There’s much to sample and see at area farmers’ markets.

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There’s much to sample and see at area farmers’ markets.

Last Saturday, I rolled out of bed and right into a pile of red wiggler worms. Not literally, I'm happy to say. I mean, I made coffee, shaved and showered first. Then I went with a friend, the mystery novelist Lou Jane Temple, on an early morning tour of outdoor markets, starting with the new, all-organic Brookside Farmers Community Market (located in the north parking lot of Border Star Elementary School at 6321 Wornall Road). There I met worm vendor Molly Fitzgerald, who sells red wigglers by the pound (though $15 seemed pretty high for worms) or in a plastic tub as a complete composting unit for $25. She has a good pitch, but I didn't buy any.

I did buy some honey and bee pollen from a fit-looking couple, Roger and Megan McNeill. And I admired -- but didn't taste -- any of the healthy-looking prepared foods from Joan Vibert and Kristy Webb's Ottawa, Kansas-based Windwalker Farm, including chipolte hummus, peanut-butter tofu and something called Ugly Garlic Dip, made from raisins, garlic, parsley, pine nuts and cream cheese. It looked like baby shit, but Vibert assured me it tasted great. The market operates on Saturdays through October 18 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Still, I prefer the less earthy-looking samples at the elegant but little-known Marche du Jour Market each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the back courtyard and front parking lot of Delaware Interiors (3848 West 75th Street in Prairie Village). If you haven't been yet, you must, if only to hang out with vivacious and funny Sally and David Calvin of Widgeonwood Farms in Columbia, Missouri. They sell fresh produce, wonderful baked goods (including a mind-blowing quiche and sticky caramel-pecan rolls) and homemade canned goods that I love: hot raspberry salsa, bread-and-butter pickles, watermelon pickles, peach jam, crème caramel and cranberry barbecue glaze. I do my shopping, then eat most of the free chocolate gateau samples before Sally slaps my hands. This market runs through October 11.

Lou Jane and I also drove to Parkville for its Saturday Farmers Market (which starts at 7 a.m. and runs until about 2 p.m.) at English Landing Park. She bought eggs and greens, I bought tomato plants, and we both admired the biceps of the guy selling blueberry plants. Hefting those big containers of blueberry bushes must be great exercise! I considered buying one, but there was no bag boy to carry it to my car.

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