Learn about one of the hottest farming tools to extend the growing season: high tunnels. Visit a certified organic urban farm with a CSA business, located in Kansas City’s Argentine neighborhood. Tour a center of excellence in high tunnel research and extension at Kansas State, showcasing single-span and multi-bay models that cover 27,000 square feet. Learn from the earliest adopters: a cut flower farm that sells direct to flower arrangers and a fruit and vegetable growing using 2 acres of Haygrove Tunnels. This tour will return at approximately 1:15 PM to drop off participants that need to return early. The bus will then depart again for Fahrmeier Bros Produce at 1:30 PM, and make its final return at 4:30.
This four-stop farm tour will show you the latest innovations, practices and strategies for producing and marketing value-added farm products. You’ll visit a cut-flower farm, mushroom fields, and a cheese maker where you can see goats being milked and cheeses in various stages of draining, brining and pressing. Taste samples of feta, mozzarella, Swiss, camembert and cheddar fresh from the aging cave. Tour a farm/market specializing in hydroponics and showcasing a “butterfly bio-villa”. Returns at approximately 3:00 PM.
Learn from on-the-ground experience about best practices in land stewardship, raising cattle, and value-added meat and grain products. Bradley Ranch has an integrated, holistic management plan. Soaring Eagle will showcase its home-milled grain and animal operation. Amy will explain her direct-market meat business that serves 600 families with high quality, locally raised and sustainably produced beef. Returns at approximately 3:00 PM.
Visit pristine tallgrass prairie reserves. Learn about their fascinating biology from leading experts. The Konza Biological Research Station is a National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research site owned by the Nature Conservancy. The Rannells Flinthills Prairie Preserve is a 2,105-acre tallgrass prairie preserved for the sole use and benefit of range research. During the two-hour bus ride, watch PBS’s “Last Stand of the Tallgrass Prairie.” And put on your hiking shoes, weather permitting. Returns at approximately 5:00 PM.
Tour the Hen House Market, a unique collaboration between family-owned Ball Food Stores and farmer group Good Natured Family Farms. Learn about its “Buy Fresh Buy Local Campaign” and sample local foods. Check out Local Burger, the brainchild of chef entrepreneur Hilary Brown, who offers healthy fast food in a casual environment. Its eclectic menu has been featured in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Gourmet. Also on tour: The Community Mercantile, which is committed to providing an outstanding selection of natural and organic regional foods to its community. Returns at approximately 3:00 PM.
Urban agriculture is alive and well and prospering in Kansas City. This four-stop city tour takes you to a certified organic vegetable farm that researches and demonstrates urban production practices. Visit a Hmong-run transitional organic farm that grows hard-to-find specialty vegetables and herbs, serving many immigrants – and a “backyard” CSA that leases half-acres from neighbors and feeds 40 customers. Also on the tour: a program where youth do it all from composting to planting to picking. Returns at approximately 3:00 PM.
Visit the Amish shareholder-owned Jamesport produce auction and an Amish vegetable grower using high tunnels and a wood-heated greenhouse. Also on the tour are other sustainable operations, including a 50-member CSA and Rains Natural Meats. Please, no close-up photos of the Amish are permitted. Returns at approximately 4:00 PM.
Visit the internationally renowned FSRC, a center researching forage systems for all classes of beef cattle. Its pioneering work on forage ecology has received significant recognition from state and federal agencies. Learn about the Green Hills Farm Project, a farmer-to-farmer networking group to improve grass-based livestock farming, and the project’s mobile poultry processing unit. Hear a dairy farmer about his successful management intensive grazing techniques. Returns at approximately 5:00 PM.
Learn from experience in the cattle and nut business. Tom Craft has raised cattle for 40 years and direct-marketed beef for more than 15. He has perfected a management intensive grazing system that keeps his cattle healthy and overhead costs down. Visit the Missouri Northern Pecan Growers, formed by growers to develop pecan markets, including premium certified organic markets. Also on tour: a 500-cow intensive rotational grazing dairy operation and the University of Missouri Dairy Grazing Project. Returns at approximately 4:00 PM.
Learn from successful business strategies. Alma Meats is a major employer of the tiny town of Alma, and now offers more than 50 value-added meat products to high-end retailers and consumers in Kansas City and beyond. The Wood family's diversified farm has been producing and locally marketing certified organic beef, chickens, eggs, fruit, vegetables and row crops since 1994. When hog prices took a nose dive, the Dieckhoff family retrofitted barns with water tanks and began producing bluegill fingerlings for sale to large outfitters and others as feeder fish. Returns at approximately 3:00 PM.
See success and innovation in value-added products. Visit the Shatto Dairy, which has a glass-walled milk operation so that tourists can see where milk comes from, and how it’s processed and packaged. The dairy bottles in glass and markets various milk products to local and state grocers. Also on tour: an old-fashioned bakery that has tapped into a market hungry for natural products, including cookies and rolls from organically grown and freshly ground whole grains. Returns at approximately 3:00 PM.
Bring back the good ol’ days when you visit a baking company with made-from-scratch goods using organic ingredients, artisan sausages, free-range chicken, pasture-raised pork and much more. Find out how and why a fourth generation row-crop and cattle farmer converted to an organic vegetable farm and CSA with 200 plus varieties of more than 50 different vegetables and herbs. Visit the award-winning Jowler Creek Winery, a cattle and row crop farm that is now a 3,000-vine vineyard. Returns at approximately 3:00 PM.