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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Zouplna Garden Tour

Among the new faces at EFM in 2013, Tony and Linda Zouplna. The Zouplnas (Tony, his father and son) have been involved in the market in previous years as market musicians. 

Tony and Linda Zouplna have been familiar faces at the Emporia Farmers Market for several years now, but this year they came on board as vendors. Tony attended the Farmers Market 101 course via Community Connections in January and started attending the market as a vendor this summer. 

A Master Gardner since 2004, Tony enjoys growing test plants for K-State each year and monitoring and recording the results. He said he wasn't so enamored of the hours spent in the garden when he was a kid staying with his grandparents, RC and Kay Heaney, but as an adult, he found himself drawn to growing things. Completing the Master Gardner program helped him fill in a lot of the blanks.

Linda says that Tony keeps meticulous records. He tracks varieties by quantity and volume produced, and they have approached the farmers market in a similar fashion. By tracking what they bring to market, what the customers are most attracted to, and responding to feedback, they are already making plans for next year's gardens. 

There is so much green in this photo, it's hard to differentiate. Grape vines line the fence behind the flat. To the left is Tony's "alpha" garden. He has a second plot behind this one and is starting work on a third.

Some customers recognize the Zouplnas for their giant tomatillos. On my visit, I learned that the pods grow big like balloons and then the fruit grows to fill them.

At the time of my visit, there were a lot of green tomatoes and some just turning to shades of pink and red.

The grapes were starting to turn, as well.