It’s summertime! Time for vacations, relaxing in the sun, and having BBQs and picnics! What is perfect for BBQs and picnics? Fresh fruits and vegetables! The best place to find the freshest fruits and veggies are farmers markets! It seems every town you visit proudly opens their grounds to local farmers every week to sell their goods. You will find all sorts of items, some you may be familiar with, and some that will give you a good reason to try out a new recipe! Farmers markets can give you a chance to meet those that grow your food, something that doesn’t happen at the grocery store! It’s fun to talk with the farmers, hear how their crops are doing and maybe have them share some ways of using their vegetables. It’s also fun to watch the seasons play a role in what vegetables are available, follow along the schedule of the farmer and you’ll be eating good and fresh all year long! We are coming up on the season of corn, isn’t the saying the corn should be “knee high by the 4th of July?” Not sure where the farmers markets are near you? A great place to start is the Kansas City Food Circle, they have a list online of all farmers markets that cover the greater Kansas City area in both Kansas and Missouri. They even have resources for you to find restaurants that work alongside farmers to provide local and fresh meals. You can also check out a directory of CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) in your area. A CSA membership provides you with a weekly share of produce (or meat and eggs) directly from a farm. A few years ago, I was a member of the CSA New Roots for Refugees; a program designed to provide refugees to Kansas City marketable skills in their new country. It was such a rewarding experience, and was a lot of fun having great produce every week. Farmers Markets generally take place Saturday mornings, but if you can’t get out on the weekends, a lot of markets offer hour in addition to weekends.Over in Kansas, the Perry-Lecompton farmers market opens on Friday evenings. Downtown Overland Park’s Farmers’ Market does Saturday morning markets, Wednesday morning markets, and they just recently began offering Wednesday evening markets, complete with live music. In Kansas City, the iconic Historic City Market runs their farmers’ markets both on Saturdays and Sundays. Make a day of it and visit the Steamboat Arabia which is located right near the market!
Butler, MO’s downtown farmers market takes place on Thursday evenings! While you’re in the area visit nearby Poplar Heights Living History Farm and get a taste of how farms worked in the 19th century. They also host dinners with a lot of the goods right from the farm! Talk about farm to table! If you’re in Liberty, Missouri after visiting their Historic Downtown Liberty Farmers’ Market, you could attend their Local Dirt Dinner on July 25th, 2015 where everything served was purchased from the farmers’ market. If you visit the Olathe Farmers’ Market at the Olathe Community Center, open both on Wednesdays and Saturdays, you will be right across the street from Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm, another great location to see a working 19th century farm in action! You may even be able to help harvest some of their crops!