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.
With a smaller market, you can also get to know individual producers
such as Stan and Carmen Biggs of Biggs Blue Farm, based in Mosby, Missouri. The couple will have heirloom
tomatoes for sale later this summer. You can also get a full range of honey-based products from beekeeper Brian Turner. He brings honey, beeswax candles and lip balm every Wednesday.
"It's been enlightening for me. I always grew up around farms and to see people's passion is exciting," says Winge, 42, who graduated with a minor in horticulture from Northwest Missouri State University.
Two downtown Excelsior businesses will also have a presence at the market. Mind, Body and Soap is set to sell its natural and organic soaps. Willow Spring Mercantile -- which features local and regional wine, art and foods -- will have baked goods and produce from an area farm. In addition to new partners, Winge hopes to hand out recipe cards covering what's in season.
"It was a great first year. And now this is our chance to show people why they should come downtown," Winge says.
The farmers market runs from 4 to 7 p.m. every Wednesday through the month of September. For more information, see visitesprings.com.