Bright orange and red peppers, daisies and sunflowers straight out of the ground, cinnamon rolls right out of the oven. Three of the farmers markets in the Kansas City area offered these types of fresh produce, pastries and flowers, so I had to check them out.
I started at the Overland Park farmers market Saturday morning. After parking across the street from where rows of booths were set up, we made our first stop at the Tea-Biotics booth for kombucha on-tap. I bought a $4 bottle of Mule Mix, their most popular flavor of kombucha, made from ginger, lime and sugar. Kombucha is a fermented tea, and in this case it tasted like an iced ginger juice. While the kombucha tasted a little bitter, the ginger and lime flavor was there. Next time, I would go for a fruitier flavor for more sweetness. Nevertheless, I could still see why the regulars were regulars.
In addition to Tea-Biotics, most of the booths sold fresh berries, vegetables and flowers, with the exception of two bakery booths. It was early and I still hadn’t eaten, so I ordered a Nutella and strawberry crêpe from Le Petit Garden’s stand for $6 and a cup of blackberries from Mule Barn for 75 cents. Overland Park’s Farmers Market offered a much better breakfast than my usual bowl of Cap’n Crunch.
The only downside to this market was that a sign reading “No Animals Allowed During Market Hours” hung proudly above the booths. I was disappointed, knowing I couldn’t bring my 110 lb golden retriever back next time I came. Luckily, the atmosphere proved lively without dogs.
For our next stop we headed over to the Brookside Farmers Market, where white tents filled the back of a parking lot off of 63rd and Wornall. While this farmers market was smaller than the others, it felt tightly-knit, like the customers had their regular vendors, and they all knew each other. Shoppers brought their dogs, who seemed to enjoy the market just as much as their owners, which made it stand out to the Overland Park market.
The sound of acoustic guitars and live singing spread throughout the parking lot. I couldn’t resist buying carrots and sugar snap peas to munch on later, along with refreshing cold-pressed juice.
The booths at this farmers market were mostly for fruits and vegetables, with the occasional honey stand with soaps and lips balms. Heirloom, the bakery located down the street, held its own booth with freshly baked pastries and bread. I had to buy a loaf of cheesy pesto bread – one of my family’s favorites.
For our final stop, we drove to the Historic City Market’s weekly farmers market and spent 35 minutes searching for lights suggesting that cars were leaving their space. After a car finally gave up its spot for us to take, we walked through the booths full of fruits, vegetables, flowers and jewelry. Street performers filled the open spaces. A 30-year-old man performed magic tricks next to the booths, like getting himself out of a straight jacket. A homeless man banged out his favorite rock-n-roll songs on his guitar, which was missing a few strings.
Food trucks and restaurants lined the outside of the market. Fresh fruits and vegetables like ears of corn, blood red tomatoes and juicy blackberries that were picked that morning filled the booths. They briefly tempted me to make my meals for the next week using only ingredients from the farmers market, but that would require giving up Culver’s kids meals, so that idea quickly died.
After exploring the food and jewelry, I checked out the flower stands, which ended up being my favorite. With the biggest flower selection of all the markets and bouquets the size of my face filling the booths, I couldn’t resist. The $1 sunflowers were almost necessary to buy as a citizen of the Sunflower State.
Even though it took ages to park, the experience made it worthwhile. However, next time I go to the Historic City Market, I’ll be taking the streetcar to get rid of the unnecessary pain that came with parking.
Going to these farmers markets made me rethink my options at Hen House. The fresh foods, bright flowers and original jewelry can’t be bought just anywhere. I’d go back to all of these farmers markets any time, but the Historic City Market had to be my favorite because of the variety. Even though farmers markets are open just once a week, they make grocery-shopping and exploring into an experience.