Chow Town

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This weekend’s tour allows people to connect with local farmers

10/02/2013 9:51 AM

10/02/2013 9:51 AM

When you live on a farm, it’s easy to forget what fascinating places they are.

There might be a garden, pasture and barn right outside my office window, but I don’t see them.

Instead, I see bindweed crawling over my Swiss chard, a duck pen that needs to be cleaned, horses that need a farrier, cows that I hope won’t get out and a myriad of other worries.

That’s why I love the

Kaw Valley Farm Tour

this weekend. It reminds me of how gratifying growing your own food can be, and how easy I’ve got it.

The tour showcases 27 farms generally between Bonner Springs and Lawrence that produce everything from beef, pork and poultry to alpacas, buffalo and goats, along with wine, honey, milk, cheese, orchard fruit, herbs, ornamental plants and all manner of vegetables.

Driving from farm to farm, I get to take in the weathered beauty of their barns and equipment, sample catsup from garden-grown tomatoes, pluck grapes off the vine, ride behind someone else’s tractor, listen to my kids giggle as they cuddle wriggling piglets and learn how the professionals get all that delicious stuff to our plates.

It’s no easy thing. Farmers — the real kind whose full-time job is producing food, as opposed to someone like me — can’t procrastinate, sleep in or just take off for a long weekend at the lake.

When there’s work to be done, they do it, regardless of what time it is, how cold or hot the temperature or whether they’d simply rather be doing something else. All so I can collect my weekly CSA bag, or buy an acorn squash at the farmers’ market, or see local food in my grocery store.

The farms are open from 10 a.m until 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $10 per car and are valid for both days. What you learn will stay with you much longer than that.

Anne Brockhoff is an award-winning spirits writer who writes a monthly column for The Star’s Food section, as well as food features. She blogs at food_drink_ life.wordpress.com .

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