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Food recs: Kansas City’s best farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants

A man stands beneath a white tent covering. In front of him is a table loaded with piles of carrots and different-colored radishes.
Carlos Moreno
Zach Wilkinson waits for customers at his booth in the Brookside Farmers Market on June 3, 2023.

As summer creeps in, so do heaps of fresh produce at local farmers markets. KCUR's food writers are back with ideas for where to find fresh, at-home ingredients, and where to grab a meal made with locally-sourced produce.

The Kansas City area is home to more than two dozen farmers markets, which feature farm-fresh food grown by organic, rural and urban farming.

The City Market, located in Kansas City's River Market district, is one of the largest farmers markets in the region. The year-round market has been open since 1857 and boasts more than 100 vendors selling produce, plants, small crafts and more.

Tyler Shane, food editor and restaurant critic for Kansas City Magazine, does her shopping on the Kansas side. She says the Overland Park Farmers Market is like a one-stop shop.

"There's just so much variety that I haven't experienced at almost any other farmers market," Shane says.

While fresh food comes with a whole host of benefits, including reduced additives, improved gut health, and lower calorie count, there are other options if you're without the time or desire to make your own meal.

Executive Chef Natasha Bailey, of Thelma’s Kitchen, suggests a visit to Redbud Kansas City.

"The flavors captivate you but when you go in and eat them and you taste how many layers are in one dish, it's mind blowing," she says.

Yoli Tortilleria, recent winner of the very first James Beard Award for Outstanding Bakery, is on food blogger Mary Bloch's list of great locations with locally sourced menu items.

Shane, Bailey, and Bloch joined KCUR's Up To Date to share their recommendations for buying and eating the best fresh food in town.

Tyler Shane, Kansas City Magazine

  • Zero Zero is a small fresh pasta shop that offers pasta to cook at home, or dishes of the day to-go. They work closely with Barham Farm for their eggs, produce, and meat, and use a special flour blend from Marion Milling.
  • You Say Tomato is a gem of a restaurant that strictly abides by a seasonal menu, and they work closely with many local farms. The interior is quirky and eccentric. Their biscuits and gravy are amazing.
  • Silo Modern Farmhouse is a fine dining spot in Lenexa that highlights locally-sourced ingredients. Notable menu items include a farm to table flatbread pizza and a breakfast sandwich with fresh eggs and local bacon.
  • Barbacoa is a new restaurant, and it’s more an example of “locally-sourced,” than farm to table. They have smoked carnitas served with Yoli flour tortillas, a telera roll made by Blackhole Bakery (just across the street), and an arroz con leche dessert.
  • Green Dirt Farm makes incredible sheep’s milk cheese graces menus all over town. They’re dedicated to regenerative farming which is why their cheese is so unique. Standouts menu items include the Fresh PB&J Sammy, which incorporates fresh milk cheese, and a surprising chocolate and cheese pairing.
  • Kanbe’s Markets may not be a restaurant, but they consistently put on a chef dinner series called Ugly Dinner, in which local chefs use their “ugly” produce that would otherwise be thrown in the trash.
  • Farina’s heirloom tomato dinner, which they put on every summer, deserves a special shoutout. Each course is based around heirloom tomatoes and it’s amazing how versatile they are with each dish.
  • Blue Bird Bistro features a lot of locally-sourced produce and meats, so items rotate in and out constantly. Their biscuits and gravy come with local bison sausage, and they make a pulled pork sandwich with Golden Rule Farm’s pork shoulder.

Natasha BaileyHungry For MO:

  • Urbavore has been a staple in the community for years, with Bad Seed Market on Friday nights, Brookside Farmers Market on Saturday mornings and their current community-supported agriculture pickup. Favorites include the bacon and lard, and they grow some of the best beets and strawberries I’ve had.
  • Redbud Kansas City’s chef Rick Mullins is creating a culinary story that envisions an honest representation of the Midwest through the exploration of our history, native foods and the land. Everything is so intentional and well thought out, and it creates conversations about where our food comes from.
  • The Burning Barrel is a beautifully diverse farm, offering a truly farm to table dining experience. Their Origin Dinner series takes everything grown on the land and creates an unforgettable dining experience. I love that they sell farm goods for you to take home at the end of the meal. It’s an experience everyone should try at least once.
  • 2 Birds Farm KC uses sustainable farming practices with great regard for the land, the critters and all the people they’ve served over the years. There’s always great produce and delicious goat meat for sale, plus strawberry picking on the farm when in-season!
  • Young Family Farm — any and all greens. Established in the Ivanhoe neighborhood in 2019, the urban farm is run by three generations, and they offer produce for sale direct from the farm, which is pesticide-free.
  • Ivanhoe Farmers’ Market’s first market of the season is this Saturday, and they offer Double Up Food Bucks, which can really stretch your buying power at the market. This place still has that small-market feel, where you can take your time and build relationships with the growers.
  • Manheim Gardens always has something going on. Farmer Dan Krull, Jacob Canyon and all the helpers have been doing regenerative work in the community for a long time. Go for the frogs singing in the garden, stay for the honey bees.
  • Lamp Farm Country Store, in Lawson, Missouri, is open every Saturday from 10-2 p.m. and has some of everything. Treats are provided by Lamp Farm, a small family farm located nearby. I love the salt-water taffy, the soaps, and the dogs — my very good boy, Ollie, came from them!

Mary Bloch:

  • Novel — seasonal soup. Right now it’s gazpacho, before that it was green pea, and soon chef Ryan Brazeal’s corn soup will be on the menu. The freshness of the vegetables really shine in each of his creations. I always order any vegetable side on the menu — that section is never an afterthought.
  • Pigwich’s pork sandwich and burgers feature meat from the Local Pig butcher next door. Both are owned by Alex Pope, who seeks out local farms and does all the butchery in their River Market shop. I’m partial to his off-menu specials, the Reuben and the Cuban.
  • The Farmhouse has a farm-fresh focus, thanks to the commitment of chef Vince Paredes. All the meat comes from a local farm, undoubtedly one of the reasons it’s such a great burger!
  • The Antler Room is highlighting the very seasonal soft shell crab with local greens, white bean purée, ramp kimchi and asparagus. And you have to order at least one vegetable dish knowing chef Nick Goellner is going to go all out on his incredibly creative treatment of them.
  • The Town Company’s meat dishes are always a treat, but my favorites on Executive Chef Johnny Leach’s menus are the veggies — as pretty as a painting and always a flavor bomb. The textures and flavors of the beets and radishes made it really memorable.
  • Chewology — Three Cup Mushroom Ramen. I don’t normally order mushroom dishes, but the locally-sourced mushrooms from KC Mushroom Culture used to create the broth and populate the ramen are absolutely incredible. They make such a difference to the overall success of the dish.
  • Fox and Pearl is another place that does not treat vegetables as second-class citizens. Right now, enjoy pickled Irick Farms green tomatoes, smoked jalapeño aioli, and herb salad, and coal-fired turnips and radishes with soy and sherry butter.
  • Yoli Tortilleria’s tortillas can be found in tacos, tostadas and quesadillas at more than 100 restaurants around the city. The quality of the tortillas turns an ordinary dish into something special. I’m partial to the Sonoran flour tortillas, but they also have a rainbow of corn tortillas and some jarred salsas at their retail store.
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As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
As a producer for Up To Date, my goal is to inform our audience by curating interesting and important conversations with reliable sources and individuals directly affected by a topic or issue. I strive for our program to be a place that hosts impactful conversations, providing our audience with greater knowledge, intrigue, compassion and entertainment. Contact me at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz.
As a producer for Up To Date, I create sound-rich talk show segments about the individuals and communities that call Kansas City home. Whether it’s a poet, a business owner or a local lawmaker, I seek out diverse voices to help break down the biggest stories of the day. After listening to the show, I want Up To Date listeners to feel informed and empowered to make decisions in their daily lives. You can reach me at claudiab@kcur.org
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