I thought I would be dealing with a hot humid day today but surprisingly a few pretty big storms started rolling in as I left the city. By the time I made it out to Buckner, MO the skies were pretty ominous and there was a few lightening strikes here and there. Standing out in the middle of a field when it is lightening is not really a smart thing to do so I probably won’t be lingering too much today.
The Frye’s, Mark and Marlin, have a farm just off 24 hwy in Buckner. They have a roadside greenhouse which has been evolving over the past few years and now is turning into a little general store. Marlin hopes to add bulk food items in the near future. Marlin met me in his golf cart to show me the farm which has been downsized over the last few years. This year they have planted the area behind their store and home only. Last year, or maybe the year before that, they installed raised beds for growing tomatoes; these had been grown in a greenhouse before. The Frye’s have five rows of raised beds with the plants staggered for easier picking. The tomatoes are still green and will probably not be ready to bring to market for another two weeks. Marlin pointed out 40 small peach trees which should start producing fruit in another two years if all goes well. Mark and Marlin are in the supplement category and are currently supplementing tomatoes from Nebraska and peaches from Beckner’s Orchard in Lexington, Mo for their market stalls. They have recently planted eggplant, cucumbers, green beans, melons and squash but nothing is ready to harvest. Their plan was to put in pumpkins later today but the weather could keep this from happening. Farmers in the supplement category must grow at least 50% of the items they bring to the market each day; bedding plants make up the 50% of the items they are bringing to the market this coming week. You will find Mark Frye is in the first pavilion in stalls 27-29 and Marlin is in the third pavilion in stalls 129-131.
Although the weather is pretty crummy I have opted to keep on going so headed to Odessa, Mo to check out Pete Economides farm. Pete is known around the Market as the pepper guy, he sells mostly pepper plants and when in season peppers. Usually if there is a crazy hot pepper you are searching for Pete will have it. In addition to vegetable plants and peppers Pete also sells assorted house plants and assorted produce, Pete is in the 100% category. When I arrived at Odessa Greenhouse, off Hwy M, Pete and his wife were not at home but told me to feel free to show myself around. I was greeted by five very cute kittens that followed me wherever I went. Their greenhouse was jam-packed with house plants of all kinds, even some tropical’s. I headed down a path behind their house in search of their fields when a crack of thunder and lightning hit, I don’t know who jumped higher, me or the kittens. Time to move on, it was just a little too close for comfort. I got in the safety of the truck and drove to their second small field where they had been working the night before, things are looking pretty good. Odessa Greenhouse is at the Market on Saturday (stalls 105-107) and Sunday (stalls 87-89)
Last stop for the day is Pleasant Hill, Mo at the farm of Kaying Lor. They have had a lot of challenges this season; snow, flash floods and vandalism but are still persevering. In May the small stream that runs along their property came over the banks with a vengeance and flooded their entire six acre field. The water came so quickly and was so deep it was up to the window of their van in a matter of minutes. Kaying has replanted their field three times this year and is slowly starting to see the rewards. The flowers were beautiful but much shorter than in years past. They hope to be bringing long beans to the market early next month as well as miniature cucumbers. They currently have four varieties of spinach planted; only one variety is ready to harvest and sweet rice which should be ready in October. Kaying Lor is at the market on Saturday (stalls 53-54) and Sunday (stalls 30 & 31)
I am taking a little time off next week to enjoy the 4th so will not be out visiting farms. I hope to be able to drive the new Market truck fairly soon and will head out to Oklahoma, Joplin, Columbia and Manhattan. Just a reminder the City Market is the perfect place to get everything you will need for your 4th of July gatherings.