The weather this last week has been a little crazy and have caused some major issues for a few of our vendors. The extreme winds we had last Saturday can cause a lot of damage to a greenhouse or high tunnel, not to mention it is very hard on some plants. Many of the rural areas had flooding on Wednesday night, I know of at least one vendor in Odessa who had a portion of his field under water Thursday morning. Farming can be such a challenge especially when Mother Nature is in a mood.
I have been keeping super busy traveling around Kansas and Missouri the last few weeks visiting with new vendors and those who have sold at the market for a few years. Earlier this month I drove to Garden Plain, KS which is located on the other side of Wichita. It was a long drive but the day was beautiful and I love driving in the Flint Hills. I stopped at a scenic pull over to stretch my legs only to find out it was a cattle crossing where the cattle would get herded over the highway, it was very cool.
I think I got a little off track, the vendor I was visiting was Rhonda Loehr, the owner of Hill Top Farm. Rhonda is fairly new to farming, she has been growing thirteen acres of watermelon and cantaloupe since 2013 and has been learning by trial and error. This year’s crop was just getting ready to harvest but the extreme heat has been taking its toll on the plants, it was 97 degrees when I arrived. If they have enough product to bring to Kansas City you will see Rhonda at the Sunday market.
The day I visited Don Stucker in Blue Springs I had planned to make a day of farm visits. The storms caused a change in my plans, the rain was a little extreme and the highways were backed up so I opted to stop in Blue Springs in the morning and Odessa on my way home once the rain let up. Don and Tracy have been selling microgreens and baby greens at the Sunday market for a couple weeks. If you are not familiar with microgreens they are almost any green vegetable or herb that has edible leaves and is harvested when the first set of true leaves sprout. Microgreens have a very concentrated taste and the health benefits are similar to sprouts but will vary depending on the type of plant. The variety of micro greens and baby greens Don is currently growing are sunflower, mustard, broccoli, kale, sweet lettuce, radish, carrot, peas, wheat germ, amaranth and spicy salad mix. As with many of our vendors Don and his wife have day jobs but love the flavor and health benefits of microgreens and want to share this with others.
On my way home that night I stopped and visited with Colin Douthit who has a farm in Odessa, Mo. Red Team Farm raises grass fed and grass finished beef, pasture raised pork, pastured poultry and free range chicken eggs. All of their chickens, in addition to eating in the pasture, are fed non GMO grains. Colin raises a smaller heritage breed of cattle called Irish Dexters. They are shorter and very stout, I couldn’t believe how thick their necks were. As we were standing among the cattle in the field I suddenly felt something nudge my arm, it was the bull wanting me to pet it. He was very docile and became my new friend. Red Team Farms hopes to start vending at the Sunday Market next month. For additional information visit their web site at www.redteamfarm.com