Posts tagged with Farmers Market

Start at the Farmers Market for holiday meals

The jack-o-lanterns have been tossed to the compost pile, we've gorged ourselves on candy and now we're dusting off recipes for upcoming fall holiday traditions. That means planning a monster trip to the grocery store, right? Bumper carts in the aisles, a turkey raised a thousand miles away, and a tussle in the produce section for that last wilted bunch of beets.

Okay, so maybe it isn't that bad. But this year, consider skipping the grocery store for some of your needs and opt instead for local-foods-themed holiday meals. You'll get the bonus of a conversation with a farmer, and you'll know the path that your food traveled from farm to plate.

A mild fall like this one means that there are abundant staples at market such as sweet potatoes, squash, and turnips. There are eggs and locally grown and milled wheat flour for your baking needs. Several market vendors offer meats, whether you are looking for a holiday ham, a heritage turkey, or beef roast. Or go for elk steaks, goat chops or emu loin.

Then there are the greens: kales, chards, spinach, arugula, bok choy, and peppery salad greens. If the forecast holds to lows in the 30s or near, you'll likely still see radishes, daikon, carrots, beets and a few green tomatoes in the coming weeks.

Of course, you can buy or order pies, cakes, scones and other pastries while you're there, and pick up gifts from craft vendors, too.

The weekly Saturday farmers market is open until the Saturday before Thanksgiving -the last day is Nov. 17. Stop by this week to chat with farmers about the food they grow and you will have more than a grocery store receipt when you get home. - Jen

Frost-covered greens at the Red Tractor Farm in southern Douglas County

Frost-covered greens at the Red Tractor Farm in southern Douglas County by Jen Humphrey


Downtown farmers market starts fall hours Saturday

Clara Richardson waits for the next apple customer at the Lawrence Farmers market on a busy Saturday.

Clara Richardson waits for the next apple customer at the Lawrence Farmers market on a busy Saturday. by Richard Gwin

The Saturday Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market begins its fall hours this weekend, opening one hour later than usual.

The market, at Ninth and New Hampshire streets, will run from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturdays through Nov. 17, the last day of this season.

Upcoming special events at the market include the Appleooza festival on Oct. 13 and the Kale Festival on Nov. 3.

Oct. 27 is the last day for both the Tuesday Downtown market — 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays in the 1000 block of Vermont — and the West Side market — 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays at 1121 Wakarusa Drive.


Farmer to speak about growing for market Tuesday

Lynn Byczynski

Lynn Byczynski by rgwin

Lawrence farmer and book author Lynn Byczynski will speak about farmers markets and farming practices at Tuesday’s Growing Lawrence meeting.

Her talk, which is free and open to the public, is planned for 7 a.m. at the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, 646 Vt.

Byczynski started “Growing for Market” in 1992 to help growers across the country share ideas and experiences. The newsletter has grown, is published 10 times per year and is written entirely by market farmers and other practitioners.


Apples that survived drought arriving early — celebrate with summery recipes

Clara Richardson waits for the next apple customer at the Lawrence Farmers market on a busy Saturday.

Clara Richardson waits for the next apple customer at the Lawrence Farmers market on a busy Saturday. by Richard Gwin

With many buyers just beginning to realize it’s apple time, Ernie Richardson’s Gala crop has already come and gone.

Normally, Richardson said, his Gala trees would be just ready for harvest. But the early variety showed up at least three weeks ahead of schedule, and now, “they’re done.”

Following the lead of early summer stone fruits and most other produce this year, northeast Kansas apples are arriving one to four weeks early. The size and quality of early crops also varies.

For that, growers blame the drought.

“Everything is early, but it’s not uniformly early,” said Bruce Curtis, who owns Fieldstone Orchard in Overbrook. “Some individual trees are earlier than others in the same variety. You’ve got to stay in tune with everything ... test and sample and make sure you’re getting them when they’re ripe.”

Curtis, who bought the orchard and converted to organic practices a year ago, has had apples at the Merc and Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market for weeks and hopes to get into the Saturday Lawrence Farmers Market soon.

There’s a marked difference in the trees he irrigated and the trees he didn’t, Curtis said. With the worst of the drought hopefully over, he’s optimistic his later varieties will come on strong before the season’s end, which he guesses will be late October for him.

Walt Stephen, who owns Stephen’s Orchard in Bonner Springs, also hopes his late apples will be better than the ones he has now, which he said taste good but are small and few.

“We’re not going to have a big crop, but at least we’re going to have a crop,” he said.

Last year, a frost in late spring decimated Stephen’s apples. This year, he lost about a third of his crop to “sunburn” in the heat that persisted from late June through July. Even though they taste fine, he has to sell those apples as seconds — which people snap up for drying or applesauce — because they don’t look good.

“Mother Nature kind of takes care of what we get,” Stephen said. “You know, if we don’t get any rain, our apples suffer.”

Ernest Richardson climbs a ladder to pick more Gala apples. He says this year's crop is the best he's ever seen. Other farmers, however, report different results.

Ernest Richardson climbs a ladder to pick more Gala apples. He says this year's crop is the best he's ever seen. Other farmers, however, report different results. by Richard Gwin

Donald Turner of Kansas City, Kan., called this year the worst he’s experienced in his 40 years at Turner’s Orchard.

Without expensive irrigation, blossoms withered and dropped off. Many apples that did make it burned in the intense sun. Turner has been selling the apples he has at his home and at a swap meet in Kansas City, Kan.

“This has just been a mixed-up year,” he said. “We have to take what we’ve got and be happy we’ve got it.”

Mother Nature — with help from a conscientious watering effort — looked more favorably upon Richardson, who lives in Lawrence and has an orchard northeast of town.

His early crop was strong — “It’s by far the biggest I’ve ever had,” he said — and he expects the same from later varieties. Richardson said he doesn’t have an irrigation system but he started watering early and did so regularly.

“It was hot out there,” he said.

While overall quality hasn’t been as high as it usually is later in the season, the quantity of early apples has been almost too much for the Lawrence Farmers Market to handle, said market coordinator Pam Bramlett.

“We’re seeing apples a lot earlier than we expected, it’s given us a really full market right now,” she said, explaining it’s atypical to have so many apple vendors overlapping the usual late-summer produce vendors. “We’ve been sticking them everywhere we can stick ’em.”

Applooza at the Saturday Lawrence Farmers Market is set for Oct. 13.

Even with apple harvest starting early, Bramlett said farmers don’t expect it to end so soon they won’t have apples for the annual event.

“They’re still saying they’ll be fine,” Bramlett said.

Tart apples are the best choice for this Ham, Brie and Apple Triple-Decker Sandwich, which combines creamy, crispy, savory and sweet in every bite.

Tart apples are the best choice for this Ham, Brie and Apple Triple-Decker Sandwich, which combines creamy, crispy, savory and sweet in every bite. by Sara Shepherd

Fit-for-summer apple recipes

Apples may be early this year, but there’s no reason to rush these fall favorites into their signature cool-weather dishes quite yet.

Better to make the most of summertime food before summer slips away.

We sifted through typical apple recipes featuring cranberries, fall squash or winter spices to find these fit-for-summer ideas.

Chilled desserts and bright ingredients — think lime juice, lemon grass, fresh basil and other seasonal produce — help bring apples out of autumn and into the light lunches, cookouts and 90-degree days of August.

Click here to get recipes for this Ham, Brie and Apple Triple-Decker Sandwich (pictured above), plus Chicken Salad with Apple and Basil, Kohlrabi and Apple Salad with Creamy Mustard Dressing, Asian Apple Marinade, Grilled Stuffed Apples, Green Apple Granita, Apple Snow and Blackberry and Summer Apple Pie.


Douglas County Fair to feature local food galore

From left in foreground Alejandro Lule, and Subarna Bhattachan, of Zen Zero, begin grilling food Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, during the Chef's Challenge at the Douglas County Fair. Chefs from three Lawrence restaurants, including Free State Brewery and Pachamamas, competed in the event using locally-grown produce. In background at far left is Pachamama chef Ken Baker and at right is Hal Beckerman, kitchen manager at Free State Brewery.

From left in foreground Alejandro Lule, and Subarna Bhattachan, of Zen Zero, begin grilling food Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, during the Chef's Challenge at the Douglas County Fair. Chefs from three Lawrence restaurants, including Free State Brewery and Pachamamas, competed in the event using locally-grown produce. In background at far left is Pachamama chef Ken Baker and at right is Hal Beckerman, kitchen manager at Free State Brewery. by Mike Yoder

At the Douglas County Fair you can enter food in contests, buy food, eat food and watch professional chefs prepare food.

Here’s a list of the fair’s open-to-the-public food events, all at the Douglas County Fair Grounds, 2110 Harper St. For contest rules and a map of the fair grounds, download a Douglas County Fair Book at

Open class food contests

Entries accepted from 2-7 p.m. Monday, July 30. Judging is Tuesday, July 31. Winning entries will remain on display through Saturday, Aug. 4

Categories include various breads, cakes, pies, cookies, jellies, jams and pickles. Ribbons are awarded in each category, with a champion and reserve champion named in food preparation and food preservation.

President’s Pie Baking Contest

7:30-9:30 a.m. daily, Tuesday, July 31, through Saturday, Aug. 4, Dreher Building.

Celebrity judges and the Fair Board President will pick three winners from each day’s entries. After judging, pies are sliced and sold at the 4-H food stand. At the end of the week, the president picks the top overall winners. The contest only accepts baked fruit and nut pies, pies requiring refrigeration are not allowed.

Food Sale

2-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, Building 21.

After judging, open class and 4-H food entries will go up for sale to the public. Proceeds benefit Douglas County 4-H.

Naturally Nutritious Food Festival and Cooking Contest

Wednesday, Aug. 1, Building 21. Entries accepted from 6-7 p.m., with judging at 7 p.m.

Open categories are Fresh Salsa, Creative Cold Salads, International Cuisine, Local Goodness Main Dish (must feature at least four ingredients produced or grown in Kansas), Appetizer or Snack (made with local ingredients) and Healthy Dessert made with fresh fruit. Young Chef Categories, for cooks 12 and younger, are Quick Lunch Idea featuring Local Produce and Healthy Snacks featuring Fresh Fruit. Written recipes required for all categories.

Farmers Market

4-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, north of Extension Office.

The Cottin's Hardware Farmers Market will move its market from the hardware store to the fairgrounds for one night. More than 30 vendors, including school gardens, are expected to sell local produce and homemade goods. There will be a "produce check" in the Dreher 4-H building, where patrons can leave the produce they purchased while they enjoy the rest of the fair.

Chef’s Local Food Challenge

5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, north of Extension Office.

Three Lawrence chefs will demonstrate seasonal recipes using food from farmers market vendors. Last year's winner, Free State Brewery chef Russell Iverson, will compete against Dave Nigro of Hy-Vee and Wallace Cochran of the Merc. Judges will select the winner, and samples will be shared with the public, which will pick the winner of the people's choice award.


Westside Lawrence farmers market has new home

After unexpectedly losing its Thursday home, the Lawrence Farmers’ Market has a new home in west Lawrence.

The westside market will set up Thursday evenings in a vacant lot next to Emprise Bank’s Lawrence Market branch, 1121 Wakarusa Drive.

The new location is just a few blocks south of the market’s previous home, which was at the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

After reading in Thursday’s Journal-World that the westside market had been suspended until it found a new home, bank president Cindy Yulich said she looked at the lot outside her office and thought, “I wonder if this could work?”

After a few calls within the bank and a call to market leaders, Yulich said it was decided that the market would move in.

The Emprise Bank location has a paved area that will be used for parking and a grassy area where vendors will set up.

Downtown markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays will not change.

Since the westside market began, the shopping center at the southwest corner of Sixth and Wakarusa has filled several vacancies, said Dawn Rudd of Concord Hospitality Services, speaking on behalf of the center’s owner, Larry Bird. Bird also owns the Famous Dave’s restaurant in the center.

Other businesses, including Morningstar’s Pizza, and Grills and Grinders, have recently opened there.

With all the storefronts occupied, Rudd said, tenants met to vote on keeping the market and decided instead to reserve the parking area for their customers.

“They all, as a group, decided to vote ‘no’ on whether to have the farmers’ market,” Rudd said.

Lawrence Farmers’ Market coordinator Pam Bramlett said the market got about 10 offers to relocate this week, and she was grateful for the community support.

A couple of things were appealing about the Emprise Bank location, she said: The grass will be cooler than pavement for vendors, and it allows for expansion.

“It just seemed to be the perfect space,” Bramlett said. “This is a place where we can grow, and we’re really excited about that.”


Lawrence Farmers Market opens 37th season on Saturday, April 14th

Fresh off the bountiful success of this warm Spring, the Lawrence Farmers Market returns to open the 37th season of its world-class market on Saturday, April 14.

Under the picturesque canopy of budding trees in the 800 block of New Hampshire, the Saturday Lawrence Farmers’ Market will open at 7:00 am with its ritual bell ringing and run until 11:00 am. Shoppers will find locally-grown and locally-produced food and farm products from more than 50 farmers, food producers and artisans. That number will grow to nearly 100 as the season progresses and the abundant bounty of local produce ripens.

“For us at the Lawrence Farmers Market, opening day feels like a family reunion and neighborhood potluck in one. It brings together familiar faces, delicious food and the spirit of community,” said Maggie Vi Beedles of Feaster’s Bistro.

What’s fresh this spring? Peak-of-season produce like asparagus, carrots, green onions, leeks, chard, spinach, arugula, lettuces and more still wearing traces of the fertile soil of the Kaw Valley. Lawrence Farmers Market food producers, food artisans and prepared food vendors will also tempt shoppers with delicious baked goods, eggs, meats, cheeses, and other specialty foods.

This season, the Lawrence Farmers Market introduces new farmers and welcomes back returning farmers to its market locations. Through the years, the market has sustained the region’s food and farming community by providing a lively sales outlet for small family farms, many of which count on farm-direct sales as their main source of income.

As the days lengthen and the spring harvests progress, weekday markets will open for the season also. The Tuesday Market, at 1020 Vermont, opens May 1, 4:00pm-6:00 pm and the Thursday Evening Market, at 4931 W. 6th Street, begins May 3, 4:00pm-6:00pm. Although the market will have been open for a few weeks by May 5, we will have our traditional GRAND OPENING on the first Saturday in May.


Bountiful by egarrett


Lawrence Farmers’ Market annual Holiday Market

Erika Eden, second from right, and her mother Valerie Eden, right, both of Lawrence, look over hand-made soaps and hats with other shoppers at the Crane River Farm booth at the Holiday Farmers Market Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009. Large crowds filled the parking lot and the Knights of Columbus hall for the annual sale. In 2010, the market moved to the The Holiday Inn, 200 McDonald Drive.

Erika Eden, second from right, and her mother Valerie Eden, right, both of Lawrence, look over hand-made soaps and hats with other shoppers at the Crane River Farm booth at the Holiday Farmers Market Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009. Large crowds filled the parking lot and the Knights of Columbus hall for the annual sale. In 2010, the market moved to the The Holiday Inn, 200 McDonald Drive. by Mike Yoder

Winter is here and so is the Lawrence Farmers' Market annual Holiday Market this Saturday, December 10th, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Holiday Inn, 200 McDonald Drive, Lawrence, KS.

The Holiday Market is a special event featuring unique handcrafted gift items in addition to bountiful produce and specialty foods for your holiday table direct from farmers and artisan producers in the region.

Fresh carrots, beets, kale, spinach, turnips, arugula, sweet potatoes, and squash, to frozen chicken, turkey, beef, pork, and lamb, plus jams, jellies, chutneys, marmalade, salsa, pickles, and pestos will be available along with products perfect for your holiday table that are gift worthy as well; creamed honey, vanilla, certified organic infused oils and vinegars, wines, dried peppers, garlic braids and goat cheese, chestnuts, eggs, breads, pies, cookies, cakes and other seasonal treats. The market provides an excellent opportunity to purchase everything you need for holiday meals, parties, and gifts.

Start your Saturday right at the Holiday Market with fresh hot coffee, tea, cocoa and cider, breakfast burritos, tamales, barbecue, soup, and chili along with fresh roasted chestnuts, granola, scones, chocolates, candies, seasoned and spiced nuts and more!

Looking for a gift that keeps on giving? Purchase "Friend of the Market" packages. For only $10, you get the satisfaction of supporting the market along with $2.00 in market tokens, a reusable bamboo shopping bag, a discount on market merchandise, plus a Farmers' Market window decal and colorful refrigerator magnet. Add a gift certificate, good for the 2012 market season, and it’s a wrap!

The Lawrence Farmer’s market was voted best market by The Pitch. With thousands of visitors, the Holiday Market is one of the largest all hand-crafted holiday markets in the area. There’s more space this year and as always, no admission fee is charged. You will find gift ideas for everyone on your list.

The weather is set to be sunny, clear and crisp, just perfect for heading over to peruse the abundant selection available at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market annual Holiday Market. Good thing too, because the holidays are approaching fast!


Chefs showcase flavor of local foods at first ‘Farmers Market at the Fair’ event

About 200 people watched three teams of Lawrence restaurant chefs buy, prepare, cook and serve up dishes made with local fare.

Then came the best part: taste testing. Delicious, flavorful and inspiring were a few words used to describe the food.

The Chef’s Challenge was part of the first Farmers Market at the Douglas County Fair on Thursday evening at the county fairgrounds, 2110 Harper St. The event was organized by a broad coalition of organizations who seek to support local growers and businesses.

“The purpose of the event was to really call attention to the richness of the food in the valley and to the farmers and to link it with the fair, which already is a celebration of agriculture,” said Julie Mettenburg, coordinator for Our Local Food–Kaw River Valley. “We want people to know that there are a lot of sources for local food around town and it’s really worth seeking out because this shows tonight that it’s really delicious, affordable and amazing and it supports our local economy.”

Nearly 30 vendors were selling a variety of produce, meats and homemade goodies. The Iwig Family Dairy booth was a popular stop because it was selling four flavors of ice cream. Collin Billau, general manager, estimated that he sold more than 140 8-ounce containers.

A majority of the vendors, including Iwig dairy, take part in the Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market on Thursdays, which moved to the fairgrounds for the event. Although business was slower than the typical market, several said they had new customers and thought it was a worthwhile venture.

“It was a good idea and a lot of fun,” said Stephanie Thomas, of Spring Creek Farm near Baldwin City. “We’d participate again.”

During the three-hour farmers' market, the chefs were cooking and sweating up a storm. Among the competitors were: Ken Baker and Vaughn Good, of Pachamama’s; Subarna Bhattachan and Alejandro Lule, of Zen Zero; and Russ Iversen, Hal Beckerman and Pedro Julio Tovar-Ballagh, of Free State Brewery.

They purchased local ingredients at the farmers' market and then had one hour to prepare their dishes, which included a grilled meat and a side.

The dishes were then judged by Douglas County Commissioner Jim Flory, City Commissioner Mike Amyx and Twilla Brown, a longtime 4-H supporter.

Flory said it was a tough decision.

“Everything was delicious. It was almost impossible to judge because it was all so good,” he said. “The quality and taste of food was excellent all the way around.”

Their vote made up 70 percent of the final decision and then the crowd’s vote was worth 30 percent.

The winner was Free State Brewery. They served up butter-beer-braised pork loin with mashed potatoes and a peach-corn compote that was topped with a huckleberry balsamic vinegar reduction.

But the chefs said it wasn’t about winning or losing; it was about promoting local foods and showing fairgoers just how fresh the local food tastes.

“It was a lot of fun,” Baker said. “We had a great time and would do it again.”

From left in foreground Alejandro Lule, and Subarna Bhattachan, of Zen Zero, begin grilling food Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, during the Chef's Challenge at the Douglas County Fair. Chefs from three Lawrence restaurants, including Free State Brewery and Pachamamas, competed in the event using locally-grown produce. In background at far left is Pachamama chef Ken Baker and at right is Hal Beckerman, kitchen manager at Free State Brewery.

From left in foreground Alejandro Lule, and Subarna Bhattachan, of Zen Zero, begin grilling food Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, during the Chef's Challenge at the Douglas County Fair. Chefs from three Lawrence restaurants, including Free State Brewery and Pachamamas, competed in the event using locally-grown produce. In background at far left is Pachamama chef Ken Baker and at right is Hal Beckerman, kitchen manager at Free State Brewery. by Mike Yoder


CSAs provide a powerful choice

I joined a CSA this year to learn more about this particular kind of local food option. Each week I drive out to the Moon on the Meadow farm and pick up my share of the week’s crops. Some of the things in my basket get eaten on the way home (like the strawberries!) and others, like the fava beans, are mini-challenges to figure out what to make.

I expected this.

What I didn’t expect was the benefit no one is talking about.

When you join a CSA, you trade unlimited choice for easy access to a curated collection of the freshest and tastiest local food each week.

And this is exactly the right thing for me.

I only had to make ONE decision to eat fresh, local produce. And not just one decision for the week. One decision for the entire season.

There is something truly liberating about making one single choice to eat well and be done with it.

Want to read more? The full article plus additional content and videos can be found on my blog, The Food Advocate.


Myth-Busting: Farmers Market Prices

Say you want to buy fruits and vegetables for the weekend, and you only have $15. Will your dollar stretch further at the supermarket, or at your local farmers market?

Many people would assume the grocery store would have the cheapest vegetables. It's what Barry Estabrook calls the accepted gospel -- that only "well-heeled food snobs can afford the exorbitant prices charged for those attractively displayed baby greens and heirloom tomatoes at the farmers markets."

But, as Estabrook wrote in the Atlantic recently, a study by a graduate student at Bard College found that when comparing farmers market prices to the grocery store, the farmers market is competitively lower priced for many conventionally grown items. And if you're looking for organic produce, farmers markets beat grocery store prices every time.

The study by Jake Robert Claro was based on the Vermont market for blueberries, cantaloupe, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggs, bell peppers, lettuce, potatoes, peas, string beans, squash and tomatoes. Claro's research team collected price information from 10 farmers markets and 10 conventional grocery stores serving the same Vermont communities in 2010. With the exception of eggs and potatoes, which can be produced much more cheaply in large economies of scale, the non-organic farmers market items were between 10 and 20 percent more expensive.

What's more, organic items at farmers markets were 40 percent cheaper than at the grocery store.

While the study focused on Vermont, Estabrook points out that it supports other similar studies in Iowa and in Seattle.

What's your shopper's experience at the Lawrence Farmers Markets, whether the Saturday market, or the weekday markets on Tuesday and Thursday? It'd be interesting to see if the same holds true here. I sense a job for interns.

See you at the market!


New produce, cooking demos at tomorrow’s Farmers Market

When you go to a grocery store, the same produce trucked in from near and far away is available year-round. But to me part of the experience of eating food is knowing not only where it comes from, but when it will be in season.

At the Lawrence Farmers Market, the seasonal mix of produce is starting to change. What began as early spring greens and radishes gave way to peas, cabbages, beets and tender lettuces. Now that it’s past mid-June, we’re seeing the first new potatoes, zucchini, a few cucumbers and beans.

In addition to the new kinds of produce that you’ll see Saturday at the Lawrence Farmers Market, (location here) there will also be cooking demonstrations by the Feasters. They are vendors who offer hot foods such as omelettes and tacos at the Vermont Street Tuesday market, the Thursday market at 6th and Wakarusa and the Saturday market, too. At 9:00 am they will be cooking up foods using the fresh greens available at the market, and at 10:00 they will demonstrate making omelettes. Stop by their booth if you want some hot tips on cooking with seasonal ingredients at the market.

Last week was a bustling market, with lots of great food, crafted goods, music, and even a juggler who showed up. This week the market will have music by the Anchovy Fishermen in the East Lot, and Jim Krause in the West Lot. Hope to see you there! -Jen


Strawberries, tomatoes keep things simple

I'm going strong with my local food quest, and the basil plant is still kickin' it on the patio!

Since strawberries and tomatoes are in season -- and cheese is always in season (yay!) -- I did some more simple meals with those ingredients this weekend. I'd like to give myself a pat on the back for not having to Google anything this week, too.

Also, I've observed that my diet has become colorful (vibrant reds + greens) since I started my challenge.

On Saturday, I picked up these items at the City Market:

  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Bread
  • Goat Cheese
  • Fresh Mozzarella (not local, but purchased from the small Italian grocery)

The spinach, strawberries and goat cheese met up with some store-bought balsamic vinaigrette for salad. I still have nearly one billion spinach leaves left. Now taking suggestions on what to do with them.

Tomatoes, mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and basil from my plant became Caprese salad. For only using one tomato and one ball of mozzarella, it's filling and flavorful.

Of course I have to mop up all the leftover sauces/dressings with slices of fresh bread, because what is life without bread? Not worth living, I say.

Here are pics of my creations:

Peaches and berries are starting to pop up here and there among the market vendors. Am I brave enough to attempt a pie?


What’s happening at Saturday’s Farmers Market in downtown Lawrence

If you want strawberries at the downtown Lawrence Farmers Market tomorrow, you had better set your alarm.

The market — 824 New Hampshire — opens at 7 a.m.

Last week, Tom Buller, market coordinator, said the fruit was sold out by 7:08. The cool weather is not letting the berries ripen as fast as usual. More will be available this week, but demand is expected to be high.

Other fresh produce will include green onions, cilantro, radishes, spinach, salad mix, greens, chard, lettuce, green garlic, kale, arugula, tomatoes and mushrooms.

If you are having a graduation party, you might want to stop by for items such as wine, cakes, pies, salsa and/or meat for grilling.

Two bands — The Prairie Acre and The Wiseacres — will be performing during the market, which is open until 11 a.m.

On a different note, the Farmers’ Market board of directors has an opening for a community representative. If you are interested in shaping the future of the market, contact Tom Buller at 331-4445 or


Farm, Inc.: The Pendletons

It's Tuesday night, the sun is going down and there's a light breeze whipping through an open field. A couple is alone, no one else in sight. It's just them, Mother Nature and a whole mess of pea seeds.

"It was about 7:30, and so we went out to plant some peas, and it was just the two of us," Karen Pendleton says. "It's our date time to go out and plant peas together on a Tuesday night."

John and Karen Pendleton, 54 and 52 respectively, have been full-time farmers and faces in the Lawrence produce and flower community for almost three decades. Their country store is a food and garden must-stop from spring to fall, their asparagus is some of the most popular in the area, and they've managed to avoid off-farm jobs since 1982.

To many the Pendletons' résumé may seem like the American dream come true. So much so that you'd expect an apple pie to be sitting on a windowsill of their farm house just east of Lawrence. But they'll be the first to remind you that the success of the American dream and a silo-full of American greenbacks don't necessarily go hand-in-hand.

Read more about the Pendletons' struggle to keep going here.


Produce That Will Be Avai

Produce that will be available at Saturday morning's Lawrence Farmers' Market: Green onions, cilantro, radishes, spinach, salad mix, greens, chard, lettuce and green garlic.

The market also will feature meats, eggs, homemade goodies and more.


Perry Lecompton Farmers’ Market opens May 21

Local, fresh produce will be available Fridays in Perry, starting May 21.

The Perry Lecompton Farmers' Market will be:

• 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Friday from May 21 through Oct. 15.

• at the intersection of Highway 24 and Ferguson Road in the Fast Trax parking lot.

• featuring vegetables, fruits, homemade jams, baked goods, flowers, plants, eggs and more.

• For more information, visit the market's Web site.


Betting the farm: Lawrence farmer works double-time to realize her dream

Natalya Lowther is living her dream.

She has a 12-acre farm with sheep, vegetables and a stable of young, enthusiastic, wannabe farmers to help her with her myriad of chores. She's even got an idyllic name for her little piece of Old MacDonald's legacy: Pinwheel Farm.

It's a name she dreamed up while an undergrad working on a mock-farm project for class. And it stuck. Today's she's living the plan she thought up so many years ago.

Except for one small detail.

To be a full-time farmer, she must be full-time at something else.

Read the first installment of our series exploring the hurdles and joys being a full-time farmer in and around Lawrence, "Farm Inc."


Dogs still will be welcome at Farmers’ Market this year

By Chad Lawhorn

Dog lovers can continue to love the Lawrence Farmers’ Market.

Tom Buller, market coordinator, said the organization’s board has decided to back away from a proposed policy that would ban dogs at the market.

“The vendors decided it was something they could manage,” Buller said. “There was a real significant voice from the community that they wanted to have the option of bringing their dogs to the market.”

Buller said the market instead will remind dog owners to keep their pets on a leash and be careful to keep the animals away from the food at the market.


Farmers’ Market moving Thursday market to west Lawrence

By Chad Lawhorn

Lawrence’s Farmers Market will expand outside of downtown with a new market at Sixth and Wakarusa this spring.

Tom Buller, market coordinator, confirmed the organization’s board has decided to move its Thursday market from downtown Lawrence to the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.

“We just felt like it is an area where there is a lot of population growth and a lot of traffic, especially in the evenings with commuters coming back from Topeka,” Buller said.

The new market is scheduled to open May 6, with hours from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. It will be in the parking lot that serves the Salty Iguana and other businesses. Buller said about 25 vendors had signed up to participate in the market, up from about 15 vendors who traditionally had participated in the downtown Thursday market.

The market is expected to have meat, produce, baked good, cut flowers and other agricultural products.

Businesses near the site said they were pleased to see a special event come to the west side of Lawrence.

“I think it is a real good idea,” said Michael Neth, owner of Eileen’s Colossal Cookies, 4931 W. Sixth Street. “The more traffic this center gets, the better. I think some people forget that there are quite a few retailers over here.”

The market in 2007 tried a location outside of downtown when it sold products in the parking lot of the Community Mercantile at Ninth and Iowa. But Buller said parking problems at that location ended the market after one year. He said parking at the new location should not be a problem.

The Tuesday and Saturday markets will continue to be in downtown. The Tuesday market will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the city parking lot at 1020 Vermont Street. Its first day is slated for May 4. The Saturday market will run from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the city parking lot at 824 New Hampshire. Its opening day is April 10.


Loco for Locavore by Kayla Regan

This post was written by Kayla Regan as part of Simran Sethi's KU journalism course "Media and the Environment," which focuses on environmental reporting through the lenses of food and agriculture.

By definition, I am not a locavore, the New Oxford American Dictionary’s 2007 word of the year. Depending on the source, a "locavore," (noun, pronounced ˈˈlō-kə-ˌvȯr) is someone who exclusively or primarily eats food that is locally grown or produced (typically within a 100- to 250-mile radius).

I’d like to wake up in time for a Saturday morning farmers market, but I just can’t sacrifice the only day I can sleep in (I love sleeping) for food. Although I prefer shopping at stores with a wider organic or local selection, I rationalize that I’m reducing my carbon footprint by driving to closer chain supermarkets. I do make it a priority to save money so I can spend some extra cash on local fresh produce, but I still crave and buy tomatoes every month of the year.

Two of the four items shown above are considered local — the honey (made and manufactured in Belton, Mo., about 50 miles from Lawrence) and my semi-surviving cilantro plant. Check the Lawrence farmers market (which is closed in the winter) to see what local produce is in season.

To me, going "locavore" doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing. Instead, it’s about finding a balance between the things you want, the things you can afford and the things that are available.

With the “Iron Chef” White House garden episode, the popular Academy Award nominated documentary “Food, Inc.," Michelle Obama promoting garden vegetables on “Sesame Street” and countless other examples of media attention, the "locavore" message is indeed more accessible than ever. For $2.99, there’s even an app for that. Locavore, an iPhone application, shows what produce items are in season near you and what farmers markets carry them, apparently making buying local easier than ever.

According to the market research firm Packaged Facts, more people seem to be finding their own locavore balance. The firm's latest poll found that 54 percent of respondents favored supporting local farmers, a marked increase from 28 percent in 2006. Local food sales rose from $4 billion in 2002 to $5 billion in 2007 and are predicted to reach $7 billion in 2011.

Representatives from Lawrence supermarkets, such as Sheila Lowrie, Dillons spokesperson; Mike Smith, Checkers store director; and Brett Hansen, assistant manager of Hy-Vee, all said that they were carrying more locally grown and manufactured products and that demand for those items was increasing. Megan Dudley, manager of natural food store The Community Mercantile, also reported that business was especially good and was getting better.

Many think that eating locally is simply a trend that’s popular now but that will soon die down. Locavore was listed in Time Magazine’s 2009 Top 10 iPhone applications, but now it’s not even in the top 100 most downloaded apps. “Iron Chef” didn’t end up using the produce items they picked from the White House garden, and media outlets from the left and right have reduced eating habits to a subject of political debate. Here in Lawrence, the owners of The Casbah, a locally owned and operated organic market and café, recently announced the market was closing.

This Google Trend graph suggests that people were eating locally long before "locavore" was the word of the year and long before they saw Michelle Obama on TV. Despite the dips and spikes in the search volume and media tags, public interest in eating locally continues to increase.

Even after the spotlight on local eating turns off, people will, at the very least, remember its message. When society is a pendulum that swings both ways, it’s all a matter of finding your own balance.