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

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Music by Lee Muller on Saturday

Join Lee Muller at the Emporia Farmers Market on Saturday, starting at 8:00 AM.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Farm Tour via Bike & L-CAT, Saturday, June 29

Like farms? Like bikes? Join us on June 29 for a bike tour of several local farms! (And for those who don't feel like riding, there's also an L-CAT option!)

Click here for details.

Fried Taco Fundraiser at the Farmers Market to Benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

A fried taco fundraiser will take place at the Emporia Farmers Market on Wednesday, starting at 5:00PM. All proceeds will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Jana Ortega is running the Wichita half-marathon in October in honor of her 9-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 5. The Ortega family will be selling tacos for $2 each.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Roller Derby, Neighborly Brothers and Veggies at the Market on Saturday

Join members of the Veteran City Rollers at the farmers market starting at 8AM on Saturday. They will be at the market checking in vendors, ringing the bell, and helping customers carry the heavy loads of produce purchased at the market. Shoppers can take this opportunity to wish the team luck on their bout Saturday evening against the Salina Sirens.

Live music at the market on Saturday will be by The Neighborly Brothers. This three-part harmony group (and one guitar) performs doo-wop and assorted melodies.

The Emporia Farmers Market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday through October. See their website for news and event

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Celebrate the Flint Hills Saturday with Knitters at Emporia Farmers Market

Emporia Celebrates the Flint Hills sponsors another Emporia Farmers Market on Saturday, June 8, starting at 8:00AM. Show us your produce, Emporia. Earn discounts at area downtown businesses by shopping at the market this week. Simply show a volunteer at the market kiosk what you’ve purchased at the market that day, and you will receive a coupon for qualifying specials with Main Street merchants.

We also invite you to celebrate Knit in Public Day. Visit with area knitters, view products and demonstrations. Bring your own chair and a pair of knitting needles and knit along!

The Emporia Farmers Market is now taking place twice weekly, Wednesdays at 5:00 PM and Saturdays at 8:00 AM. Complete event details and market updates can be found at

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tour: Tallgrass Custom Wood Products

Kevin Church says he is probably the first person to move from Idaho to Kansas to start a career in the forest products industry. Though most people think of Kansas as flat and treeless, that picture isn't entirely accurate. Church has started his business, Tallgrass Custom Wood Products, on 10 acres north of Emporia with the goal of applying the principles of conservation biology to a more sustainable application of forest ecology in Kansas and the wise use of area wood.

I was able to visit Tallgrass Custom Wood Products with the Small Farm Management students of the Flint Hills Technical College Sustainability Program on a cold day in February. Church has now joined the Emporia Farmers Market. He brings a selection of local wood to each market and talks with shoppers about the products and services he offers.

Kevin shows students a solar wood kiln he is building. The structure is made from recycled utility poles, hackberry, ash and cottonwood. Two electric box fans will circulate the hot air through the lumber. Wood can take up to 2 months to air dry to 20% moisture. For inside carpentry work, 5-6% moisture is the preferred level.
Kevin says that Kansas is about three times more wooded than it was 80 years ago. About 10% of Kansas is forested, and most of that is contained in the eastern third of the state.

Students examine Kevin's wood pile -- all locally sourced. 

Church says now is the time that Kansas needs to be doing long-term conversation planning. The challenge for Kansas is maintaining a diversity of trees in both age and species.

The saw mill at Tallgrass Custom Wood Products.

As well as an educational display, Church sells small wood products at the market such as these Tomato Towers .

Tall Grass Custom Wood Products website.

We provide high-quality wood products for wholesale and retail with a focus on environmental sustainability.

We offer a full line of services from strategic conservation planning and timber management to logging and milling.

We emphasize and foster the wise-use of more than 20 local native tree species and reclaimed lumber.

Farm Tour: Sweet Haven Fields

Tim and Onnalee Nicklin: Sweet Haven Fields
Tim and Onnalee Nicklin began selling with the Emporia Farmers Market in 2012. Their product list includes peas and purple passion asparagus. Strawberries, black raspberries, radishes, kale, lettuce, spinach and rose orach, a colorful spinach substitute. The Nicklins also grow burgundy okra, sweet peppers, snacking and slicing tomatoes as well as a variety of herbs. They make a low-sugar strawberry jam that became very popular with market shoppers.

Sweet Haven Fields is about as sweet as country living gets. Arriving at the Nicklin farm, I felt as if I'd entered a wonderland. The hillside was blooming with purple flowers. The house and gardens are nestled within a grove of trees, a shady creek running nearby.

 They utilize raised beds, compost, mulch ( no till or chemicals), sodded garden aisles, and narrow growing beds. Because they live in a low-lying area highly populated by deer, the gardens are fenced and surrounded by berms. Fencing keeps the deer out, though Onnalle says they have been known to test the gates to see that they are truly closed, and the berms keep the flood waters from doing too much destruction in the garden areas.
The gardens are abundant with a variety of berries. Tim says the more acidic soil of their little valley is better suited for growing berries. An orchard includes a variety of fruit and nut trees. 

Because they live in a flood plain, but as Kansans are subject to years of drought at a time, the Nicklins work to find plants that can survive the range. Like many gardeners, they are always experimenting to figure out what works best. "We'll try something for several years and if it can't handle the extremes, it's gone," Onnalee says.

New gooseberries line the driveway. The jugs are buried to help conserve water.  Rather than allowing the water to run off or evaporate, the perforated milk container leaks the water slowly to the roots of the plant.
Milk jugs also serve as mini greenhouses for starting plants right where they will grow. Tim prefers this method to starting plants and then transplanting later. This bed contains sweet potatoes and pepper plants.
The Nicklins lost many of their strawberries last year to the drought.  Beds have been started this year in recycled pallets. The red stone strawberries, in theory, teach the birds that there is nothing good to be found here before the real strawberries begin to grow tasty.

The purple plant is rose orach, a colorful spinach substitute. 
Note the fences which are built primarily to keep out the deer. Only asparagus is grown on the outside as it  is one plant deer aren't especially fond of eating. Here you see yellow sedum on the outside, asparagus, and black raspberries along the fenceline.

Note the fences which are built primarily to keep out the deer. Only asparagus is grown on the outside as it  is one plant deer aren't especially fond of eating.

Tim begins a garden with grass in mind. Sodded walkways give the gardens more of a park feeling and one can imagine spending hours outdoors at Sweet Haven Fields, enjoying the open spaces and the rush of the breeze through the surrounding trees.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Emporia Celebrates the Flint Hills at Wednesday Farmers Market

The Emporia Farmers Market opens on Wednesdays in the parking lot at 7th and Merchant starting June 5 at 5:00 PM.  

Emporia Celebrates the Flint Hills, a group of citizens promoting activities that expose the public to the grandeur of the Flint Hills Region, is sponsoring the first two weeks of June Markets. On June 5, 8 and 12 you will be able to earn discounts at area downtown businesses by shopping at the market. Simply show a volunteer at the market kiosk what you’ve purchased at the market that day, and you will receive a coupon for qualifying specials with Main Street merchants.

More information about the Emporia Farmers Market and events can be found on their website,