Sunday, May 22, 2016

Today I got a really early start since my first stop would be to check a new vendor in Arkansas which was a 4 ½ hour drive from the City Market. I thought I might need a backup driver so Deb Churchill, Property Manager for the City Market went along. Pence Nursery is located in Mountainburg just south of Fort Smith. Philip and his wife Michele met us when we pulled in and gave us the tour of the area where they start the plants and store them till they get shipped out, most of their business is mail order. I was amazed by how many different kinds of blueberries and blackberries there are. They also grow some of the more specialty plants such as gooseberries, goji berries, choke berries, alpine figs, and a wide variety of grapes. Once the plant is one year old they are sold or planted on their 25 acre farm. Pence Nursery plans to be at the Market next month and will be bringing, blackberries, blueberries, blueberry bushes, unusual fruit trees, tomatoes (they planted 15,000 plants) and okra, onions, squash and cucumbers. For additional information visit their web site

This is the day for visiting new vendors which will be selling at the Sunday market. Our next stop was in Purdy, MO at the farm of Nhia Yang. Nhia was not at the farm but her father showed us the field. They are fairly new to Missouri so have not yet sold at any local markets. They have a great variety of items and with a lot of work the fields were immaculate, no weeds. In the next few weeks they will be bringing basil, sweet peas, potatoes and garlic to the Market. The many other items they have planted will be ready to harvest in late June.

Last stop for the day is in Granby, MO which is near Joplin. Ma Yang and her family will be selling at the Market every Sunday in stalls 141 and 142 located on the north side of the Market Square. They have a beautiful farm and grow a great variety of produce including Strawberries and Microgreens. After walking through their farm it was obvious that they take great pride in the produce they grow. Since they are located in the southern part of Missouri their produce is coming on a little earlier than those vendors who live north of Kansas City.

 I always like to include a few animal photos to my blog, we saw quite a few on this trip.

If you have not been to the Sunday Market in a while you will be pleasantly surprised. All three covered farmer sheds are filled with vendors selling fresh local produce, assorted food items and hand crafted items. In addition to the farmers market the Vintage Yard Sale also takes place on the east side of the Market Square. This week we will have 58 yard sale vendors selling those great one of a kind finds. Ride the street car, browse the market and enjoy what looks to be a beautiful weekend without rain.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

My drive across 50 hwy was beautiful. I did have to make a little stop in Tipton, Mo to get a snack from the Dutch Bakery, what a neat store. With all the rain we’ve had everything was bright green and the corn was defiantly on its way to being knee high. Today I visited greenhouses with bedding and vegetable plants.  If you plan to purchase plants you better do so pretty soon, time is running out. Most of the vendors selling bedding plants usually wrap it up by mid or late June. The exception to this is The Flower Farm; Keith Johnson usually stays through July.

After my two and a half hour drive I arrived at The Busy Bee retail store located on hwy 52. The greenhouse at their home is where they grow and propagate the plants; most of the plants are started with plugs or seeds. Darrel, Diane and their children have been vendors at the Market since 2002. In 2013 they became contracted vendors and are located in the middle farmers pavilion on Saturdays. In addition to bedding plants and vegetable plants they also raise a little produce and mums to sell in the fall. 

Highway 52 Greenhouse is about 15 minutes from the Unruh’s retail location.  Chris has been assembling a new super sized greenhouse which once it is finished will cover ¾ of an acre and should house 6,000 tomato plants. If all goes as planned these plants should produce 1,200 pounds of tomatoes per week.  The greenhouse will be finished by the fall so Chris can get the plants in the ground for early March tomatoes in 2017. Chris currently has one large greenhouse where he has 500 tomato plants, one of which I picked while there, it was wonderful.  Mrs. Pifer, Chris’s mom, oversees all the flowers they grow and does a really nice job choosing a mixture of plants for their hanging baskets and planters.  Chris Pifer has been a Saturday and Sunday vendors for a few years and can be found in the third pavilion on Saturdays and the first pavilion on Sundays.

My last stop for the day was a couple hours away but on the west side of the state where I was met by this cute little pup. I will be getting back to Kansas City much later than I had planned, the upside is I will have missed rush hour traffic. Country Bloom Greenhouse is off of highway P in Rockville and has been a waiting list vendor for quite a few years. Waiting list vendors get a Saturday or Sunday stall if we have any available so the Klassen’s location will change every time they setup at the Market. Linferd and Judith have four greenhouses at their home all of which were filled with beautiful plants. Over the years they have added more and more succulents and are bringing beautiful moss baskets to the Market.  

Next week I am heading to Arkansas, Joplin and Fort Scott, Kansas, it should be a fun day. Don’t forget to stop by the Wednesday evening market and support the City Market vendors and tenants and grab a bite to eat.

Friday, May 6, 2016

What a beautiful day to be on the road. Once again I am spending the day visiting new vendors who will be selling at the Sunday and Wednesday evening farmers’ market.

My first stop today is at an urban farm located in Kansas City, Missouri. Danielle and Dennis are owners of the Lovely Day Farm and are currently working on getting their organic certification for their 2.5 acre farm. Like most farms theirs is a work in progress and is constantly changing. Danielle explained what they are currently working on and what they hope to accomplish down the road. This month they will be bringing carrots, Swiss chard, eggs, lettuce, kale and spinach to the market. Hopefully in the near future they will also be selling chickens which have been processed in a USDA plant. Lovely Day Farm will be selling at the Sunday and Wednesday evening market, for more information visit them on Facebook. 

I really do not know what to expect when I get to Midwest Nursery Cooperative located in Urich, Missouri. It turns out that Tom Trzebcatowski is an expert of sorts when it comes to magnolia trees. Tom has been propagating magnolia trees at Powell Gardens since 2006 and has continued to do this at his home. He has 1.4 acre to work with and uses every inch of that. I was amazed to learn that there are approximately 300 varieties of Magnolias and Tom has around 200 of these at his house. In addition to magnolias Tom also grows oak, maple, chestnut and dogwood trees, I am sure I am missing one or two on this list. Tom will be at the Market on Sunday and will be able to tell you everything you ever wanted to know when it comes to magnolia.

Back to Kansas City to visit with Allison Daniels who is starting up her new business called Dazzling Doors. Allison makes the cutest wreaths for every occasion and sports team. These wreaths are perfect for hanging on your front door and each is unique. For those baseball fans, Allison also makes bracelets out of baseballs. Allison will be selling at the Sunday Market and the Wednesday evening Market which will start at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11th.

Next week I will be visiting a few greenhouses in the area and on the 19th I plan to head south to Joplin, Missouri. My Joplin trip is usually my longest day when visiting farms so Deb Churchill, Property Manager for the City Market, will go along to keep me company.

If you plan to visit the City Market this weekend take advantage of the streetcar and park downtown.  For more information visit

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Today I visited vendors who have recently submitted new applications to vend at the City Market. These vendors will be selling at either the weekly Sunday farmers’ market or the Wednesday evening market which will start on May 11th. This will be the perfect day to try out the new streetcar, grab some dinner, restock your fridge or buy that must have handmade item.

It rarely happens that I check vendors who live in the same area on the same day but this was the case today. Both Daniel Neal and Christine and Bradford Williams live in Independence, this makes my job much easier.

Daniel, Growing Family Farms, is fairly new to farming and uses the “Back to Eden Garden” method. Daniel is not certified organic but uses organic growing methods. He farms two different locations, one is at his home and consists of 1.75 acres and the other is located on a friend’s property and accounts for another ¼ acre. The recent rains did not do too much damage so radishes, carrots, onions, lettuce, spinach, arugula and Swiss chard were already coming up. Daniel plans to plant 96 tomato plants as soon as I leave today. You will find Growing Family Farms at the market starting in May.

Five minutes later I arrived at Pepper Berries Farm and am greeted by Christine Williams. Christine and her husband bought their home two years ago and have great plans for transforming it into a training farm where they will teach urban farm classes and include a licensed kitchen. They have recently been awarded three grants to make this all happen. In addition to gardening at their home Christina also oversee the Habitat for Humanity Community Garden in Independence where she has a few raised beds of produce and berries. Christine uses a local commercial kitchen where she makes jams and jellies from the various fruits they grow. Pepper Berries Farm will be at the City Market for the first time on Sunday, May 1st. For additional information visit their web site at

My next stop was a much longer drive and to a town I have never been to before, Slater, MO. I visited with Christine Sanders and her wonderful employees who produce Home Grown and Happy which is a line of pickles and pickling mixes. When I arrived they were busy working on a batch of bread and butter pickles which smelled amazing. They will also sell brine solutions which can be used for canning your own pickles or for brining meat.  For additional information visit

Normally when I check vendors I try to hit one area at a time, today this was not the case. Daryl Mann in Weatherby, Mo has been waiting patiently for me to get out to his farm and is ready to start selling his produce at the City Market on Wednesday evenings starting on May 11th. Weatherby is located in the northern part of the state off Hwy 35, which is a two hour drive from Slater. The up side to this, the drive was beautiful. Daryl has a high tunnel at his home and a ½ acre plot located north of his home. Green Ridge Farms will be bringing Green and Yellow beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and cucumbers starting this month. Most of these items were started in his high tunnel in March. Daryl will be planting 600 watermelon plants in his fields and if all goes well will be bringing them to market in July. Mark your calendars for May 11th and visit the Wednesday evening market, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The Wednesday evening market will run May through September.

Mothers Day is May 8th; the City Market is a wonderful place to spend the day with your mom. Great places to eat, the farmers market is in full bloom with the biggest and best selection of bedding plants and beautiful bouquets of cut flowers, browse the Vintage Yard Sale or one of the many shops located in the City Market square.