We’re continuing our “Meet the Farmer” series with a familiar face. Bob Karr is one of the original vendors, and consistently ranks in the top three most-attended vendor category each year. You can also find his interview in Wednesday's Gazette.
Bob Karr, The Orchard
1. How did you get started farming/gardening/baking, etc?
We moved to our present location, 1128 N Hwy 99, in 1985. Two apple trees in the backyard were “rescued”, and they produced. That gave me the idea of operating our orchard.
2. How long have you been selling at farmers markets/direct-to-consumer?
I started in about 1985 by selling eggs that my mother had; we sold them for $.60 per dozen. My apple production started around 1989 from 10 trees in my yard.
3. What is your favorite product you offer, and why?
It varies from year to year; this year my favorite product was asparagus. Usually, it is honey or cider, or (of course) apples.
4. What’s your favorite dish or recipe you like to make with some of your products?
Apple sauce. It is quick and easy.
5. Do you use any special growing methods or techniques?
2. Check on your crops every day—almost year round
3. Work, work, work!
6. Why do you think it’s important for folks to eat local?
Eating local has many health benefits and you’re also supporting your friends and neighbors when you purchase local products.
7. Tell us a little about the history of your business:
I grew up about ½ mile from where my place is now. I attended one room schools, ¾ mile east during first and second grade, and 1 ½ miles west during third grade. I moved back home from Topeka in 1985 to teach at Emporia High School. We planted our first orchard in 1992, and others followed in ’95, ’98, 2000, and ’03.
In addition to a you-pick orchard, and weekly offerings at the farmers market, Bob also offers a mini golf course, country store, and apple cider slushes--a customer favorite! You can find seasonal business hours on their Facebook page or visit Bob during Wednesday and Saturday markets.