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Struck By EF4 Tornado, Lawrence Farm Gets By With A Little Help From Its Friends

Karen Pendleton
Pendleton's Country Market
Pendleton's Kaw Valley Country Market took a direct hit from Tuesday's EF4 tornado.

A direct hit from last Tuesday's EF4 tornadodidn't stop Pendleton's Kaw Valley Country Market from making its usual weekend appearance at the Lawrence Farmers' Market. The bounty was smaller than usual, but it included asparagus, flowers and lots of tomatoes.

Credit Samuel King / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Tomatoes salvaged from Pendleton's Country Market after a tornado struck. They're being marketed as "tor-matoes."

"We're taking the opportunity to market them as tor-matoes, because our production greenhouse where we have our hydroponic tomatoes had the plastic ripped off," said Margaret Pendleton, whose family owns the farm. "So we had tomatoes flying everywhere."

Pendleton said she rushed from Manhattan, Kansas, when she heard that the tornado hit the farm, 13 years after a microburst had also struck it. 

"There's been a lot of recovery since then, so unfortunately, it kind of felt like deja vu this past week, because so many of the amazing people who came out to help us clean up the mess in 2006 were out there the next day," Pendleton said. 

Credit Samuel King / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Customers line up at the Pendleton's Country Market booth to buy tomatoes and other produce at the Lawrence Farmers' Market.

With the help of those volunteers, the farm was able to reopen this weekend to sell off its remaining product. The volunteers also allowed them to staff their booth at the farmers' market, where longtime customers flocked to help the family.

"I wanted to get something from them to support them," said Judy Culley, of Lawrence. "It's just a wonderful place, so I was really sad when I heard what happened."

The family is still assessing how to rebuild.

Samuel King is the Missouri government and politics reporter at KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter: @SamuelKingNews

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