Garden Variety: Kaw Valley Farm Tour coming up

photo by: Richard Gwin

In this file photo from 2013, visitors tour the Henrys' Plant Farm, 248 North 1700 Rd in Lecompton, as part of the annual Kaw Valley Farm Tour.

Next weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6-7, is the 14th annual Kaw Valley Farm Tour, featuring 33 farms in northeast Kansas. Visit one farm or several — the tour is open house-style, so tourgoers can come and go as they please during the designated hours. This annual fall event is a great opportunity to learn about the diversity of agriculture in the region, see how food is produced, connect with local farmers and purchase a wide array of local agricultural products.

The tour began in the Lawrence area and is still centered on it, but over the years, the circle has expanded as far west as Auburn (southwest of Topeka) and as far east as Kansas City, Kan. Tourgoers are encouraged to plan their routes in advance to make the most of their time. Different types of farms will also be more or less appealing to different types of tourgoers.

Many farms are offering special activities geared toward children, including haywagon rides, close (safe) interaction with farm animals, and feeding chickens or other animals. Other farms offer more adult activities such as biochar demonstrations, wine tasting and history tours.

Tour hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7.

To plan your route, pick up a ticket at one of the locations listed below or visit the tour’s website, Tickets are $10 per carload (carpooling is encouraged) and one ticket provides admission to all farms. Proceeds from ticket sales provide funding for printing of maps and signs, advertising and website maintenance.

Some of the tour’s original members and longtime favorites are continuing on the tour, including Ad Astra Alpacas, Blossom Trail Bee Ranch, Bluejacket Crossing Vineyard & Winery, Davenport Orchards & Winery, The Henrys’ Plant Farm, Holy-Field Winery, Juniper Hill Farms, Lamborn Farm, Pendletons’ Country Market, The Red Tractor Farm, Vesecky Family Farms and Whitetail Run Winery & Vineyard. Longtime participant Washington Creek Lavender is not on the tour this year but will have products available nearby at The Red Tractor Farm.

Newer additions to the tour include Amy’s Meats, Blue Morning Glory, Brambling Rose Farm, Clearfield FarmHaus, Coal Creek Farms, Country Road Farms, Crescent Moon Winery, Dancing Cow Farm, Glaciers Edge Winery, Happy Apples Farm, Happy Valley Farm, Haven Pointe Winery, Limestone Gardens, Manna Meadows, Oz Highland Cattle Farm, Rowe Ridge Winery, Silver Dollar Farm, Shooting Star Equine, Small Mission Farms and South Baldwin Farm.

The Farm Tour ticket and website provide more information about each farm and the special activities each will have for the tour weekend. At the very least, expect a tour and learning experience at every stop.

Breakfast on the Farm has been a longtime tradition of the Kaw Valley Farm Tour. Breakfast prices vary per farm and are not included with the tour ticket. All breakfast options are first come, first served and while supplies last. This year’s options are at Coal Creek Farms both mornings, Country Road Farms both mornings, Lamborn Farm Sunday morning, Pendleton’s Country Market on Sunday from 9-11 a.m., The Red Tractor Farm both mornings and Vesecky Family Farms on Saturday from 8:30-10 a.m. Check tickets and/or the tour website for menu offerings and prices.

Many farms have lunch and dinner offerings as well, including three special farm-to-table dinner offerings. Check tickets and/or the tour website for more information.

The Kaw Valley Farm Tour was created with a coalition between The Merc Co+Op, The Community Mercantile Education Foundation, K-State Research and Extension — Douglas County, The Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau, and area farmers interested in promoting agriculture in the region.

Advance tickets:

The Merc Co+Op, 901 Iowa St, Lawrence

Lawrence Visitors Information Center, 402 N 2nd St, Lawrence

K-State Research and Extension — Douglas County, 2110 Harper St, Lawrence

Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce, 720 High St, Baldwin City

Event weekend tickets:

All participating farms

The Merc Co+Op

— Jennifer Smith is a former horticulture extension agent for K-State Research and Extension and horticulturist for Lawrence Parks and Recreation.


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