Vernon Quarles of Just Natural Farms explains how to cook kohlrabi at the 107th Street Farmer’s Market inside Brookdale Wornall Place.
Organic Farmers Markets in south KC
By Jill Draper
The local farmers market scene has shifted in the last two months as growers moved around and adjusted to May’s record-setting rainfall. But with warmer, sunnier days ahead, shoppers soon will be rewarded with summer vegetables and other fresh items. Here’s what’s happening at three organic markets near the Red Bridge area. Remember to bring cash—most markets do not accept credit cards.
107th Street Farmer’s Market
Greg and Francine Molner of Our Maker’s Acres said good-by to customers at the 107th Street Farmer’s Market in Brookdale Wornall Place, 501 W 107th St., when they moved to Tennessee in April. Taking their place are Tom and Rachel Hess and their son Kevin Hess, who represent several horse and buggy farmers in Spickard, Missouri. In addition to fresh fruit and vegetables (strawberries, lettuce, bok choy, spring onions and kale this week) they offer raw dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, cream and butter), baked goods, eggs, honey, sorghum and naturally-raised meats.
Also at 107 St Farmer’s Market is a produce stand run by Vernon Quarles of Just Natural Farms. He represents Missouri six farms (from Richards, Rich Hill, Archie and Belton) that sell excess fruit and vegetables after making CSA deliveries in the area. Sometimes Quarles will slip into the senior center’s lobby, where he plays a song or two on the piano for residents (“My fan club,” he jokes).
A third vendor there is Shelly Fisher Putnam of ShelFish Designs, who sells dry herbs, body butter, lip balm, paleo and vegan snacks and card sets.
The small cooperative is managed by Suzi Fichman of Little House of Wellness. Fichman, who has a degree in integrative nutrition, sells organic vegan treats and tropicals that she creates.
The 107th Street Farmer’s Market in Brookdale is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Benedict Builders Farms at YMCA
Hoping to gain more visibility, Calvin and Laura Benedict of Knob Noster recently moved their tent from the north side of Minor Park to the southeast corner of the Red Bridge YMCA parking lot, 11300 Holmes Rd. Benedict Builders Farms specializes in fruits, vegetables, cut flower bouquets, grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, fresh pork, sprouts, jams, craft items and soap. Right now, produce includes tart cherries, asparagus, green onions, cabbage and lettuce. Their hours are 9 a.m.-noon on Saturdays.
Minor Park regroups
KC Organics will continue to operate at Minor Park, near Red Bridge Road and 111th Street, from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Peter Stauffacher, manager, says the market is currently regrouping, but will be open to sell spring vegetables such as bok choy, mustard, kale and herbs, as well as fair trade, shade-grown coffee that comes from the border of Guatemala and Mexico. He hopes to add more farmers, including some who raise grass-fed meat, in the future.