The Best of Home Grown, Home Baked and Hand Crafted by Local Farmers, Gardeners and Artisans.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

PrairieLand Partners: Local Foods Promotion

“We hope this truck, which will go door-to-door delivering vegetables, will be an icon for Emporia promoting locally grown foods.” 
Paul du Toit, August 2011

March 2011 - The 1948 International Truck before Thurston's Plus Autobody got their hands on it.

March 2012 - The newly refurbished 1948 International Truck made an appearance at the St. Patrick's Day Indoor Winter Farmers Market and appeared in the Emporia St. Patrick's Day Parade.

 Paul du Toit may be relatively new to Emporia (he moved to the area in 2009 as the manager of Prairieland Partners, Emporia's John Deere dealership), but his agriculture roots run deep and that makes him a champion of local foods, as well as a local leader in the movement. 

Paul and the employees of Prairieland Partners started a garden in 2011 and succeeded in supplying produce to Prairieland families, as well as to a few local businesses and grocery stores. "Our garden was started on the idea to support our local community through the production of fresh vegetables by having large enough quantities and a variety of vegetables to supply our local market. We are also hoping to inspire and encourage growers. Like starting any business, there are no guarantees," said du Toit. "We are learning a lot and taking the project one day at a time."

Most of the work on the garden was done by the employees of Prairieland Partners over the noon hour or after 5:00 PM. Several brought their children out to help plant crops.

Harold Brenzikofer, Emporia Farmers Market Vendor and Paul du Toit, PrairieLand Partners,  visit about the truck at the Indoor Winter Farmers Market on March 17, 2012.

The truck all decked out for the parade.

From Paul du Toit and the Local Foods Community: A big round of thanks to Jess and Beth Wilson of Thurston’s Plus Autobody for all the hard work they have put into this truck. These guys have been unbelievable! They have more volunteer hours in this project than we can ever pay them back for. The group from Thurston’s does excellent work and is a leader in community partnering! 

*simultaneously published at Kansas Food Stories

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kuchera’s Mild Salsa


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kuchera’s Mild Salsa: Emporia Shared Use Commercial Kitchen Project Debuts First Product

Local foods entrepreneur, Drew Kuchera, has completed the requirements to process salsa in Emporia’s Shared Use Commercial Kitchen. Kuchera’s Mild Salsa is the first product to undergo all product testing, licensing and inspection requirements necessary to sell a locally produced, value-added canned product in a retail setting.

Canned products processed in Kansas and sold to the public must first undergo testing by K-State Extension Value-Added Foods Lab in Manhattan. A process authority letter must be obtained from the lab before a license to process in a kitchen is applied for. The lab also creates an ingredient statement and nutrition fact panel.

The Emporia Shared Use Commercial Kitchen is a project of The Emporia Area Local Foods Network and the Emporia Farmers Market. The Emil Babinger Charitable Trust provided start-up funds for the kitchen project in 2010. EALFN and EFM have made an arrangement with an existing licensed commercial kitchen so that producers will be able to “rent” kitchen space to get their foods production businesses off the ground.

For more information on starting a value added foods business in Emporia, please review the kitchen link at or contact Tracy Simmons, Emporia Farmers Market Manager at (620) 343-6555.

For more information on Kuchera's products, contact Drew Kuchera at (785) 844-3303 or visit the website at


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Get Your Green On at 10AM at the Farmers Market; a Free Vegetable Gardening Class and Irish Tunes by Kindred Spirits

Get Your Green On at 10AM at the Farmers Market; a Free Vegetable Gardening Class and Irish Tunes by Kindred Spirits

Start celebrating St. Patrick's Day on Saturday morning with fresh greens from the Indoor Winter Farmers Market and then a free lesson on how to grow those greens. The market will be open March 17, starting at 10:00 at the Emporia Humanitarian Center, 215 W. 6th Avenue (former Lowther South School). As well as a variety of lettuces, spinach, cabbage, kale and carrots from our high tunnel and green house vendors, you can count on farm fresh eggs, home baked goods, and home crafted, handmade soaps and lip balms.

Saturday’s market will feature a Vegetable Gardening Class by K-State Research and Extension – Lyon County, from 10:30-noon. This class is free to all interested participants. Those who attend will also receive a copy of the Kansas Garden Guide, courtesy of Emporia Area Local Food Network and the Emil Babinger Charitable Trust.

The market will also feature the “Kindred Spirits” flute trio (Anne Strobel, Sue Claridge and Sara Coltrane) for “A Taste of Ireland”. Traditional tunes such as “The Irish Washer Woman” and “Londonderry Air” will be mixed in with other tunes to set the mood for the day.
The Indoor Winter Farmers Markets and the continuing 2-for-1 SNAP benefits program is made possible by a grant from the Emil Babinger Charitable Trust. Markets take place on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays through April. More information about the farmers market and a complete calendar of events can be found online at


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Updates to March 17 Market Details

These changes are not yet reflected on the website calendar, but the March 17 Veggie gardening class at the farmers market is being given by K-State Research and Extension - Lyon County.

Also, there will be NO soup fundraiser on March 17.

There will be music and a free vegetable gardening class, however. Don't miss this market! It's going to be a great one!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Past, Present and Future Vendors and Supporters Invited to Emporia Farmers Market Annual Meeting and 30th Anniversary Kickoff Party


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

For More Information:
Tracy Simmons

Past, Present and Future Vendors and Supporters Invited to Emporia Farmers Market Annual Meeting and 30th Anniversary Kickoff Party

The Annual Meeting and 30th Anniversary Kickoff Party of the Emporia Farmers Market will take place on Sunday, March 18, at the West Campus of the Emporia Presbyterian Church, 1702 West 15th Avenue. The meeting will begin with a potluck meal at 4:00 PM and will include a review of the 2011 season, a preview of 2012 events and board member elections.

All past, present and future market vendors are invited to attend. Sponsors, market supporters and volunteers are encouraged to attend, as well.

A question and answer session will be held for new vendors after the main program. At this time, market regulations and requirements will be reviewed. Enrolment for vendors includes a $25 fee paid prior to selling at the first market. The 2012 market season will start in the parking lot at 7th & Merchant on Saturday, May 5, 2012. Market opens at 8:00 AM

For more information and to RSVP for the Annual Meeting, please contact Tracy Simmons, Market Manager, at or leave a message at 620-343-6555. Vendor Regulations can be reviewed and downloaded from the website at