It’s not all about veggies and fruits at area greenmarkets.
Story by Georgia Thompson
It’s a familiar sight this time of year at bustling area farmers markets: stands overflowing with ruby-red tomatoes, zucchini, flowers and fresh herbs; good-looking peaches and apples and endless bunches of emerald-green kale; fragrant samples of juicy melons peddled by the growers themselves; and jams, jellies, fresh-baked bread and pastries.
Nothing says summertime more than spending a Saturday morning stocking up on fresh produce at a local farmers’ market. And with over 30 vibrant farmers’ markets sprinkled throughout the Kansas City area, it’s becoming easier than ever to not only find veggies and fruits, but also a diverse array of artisan creations from granola to pimento cheese to suit just about anyone’s taste. From traditional to funky, community-oriented to globally representative, each farmers’ market puts its own unique spin on a favorite weekend activity.
Established in 1857 in downtown Kansas City, the City Market originally served as a center of commerce and activity. Today, more than 150 years later, the eclectic area serves as KC’s epicenter of urban farmers’ markets. Not only are there farmers who truck in fresh-from-the-earth treasures ranging from lettuce to tomatoes and sweet corn to fruits, there are vendors such as Bill Denney who hawk artisan products to crowds flocking to the City Market.
Denney’s Little Bill’s Pimento Cheese is an adaption of his beloved grandmother Mary Ruth’s pimento cheese recipe. While Denney jokingly dubs his business as a “productive midlife crisis,” he succeeds in creating small-batch cheese with high-quality ingredients. Denney has added his own interpretation to Mary Ruth’s original pimento cheese, adding tasty bacon and jalapeno flavors to Little Bill’s growing inventory. “My product is significantly fresher than mass-produced pimento cheese,” Denney says. “I have regular customers who swing by every week to stock up on their favorites.”
20 E. 5th Street
Kansas City, MO
Open year-round. Businesses and vendors are individually operated, so check websites for hours of operation.
Little Bill’s Pimento Cheese
Little Bill’s is available at The Sundry, Taste of Brazil Market, Liberty Hy-Vee, Gladstone Hy-Vee and Barry Road Hy-Vee as well as City Market. For more information on the product, to place an order or to receive weekly e-newsletters, visit LittleBillsPimentoCheese.com.
OVERLAND PARK FARMERS’ MARKET
Located in the heart of downtown Overland Park, the Overland Park Farmers’ Market has been providing fresh, local produce and specialty items to the Kansas City area for more than 30 years. In addition to produce and live music, this market serves up myriad artisan products, including honey from Justin’s Produce.
Established by Robert Hughes and his family, Justin’s been a staple at the OP Market since 2006 and is known for the bee-yond amazing Jordy’s Honey. Although Hughes has owned and tended to bees since 1967, it wasn’t until he began teaching beekeeping classes at Johnson County Community College that he became stuck to the honey business. “Once you get into it, you find there is a lot more about this world that you don’t know,” the master apiarist says. Today Hughes sells his family’s harvest with products such Jordy’s Honey honeycomb, clover honey, various flavored honey sticks, wildflower honey and, of course, the classic honey bear.
Overland Park Farmers’ Market
7950 Marty St
Overland Park, KS
Wednesdays 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Saturdays 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Keep up with the sweet news of this popular artisan product on Facebook at Jordy’s Honey or visit their buzzing stall at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market.
For those searching for a truly out-of-the-box shopping experience, the BADSEED Market, located in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District, provides a food revolution like no other. Brooke Salvaggio founded BADSEED in 2007 after years of global travels and working on organic farms. Salvaggio and her husband, Daniel Heryer, run both the market and URBAVORE Urban Farm, founded in 2011.
The couple calls their products the real deal for the conscious consumer, including a variety of grass-fed meats, free-range eggs, artisan cheeses, hearth-baked breads, freshly milled flour, organic body products and seasonal dishes prepared in their own market kitchen. Vendors from throughout the city gather for BADSEED’s Funky Friday’s farmers’ market, which provides a distinctive selection produce almost as colorful and eclectic as the market itself.
Kansas City, MO 64108
Fridays 4 -9 p.m.
MERRIAM FARMERS’ MARKET
Community and camaraderie is key for everyone at the Merriam Farmers’ Market, including guests and the merchants themselves. Located at the Merriam Marketplace on Merriam Drive, local growers are interspersed along with live entertainment and educational events on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the season. In addition to vine-ripened tomatoes, flowering baskets and homemade cookies are entrepreneurs such as Jam Session, which sells creative canned goods.
An example of what defines the Merriam Farmers Market community spirit, Jam Session acquires soon-to-be canned fruits and veggies from fellow vendors. Producing a delectable variety of fresh jams, Jam Session whips up flavorsome combinations of in-season jams such as strawberry rhubarb, strawberry balsamic, peach habanero, and tomato sweet basil, along with salsas and candied pickled jalapenos.
Merriam Farmers’ Market
5740 Merriam Dr.
Wednesdays 4 -7 p.m.
Saturdays 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Keep up with the artisan jam producer and its ever-evolving product line at Jam Session on Facebook.