Saturday, July 26, 2014

I am back on the road today, the holiday and a conference has put me way behind. Today I am heading to Buckner, Lexington, Odessa and Kansas City.

Mark and Marlin Frye have a farm in Buckner as well as a road side store. This coming October they hope to have a pumpkin patch in addition to their yearly sorghum festival at their farm located on Buckner Tarsny road, north of 210 highway. When I arrived Marlin was ready to show me around. Behind their house they were harvesting tomatoes, eggplant, assorted peppers such as jalapenos and banana peppers, green peppers, zucchini and green beans. Last week they planted additional tomato plants which will be ready in September and will be planting turnips the end of July. Marlin said their watermelons got a pretty late start due to the wet spring so won’t be ready for awhile and their cantaloupes will be ready in a couple weeks. Mark was out in the field when I arrived checking on a few things and Marlin’s daughter in law was busy picking green beans from a raised bed. The Frye’s put in raised beds a few years ago but have not been very happy with them, they take a lot of water and the plants don’t produce very well. The only thing that seemed to do well in the raised beds was the green beans. The Frye’s farm is much smaller than it was in years past; Marlin hopes to add a high tunnel before next spring so the weather won’t play such a big part in his planting. Marlin picks all his tomatoes when they are green, just starting to blush and then ripens them indoors. Today he had 65 cases of green tomatoes in his store and will sort through them every few days to pull out any ripe ones to sell. He does this so the tomatoes won’t split or sun burn in the fields.  

Marlin also gets produce from his oldest son’s farm located in Lexington, Missouri so Marlin road along with me to their farm. This farm is used for Market sales only, no wholesale, and consist of 25 acres. This location also had green beans which were flowering, watermelons, cantaloupe, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes some of which will be ready in late September. Marlins daughter- in- law sells at the Independence Farmers Market and the Friday Market in North Kansas City which is where she will sell the green beans she picked today. They also had cases of green tomatoes they will pick through to sell as they ripen. Marlin and Mark are in the Farmer with Local Supplement category, this means they must grow 50% of all the items they bring to the City Market and can supplement 50% from other local growers where the produce is harvested within 500 miles of the City Market. The Frye’s are currently supplementing greenhouse tomatoes and peaches. The items they are currently harvesting are eggplant, green tomatoes, green beans, assorted peppers and squash. They also have a few hanging flower baskets for those of you who did not have very good luck with the ones you bought in May.

Marlin’s son also raises horses so I had to take a peek. He raises various breeds such as Clydesdales and also has a miniature horse which his wife has named Twinkie. You don’t realize how large a Clydesdale is until you are standing by one, they are beautiful. 

After taking Marlin back home I drove over to Odessa to visit Pete Economides. Pete was not home at the time but told me I could show myself around. Pete is currently selling house plants and vegetable plants in his stalls and will have peppers once they are ready. His green house was stuffed to the brim with assorted plants. In addition to his greenhouse he also has a plot near the main road where he grows assorted hot, really hot and sweet peppers. Pete is located in shed three stalls 105-106&107 on Saturday and shed two, stalls 87-88-89 on Sundays.

I cannot visit Pete without stopping by Busy Bee Acres to see Bob and Liz Harrison. Bob and Liz have been selling honey at the City Market for years. You will find them in the first covered farmers shed in stalls 24-25 & 26. They have hives spread throughout the area and on their farm. Last year I went with Bob to see a few of the locations, very interesting to see. Today they were not home when I arrived at least I think they weren’t. Every time I started to go up to the porch of their processing house a raccoon, who was on the porch eating the cats food,  gave me a “don’t you dare”  look, I did not dare. Raccoons make me really nervous. I couldn’t believe the cat was just laying there. Maybe it was a pet; I didn’t want to find out. I did stick around long enough to take a picture of Liz’s llamas and their fruit trees, bees do love fruit trees. The Harrisons are in the first shed in stalls 24-25-26.

The last stop for the day is back in Kansas City, on the edge of Lee’s Summit. Tim and Michele Dusselier currently sell at the Lee’s Summit market on Saturday and will be selling at the City Market on Sunday’s. When I arrived Michele was busy with customers who were still buying hanging baskets and potted plants. I showed myself around the fields; about 3 acres filled with tomatoes, egg plant, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers and banana peppers. Michele has planted the tomatoes in stages so she should continue picking through September. One of her greenhouses was still filled with beautiful plants; she is very creative when it comes to mixing the plants together in pots. I think the Dusselier’s will be a great addition to the Sunday Market.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

After all the mayhem at the Market on Wednesday which rolled into Thursday it was hard for me to get away for long. We have a new vendor who wanted to start coming to the Market this week so I really wanted to get out to his farm today. New vendors, in the farm category must be checked before they are allowed to sell at the City Market. Basically I am checking to see if they have a farm or large backyard garden and if they are harvesting the produce they listed on their application. I also ask about their water source and growing practices. I always find that farmers love to talk about their farms.

I was able to break away for a few hours and drive up to Rosendale, Missouri which is just north of St. Joe.  Jaylon Sybert is fairly new to growing for a farmers market so has started off fairly slow and hopes to build up as time goes by. He currently has a small plot behind his brother’s home where he has planted tomatoes, chili peppers, squash, okra, and green beans. Jaylon plans to supplement his stall with sweet corn from Randy Roberts in Rea, MO. Jaylon will be selling at the City Market on Sundays as a waiting list vendor so his location will vary from week to week.

I will be attending an AgriMissouri conference next week so will not be out checking farms. I will however be touring urban farms and community gardens. It should be an interesting week.