For the last few years my family (my wife, Michelle, and our daughters, Kathryn and Joanna) and I have been making annual weekend getaway trips to Kansas City. A regular activity we do, each time we visit, is to shop the KC farmer’s market.
Usually, the market is quite full of hustle and bustle, but not so this year. During our previous visits, the outside shops and the inside shops were all full and operating. It would be shoulder to shoulder walking the aisles between the vendors; it was wide open this time. Of the 3 ‘exterior’ (I call them exterior because they are outside the main, historical structure; but still contained in a greenhouse-like structure), only 1 of them had operating vendors and it was only about ½ full. The interior shops were only about ½ open as well.
We were a bit disappointed in the lack of shops and activity, but at least the parking was easy. We chalked the collective absence up to it being ~30F and it being the Saturday morning after St. Patrick’s day!
Here is a link to the KC farmer’s market. CityMarketDirectoryBrochurev_Final-dragged.pdf (thecitymarketkc.org) Sections P1, P2, & P3 are those ‘exterior’ market spaces I was referring to earlier. There is a little bit of parking in those areas, but you would normally have to get there early in the morning, as these are generally reserved for vendors.
The Family Soda Shop
We did find one really cool vendor, KC Soda Company. Their selection of soda is phenomenal. We probably spent half an hour in the store deciding what to buy. We’d ask Cale (who was smartly ink-stamping company logos to brown stock 6-pack holders) if this soda or that soda was good. He kept responding with ‘it’s great’ or ‘it’s excellent’. Finally, I snarkastically asked him… “Do you have any that are terrible?” He laughed and pointed to this shelf…
Cale was quite confident we would not enjoy them, but he said you’d be surprised how many people would buy them anyway for gag gifts and ‘I dare you’ purchases. I’m going to be honest here, we passed on those. But we did walk out with a 6-pack of various cream and root beer sodas. Kathryn had the Orange Cream later that day, Michelle tried the Calvin’s 1836 Old Style Root Beer, and I had the Americana Honey Cream soda; these were truly enjoyed. Cale was great and I certainly recommend stopping by his shop.
We did spend some time chatting with one of the beef vendors at the market, Galen of Red Wagyu KC. From Galen I also learned something new about Wagyu, which may not be new to some. Wagyu is actually a generic term for Japanese Cattle; it is not actually a specific breed. This I knew… What I did not know was that Akaushi( which Galen sells) is actually considered Red Wagyu and Kobe is considered Black Wagyu.
A list of the Japanese cattle breeds can be found here: List of Japanese cattle breeds – Wikipedia. At first I did a double take… Where is Japanese Red, or Red Wagyu? It wasn’t on the list, surely Galen new his stuff, so what was I missing? I dug in a little further and found out that the Japanese Brown are what is referred to as Red Wagyu.
Turns out the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN, the source referenced, decided to not use the literal translation of Akaushi(The Kanji characters 赤牛 literally mean “red cow.”). Oh well, mystery solved. It should be noted that Akaushi is referred to as the “Emperor’s Breed”. I’m thinking I should put an Akaushi chuck roast on my must try list.
On a last note… Yummy stop on the way to/from KC and StL at Dempsey’s BBQ. I have eaten really good BBQ around most of the country. This place is right off I-70 in Concordia, MO, the BBQ was delicious with a couple options you don’t find in some other joints and at very reasonable prices. And the service was fast. Fast, like I’ve waited longer at fast food restaurants, fast. I definitely recommend this place if you’re hungry and in the area.
Well… That’s all I’ve got today folks. If you have a minute, chime in with your favorite BBQ restaurant, or any local joint really, between St. Louis and Kansas City.
Til next time…. Cheers!