Farm Tour to Focus on Specialty Crop Season Extension and Risk Management
The KRC Autumn Specialty Crop Farm Tour is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, November 1, at the Dreher Family 4-H Building at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Lawrence, Kansas, for producers interested in learning about high tunnel production and seed starting.
"The program will focus on the challenges of extending production and reducing risks," said Mercedes Taylor-Puckett, farmers markets and local food coordinator with the Kansas Rural Center. "This program will afford the attendees a chance to visit with local producers in the areas of season extension, high tunnels, strawberry production, seed starting, and vermiculture."
Registration will run from noon to 12:30 p.m. followed by presentations by Jill Elmers, Jerry and Jane Wohletz, Brad Stevenson, Carolyn Slawson and Mercedes Taylor-Puckett. After the informational sessions attendees will have the opportunity to tour both Wohletz Farm Fresh and Moon on the Meadow. The schedule for the day's events can be found here.
Jill Elmers, a 2009 KRC Farmer-Educator, owns and operates Moon on the Meadow, a 4.5 acre certified organic farm within the city limits of Lawrence. Along with selling at the Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market, Jill operates a CSA with three distribution sites in the Kansas City metro area, one in Topeka and an on-farm pick-up in Lawrence. In the winter of 2007, she erected a hoop house to extend and diversify her offering in the early and late market seasons. In 2008, Moon on the Meadow became a certified organic farm.
Jerry and Jane Wohletz, owners of Wohletz Farm Fresh, are wrapping-up their seventh season as direct marketers of diverse specialty crops raised on two-acres of their 80-acre farm southeast of Lawrence. Last year the family added a 30’ x 60’ high tunnel in which they raised strawberries and tomatoes. In 2010, Wohletz Farm Fresh plans to open a pick-your-own strawberry patch.
Brad Stevenson, of Rock Creek Wigglers, constructed a temperature-controlled aluminum worm shed on his ten-acre farm outside of Ottawa in 2007. Stevenson sells worm castings and worm casting tea at the Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market and on the internet. Worm castings, or vermicompost, contain nutrients and plant hormones to encourage plant growth.
Carolyn Slawson and her husband, David, have been farming 80-acres west of Tonganoxie for more than forty years. In 2001, the couple began growing produce and transplants to sell at the Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market. Slawson starts everything for the farm's six-acre specialty crop garden from seed inside her germinating greenhouse every spring.
The KRC Autumn Specialty Crop Farm Tour will provide farmers with information that can be utilized immediately in their operations," Taylor-Puckett said. "It will also give those who are new to the agricultural field or might be interested in starting a specialty crop operation information that they can use in the future."
The farm tour is funded through a USDA AMS Farmers Market Promotion Program grant.
Additional information can be obtained by contacting Taylor-Puckett at 785.840.6202 or mercedes [dot] taylorpuckett [at] gmail [dot] com (Event Listing) on the Kansas Farmers Markets website. Attendees can also contact K-State Research and Extension–Douglas County Horticulture Agent Jennifer Smith at 785-843-7058 for more information.
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Download the Autumn Farm Tour Flier.