As to be expected in the heart of the Midwest, Kansas City has a wide range of farmers markets throughout the metro area. With wonderful neighborhood markets in Brookside, Westport, Overland Park and elsewhere, there’s little excuse to miss out on fresh, local produce. The crown jewel of them all and the region’s largest, the Farmers’ Market, located downtown in the City Marketwith an ever-changing abundance of fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, fresh baked goods, flowers and crafts.
Farmers’ Market Manager Deb Connors says, “What sets us apart from other farmers’ markets, is that we have the customer base for any type of produce, from the heirloom tomatoes to unfamiliar Asian greens and vegetables to buffalo meat and orchids.”
Every Saturday or Sunday, rain or shine, as many as 150 Farmers’ Market stalls overflow with vendors, shoppers, musicians and street artists. The Farmers’ Market is open year-round on Saturdays and Sundays. From November to February, the hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from March to October, the schedule shifts a bit as the market opens at 6 a.m. on Saturdays. Staying true to their focus on homegrown nutrition, the Market now offers an educational series in the Farm to Table Kitchen during the Farmers’ Market. Topics range from food safety and preparation to general nutrition, and they host cooking demonstrations and sampling on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Farm to Table Kitchen can also be rented on an hourly basis as a commercially-licensed kitchen for start-up business ventures and serves as home base for many food trucks.
Going back to 1857, the City Market (bounded by 3rd and 5th Streets to the north and south, Grand and Delaware to the east and west) has been a gathering place for commerce, politics and entertainment, and the recent boom in downtown residents and restaurants all but guarantees a packed market every weekend. Today, the City Market, open 365 days a year, is home to 40 retail shops, international grocers and restaurants, a museum and variety of office tenants.
“It’s an eclectic mix of merchants and visitors,” says Sue Patterson, director of marketing and events for the City Market. “There are 12 different languages spoken here. It’s an ideal, friendly spot for people-watching.”
With dining options spanning from the more exotic (Asian, Ethiopian, Brazilian, etc.) to traditional family favorites (burritos, pizza and – of course – local BBQ), it’s hard to go wrong. There are also history lessons to be had at the Arabia Steamboat Museum, where kids of all ages can view the world’s largest collection of pre-Civil War artifacts and learn about how the Arabia was salvaged from the muddy waters of the Missouri River. There’s even a weekly Community Yard Sale, and on Sundays from May through October, car junkies can get their fix and swap stories at the Art of the Machine series of car shows. This year’s calendar includes a diverse lineup of groups, ranging from the Kansas City Porsche Club and Mercedes Benz Club of America to the Santa Fe Trails Antique Motorcycles Club and Kansas City Horseless Carriage Club.