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Archive for Friday, June 6, 2008

New farmers’ markets take root

Fresh produce to be available closer to home

Hazel Youngquist, 6, nibbles on leaves of lettuce as her brother, Jack, 4, and father, Eric, pick vegetables from their family garden north of Perry. Eric is the market manager for the Perry-Lecompton Farmers' Market, which is kicking off this weekend. The Perry market will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and the Lecompton market will be from noon to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Hazel Youngquist, 6, nibbles on leaves of lettuce as her brother, Jack, 4, and father, Eric, pick vegetables from their family garden north of Perry. Eric is the market manager for the Perry-Lecompton Farmers' Market, which is kicking off this weekend. The Perry market will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and the Lecompton market will be from noon to 3 p.m. Sundays.

June 6, 2008

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Where to go

The Lecompton Farmers' Market will be from noon to 3 p.m. Sundays at the corner of East Woodson Avenue and Elmore Street. It begins June 8.

The Perry Farmers' Market will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays in the parking lot just east of First State Bank at 504 Plaza Drive. It begins June 6.

To become a vendor, call Eric Youngquist, a market manager, at (785) 597-2307 or e-mail him at hallowacres@embarqmail.com. The prices are $60 for all season in both towns, $40 for all season in one town; $7 for one day in both towns; and $5 for one day in one town.

Lecompton and Perry, bedroom communities nestled between Lawrence and Topeka, are about to get their own farmers' markets.

The approximately 1,500 residents who live in the towns, which are separated by the Kansas River, won't have to drive to the city to buy fresh produce.

"I like the Lawrence market, but I hate driving into town on Saturdays if I don't have to, so I think this will be a good opportunity to get the same kind of things close to home," said Lecompton resident Jennifer Smith, Douglas County horticulture extension agent and an organizer of the markets.

The Lecompton Farmers' Market will be from noon to 3 p.m. Sundays in the downtown area. The Perry Farmers' Market will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays in the parking lot just east of First State Bank. The markets will begin June 6 in Perry and June 8 in Lecompton and will last through the last full week in October.

Smith said they didn't want the markets to conflict with those in Lawrence and Topeka. In Perry, they are hoping to catch people who might be on their way to the lake for the weekend. In Lecompton, organizers said they hoped to draw business from those who attend church activities.

"The real feeling was to promote community," Smith said. "In Lecompton, at least, we don't have a real gathering place and so it seemed like a good opportunity to establish one and maybe get to know your neighbors a little bit."

Eric Youngquist, market manager for Perry, hopes the markets become like mini-festivals.

"We are looking to open a couple of fun atmosphere markets and to provide something for families to do," he said.

While organizers are expecting just a few vendors on the opening days, they hope it will grow with time. In his months of research, Youngquist said he learned that many markets started with just a couple of people selling produce on a street corner.

"If we can have four to start, hey, I will be happy," Youngquist said.

Count Julie Copeland to be among them. The longtime Perry resident sold tomatoes at the Topeka market last year and is looking forward to expanding her business. This year she planted 350 tomato plants - 70 more than last year. She also planted potatoes, onions, carrots, spinach, radishes and squash.

"We will see what we get," she said, but expects to mostly sell potatoes and tomatoes.

The markets provide an outlet for other gardening enthusiasts.

"A lot of people in town have gardens, and they end up with more than they can use and more than they can can and this will give them an outlet to get rid of it," she said.

The prices for vendors are $60 for all season in both towns, $40 for all season in one town; $7 for one day in both towns, and $5 for one day in one town.

To become a vendor or learn more about the markets, call Youngquist at (785) 597-2307 or e-mail him at hallowacres@embarqmail.com.

Comments

monheim 5 years, 10 months ago

Multidisciplinary: Exactly! Now you have a REASON to make the drive...to come to the market!

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 10 months ago

We used to take Sundays drives, and we were always coming through Lecompton during those times. It would have been great to stop and shop.Now I can't drive anywhere for pleasure.

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