MOUNDRIDGE — Each Tuesday and Saturday, a small but loyal group of vendors gather on the grounds of the Moundridge Museum Complex and set out their wares.
You won't find any direct sales here — only items grown, baked or sewn by the people behind the tables. Vendors show up twice weekly to meet with customers under the shade of trees growing on the museum grounds.
Jay and Linda Goering organize the Moundridge Farmers Market and actively recruit vendors who can bring something new to the gathering.
Mark Mounce of GG's Honey Beez in Hutchinson said it was at Jay Goering's invitation that he started to bring his selection of honey, honey sticks and honey-based spreads, soaps, lotions and lip balm to the market in Moundridge.
"The more variety we can get, the better," Jay Goering said.
Norman Funk brings his produce in boxes stacked in the bed of his truck. He tries to set up early, often arriving an hour before the official opening time.
"To get the good stuff, you've got to come early," one customer remarked, still smiling as he walked away without the corn he wanted to buy.
Corn, tomatoes and peppers are some of the most-requested items at the farmers market. Vendors sometimes have to explain their absence — due to Kansas' growing seasons — to customers.
"This year, some of the stuff isn't going to be doing quite as good with the heat and no rain," Funk said.
Sharon Schrag supplements her table with things she has canned or sewn when her tomatoes and cantaloupe are not yet ripe.
Dozens of pot handle covers and pot holders made with colorful patterns are placed on Schrag's table.
"I think I'm addicted to fabric," Schrag said.
Schrag sells apple butter, apricot-honey butter and piccalilli in glass jars.
"Piccalilli is an old-style relish, like a sweet relish," Schrag explained. "My great-aunt taught me how to make it."
Piccalilli is made with green tomatoes, cabbage, bell peppers, onions and carrots and light brown sugar, rather than the white sugar used in traditional relish.
"It gives it a little bit of a different flavor profile," Schrag said. "It punches up your potato salad or anything you would put relish in."
Plastic bags of peppernuts also sit in a basket on Schrag's table.
"You think of peppernuts at Christmas, well, let's have Christmas in the middle of summer," Schrag suggested.
Shery Kessler's baked goods often include items like zwiebach, peanut butter pie, French bread and no-bake cookies.
"My pies I have in a cooler," Kessler said.
The farmers market isn't primarily about making money for Kessler; it's about seeing people from her community. Still, she doesn't mind having young vendors drawing in customers.
"It helps to have the kids here, because people will come out for the kids and then continue shopping," Kessler said.
The youngest vendor is Landon Kaufman, a 13-year-old who is a student at Moundridge Middle School. Landon brings his homemade kettle corn to the farmers market.
"He gets up at 5:30 to make the popcorn so it's fresh," said Landon's father, Steve Kaufman.
Landon said he started selling kettle corn to raise money for a school trip to Washington D.C. and now has regular customers returning every week.
"It's a fun way to get money from the people we know who like the kettle corn here," Landon said. "...Especially our teachers at school."
Kimberly Wallace is also raising money from the farmers market by selling baked goods and donating the proceeds to Mennonite Disaster Service.
"I enjoy baking, but I can't afford to eat all of it," Wallace said.
Linda Goering sells herbs, produce, eggs and sweet potato hummus, but also includes one staple ingredient in nearly all of her baked goods — oats.
"My cinnamon rolls are the only thing I do not put oats in," Linda Goering said.
As coordinators of the Moundridge Farmers Market, the Goerings realize there is more to the operation than selling food — they also share conversations.
"We enjoy coming out and seeing people and hearing (both) stories and frustrations," Linda Goering said.
The Moundridge Farmers Market is open from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturdays and 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Moundridge Museum Complex, 402 Cole St.