The Kansas Grown Farmers Market is the key to creating your own Iron Chef kitchen with fresh produce, including fruits and vegetables, as well as various meats, such as bison, emu, pork and poultry.
The market entices many adolescents and young adults by continuing to kick it up a notch each year with their wide variety of produce, meats, crafts and their special events, including Herb Day, Tomato Day, Stone Soup Day, Kid's Day, Grill Day, live music and the lure of healthier living from April to October.
Debra Brand, a local vendor at the market and owner of Brand Fine Foods, finds Tomato Day to be her favorite, not only because it attracts the most spectators, but also because of the exciting events and the wealth of knowledge customers take away from the seminars provided by the Master Gardner's.
"There is always so much going on inside the extension building, such as ugliest and biggest tomato contests and best tasting tomato-made salsa and jelly contests, not to mention tomato decorating for the kids," Brand said. "The Master Gardner's presentations and demonstrations are amazing; they inform you on all areas of gardening, including how to create a raised garden for those who are handicapped."
Roberta Namee, proprietor of Robbie's Candies, also agrees that Tomato Day is one of the biggest highlights of the market, but finds the holiday weekends and grill days to be on the top of her list of favorites.
"I love meeting relatives of vendors and customers from out-of-state and showing them how great our market is," Namee said. "They are always impressed with the extras we have, whether being entertainment for children with balloon creations, popsicles and clowns, or the live music and cloggers for fun family entertainment."
Grill days also pose a great adventure for a Saturday morning stroll.
"Many people only know how to utilize a zucchini in only one or two ways," Namee said. "The chefs cooking on grill days present different ideas for cooking with different fruits and vegetables, such as in different ways of preparing and seasoning."
Lisa Corr, Extension Secretary for Sedgwick County, added that many fresh herbs at the market, such as basil, coriander, thyme, spearmint and peppermint are present in the seasonings the guest chefs use on grill days and are featured on herb day at the market.
Sarah Zerbe, a senior at Friends University majoring in Business Administration and Marketing, loves going to the market not only for the special days, but also for the pure enjoyment and atmosphere the market holds.
"When I see the fresh, crisp, bright green, sweet sugar snap peas at the market, I get an inspiration to make masterpieces like that of Bobby Flay and Giada de Laurentiis," Zerbe said.
Jon Romain, owner of Jon's Pottery and Produce, also loves the pure enjoyment of the market and the large variety and availability of products found all market-year long.