Friday, June 16, 2017

I think I was stalling a little today before heading out on the road, it was super hot and humid and of course I waited till the heat of the day. I wanted to visit a couple vendors today who had moved to new farms over the winter; both had increased the size of their farm.

Since it was hot and in the afternoon when I finally arrived at the Vang’s Farm I interrupted everyone’s break, they had been working in the fields since early morning. The Vang family had recently bought a 108 acre farm in Leavenworth, Kansas which really expands the amount of produce and flowers they are able to grow. When they started vending at the City Market in 2002 their original farm was shared by Lue and his brother and consisted of five acres, what a big change. Lue’s daughter gave me the grand tour; thank goodness they had a golf cart. A large part of their market stalls consist of cut flower bouquets which vary depending on the time of year. The list of produce they grow is way to long to list in my blog but ranges from basil to zucchini.  Since they don’t have any kind of irrigation they were certainly hoping for some rain over the next few days, I hope they did not get hit with the crazy hail some areas received last night. The Vang’s mainly bring produce to the market which is grown by them but they will sometimes supplement a few items from the Central Missouri Produce Auction located in Fortuna, MO. Vang Farm is at the City Market every Saturday and Sunday through October sometimes longer depending on how early we get a heavy frost. You will find them in pavilion two, stalls 66-67 and pavilion three, stalls 121-122 on Saturday. Sundays they are in pavilion two in stalls 76, 77 & 83.

Before heading back to Missouri I stopped by Kao Chang’s farm in Kansas City, KS. She has recently relocated to Kansas City from Arkansas and is using a relative’s property until she established her own farm in Basehor. Kao had been farming for the past ten years and grows and assortment of vegetables and cut flowers. Kao will be selling at our Wednesday market which takes place now through August 2 p.m. till 6 p.m.

After making a loop around 435 I arrive at Dang’s Garden and realize I had been at this farm before. Come to find out it once belonged to a relative of Tang and Chersue Chang. They have recently taken over the property and Chersue and her daughters Dang and Zabeth have really taken the property to the next level. Chersue has to keep an eye on her husband who does all the trimming and mowing since he has a tendency to get a little carried away and all of a sudden some plants are missing, I feel her pain!  Last year they received a grant and constructed a high tunnel and are now searching for a grant that will help with the cost of putting in a well, I think they are in this for the long haul. Cut flowers are a big part of their stall at the City Market and they have such a great variety of plants which bloom at different times throughout the spring and summer. They have even planted lilies in their pond and wade out in the water to harvest them. I could not believe the amount of Dahlias and sunflowers they have planted, what a lot of work. In addition to flowers they also grow a variety of vegetables and herbs.  Dang’s Garden is at the market every Sunday in pavilion three stalls 118-119.

Next week Sarah and I are hitting the road early and heading to Seneca, Anderson, Carthage and Joplin Missouri. If all goes well we are hoping to also visit Clayborn Farms in Fort Scott, Kansas on the way home. Should be a fun day and I am so glad I will have some company.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Yesterday I had two new vendors I needed to visit since both are ready to start selling at the Sunday and Wednesday farmers market. I visit all new vendors before they are allowed to rent space at the City Market to ensure that they are actually growing their own produce and not just buying and reselling it.

I received a new application from Errie Raasch back in March but had to wait to visit his farm when he was getting ready to harvest the vegetables; that time has come. Raasch Farm is located in Liberty, MO and is located on a hill that overlooks rolling farm land, what a beautiful view! The large garden is surrounded by acres of sweet corn and field corn and in spite of needing a little rain everything looks great.  Their tomatoes will not be ready for awhile but they are picking lettuce, carrots, beets, broccoli, onions and arugula. I expect that Errie will be setting up at the Sunday market this week since everything is coming on all at once; I love this time of year.

We also received another new application in mid March from Joel Dierking whose farm is located in Blackburn, MO which is near Waverly. Joel’s main crop is sweet corn and green beans but they also have a small garden next to their house for their own use. If they end up with more than they can eat or can they might bring a few other items to the market. The sweet corn has tasseled but the ears are not quite ready to pick yet. But the green beans, although in need of some rain and fairly short, have already started producing beans ready to pick. The Dierking’s are lucky to have a devise made for picking green beans in which you set near the ground and the tractor pulls you along the row, this really saves your back. Joel has staggered his plantings of six varieties of sweet corn so if all goes well will have corn throughout the summer. We might see Dierking Produce at the Market on Sunday with green beans if they are able to pick enough to justify a trip to Kansas City.

Just a reminder the Wednesday farmers market runs June through August from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. This is a great time to stock up on your produce, have a dinner out and listen to some wonderful music.

This time of year we are super busy at the Farmers Market and I got a little behind on updating the farmer market blog, I hate it when this happens. A couple weeks ago Sarah and I headed out on a drive to South Greenfield, MO which is located near Springfield. We drove in and out of rain all day but the sun continued to shine, so strange.

John McDowell with McDowell Land and Cattle has been in business for the past thirty three years and has been vending at the Sunday market since 2016. John recently signed a contract for the Sunday farmers market so you will find John and his son Travis in the third pavilion in stall 122 every week. As you probably guessed from his business name John raises cattle as does his entire family. John walked us through his cattle pens and explained the mixture of feed the cows are given daily, gasses being a big part of the mixture. All meat being sold at the City Market must be processed in a USDA or state inspected plant and the Kansas City Missouri Health Department issues permits for their product to be sold at the City Market. John’s cattle are processed at Lockwood Packing located in Lockwood, MO. the first and last weeks of each month. The McDowell’s ranch consists of 1,800 acres and he currently has 350 cows. The area we visited had 60 cows who will be the first to head to the processing plant. In addition to cattle John also has a portable chicken coop which houses 80 laying hens so he also sells fresh eggs on Sunday. The number of eggs he is able to bring to the market depends on how the chickens are laying so I would suggest you arrive early before he sells out.

Once we left John’s we headed north to Sedalia, MO to visit Galina Sheremeta and Sweet Delights Bakery. Galina had recently completed construction of her commercial kitchen located behind her home, it is beautiful by the way, and was looking for a farmers market where she could sell her baked goods. Galina is from Alaska where she became familiar with vending at farmers markets when she grew and sold European cucumbers at the Fairbanks Farmers Market with her sister. They were known as the “cucumber girls” until they expanded into bakery items. Their baking business grew so fast they had to quiet growing cumbers and concentrate on bakery items only. When arriving in Missouri Galina continued to bake although she admitted it was not the same without her sister. Galina bakes wonderful breads, pies and pastries with are very different than any other vendor is selling at the Market. As we strolled through her bakery admiring how nice it was I was able to sample French coconut macaroons, mocha mouse New York Cheese Cake, nut cookies, peach cookies and cream rolls, I was in heaven! Galina will be selling at the Sunday and Wednesday farmers market every week. On Sundays you will find her in pavilion 3 in stall 138. On Wednesdays all of the vendors are in the middle pavilion from 2 p.m. till 6 p.m.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Sarah here! For those of you who haven’t met me yet, I’m the assistant farmers’ market manager here at the City Market.

This year we’ve started a Youth Market on Wednesdays afternoons, 2pm-6pm from June through August. The Youth Market lets kids ages 5 to 18 come to the City Market to sell items they have grown or made themselves.

For more information on the Youth Market, check out the page on our website or read through the 2017 Youth Market Handbook.

That being said, I’ll be doing the bulk of the inspections for the Youth Market! It’s very exciting visiting with the future generation of the farmers’ market! Back in May, Deb and I went out to Sweet Delights Bakery in Sedalia, Missouri to visit with Nadiya, Tim, and Arthur. These siblings work out of a licensed kitchen in their home and are in the farmer category. They’re thrilled to come to the market with breads, cookies, and cakes they’ve been perfecting. When we arrived they were in the middle of making madeleines, enchanting little cookies in shell-shaped pans.

I’m ashamed to say that Tim and Arthur bake better bread than I do. They walked me through the whole process, laughing a little bit when I wasn't quite sure what ingredients went into bread.

Be sure to come out to the first Wednesday market of the year!
This week on June 7th from 2pm to 6pm. See you at the market!