I couldn’t wait to check farms this week, the Market got its new truck on Friday and it is AWSOME! The truck has air conditioning and a radio and a whole lot more. I will need some practice on parking it so for now I make sure I have plenty of room.
For my first trip in the new truck I decided to stay a little close to home plus I didn’t get out of the office till noon. There are three vendors who live in the Parkville area so I will start there. Lloyd and Adie Horn, Dry Lake Farms, actually live in Farley which is next to Parkville on 45 Hwy. To get to their farm I have to drive on top of the levee, no room for error there or I would end up in Lloyd’s fields. Everyone but me knew that Lloyd takes an afternoon nap after working in the fields, so of course I woke him up. Lloyd has stalls at the Market in the 100% category and the Farmer w/ Local Supplement category. In addition to selling produce, Addie has a commercial kitchen at their home and also makes wonderful cinnamon rolls, pies and cookies which she sells most Saturdays. While Lloyd was waiting for his tomatoes to start producing he has been purchasing greenhouse tomatoes from O’Neil, NE which is within the markets 500 mile radius. This morning, before I arrived, Lloyd had started picking his own tomatoes and will have a few varieties this weekend including cherry tomatoes. He tried raising a new variety of yellow cherry tomatoes this year but said no one will buy them because they are a little ugly. Well I had to try one, ugly or not, and they were really good. Sometimes you have to stop shopping with your eyes, if you don’t you could miss out on something wonderful. I am a little late getting to Lloyds this year so his spinach, lettuce, broccoli and onions are done. The onions of course have all been dug up and are being stored in Lloyd’s garage; they are the candied onion variety and are wonderful roasted. He also is growing eggplant, cabbage (about done for the summer), potatoes, okra and squash. I had to show Lloyd the new truck before I left and thankfully it started to rain as I pulled out. As you can see from the pictures the ground is cracking, everyone is desperate for rain. Dry Lake Farms is at the Market every Saturday in the third pavilion, north side of the Market, in stalls 125-128.
By the time I drove the short mile to the next farm it was raining pretty hard and of course I forgot to bring an umbrella. So please excuse the pictures because I was dashing from row to row in one field and in the second field I just did a slow drive by. Michael Pearl is fairly new to the City Market and will be selling on Sundays when he starts this season. Michael and his family have planted watermelons, tomatoes, squash, sunflowers, green peppers, assorted squash, cucumbers and onions. Everything was looking pretty good so I expect to see him soon.
My next stop was only a few miles away along highway 435. Floyd McFarland, or Davie to his friends, and his son Mike operate McFarland’s Plant Farm. Floyd has been coming to the market since he was just a toddler so has seen a lot of changes over the years and has some great stories. When I pulled into their drive it was raining really hard so I parked the truck and ran along the tree line to snap a few pictures without getting totally drenched. Floyd’s wife was watching me from her living room window and could not figure out who was running around out there. I caught up with Floyd, who was also taking cover from the rain in his basement. They have had another tough year due to the lack of rain, their peppers are really struggling. I have heard from many of the farmers that they have to get the tomatoes out of the fields before it rains too much or the tomatoes will crack. Apparently the plants are so in need of moisture they take in too much at one time, which causes this to happen. I am sure everyone was busy picking tomatoes as fast as they could yesterday. Mike and Floyd are at the Market every Saturday early spring through late fall in pavilion one, south side of the Market, in stalls 0-2. In addition to assorted plants they also sell tomatoes, egg plant, beets, okra, assorted varieties of peppers, onions, beans and cabbage.
As I get closer to Tillery’s Farm the rain has stopped and I am walking through dry hot dusty fields. The heat and dryness of the fields are causing the lower leaves on the tomato plants to turn brown. The ground is so dry and hard Randy can’t pull the carrots without them breaking. Even with all the challenges Marsha and Randy have managed to have things looking really nice. They had beautiful big onions peeking out of the ground just waiting to be dug up. I am always amazed how well okra and eggplant do when it is dry and hot, cucumbers not so good, the heat just burns up the vines. Randy is having some unwelcomed visitors to his farm that has a sweet tooth for watermelons, especially the very sweet yellow variety. From the tracks in the fields he is pretty sure the culprits are deer. If they don’t damage all the melons in the mean time he should be bringing watermelons to the Market next week. I am partial to the seedless watermelons Randy and Marsha grow. Tillery Farms will be at the Market every Saturday through October, if Mother Nature is kind this summer, in stalls 46 & 47 between the first and second pavilions. You will be able to purchase potatoes, squash, greens, beets, peppers, cantaloupe, onions, kale and sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts a little later in the season.
The weather looks beautiful for the weekend and all the vendors will be on sight so stop in and stock up on wonderful summer produce before summer passes you by. Take a break from shopping and stop in at one of the Markets unique restaurants for lunch. The City Market is a great place to spend the day.
Farmers’ Market Salsa
½ c. fresh corn (cooked then chilled) ¼ c. green peppers, diced
½ c. canned black beans, drained & rinsed 1 tablespoon lime juice
½ c. fresh tomatoes, diced ¼ c. picante sauce
¼ c. onion, diced 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Drain before serving. Makes 4 -½ cup servings. Serve with fresh vegetables or low fat baked tortilla chips. Recipe provided by the University of Missouri Extension.