Situated right in the midst of some of the country’s best agricultural region, Kansas City is blessed with several great farmers markets. And while much of the energy is in the early morning hours, there’s plenty of good finds at much more reasonable hours. Guest blogger Diana Lambdin Meyer (@mojotraveler) shows you were to find some of the best locally grown fresh fruits and veggies in the metro.
I was craving some fresh, home-grown strawberries last week, so set my alarm for early on a Saturday morning (something I’m otherwise constitutionally opposed to doing). The Parkville Farmers Market was buzzing when I got there at 7:30, but the selection of strawberries was getting slim.
I should have set my alarm a little earlier.
Parkville Farmers’ Market
Located on the edge of English Landing Park with the Missouri River as a backdrop, the Parkville’s Farmers Market is a little smaller than others in the metro, but that just allows for greater intimacy and communication between you and the person who grows your food.
There are about 30 vendors under the canopy and in the high summer season, a few more line the edges of the parking lot.
An addition this year is a first for this market: Mary Ann Smith of Parkville recently purchased a vintage 1940s-era camping trailer and has tricked it out in her favorite color – pink. She is a seamstress and sells aprons, placemats, baked potato bags and other goodies from the awning under her trailer. But everyone is welcomed to poke their heads in her little trailer.
Otherwise, everything at Parkville is all about the food and the farmer. Mary Ann is the only craft artisan.
Overland Park Farmers’ Market.
Wow, it’s a party every Saturday and Wednesday under the Clock Tower in historic OP. Concerts, cooking demonstrations, yoga classes, all sorts of things to help you get healthy and enjoy life a little more.
And then there’s the market itself. There are about 70 vendors here and with a variety of produce. Read the signs at each table closely because it will tell you whether the product was grown locally, regionally or purchased from a warehouse. It makes a difference if you’re committed entirely to buying and eating local.
You’ll not find any crafts here, but do bring the whole family out to enjoy the atmosphere that makes downtown Overland Park so special.
Lee’s Summit Farmers’ Market.
The Lee’s Summit Farmers Market was named the top Farmers Market in Missouri in a contest by the American Farmland Trust. It’s a popularity contest, but that tells you how devoted the people of eastern Jackson County are to spending their Wednesday and Saturday mornings at the market.
The abundant fruit orchards along the Santa Fe Trail are apparent in the selection here, along with some fine baked goods, handcrafts and other treats. Guidelines require that everyone be grown or raised within a 200 mile radius but you’ll find most vendors are from Jackson, Ray and Clay counties.
You’ll find about 50 vendors in the lot next to the Methodist Church at 2nd and Douglas Streets. Parking is plentiful here and convenient enough that you can visit some of the shops downtown before heading home.
The City Market.
This is the Granddaddy of them all, a place you have to visit to say you’ve experienced the best Kansas City has to offer.
It’s been going non-stop since 1857. During the growing season, each of the 140 stalls and some overflow are filled with all sorts of goodies – flowers, crafts, herbs, fruit and vegetables.
Now this is indeed a place you have to arrive at early in the morning – not that it will be sold out, but just to find a parking place anywhere within blocks of the market. But don’t worry about carrying your purchases long distances. Just flag down the Tomato Taxi, a youth service effort where young people pull a decorative wagon for you to one of the loading zones. Be sure to tip them well.
The market is open Saturdays and Sundays all year long. In the summer months, Sundays are devoted to a community garage sale and the first Saturdays of the month offer a Friends of the Library Book Sale. There’s always, always something good going on at the City Market.
Diana Lambdin Meyer (@mojotraveler) is a freelance writer based in Parkville and author of the travel app “Kansas City Uncovered.” She regularly writes about shopping and off-the-beaten path escapes on her blog www.mojotraveler.com.