Garden Variety: Kaw Valley farms to show off animals, plants, produce on tour

Next weekend’s Kaw Valley Farm Tour is an opportunity to visit area farms, learn about the diversity of agriculture in the Kaw (Kansas) River valley, and meet the people who are devoted to producing food and other farm products in the region. The annual self-guided tour runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 3 and 4 and features 32 area farms.

Tourgoers have an opportunity to see a variety of farm types and production. For animals, there are alpacas, bees, cattle (dairy and beef), chickens, donkeys, ducks, geese, goats, horses, peacocks, pigs, rabbits, sheep and turkeys. For plants, there are greenhouses, all kinds of fruit and vegetable production, and grain production. Many farms are diversified, meaning they raise a combination of different types of animals and plants.

If you go

• 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 3-4 (for wineries, Sunday liquor sales begin at noon)

• $10 per vehicle

• 32 farms

• Map included with ticket

• Advance tickets available at The Merc, 901 Iowa St; K-State Research & Extension – Douglas County, 2110 Harper St; Lawrence Visitors Information Center, 402 N. Second St.; Cottin’s Hardware and Rental, 1832 Massachusetts St.; Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market; or online at

• Tickets also available at all farms during the tour

• Event is rain or shine

Farms will have their products for sale, including the fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, honey, plants and other things grown directly on their farm. They may also have products produced from the things grown on their farm, such as wine, jams and jellies, sweaters, and lavender sachets.

Plan on being outside all day, taking a hayrack ride, getting up close and personal with farm animals, tasting just-picked produce, and bringing home some local products.

Part of the fun of the farm tour is picking which farms to visit. Perhaps you are especially interested in wine-making, pasture-raised pigs, or vegetable production and want to visit all of the farms that offer those things. Or you may wish to visit all the farms in a certain geographic location.

Check out the full descriptions of the participating farms in the tour tickets and on the tour’s website, A map is also available to help plan your route. Four to five farms per day is average for most visitors.

Tourgoers with children may be especially interested in farms with children’s activites, which is noted in the farm descriptions in the ticket and on the website.

The tour’s website also recommends bringing a cooler to transport purchased products, wearing comfortable shoes, and leaving pets at home.

— Jennifer Smith is a former horticulture extension agent for K-State Research and Extension and horticulturist for Lawrence Parks and Recreation. She is the host of “The Garden Show” and has been a gardener since childhood. Send your gardening questions and feedback to