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

Friday, March 14, 2014

Dirty Kanza Pre-Race Palooza Dinner, May 30, 2014


The annual Pasta Palooza fundraiser for the Emporia Farmers Market is being revamped for the 2014 Dirty Kanza event to better showcase locally sourced foods and welcome gravel riders to our community on Friday, May 30. This year’s meal will feature grassfed beef from Graze the Prairie, a Flint Hills producer whose cattle are on pasture year-round. Graze the Prairie’s cattle are never given growth hormones and no chemical fertilizers are used on their pastures. “Our cattle are moved into new paddocks daily in the growing season, and at least twice weekly in the dormant. This mimics the movement of the animals that historically lived on the prairie and is in concert with how the prairie evolved. This provides our cattle with the best life possible and helps preserve the remaining tallgrass prairie.” More about Graze the Prairie can be found at

The Pre-Race Palooza Dinner will also feature a "meet and mingle" for the Flint Hills Community. Featured Dirty Kanza racers will be on hand for photo opportunities and to sign rider trading cards from 5-6:30pm. The dinner will take place at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 828 Commercial, from 4pm until 7:30pm on Friday, May 30, 2014.

Event Partner:
Graze the Prairie, All Natural Grass Fed Beef

Also featuring products from Emporia Farmers Market vendors, Oatie Beef, Heritage Hill (buffalo), and Shepherd's Valley CSA.

page updated: 5/13/2014 

Food Safety for Kansas Farmers Market Vendors: Regulations and Best Practices

The updated Regulations and Best Practices guide for farmers markets was presented at the Farmers Market Conference in Topeka at the beginning of March. The Emporia Farmers Market has been following the state of Kansas guidelines since the first publication was created by KRC.

This version presents no great changes from current market policy, but does clarify best practices for several products. This is the guide EFM vendors are encouraged to review and follow. The guide can be viewed and printed online at this link or copies can be purchased here.

Food Safety for Kansas Farmers Market Vendors: Regulations and Best Practices
View the entire guide at

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A History by Roger Heineken

The Learning Connection of the Flint Hills (TLC) and Its Emporia Farmers Market

In the late 1960s the concept of free universities was taking hold across America. The alternative education movement arrived at Emporia State when Union Activities Council (UAC) added a program committee called Your Own University (Y.O.U.) in the 1970-71 academic year.

The UAC committee developed a series of free classes per semester taught by locals to locals. Increasingly, Emporia citizens participated in many of the offerings. In the early to mid-1970s the committee name changed to the Neosho River Free School (NRFS). Course offerings were deliberately promoted to both the community and ESU students.  A modest fee was assessed to non-students. Associated Student Government’s annual allocation to UAC funded the participation by Emporia State students.

The University for Man at Manhattan/K-State had a developed, model program in the nation and worked with UAC and the Neosho River Free School to secure broader community support to move it out as a community-wide amenity, more town than gown. University for Man wrote a grant which identified two VISTA Volunteers to work for two years to secure funding and develop a community/campus-based board of directors.

The VISTA Volunteers were successful in finding financial support through the United Way, ASG funds to enable ESU students to attend at no cost, and in-kind support from ESU’s Continuing Education office.

An Emporia Literacy Program was initiated soon after working with the Emporia Public Library and a core of volunteers. No literacy effort was in place in Emporia at the time. Over the years the program made a real difference for hundreds of citizens. In 1982, the Neosho River Free School started the Emporia Farmers Market.

The free school name changed again around 1995 to The Learning Connection of the Flint Hills.
Through the years, catalog courses ranging from family financial literacy to food-related classes to crafts to first aid and health to yoga and biking. The list goes on and on. As an agency of the United Way, TLC became a valuable education/outreach tool for other UW agencies through the catalogs and classes.  TLC even partnered with the police department to produce a series of Spanish for Peace Officers classes.

Classes were convened on the ESU campus, in homes, in gardens, in churches, in senior assisted living centers, in the Extension kitchen, etc. Everywhere imaginable in and around Emporia courses were held.

The Emporia Farmers Market started small trying different locations. By the fifth year EFM was hitting its stride and would settled on its present location on Merchant St. between 7th & 8th Avenues. The Market has grown more successful through the years as greater demand for fresh, local food brought more venders to sell homemade, homegrown products and produce. The EFM is a crossroad of community.

The EFM kiosk which stands in the Merchant Street parking lot was engineered and created and donated by Hastco, Inc. The Kiosk not only serves the EFM but is used for Emporia Main Street “Live in the Lot” series and Christmas carriage rides. Winter Emporia Farmers Markets began in 2010.

Increasing demands for United Way funds by other agencies and difficulties in meeting the UW drive goals led to The Learning Connection of the Flint Hills losing support about six years ago. The Literacy program survives through the Adult Education program, EPL and volunteers. The Emporia Farmers Market continues in its 30th year under the TLC board and banner. Revenue from the market, fundraising, and grants supports the scaled-back program. The market is still a venue where public education happens from time to time during the growing season.

by Roger Heineken
July 2012