Take a break from blueberries. In fact, forget about them entirely. Instead, grab a handful (delicately) of plump, tart blackberries.
Blackberries have an unfair reputation. They can be dull in color, bitter even when ripe, and smash seemingly without being touched. But the most persnickety fruit can be the most rewarding, if one just has the patience to go a little slower.
Blueberries are a summer grab bag. Some are tart. Some are sweet. And some are simply both.
Right now could be the best time of year for blueberries. Picking season has started, although heavy rains could make for a smaller crop than in years past. Let's get those jams, pies and pancakes started.
The Bad Seed Farmers Market (1909 McGee, 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays through November 19) has begun accepting electronic benefit transfer payments. The market is now part of the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.
Brooke Salvaggio started the farm in 2007 on a 2.5-acre plot of land at 1201 West Bannister Road. She was joined at Bad Seed by her husband, Daniel Heryer, in 2009. Fat City talked to Heryer between attempts to save his root vegetables and prayers that his tomato plants will survive the latest rain storms.
In a community known for its Hall of Waters, it's the cinnamon rolls that are calling out-of-town guests to Excelsior Springs, Missouri.
The homemade cinnamon rolls from Van Till Farms (a regular at the City Market farmers market) will draw you to the 10 to 12 vendor tables piled with eggs, produce and herbs, in downtown Excelsior Springs from 4 to 7 p.m. today.
"It's hard not to overindulge on a weekly basis," jokes Keith Winge, executive director for the Downtown Excelsior Partnership.
The DEP sponsors and organizes the downtown farmers market (Broadway and Elizabeth, across from the Hall of Waters), now in its second year. The DEP believed there was demand for a market, based on the success of a former storefront Naturally Local. The store sold local produce via community-supported agriculture subscriptions. But instead of a delivery service, Winge wanted to focus on bringing people into Excelsior Springs.
"There was a need in the downtown area and we believe this is the right time," Winge says.
Milk doesn't just build strong bones -- it can also earn you a
free burrito. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, you can
exchange an empty Shatto bottle for a free burrito, burrito bowl,
tacos or salad at Chipotle. Two area restaurants are participating -- a location in Liberty (8700
North Flintlock Road) and one in Overland Park (7040 W. 135th St.).
local dairy is hooking up with the fast-casual chain to promote
awareness of dairy products from cows raised free of
artificial growth hormones. A Shatto milk bottle requires a deposit of $1.50 at the grocery store -- and you'll have to leave it at Chipotle to snag a burrito -- but that's still a deal.
The Westport Plaza Farmer's Market debuts today just four blocks South of the previous location of the market formerly known as the 39th Street Community Market.
The new market at the northwest corner of Westport Road and Wyoming Street will run Wednesdays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. through October 6.
The vendors -- many of which were regulars at the 39th Street market -- will have salad mixes, radishes, carrots, jams, breads, oyster mushrooms, grass-fed beef and free-range eggs.
If you want to eat local produce, it will get a lot easier over the next month as farmer's markets begin to open around the city. While the Merriam Organic Market is still searching for a permanent home, the 39th Street Community Market has successfully relocated in Westport.
The list below is organized by day of the week -- please let us know about other markets in the area and we'll update it accordingly. The vendors list is not exhaustive; it's just meant to highlight a few of the farmers and vendors at each location.
39th Street Community Market (beginning May 5)
Place: Northwest corner of Westport Road and Wyoming
Time: 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Vendors: East Wind Gardens, Grand River Hickory, Miller's Honey Farm, Root Deep Urban Farm, Wells Family Farms, Western Hills Ostrich & Produce, Yum Tum.
Kansas City Organics -- Park Place
Place: Barkley Square in Park Place (117th and Nall, Leawood)
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Vendors: Local organic produce, mushrooms, honey, edible flowers, bread,
free-range eggs and meats, fair trade coffee soaps, body care products.
The I Love You Shop at Hammerpress debuts at tonight's First Friday in the Crossroads. Inside the old-timey card shop, I Love You is a modern take on a general store attached to the two-chair hair studio that is being run by Amber Hodgson. It features small-batch products that aren't likely to be stocked anywhere else in Kansas City.
Fat City caught up with Brady Vest of Hammerpress to talk about the new shop and how a letterpress and design studio got into the business of selling dry goods.
When you first started thinking about the spot, did you envision selling foodstuffs?
Not at all. When we first moved Hammerpress to this spot two years ago, we had no plans of carrying food items. We did, however, try selling fresh cut flowers for a total of two weeks -- that was
kind of difficult due to the extremely short shelf life of flowers. We
just liked the idea of having some other kind of unexpected product in
list of products will evolve but currently
products and one-pound bags of coffee from Oddly Correct Coffee Roasters
based here in Kansas City. These are particularly cool because it's great
coffee and the owner, Gregory, hand prints all of the bags.
Our main criteria is quality but we tried to select products that are
aesthetically pleasing and designed well and not available in many
other Kansas City shops, if any.
You might know Steve Mann from his work with Food Not Lawns -- and his tireless campaign to turn manicured landscapes into vegetable beds. What you might not know is that he's been working to slowly bring together a food cooperative in Kansas City.
The Squash Blossom Food Cooperative came into existence earlier this month when 20 volunteers ratified the articles of incorporation.
"Our two-year vision is now a reality by creating a cooperative business that provides healthy food for our families and communities," says Mann, the Squash Blossom Community Organizer.
The need for a more sustainable, larger local food production system was a recurring topic at the roundtable discussion that highlighted the Kansas City Food Circle's annual meeting on Sunday. The organization is dedicated to pairing local growers with local eaters; its current membership includes 68 producers and 120 eaters.
"There's a number of new groups associated with developing a community food system, so we invited them to a roundtable discussion, in an effort to coordinate their efforts," says Craig Volland - a coordinator with KC Food Circle.
And so representatives of the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, Kansas City CSA Coalition, Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition, Food Not Lawns, and the Squash Blossom Cooperative sat down with the group's membership to try and devise a strategy for promoting local food.
"One of the main issue is how to extend the growing season in an effort to bring more local, organic, and free-range food to people year-round. We see high tunnel greenhouses as a real possibility for achieving that goal," says Volland.
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