. If you like to pick your own strawberries Gieringer Orchard gives you that option. For more information visit their web site at www.gieringerorchard.com
The next vendor just lives one mile down the road so I did not even need my GPS. I wish all the farms could be this close. Enright Gardens is one of the City Markets larger greenhouse vendors with 13 greenhouses and one high tunnel. The green houses were bursting at the seams with beautiful flowers just waiting for the weather to warm up. I am sure I took way to many pictures today but I just could not help myself. A few years ago the Enright’s started grafting tomato plants and have dedicated one high tunnel for this purpose. The plants looked great and a few of them even had green tomatoes on them. I can’t wait to have a BLT once fresh tomatoes start showing up at the market. Sue and Bo Enright are at the market every Saturday, and maybe a few Sunday’s, now through June. You will find them on the east end of the second farmers’ pavilion in stalls 48-51. If you are looking for the perfect place to have a wedding or celebrate a special day Enright Gardens has the place. They have renovated a large building on their property which can be rented for receptions. Next to the reception hall they have a beautiful garden, the perfect place for a wedding. For more information visit their web site at www.enrightgardens.com
This is the perfect day to visit greenhouses. It is so nice to see some color. I love visiting The Flower Farm; Keith Johnson has so many unique plants you just feel like you have been transported to a different place. The bougainvilleas were in full bloom and covered the ceiling of the main greenhouse. I am sure the pictures I took will not do them justice. Keith and Roberta have about nine greenhouses, four of which are attached to one another. I always like going into the house that is filled with tropical plants, succulents and cactus. I just need to make sure I watch the time because the overhead sprinklers go off every six minutes, I have gotten wet in the past. This year I have noticed a new petunia that always catches my eye, it is black with a bright yellow center, really different from the pastels you usually see. Keith is at the Market every Saturday through July in stalls 69-71 located on the west end of pavilion two. If you would like more information about The Flower Farm visit their website at www.theflowerfarmgardner.com
I had to lose my muddy boots before I got to my last stop for the day since I stopped by to see one of the Markets very talented artist/crafter vendors. Theresa Sullivan designs the most beautiful dried flower arrangements you have ever seen. Her new work shop, which she shares with her husband Jim, is located in a recently purchased home in Merriam, Kansas. The lower level is filled with Teresa’s creations. She has one area used for drying the flowers, another for any spray painting she needs to do and a room with a large work table where she designs the arrangements. Theresa has been at the Market almost every Saturday since the first of the year and will usually be located on the east side of the Market.
Vendors have been very busy calling in this week so we should have a wonderful selection of bedding plants, early spring greens, bakery items, free range meats, farm fresh eggs and beautiful craft items. The City Market is the place to be this weekend!