Sunday, October 4, 2015

What a beautiful day to drive to Iowa, fall was certainly in the air with 45 degree temperatures.

I had numerous conversations and eventually received an application from Jason and Angela Johnson from Derby, Iowa; 155 miles from Kansas City. I am required to visit all vendor’s farms prior to anyone selling at the City Market and wanted to get make sure I did not hold them up in case they wanted to start this fall. The Johnson's bought their 20 acre farm two years ago and started raising “Large Black Pigs”, which is the breed originating in Britain. This particular breed is rare and produces a dense low fat product and has a different taste than other pork. The Johnson's are all about their animals being free range, these were some very content pigs. The chickens, pigs, sheep, geese, angora goats, brown cows, quail and guard lama have the run of the 20 acres and make their way back to the shelter of the barns at night. At which time the dogs protect them from any predators. Jason and Angela currently sell at the Des Moines farmers market and a local co-op and plan to sell at the Sunday farmers market in Kansas City early next year. There are a lot of requirements for selling meat at a farmers market since it is a potentially hazardous product and in their case all the meat must be processed in Missouri, this is a state law.  The Johnson's will be selling meat from their livestock, and possible lye soap made from products from their farm. To learn more about Lucky George Farm farm visit their web site at which is a very interesting read.

Since I was already in Iowa I thought it would be a good time to visit Mai Lee and Roger Lee in Lenox. The Lee’s have been vendors at the Sunday Farmers market since 2012; they sell at an Iowa market on Saturdays. Their crops have really started to wind down; flowers, okra, squash and some greens were all that were really left. I am sure they are about done for this year; you have to have a lot of produce to justify the drive. I must say they had some really happy ducks hanging around enjoying a dip in a puddle.

My farm visits are winding down for this year but I still have a few to check here and there. Just a reminder the City Market is open year round; we have vendors at the Market every weekend.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The goal today was to visit eight farms in the Kansas City, Kansas area; I was only able to get to 5 today since I got a late start.  

Chava Xiong has purchased the land next to his home this year so has completely started over. In years past he has rented land which made things a little difficult plus he was limited on what he could do. Needless to say Chava has great plans for next season which includes a greenhouse and raised beds. I can’t wait to visit next summer. Although his field does not look as nice as it would have a few weeks ago, he is still harvesting some fresh herbs, green beans, egg plant, daikon radishes, heirloom tomatoes, okra, kale, water spinach, Thai peppers,  and squash.  In addition to vegetables he also grows flowers to sell in arrangements at the Market, his snap dragons were beautiful. Chava and his family sell at the City Market every Saturday in pavilion 3, north side of the Market in stalls 103 and 104, on Sundays you will find them in pavilion 2 stalls 54 and 55.  

My next stop is on the south side of I-70. Chiong Vang and his family have been farming this section of land for a few years. They also have two other plots in the area for a total of 10 acres.  They have an abundance of produce and a wonderful variety. Chiong’s father showed me his Asian pear trees which finally had a decent yield this summer until the squirrels found them. He has a plan to detour them next summer.  A few of the unusual items they grow are hicama, jit leaves and water spinach.  In addition to produce they also grow flowers such as sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, allium and cockscomb. Hmong Vaj Farm is at the Market every Saturday and Sunday late spring till the first frost. On Saturdays they are located in the second and third farmer pavilion in stalls 90, 91, 108 & 109. Sundays you will find them in pavilion two stalls 65, 66, 85 and 86.

Back across the highway and I arrive at a large plot of land that is sectioned off and leased out to various families to farm, three of the markets vendors rent plots at this location.  They grow similar items and do this without access to water, so are always hoping for rain and if it is very dry they haul water in. 

Vang Thao is a waiting list vendor on Sunday, which means she rents a space occasionally throughout the summer. Vang was still harvesting Thai peppers, eggplant and a few flowers.

Youa Vangs plot is located on the east side of the property and like many vendors right now things are starting to slow down. Youa is still able to bring squash, hot chili peppers, eggplant and flowers to the Sunday market.

Amy Lo has a fairly large plot and is growing a lot of flowers to sell as cut flowers at the Market. Although it is almost October Amy still had zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, bachelor buttons, cockscomb and cosmos blooming. Cut flower arrangements are the main part of Amy’s stall.  Amy is a Saturday contracted vendor located in pavilion two stall 54. 

Next week I will be heading to Iowa to visit a new vendor I have been talking with for couple of months. I hope to have time to stop by Plattsburg, Mo and visit Bill and Kathy Wrights pumpkin patch. You probably know them at the Market as the fudge people but September though October they run a pumpkin patch on their farm.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Once again I am visiting a couple new vendors who will be selling at the Sunday Market this fall and winter. As I head towards Sedalia I was so surprised to see that some of the trees were starting to turn and the field corn was turning brown, fall will be here before we know it.

My first stop today is in Otterville, Missouri which is just east of Sedalia. I am so glad the state fair is over or the traffic would have been a mess. Allison and her husband Kyle live on a 15 acre farm and Kyle’s family has an additional 205 acres which they also use. All the produce is grown on the 15 acres where they live and much of what they had planted this summer is starting to finish up for the year but they still have enough to bring to market. I was so surprised that they had strawberries still producing; this variety is called Everbearing and produces berries all summer. Kyle had recently planted more lettuce and beets and was harvesting cantaloupe, watermelons, green beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, zucchini and winter squash. In addition to growing produce Kyle also raises beef and chickens on the 205 acres his family owns and pigs on his farm. Kyle currently had 1000 chickens used for laying that live in a movable chicken coop which is relocated from field to field after the cattle have used the pasture for feeding. He also has 250 baby chickens and 200 meat chickens which will eventually be processed and sold at the market. As with all the meat sold at the City Market it will be processed in a state or USDA inspected facility and the vendor will also be inspected by the health department while at the market. Kyle recently purchased 9 feeder pigs which he will bring to the market later on. All the chickens the Rupe family raises are fed non GMO feed. Allison Rupe will be the face you see at the Market, she also sells at the Sedalia Farmers Market during the week and the Lees Summit Farmers Market on Saturdays. 

Since the Rupe’s live 2 hours from the City Market I will only have time for one more stop today in Holden, Missouri. I was really looking forward to visiting with Janet Smith the owner of Borgman’s Dairy since she has a very unique product she will be bringing to the City Market. Borgaman’s Dairy is a goat milk dairy which is very exciting since customers are always looking for goat milk. The milk is pasteurized which is the only way a vendor could sell it in Kansas City. In addition to milk Janet produces cajeta, a goat milk caramel sauce which is cooked over very high heat while being constantly stirred for hours, I can’t wait to try it. Another unique product Janet makes is goat cheese cheesecake which is made in a jar so you can eat a little, seal it up and put it back in the refrigerator. I am afraid I might keep eating it, I could be in trouble! Borgman’s Dairy will start coming to the Market on Sunday, September 20th and on Saturdays in the fall and winter. I almost forgot to mention that Janet brought home two blue ribbons from this year’s Missouri State Fair. For more information visit her web site at

Sunday, August 23, 2015

I had to catch up on a few things in the office today so got a late start. I have four farms I want to get to but I am pretty sure that won’t happen if I want to get back to KC before dark.

I always watch the weather when I visit Kaying Lor and Cher Chee Yang in Pleasant Hill, MO. Their farm is next to a creek which has a tendency to come over the banks when there is a heavy rain and the road can flood quickly. There have been years when I have had to turn around and come back another day. No one was there when I arrived so I slipped on my boots and walked through the fields. Their flowers were beautiful especially with the fields as their backdrop. Kaying sells beautiful cut flower arrangements at the Market. In addition to flowers they are also growing Water spinach, Thai peppers, long beans, rice, eggplant, okra and purple hull peas.  You will find Kaying and Cher Chee at the Market on Saturdays in the middle farmers shed and Sundays in the shed on the south side of the market.

I decided to keep heading north to Leeton, Missouri. Jeanette Neal has been wondering where I have been this year; I usually visit their farm much earlier in the summer. Jeanette, Don and their son Jeremiah handle the farming and Jeremiahs wife bakes all the bakery items they bring to the Market. She was busy baking cookies when I arrived. Usually when I visit the Neal’s are still farming some acreage they have a few miles from their home. This has been a rough year so they have finish digging onions and the field is done for this season. Closer to their home they are still harvesting cucumbers, eggplant, assorted peppers, okra, tomatoes and assorted squash. Jeanette also has some very beautiful aloe plants they will bring to the market as long as the weather stays warm.  In the next few days they plan to plant spinach, carrots, kale and basil in the high tunnel where they are currently growing cucumbers. Bristle Ridge Farm is at the City Market every Saturday stalls 112-115 and Sundays stalls 57-59.  You can follow them on Face Book.

Next week I am taking the week off from visiting farms but I will be back at it the following week.