Area farm operations on 14-stop weekend tour
The second annual Kaw Valley Farm Tour this weekend will feature several area farming operations.
And the lineup offers opportunities to learn a lot about all types of farming. Activities vary widely -- from tastings at a Basehor winery and milking goats at a rural Tonganoxie farm to apple-picking at a McLouth apple orchard.
¢ Admission passes are available in advance at these Lawrence locations: Community Mercantile Co-op, 901 Iowa; Downtown Lawrence Farmers' Market, 900 Massachusetts; Lawrence Visitor Information Center, 402 N. 2nd St.; and Douglas County Extension Office, 2110 Harper.
¢ Admission passes also can be purchased at each of the 14 tour sites.
Farms on the tour will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. And tickets are available at any of the 14 farms on Saturday and Sunday. Signs will be placed on major roads throughout the tour areas.
Three of the farms on the tour are in the area, including Screamin' Oaks Farm, 18171 198th St., which is between U.S. Highway 24-40 and Evans Road, east of Tonganoxie. The goat farm is gearing up to cater to families on the tour.
Child-sized containers will feature chocolate, strawberry and non-flavored goat milk.
"If they're in the mood to taste goat's milk, we'll have it here for them to purchase," owner Roxane McCoy said.
In addition, the farm will feature the many uses for goat milk.
Members of the Leavenworth County Goat Project and 4-H members will showcase goats and other animal projects.
"We'll have a farm-animal petting area," McCoy said. "The families will be able to, for a donation, feed those animals. We'll have goat cart rides. And one of the other counties, Johnson County, is going to demonstrate goat agility."
Funds raised will be turned over to a fund established to help with expenses of Sarah Smith's family as the Tonganoxie 16-year-old recovers from injuries in a recent horseback riding accident.
McCoy explained that goat agility is similar to dog agility -- in which dogs jump through hoops.
"They're doing the same thing with goats now," she said.
Tonganoxie's Vintage Soap and Bath, which purchases goat milk from McCoy for their soap, will demonstrate soap-making and have products for sale.
Children will be able to decorate a farm animal cookie and see a demonstration of how to spin goat fiber. And they and their parents can sample goat cheese.
McCoy also plans to fill a trough with sunflower seeds, in which she'll small farm animal surprises. And each child will be given a packet of sunflower seeds.
McCoy said she's pleased to be included in this year's tour -- the second annual event.
"We're thrilled to death," she said.
At Wildhorse Orchard, eight miles northwest of Tonganoxie on Kansas Highway 16, owners Perry and Laurie Walters will offer wagon rides through their apple orchard after 1 p.m. Saturday and all day Sunday. Of course, Laurie Walters said, tour participants can walk the short distance to the orchard before 1 p.m. Saturday.
Along with you-pick apples, cider, applebutter and honey will be for sale during the tour hours.
Wildhorse also will offer activities for children, including a dry-bobbing tree, a healthier alternative to the traditional apple-bobbing. Walters explained that she'll tie apples to strings hanging from trees and children will try to grab an apple with their teeth.
"It's trickier than you think," she said.
In addition, Walters said, Johnny Appleseed will leave treasures in the orchard for children, and children will have a chance to participate in crafts.
This Basehor winery at 158th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40 may be done with the grape harvest, but tour participants still will be given plenty of local flavor.
Michelle Meyer, who owns the winery with her father, Les Meyer, will offer tours of the vineyard, as well as lots of samples.
"There will be wine-sampling, and we have a lot of gift items here," Michelle Meyer said.
Among the samples will be custom coffees, made with beans roasted with wine, mulled wine and food items that are for sale in the Holy-Field gift shop.
"It should be fun," Meyer said.
She did caution tour participants who want to taste wines to not arrive before noon Sunday. State laws prevent wineries from offering samples or selling wine before noon Sundays.
"If people come at 10 o'clock on Sunday, I'll just show them around," She said. "But they can't taste wine."
Also on the tour
Here's a list of other farm tour participants:
- C&D Berries, 12818 Wellman Rd, Winchester. This berry farm also features pasture-raise elk.
- Chestnut Charlie's, U.S. Highway 24-59, north of Lawrence. Chestnuts are a specialty, in addition to pecans and walnuts. Christmas trees for 2006.
- Davenport Orchards and Winery, 1394 E. 1900 Rd, Eudora.
- Fieldstone Farm, 7049 E. 149th, Overbrook. A you-pick apple orchard with more than 40 varieties, plus domestic pears.
- Hamills' Country Gardens, 1236 N. 100 Rd., Baldwin. Perennials, vegetables, bedding plants, mums and gourds, and a woodland trail.
- Lone Star Bison Ranch, 588 N. 300th Rd, Overbrook. Homegrown, grass-fed locally produced bison meat containing no added hormones or growth stimulants.
- Pendleton's Country Market, 1446 E. 750 Rd, Lawrence. Family farm growing vegetables, flowers and crops.
- Schaakes' Pumpkin Patch, 1791 N. 1500 Rd., Lawrence. A working family farm. Ride a tractor-pulled wagon to pick your own pumpkin. Straw maze and straw jump.
- Vesecky Family Farms, 1814 N. 600 Rd., Baldwin.
This historical farmstead, tended by three generations, produces strawberries, blueberries, sweet corn, melons, heritage turkeys, white turkeys, beef cattle, elk and poultry.
- Vinland Valley Nursery, 1606 N. 600, Baldwin. Food from area vendors, crafts by local artist, live music.
- Zimmerman's Kill Creek Farm, 9210 Kill Creek Rd., DeSoto. A 30-acre farm. Bee yard and observation hive, educational cow milking and living history presenters. Horse-drawn hay rides.