Thursday, September 10, 2009

Missouri State Fair Brings Local Produce To the Fair

Fairgoers acquired a “taste” for Missouri as Master Chefs turned local foods into delicious dishes during the Missouri State Fair, August 13 to 23 in Sedalia.

The Local Foods Area drew special attention on Opening Day when Governor Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Wheeler Nixon took time out of their busy schedules to stop by to see Missouri’s fresh produce, share their commitment and appreciation to local foods and proclaim August as Farmers’ Market Month in Missouri.

Fair visitors had the opportunity to learn about local foods and taste more than nine varieties of tomatoes in the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Local Foods Area. The Local Foods Area included a Local Foods Cooking Stage, farmers’ markets and much more!

Fair goers could watch and learn how to prepare fresh recipes on the new Local Foods Cooking Stage, sponsored by Sprint. Chefs from across the state showed consumers how to prepare simple recipes using local fresh ingredients.

The Missouri State Fair Farmers’ Market was a draw for many fairgoers again this year, where consumers had the opportunity to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables and ask industry experts questions about getting involved in direct marketing.

This year the market featured new items including fresh meats, goat cheese, eggs and summer sausage. Also in the area was the Lil’ Sprouts Kids Area, informational booth about buying local food in Missouri.

The MDA thanks the local food vendors that provided the produce, meat, eggs and goat cheese for the farmers’ market this year. Vendors included:

Anderson Produce
Kenny Anderson
12418 W RailroadCentertown, MO 65023
(573) 645-3882

Fahrmeier Farms
9364 Mitchell Trail
Lexington, MO 64067
(816) 289-2496

Goatsbeard Farm
Ken & Jennifer Muno
11351 Callahan Creek Rd
Harrisburg, MO 65256
(573) 875-0706

Kenny Duzan
9255 E Turner Farm Rd
Columbia, MO 65201
(573) 449-8116 or (573) 355-4843

Lowell Mohler
4054 Hwy 179
Jefferson City, MO 65109
(573) 353-1444

Missouri Legacy Beef
Mark Mahnken
31369 Hwy 129
Salisbury, MO 65281
(660) 788-3555

Patchwork Farms
1108 Rangeline St
Columbia, MO 65201
(573) 449-1336

Rasa Orchards
19510 Garr Rd
Lexington, MO 64067
(660) 259-2938

Sandy Nelson
761 Rodeo Rd
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 873-4038 or (573) 346-3346

Sellmeyer Farms
Greg & Tammy Sellmeyer
7208 State Rd C
Fulton, MO 65251
(573) 642-1376

Show Me Farms
Don Mayse
7750 E Hwy AB
Columbia, MO 65201
(573) 449-4250

Veggie Patch
Jim & Paula Thies
County Rd 239Glasgow, MO 65254
(660) 338-2471

Peter’s Market
1 1/2 miles east on U.S. 65
Waverly, MO

Mother Earth Market
Waverly, Mo

Friday, September 4, 2009

Washington County Market Podcast

The Washington County Farmers' Markets, located in Potosi, offers the community a wide array on fun while shopping at the market and some wonderful home-grown goodness.

I've visited this market a couple of times and have always appreciated the community support of the market and the knowledgeable vendors at the market.

Julie Harker with Brownfield made a recent market stop and talked to a few of the vendors about growing a garden for market and what makes this market so special.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Market Trip to the Southwest

Our Marketing Specialist Tony Anderson has been busy this summer visiting markets acorss the state, learning from our market masters and vendors. Here is a recap from a trip to southwest Missouri:

On Wednesday, July 29 I attended three markets in southwest Missouri. First I headed down to Aurora, 30 miles south of Springfield on Hwy 60. On Wednesdays and Saturdays the Aurora Local Farmers’ Market and the Open Farmers Market of Aurora both set up in Oak Park. On that Wednesday, both markets had approximately 12 vendors each, with a full array of summer fruits and vegetables.

I spent time talking with Deb Lane, who is a long-time vendor of both markets. She was also the founder of the Open Farmers Market. She gave me some of the history of the farmers’ markets and also spoke about some of their future plans. However, what was most fascinating was talking with Deb about her jams and jellies. I think she can make a jam out of anything. By checking out her booth, you can see what I mean. She has the usual fruit jams and jellies, but she also has coffee jelly, soft drink jellies like Coke and Mountain Dew, black walnut jelly, and spiced pickled watermelon rind jelly. This only scratches the surface; she said she can get 4 different products out of one batch of peaches, by using the skins, fruit, and pits. I was just wondering, if she made jam out of Colgate, could I kill two birds in the morning by eating it on my toast? Never mind.

I also spent time talking with Steve Madewell of Madewell Meats. In addition to his usual trailer of meats, he also had a trailer full of watermelons, cantaloupe, corn and peaches. While we were talking, Steve gave me a peach to eat. I told him he was a great salesman, because before I left I had to buy a whole bag of those peaches. (As a side note, I think I’m getting close to eating my body weight in peaches this season, but I’m not complaining they have all been wonderful.)

After leaving Aurora, I headed back north to the Fair Grove Farmers Market. Fair Grove is 15 minutes north of Springfield on Hwy 65. The Fair Grove market only meets on Wednesdays from 3:30-7:00. This year is their 10th anniversary. Fair Grove is a lively market with twice as many vendors as they have room for under their pavilion. Fair Grove also won the 2009 Market of the Year award for “Best Event” with their Growing Kids Club. In addition to those activities they were also having a corn roast fundraiser.

I spent some time talking with market managers Jim Gulick of the Berry Patch and Deb Van Benthusen of Deb’s Gourds. After that I grabbed some blackberries from Pate’s orchard, to wash down the peaches, and headed back to Jefferson City. Another great day visiting markets around Missouri.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cabool Farmers' Market

The Cabool Farmers' Market opened for business for the first time on April 15 and since opening day has made a big splash in the area. The market, held at gateway park on Main Street offers consumers a large selection of locally grown produce, baked goods, soaps and many more items to choose from.

The celebrate the success of the market the vendors are inviting consumers to a taste of the season's finest locally grown foods for a Customer Appreciate Day on August 12 from 12:30 to 5:30 pm. Vendors will provide food prepared from local foods, recipe cards, drawings and many other activities for consumers to take part in.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

National Farmers' Market Week- August 2-8

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today encouraged consumers to visit their local farmers markets in honor of National Farmers Market Week, which will take place from August 2-8.

Currently, nearly 4,900 farmers markets operate nationwide, up from 4,685 in 2008. To make it easier for consumers to locate farmers markets in their states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service posts The National Directory of Farmers Markets online at

USDA is a leader in government efforts to encourage healthier eating, has operated a farmers market at its Washington, D.C., headquarters since 1996. Open to the general public every Friday, June through October, as many as 14 farmer-vendors set up stands that feature their locally produced items.

USDA supports farmers markets through several programs in addition to National Farmers Market Week. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) awards grants, provides technical assistance, and helps with marketing and promotion. Meanwhile, the Food and Nutrition Service also supports farmers markets through the Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program by providing coupons that many low-income Americans can exchange for eligible foods at farmers markets and similar outlets.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Markets Visits to Northern Missouri

Saturday July 18th intern, Jana Haley, made her way up to northwestern Missouri to visit the Chillicothe and Brookfield Farmers’ Markets.

While visiting the Chillicothe Farmers’ Market, Jana saw loads of different produce including corn, peaches, tomatoes, peppers, beets, zucchini, squash and onions. The market also included several different baked goods - for instance, there were pies, cookies and a variety of different types of breads. The market is home to more than 12 local growers that strive to bring their local community the best in local foods.

Jana spoke with Chillicothe market master Beth Weidner about the history of the market. Beth told her that the market has been in Chillicothe for 23 years and stated that she has participated in the market for 21 of those years. Beth was even able to bring out a scrapbook with newspaper articles and pictures from the first year the market opened. Beth also mentioned that in past years there has not been very much market advertising but this year they have began writing articles about a different vendor every week and submitting them to the local newspaper. Beth believes the community “is now connected to the market even more because they are beginning to personally know the vendors.”

The Chillicothe Farmers’ Market takes place every Saturday from May until October at 8am until sellout, located downtown in the courthouse square.

Jana’s other visit was to the Brookfield Famers’ Market. This market is open from May until October from 8am until 12pm, located in Torney Park off of Main St in Brookfield, MO. Jana said the Brookfield Farmers’ Market was a wonderful place to spend her afternoon, as the market is located in a beautiful park setting.

This market has about 12 vendors, but the market master Fran Graff told Jana that the number of vendors varies week to week. She said sometimes there is double that amount. The vendors were selling all sorts of products from jalapeño jellies, to dip packages you mix into sour cream, and of course local produce. The market also had a couple vendors selling crafts of all sorts.

Both farmers’ markets are great places to visit and both markets have a very diverse set of products they sell to fit any shoppers needs.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Missouri State Fair Will Bring Local Produce from the Farm to the Fork

Fairgoers can acquire a taste for Missouri as Master Chefs turn local foods into delicious dishes during the Missouri State Fair’s Rural Lifestyles Showcase August 13 to 23 in Sedalia.

Lane McConnell, Missouri Department of Agriculture Marketing and Local Foods Program Manager, is especially excited about the 1st Annual Missouri Local Foods Cooking Demonstrations.

“Visitors will not only have the opportunity to learn about local foods and taste more than nine varieties of tomatoes,” McConnell said, “but they can watch and learn how to prepare fresh recipes on the new Local Foods Cooking Stage, sponsored by Sprint WL, in the Agriculture Building.”

“Chefs from around the state will conduct daily cooking demonstrations centered on using local foods and simple fresh ingredients,” McConnell said.

The cooking demonstrations will last about one hour between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day of the Fair. An online schedule will be available soon.

Returning to the Agriculture Building will be the Farmers’ Market where fairgoers can purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables, and ask industry experts questions about getting involved in this business.

“The Missouri State Fair Farmers’ Market will be a terrific family-stop for visitors to the fairgrounds this year,” McConnell stated. “Other new events will be kids’ activities and a mini farmers’ market every other day in the campground.”

State Master Gardeners will also be available to answer lawn and garden questions and provide consumer information on growing small to large gardens.

The Agriculture Building, supervised during the Fair by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, is embracing the new Rural Lifestyles Showcase as a way to help the public incorporate agriculture-related experiences into daily living. The building is air conditioned and will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. August 13 to 22 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. August 23.

Additional topics available in the Showcase can be found online. Soon to be added to the site are building schedules and vendor lists.

The Showcase is included with Fair admission. A regular adult admission ticket is $8, senior is $6 and children 12 and under are free. Parking is also free. Regular adult tickets can be purchased in advance for a savings of $2 now through August 12 from Break Times, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Orscheln Farm and Homes across the state.

Break Times are also selling an Unlimited Daily Spin Deal ticket for $27, which is a combined offer of one day admission and one day unlimited carnival ride wristband. It is available now through August 23.

The State Fair will be “MOre Fun Than Ever!” with its new focus on country living and its dedication to affordable family entertainment. Visit the Web site for schedules and special promotions.

(Press release couresty of Missouri State Fair)