Navigate the Holiday Farmer’s Market like a pro

Jennifer Schwering, Lawrence, picks out some decorated gourd Christmas tree ornaments at the Pendleton's Country Market booth at the Holiday Farmer's Market at Knights of Columbus Hall, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008. Schwering was shopping with her mother Barbara Schwering at the annual event.

The Holiday Farmers Market

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Dr. Additional parking is available at the school district’s building.

There are a couple of things you might want to know if you want to enjoy this year’s Holiday Farmer’s Market.

First: “You don’t need to be there first thing in the morning,” said Karen Pendleton of Pendleton Farms. “The afternoons are usually not crowded at all and it offers much more leisurely shopping.”

If you’re worried that there won’t be anything left, don’t.

“The farmers have been doing this long enough that they know how much stuff to bring,” she said. “And if you go later, the farmers will often put things on sale after 3 p.m. — they don’t want to take those things home,” said Pendleton.

There should also be plenty of parking since the farmers have worked out an arrangement with the school district to make more parking spots available in the district’s lot south of the Holidome.

Finally, it’s important to remember that the Holiday Farmer’s Market is a major source of income for the vendors during the winter months, which “forces them to be creative,” said Pendleton. “You will find things you will never find anywhere else.”

Things like dried flower wreaths, pickles, canned poinsettias, succulents, Christmas cacti, bird feeders and produce. And that’s just at Pendleton’s booth. More than sixty other farmers will be there, including Marilyn Pilkey, who is teaming up with her uncle, commercial photographer Dennis Myers. In addition to the gift baskets, baked goods and hand-knitted scarves at her booth, she will sell one-of-a-kind cards with photos of the Kansas terrain.

While you can definitely get some Christmas shopping crossed off your list at the market, you’ll also find plenty of food to keep you well-nourished during the dark winter months.

Avery Lominska from Avery’s Farms will have plenty of spinach, sweet potatoes and frozen roasted peppers. “I try to keep the season going as long as I can,” he said. “As a farmer, it’s always good to earn a little money in December.”

You’ll also be able to find beef, chicken, pork and emu at the market. Or, if you’re a fan of cheese, check out Landeria Farms, one of the few farms in Kansas that produces hard cheese, and the only farm in the U.S. that makes Swiss cheese from goat milk. There will also be wine. This is the first year area wineries such as Jefferson Hill, BlueJacket Crossing and Kugler’s Vineyard will be able to sell their wares at the Holiday Farmer’s Market.