Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I took a break from the Wednesday night farmers market to update my blog. The days have gotten away from me again. Tonight we have two vendors selling produce; one of these is Bryson’s Farm Fresh Produce from Hale, Missouri. I visited the Bryson’s a couple weeks ago and got a great tour of the farm from Doug and Pat who do much of the day-to-day work on the farm. Joe’s farm has really evolved over the years since my first visit in 2004. At that time, the farm was much smaller and did not have three greenhouses and a nice walk in cooler. A couple of years ago they added an additional 40 acres to their farm and recently added a pond which was funded by a grant. This new pond provides water to the back part of their fields. The Bryson’s grow a wonderful variety of products to bring to the Market every Saturday and Sunday year round. This year they are growing fourteen varieties of heirloom tomatoes, if you have not tried heirloom tomatoes you are in for a treat. Their backfield contain four varieties of watermelons (they planted 1200 plants) cantaloupe and 3,000 fat jack pumpkins plants, that is a lot of vines to maneuver. When I visited, they were busy getting their fall plantings in so they can continue vending at the Market through Christmas. You will find Bryson’s Farm Fresh Produce in pavilion one and two on Saturdays and in pavilion two on Sundays. For additional information, visit their website at

On my way back to Kansas City, I met up with Marlin Frye in Lexington, Missouri. Marlin and his Son Mark are vendors at the City Market and get a portion of the produce they bring to the Market from Marlins other sons farm in Lexington. This is the location where they harvest field tomatoes and greenhouse tomatoes, summer squash and zucchini. Not too far from Buckner, where they operate a country store and greenhouse, they lease land where they grow watermelons and pumpkins, which they sell to Price Chopper. At their greenhouses in Buckner, they grow hanging baskets for the spring and mums to sell in the fall. Both Mark and Marlin Frye fall in the Farmer with Local Supplement Category at the Market. This means they must grow at least 50% of everything they bring to the market and may supplement the other 50% as long as harvested within 500 miles of the City Market. Frye Farms supplements tomatoes in early summer and all of the peaches they sell. The peaches come from Beckner’s Orchard located in Waverly, Missouri. If you are looking for a fun day trip in the fall, around the end of September, Frye Farms host a day where they make sorghum the old fashion way, it is something worth seeing. You will find Frye Farms in pavilion three on Saturdays and Sundays and Fresh Maters, Mark’s business; in pavilion one on Saturday and Sunday.

I will head out again tomorrow; I just need to decide in which direction.

Friday, August 11, 2017

I had a very short trip today since all of the farms I am visiting are located in the same large field. We have four vendors who rent a parcel of land located north of I-70 in Kansas City, Kansas. I sometimes have trouble determining which plot belongs to which vendor but today I lucked out and Vang Thao and family were on sight and was able to help me.

Vang Thao Garden has been vending at the City Market since 2014 and sells at the Sunday farmers market. Like many of our vendors, Vang Thao grows a variety of flowers to sell as bouquets at the market. The type of flowers in the bouquets will vary depending on the season. You will currently see bouquets that contain zinnias, cockscombs, cosmos, dhalia, gladiolas and sunflowers Vang Thao’s Garden had them all. As with all of our vendors this time of year they were busy trying to stay on top of the weeds, lots of rain and heat makes for very healthy weeds.  In addition to flowers, they also grow squash, cucumbers, assorted peppers, okra, long beans, water spinach, bitter melon, basil, dill and tomatoes that had yet to start producing. You will find Vang Thao Garden in pavilion three stalls 129 & 130 every Sunday through the first frost.

Located on the north side of the property on a steep hill is Youa Vangs plot. This is a very challenging section of land for growing vegetables, especially with all the rain we had this summer. Youa had  a little lettuce that was still producing since it was located in a shady part of the field, I was actually a little surprised to see this with all the heat we had a few weeks ago. Although Youa has struggled this year, she had Asian melons, lemon grass and a few flowers that she can bring to the market on Sundays. You will find Youa’s Farm in pavilion one in stall 6.

Across the drive is Amy Lo’s plot, which takes up the width of the property. Amy was not on the property when I arrived but I have been visiting her garden since 2011 so knew exactly where it starts and ends. Amy also sells cut flowers and had the same variety of flowers as Vang Thao with the exception of bachelor buttons and marigolds. She has added more tomatoes this year, which were just starting to turn red, field tomatoes, are really starting to come on now. Amy also grows a variety of vegetables that she brings to the market every Saturday through the first frost. You will find Amy in Pavilion two stalls 53 and 54.

Located at the back of the property is Pheng Hers plot. Pheng and her family have been farming for six years and started vending at the Sunday farmers market their first year. They have since been able to get a Saturday contract and are now selling on both market days. Pheng sells a mix of cut flowers and vegetables and has a second location where she farms which I still need to visit this summer. I cannot believe how fast time is ticking by this year. You will find Peng her is pavilion three on Saturday in stall 131 and pavilion one on Sundays in stall 10.

I headed across town to Independence, MO to visit with a new applicant for the artist crafter category. Before a new vendor gets approval to sell at the City Market, I am required to visit their workshop to verify they personally make the items they would like to sell. Sam LaSala has a workshop where he draws designs and screen-prints them on t-shirts. Vendors who purchase pre made t-shirts are required to create the design themselves and the design must encompass at least 50% of the shirt. Sam spends  quite a bit of time drawing and cleaning up his designs before screen-printing them to a t-shirt but the designs are not large enough or detailed enough to cover the shirts so is not something we will allow at this time. I was glad to hear that he plans to work on this and I will revisit him once he makes this adjustment, and so, you could possible see Art Space at the market in the near future.