Friday, June 7, 2013


Thank you for reading our posts and following the Gladstone Farmers Market through this blog over the last year.  We are choosing to end our posts for now and put our focus into our new location at Gladstone Hy-Vee (7117 N. Prospect). 

Please come visit us at your new location beginning Wednesday, June 26, 2013. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

When Life Happens

I like to think I'm like most other moms out there.  We give a good effort to feed our families food that is healthy and then when life happens we slide back.  Since I was in one of my slide back times this past month, I quickly became interested in a post I received from KC Food Circle advertising a Eat Local & Organic exhibition. 
Beth Bader...Mom, Author

You can imagine my daughter's excitement at having to attend this event on a Saturday morning, especially when I tell her that the first thing we're doing is attending a "Real Food Your Kids Will Love" workshop.  Beth Bader, co-author of The Cleaner Plate Club is a great example of a busy, working mom who has found ways to overcome the obstacles thrown into her path while trying to feed her family in a healthy way.    The  statistics she gave on the status of children's health was saddening"If obesity levels continue at the current rate, the lifetime risk for a girl to be diagnosed with Type II diabetes is 40 percent. For boys, it is 30 percent."  We could be raising the first generation that will not out live their parents!  

What can we do as parents?   Beth had several good tips that are shared in her book.  Simple ideas like sneaking peppers, squash and other veggies into meatballs and sauces.  Another thing we need to keep in can take as many as 15 tries before a child accepts a new food!  It actually makes sense.  How many times have you reminded your kids to pick up their shoes?  

Veggies as far as the eye can see!
I just wanted to buy the whole basket!
After the workshop, we headed into the gym.  It was filled with vendors from all over the Kansas City area selling local, organic and free-range food.  Immediately I could smell the freshness.  It was so exiciting to see the season's first greens filling beautiful baskets with color.  It was like walking through the "best of the best" Farmers Market.  There were a lot of different meat vendors:  beef, pork, chicken, buffalo, lambEmu anyone?

Homemade lotions, soaps, handmade crafts.  They had it all.  This was a great way to get an early sampling of what's to come.   The vendors were happy to be there.  I overheard a ranch hand explaining to some kids what goes on at their horse farm.  At other table people were in line for coffee samples.  I spotted a bumper sticker that said "NO FARMERS- NO FOOD."  Very true, I thought to myself and grabbed it.   

Worms.  Probably some mom's ideal gift!
Rounding the last row I saw a young couple staring down at a plastic box and a man scooping things from it into a bag.  My daughter and I squeezed in to see.  Worms for sale!  That's not one you see every day.  The woman was saying that there was also bugs in the bag, at which the vendor replied something like, 'there are going to be bugs...there is a complete ecosystem in this box.'

Who doesn't love books?
Ah, the books!  Books on everything.  I love them so much I wanted to stop, but needless to say my companion was getting restless.  But I made sure I got a picture. 

Overall, it was a great event and time well spent.  So there we are back in the car and I'm all pumped up about eating healthy.  I'm talking about new things we can try and about throwing out Pop-Tarts, chips and fruits snacks when my daughter says, "Mom, you always do this.  You talk about eating healthy and we do it for a while and then we start eating junk again!"    I laugh.  She knows me well.   
Just a mom trying to keep up!

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Most Unfavorite Comment


An on-going discussion in my workplace surrounds my most unfavorite comment, "we've always done it like that."  Do you ever find yourself doing the same thing but then one day saying, "Why am I doing this?"  I had that very thought last week when I was cleaning the bathtub and the fumes were so bad that I grabbed a mask we had in the garage and put it on to finish.  (Okay, so it didn't look quite like this, but you get the idea.) 
The green & purple bottle was the killer for me!

Later that day I got on-line and started looking for some cleaning products that could suffice for my load of supplies. Of course there are tons out there, but I started simple with vinegar and water.   This worked but I wasn't crazy about the smell, so I added a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil.  That helped quite a bit.  Those who know me will understand that I was a little concerned about sanitation, so back I went to look for something to replace my Clorox wipes.  Living on a gave an easy recipe that I already had the supplies for.  I put mine in a spray bottle, but I'd like to try the baby wipe container next.  
1 Tablespoon per load!

While looking for cleaning supply recipes, I also came across making your own laundry soap.  Now that just  makes $ense, I said to myself! Another thing that made this appealing is that this detergent isn't supposed to fade clothes as quickly.  I found all the ingredients at Walmart and spent about $10.  I've been using it for about 2 weeks now and it seems to be working fine.  

White & blue spray bottles from Walmart (.98 cents)


My next step is to purchase Castile soap.  It seems to be able to do all kinds of things. It can even be used for dishwasher liquid!  It  comes in different scents like Almond, Citrus and Lavender, which is good because the first complaint I received at    my house was how bad vinegar smelled. 

I'm anxious to hear from those of you who have tried products such as these.  I'm clearly late in the game on this.......or am I?  Have you seen how crowed the cleaning aisle is at Walmart?

Monday, September 17, 2012


 Sellers Baked Goods

If you read my last blog you'll know that Erica and I were up in Ridgeway, Missouri heading out after visiting Randy at Bear Lake Farms.   Our next stop was Sellers Baked Goods.  I couldn't wait!  Who doesn't want to visit a bakery?  

Originally from Tennessee, the Sellers now live just outside of Trenton, Missouri.  As we get closer to the address we spy the small, humble sign that reads "Baked Goods Here."  Such an unassuming sign for such spectacular homemade items.  We pull in and are greeted by Tabitha Sellers.  She leads us back to the bakery.  Due to health department regulations, baked goods sold to the public must be prepared in a certified kitchen.  This means that the entire kitchen must be separate from the home's kitchen.  This helps to keep us all safe when it comes to food consumption.

As soon as we open the door, we're completely overwhelmed by the smell of cinnamon.  In front of us was probably no less than 20 loaves of cinnamon bread fresh from the oven.  Just as I sit here typing this, I can almost smell it.

Don't you wish this were scratch n' sniff?
No skimping on the cinnamon here!
Next step...bagging the bread.

Each family member has a part in the bakery process.  Tabitha introduces me to her sister, Lydia, who is filling in for Hannah today who is sick.  She sits next to the stove stirring frosting for German chocolate bread.  Mrs. Sellers is in charge of breads and pies.  She looks up to greet us as her hands continue pinching the edges of a pie crust, never missing a beat.  Tabitha goes back to mixing up cakes, which is her part of the process today.  They tell me they produce nine types of pies, seven types of breads and fifteen different kinds of cakes.  Eleven ovens keep things cookin'.

Don't tell me you haven't tried their cinnamon rolls?

Mom's job today is breads and pies.  Of course by the time we arrived her baking day was almost over, as she had 'clocked in' at midnight to start her shift.  I quizzed Mrs. Sellers on their most popular item.  She said it would probably have to be the cinnamon bread.  Then I made her tell me what she likes the best.  The sourdough and cinnamon bread, she replied, and fruit pies with Coolwhip!  
Banana Bread in the making.
Pies in the process.

Just the basics in this bakery.

Waiting for market day.

Homemade Noodles

Erica and I decided not to stay long so these girls could get back to work.  It was great fun to see how this family works together each day to bring an outstanding bakery product to our market customers.

Makes you feel right at home, doesn't it?

Come visit Hannah Sellers at the Gladstone Farmers Market each Wednesday through October 24th from 2-6 pm

Friday, August 31, 2012

How 980 tomatoes inspired Dad

Bear Lake Farms

Another day of farm visits found me with my co-pilot, Erica, cruising up to Ridgeway, Missouri to visit Randy Polley at Bear Lake Farms.  I must admit that although I may act like I know directions, I can't fake it anymore because now I have a witness.  Erica wasn't at all impressed with my hand-written directions.  How was I to know that 'turn left at the flagpole' could lead us astray? 

For those of you who may not know, Ridgeway is located just North of Bethany on Missouri A Highway.   It was about an hour and a half drive up there, during which I was thinking what a long way to drive for the market each week, since I commute less than 8 minutes to work each day.  No doubt about it...these producers definitely have to love what they do!

 Erica trying to get my directions straightened out.

No Starbucks out here!

We spotted Randy as we arrived and he was glad to see us as we pulled in with a cloud of dust behind us.  He told us to climb in the walking through the gardens here, it was way too big!  
High Tunnel & Greenhouse

 First was the HUGE (did I mention huge?) pepper patch that had 16 different varieties growing.  Randy said he uses this as his trial area.  He plants things to see if they'll grow and then he tests them for flavor.  Let's just say he's had a lot of salsa this year.  

As he drove us around we saw much of the damage due to the drought.  Sad rows of corn that would not mature, dried up blueberry bushes...even the food planted for the deer didn't grow this year. 
Poor blueberries!

We headed around the lake. The view was gorgeous!  Down the hill, patches of squash are still thriving as weeds grow up to shade them from the sun.  Pumpkins, white and orange, lay in the hot sun; too early to pick, but stunted by lack of moisture.  Randy said rain in the next couple of weeks is crucial to a fall harvest. 

I asked Randy how he got started in all of this.  He said he built his house out moved out here after retirement from a farm supply center.  "Okay", I said "I've seen people put in vegetable gardens to give them something to do, but this is so much more than that!"  He laughed and explained that his daughter was in FFA (Future Farmers of America) when he moved here and as a project one summer she planted 980 tomato plants.  She produced a bumper crop that year and so the following year everyone asked if they were going to sell tomatoes again.  While her project was done, Randy figured he'd give it a shot and now produces just over 7 acres of crops.

Since then, Bear Lake Farms has become certified by the Missouri Department of Agriculture.  I asked Randy what this meant in terms of benefits to him.  He explained the technical part of the membership and then looked at me and said, that the reason he really does it is because it keeps him current on regulations and food safety.  This way nothing comes as a surprise to him as things change and develop.  That made a lot of sense to me.  If you want to remain  productive in any occupation, staying educated is the key.  

Heading back to the house we thanked Randy for the tour and his time.   Before I left I spotted his pigs.  "When would I ever get a chance to pet a pig?", I thought.  I headed over to the pen and got in.  Erica grabbed the camera; she wasn't missing this opportunity.  Much to my surprise they weren't smelly, but they sure were curious.  They loved my shoelaces!  I reached down to pet one and I couldn't believe how prickly he felt.   There...I can say I petted a pig!  Another adventure I never thought I would have working for the City of Gladstone.   

"Hurry up and take the picture, Erica!"

Come visit with Randy at the Gladstone Farmers Market every Wednesday from 2-6 pm.  Pick his brain on the latest technology in food production.  He's a smart guy and I promise he won't turn down a good conversation!  

  Bear Lake Farms Booth at the Gladstone Farmers Market

Thursday, July 19, 2012

From the Ground Up

"From the Ground Up".....not only does it describe the name of the business Verona & Shelle created earlier this year, but it also seems to describe the ladies themselves.   Friends since 1992 through playing softball, they hit it off and now run their business together producing meat rubs, marmalade, jellies, preserves, natural body scrubs, aprons and fresh herbs.

Verona & Shelle
After her kids graduated high school, Verona put herself through culinary school.  While doing so, she fell in love with herbs.  She told me that although she grew up in a farming family and had a garden at the age of 5, growing herbs really wasn't something they did.   Luckily, she has a VERY, green thumb and today grows up to 65 different varieties of herbs!  

Shelle, a stay-at-home Mom, enjoys teaching her daughter, Grace, about foods, cooking and gardening.  Verona approached her about starting the business and trying out the Farmers Market this year.  Shelle said she thought a day out of the house once a week would be something to look forward to.  Verona said Shelle makes everything looks "pretty" for selling.  It's obvious as you approach their booth...vintage tablecloths, delicate baskets and flowery labels on the jars make it very inviting.
Details make the difference

The ladies told me they work to find the freshest ingredients for their products.  When asked about the funniest thing that they've done during the creation of their business, Shelle said it was probably when they were laying out their garden.  They decided on square foot gardening, so she got out the tape measure, tent stakes, string and went to work! 

Early Beginnings of their Garden

Don't look for the ladies to slow down anytime soon.  They have a vision to create a tourist attraction of different styles of gardens.  A place where children could learn about planting, gardening, harvesting and crop rotation.  As Verona described this idea to me, I could see her excitement about teaching future generations everything she has learned and will continue to learn. 

Stop by and try a body scrub next week


 So, blog followers, I have an assignment for you.  When you stop and see Verona & Shelle next week, ask them what the herb "Borage" was used for in ancient Rome! I bet you'll be surprised. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Memories of Grandma

This has got to be a World Record zucchini, don't ya think?

Located in Rayville, Missouri, the Stockton's named their farm, Ida Belle Farms after Bobby's grandmother.  This is their first year with the Gladstone Market.  I've had a great time getting to know Bobby & Liz Stockton this year at the market, so I couldn't wait to visit them at their farm. 

Ida Belle Farms
Coming upon Rayville around lunchtime, I was thinking of all the cute diners I would probably find.  Dreaming of a big homemade BLT or a plate of fried chicken, I passed the sign that said, "Rayville: Population 223."  I turned left and saw the American Flag in front of the Post Office, passed by a couple of houses and then I was heading out of town again!  My co-pilot said, "I don't think we're eating here."  This was one small town, I thought!  Definately no where to run when you forgot to get enough sugar for the cookies you started making.  We turned our thoughts off of food and started looking for Ida Belle Farms. 

It was easy enough to find.  About two blocks off the main street, we found a quaint, blue farmhouse. Liz graciously greeted me and my co-worker.  As we started towards the garden, here comes Bobby who had been eating lunch. 

She toured me through her, neat, tidy garden spreading out before us.
Stockings hold the cabbage center together
Everything was blooming and growing and I just looked at her and said, "Liz, how do you guys do it?  How do you keep up?"  She said Bobby works the garden, while she works a full-time job through the week.  On her days off, she tends to the garden and they attend the market.  She said, like many farmers, that she can't count the hourly wage; she just enjoys doing it.  As we walk by a plastic, children's swimming pool, she  smiles and adds, "It's something we can do with our grandkids." 

Tomatoes came on early this year
Just like anyone this year, they are spending a lot of time and money on watering.  An irrigation system installed earlier this year makes watering faster and more productive, but Liz must estimate and plan for higher water bills.

Ida Belle Farms has a greenhouse where Bobby and Liz grow flowers in the springtime.  Plans are underway to construct a high tunnel in the fall allowing them to start plants earlier.

Bobby and Liz enjoy giving back to the community.  They have signed up with the Society of St. Andrew to pick up excess produce from Ida Belle Farms at the end of the market day or glean their fields to donate to local food pantries.  Liz has worked to make this available to all the vendors at the market. 

The next time you're at the market, take a moment to talk with Bobby and Liz.  Liz also posts on her Facebook page at  Thank them for making the drive down each week into our community and into our hearts!