Spring is finally here and once again time to hit the road. As a rule I start visiting farms towards the end of March but I am getting a little later start this year which is why the vendors I visited today are a little spread out. All new vendors must be inspected prior to renting space at the farmers’ market so have been waiting for me to get moving.
A couple of years ago the city passed an ordinance allowing the sale of wine at the farmers’ markets. Fahrmeier Family Vineyard started selling their wine at the Saturday farmers’ market shortly after the ordinance pasted and has been the only winery to do so. Today I visited Vox Vineyards which is located in the north east corner of Kansas City near Farley, Mo. Andrew Beckerle was nice enough to give me the grand tour of the vineyards, which he maintains, and the winery where the magic happens. What a beautiful location and great facility. They currently have six and a half acres of grapes with 35 varieties. Many of these varieties are experimental, the bulk of the vineyard is made up of Norton’s. The winery has a fairly small staff, Winifred Wright works in the lab and oversees the making of the wine, and they hire additional help when it is time to harvest the grapes. They bottle all the small batches of wines on property but during the main harvest they hire a mobile service that bottles all the wine, who knew there was such a business. Vox Vineyard will start selling at the Market as soon as they get all their final city permits. For additional information visit the Vox Vineyards web site email@example.com
My next stop is a short drive to Tonganoxie, Kansas. Tang Chang has recently moved to the area from North Carolina and will be farming in three separate plots in the area. Today I went to verify that the tulips she will be bringing to the market were grown by her, and they were. Tulips started blooming a little early this year so I don’t know how much longer they will last. Tang will be at the Market on Sunday selling fresh bouquets. In addition to flowers she will also be growing snap peas, beets, radishes, green onions and other flowers. I will visit her other two locations next month when these crops are closer to being ready.
My last stop for the day was in Pratt, Kansas which is located west of Wichita. Jarl Jewett started making organic grain and wheat free dog treats about six months ago. Jarl has a dog of his own and wanted to provide it with dog treats made from human grade products which is how his business got started. Jarl had dog treats baking in an oven when I arrived. His pumpkin and peanut butter varieties are his biggest sellers. Jarl plans to be at the Market on Sunday so stop by the “Follow Me Every Where “booth. For additional information visit his web site at www.followmeeverywhere.com
The Market will be full of vendors this weekend, the weather is perfect! If you plan a visit you will find greenhouse tomatoes, asparagus, morel mushrooms, spinach, green onions, lettuce and a few other wonderful early crops. There is a BLT and grilled asparagus in my future this weekend.