KANSAS! Magazine | Harvest to Table | Issue No. 5 2022

Page 1

Farm Table 2022 | V O L 78

| I S S U E 5 | K A N S A S M AG . CO M


Meet farmers and chefs reviving the authenticity and enjoyment of local meals

A L S O I N T H I S I S S U E // Sylvan Grove’s Fly Boy // Wheat Weavers Marysville’s Black Squirrel Festival // Labertew Apiaries’ fields of honey Good Shepherd Conservancy’s heritage breeds // Apple orchards to visit ... and much more!

From fine arts to fine fare, evenings out to sporting spectacles, however you partake, you’ll feel Wichita’s energy at every turn. Because we’re a little bit fancy, a little bit funky and a whole lot of friendly. Come see the place we love. We have a feeling you’ll love it too.


HAVE A WILLIE FUN WEEKEND. No one loves Manhattan more than Willie the Wildcat and he’d love to show you around. You’ll nd new artisan restaurants, boutiques, craft breweries, museums, galleries and pulsing nightlife. Outdoor adventures abound in our tallgrass prairie backyard. Willie’s waiting for you in Manhappiness!

Oh Manhattan !










And So Much More!! www.exploregreatbend.com





Farm to Table, Again The latest eating trend isn’t a trend at all, but a traditional way of dining—and living—that has come full circle or never gone away




Fly Boy A restaurant in the middle of our state taps local suppliers, a skilled chef, and great beer to draw in customers from surrounding counties and beyond

PHOTOGRAPH Michael Snell



Martin and Osa Johnson were filmmakers, photographers, naturalists and authors. In the early 20th century, they explored then-unknown lands of Africa, the South Pacific Islands and British North Borneo bringing to the U.S. knowledge of cultures and sights never before seen. Learn more about the adventures of this pioneering couple at the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum, which also houses the largest collection of West African Art in the Midwest.

Other attractions in Chanute include: • Summit Hill Gardens Soap Shop • Chanute Art Gallery • Chanute Historical Museum • Wright Brothers-Octave Chanute Memorial Sculpture • Howard’s Toys for Big Boys Automotive Museum • Cardinal Drug Store Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain • ARCY Spray Painted Historical Mural

21 N. Lincoln ~ 620-431-3350 information@chanutechamber.com ~ www.chanutechamber.com

Conveniently located in the heart of Southeast Kansas



25 Murals in the County

Zoo • Museums • Rodeos • Festivals • Milford Lake • Water Parks Hunting • Kansas Landscape • Arboretum






Sept 17 Buffalo Bill Century Bike Ride Sept 23-24 Camp Leavenworth Festival Oct 21-22 Ft. Leavenworth Haunted Houses Walking Tour Event dates subject to change, call ahead 913.758.2948



785.325.2116 | washingtoncountyks.gov FISHING AND PUBLIC HUNTING

Why Lawrence?



- Matt William, Preside Lawrence Beer Co.

The Wahington County State Fishing Lake is located 12 miles NW of Washington

Find your why:


departments WIDE OPEN SPACES



10 Cuisine Fine Food and Good Eats

32 Reese’s Next Act Farmer Frank Reese has long been a national leader in preserving and growing heritage turkeys and chickens; now his McPherson County farm seeks to shepherd genetically preserved poultry into the future

12 Heartland People and Places that Define Us 14 Culture Arts and Experiences 16 Kansas Air The Freshness of Outdoor Life

PHOTOGRAPHS (FROM TOP) Aaron Patton, Jim Richardson, Dave Leiker

18 Lens A Conversation with KANSAS! Photographers



20 Kansas Captured Authentic Life in the Sunflower State 22 Reasons We Love Kansas Celebrating Unique Attractions 24 Must See Upcoming Events to Enjoy

26 Black Squirrels of Marysville Their appearance is shrouded in mystery, and covetous towns have attempted to kidnap them, but Marysville’s population of rare black squirrels has thrived for 110 years and will be honored at anniversary celebrations this fall


7 8 58 64

Extra Details From the Editor KANSAS! Gallery From the Poet Laureate

ON THE COVER Saltwell Farm Kitchen co-owner Shantel Grace (left), Sheilah Tackett, manager, and Rozz Petrozz, chef and co-owner, share a laugh together on their historic homestead..Photograph by Doug Stremel.



Discover More Adventure Kansas Tourism, a division of the Kansas Department of Commerce

Andrea Etzel


Laura Kelly GOVERNOR

David Toland


Bridgette Jobe




Bill Uhler

Bob Cucciniello

Shelly Bryant

Nathan Pettengill


222 W. 6th Street Junction City 785-238-2885 EXT. 203



Joanne Morgan


Kalli Jo Smith

MARKETING, 785.832.7264


Alex Tatro

Leslie Andres





Kathy Lafferty


Lisa Mayhew


KANSAS! (ISSN 0022-8435) is published five (5) times per year by Kansas Tourism 1000 SW Jackson St., Suite 100 Topeka, KS 66612; 785.296.3479; TTY Hearing Impaired: 785.296.3487. Periodical postage paid at Topeka, KS, and at additional mailing offices. Newsstand price $5 per issue; subscription price $20 per year; $36 for two years. All prices include all applicable sales tax. Please address subscription inquiries to: Toll-free: 800.678.6424 KANSAS!, 1000 SW Jackson St., Suite 100 Topeka, KS 66612 Email: kansas.mag@ks.gov | Website: www.KansasMag.com POSTMASTER: Send address change to: KANSAS!, P.O. Box 146, Topeka, KS 66601-0146. Please mail all editorial inquiries to: KANSAS!, 1000 SW Jackson St., Suite 100 Topeka, KS 66612 email: kansas.mag@ks.gov The articles and photographs that appear in KANSAS! magazine may not be broadcast, published or otherwise reproduced without the express written consent of Kansas Tourism or the appropriate copyright owner. Unauthorized use is prohibited. Additional restrictions may apply.



We introduce a new photography section with this issue of the magazine. “Kansas Captured” is a behind-the-scenes discussion and feature of a standalone image that tells a story with a strong sense of place. If you would like to submit an image for consideration in an upcoming issue, go online at kansasmag.com and click on the “Photography” tab.

PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP) courtesy Strawberry Hill Baking Company, Amanda Overton, Kansas Tourism



With this issue’s focus on the farm to table experience, we naturally included a recipe along with our feature story. We hope you enjoy chef Grant Wagner’s take on smoked honey and thyme sweet potatoes which we thought was a timely take on a holiday classic. But even beyond this issue, recipes have been an integral part of KANSAS! magazine, with most of the ones from the past few years tried and tested by our food writer and professional chef Meta West (the Grandma’s Bread Pudding above is just one example). You can see more of our recent favorites and read about the people who contributed them by going to kansasmag.com and looking for the “Articles & Recipes” tab.

around the state page 12 Formoso page 49 Hoxie page 16 Kinsley page 23 Harper

page 26 Marysville

page 52 Sylvan Grove

page 19 Minneapolis page 24 Columbus page 48 Tescott

Above The recipe for this Grandma’s Bread Pudding was featured in our 2022 issue #1 and is available online.


2023 nda


Our annual KANSAS! magazine calendar releases in November. As always, the calendar features original work by Kansas photographers capturing the landscape and beauty of regions across the state. The calendar is free to subscribers and will be bundled together with our next issue. If you are not a subscriber, you can activate a subscription for yourself or as a gift for someone by calling 800.678.6424 or by going online at kansasmag.com and looking for the “Subscribe” tab. A sup pleme nt to

KANS AS! ma gazine





As the summer season draws to a close, one word comes to mind: bountiful. Harvest is beginning, sunflower fields have popped, and the last sun-ripened vegetables in my garden are ready to be plucked. What better way to hold on to these fleeting remnants of summer than a delicious, locally sourced meal with friends and loved ones while celebrating the bounty of another year. Food, to some, is a synonym for love. A thoughtfully prepared meal is how affection is shown and received. In our cover story, readers meet Shantel Grace and Chef Rozz Petrozz of Saltwell Farm Kitchen in Overbrook, who open their home to hungry guests. Weekly, Chef Rozz crafts seasonal menus with ingredients found on their farm or others nearby. I can speak from experience that the warm hospitality shown by Grace, Petrozz and their restaurant family is magical. You may arrive a guest, but you’ll leave as friends. As she shares in her section of the feature story, Beccy Tanner writes that while farm-to-table dining might be a popular trend today, in Kansas it is in our roots—though she does warn against eating “rancid bear grease.” It’s not something I was expecting to read when putting this issue together, but that’s the beauty of Beccy’s writing. She finds those little nuggets. We’re on the cusp of seasons. Soon humid days will give way to chilly evenings. Ice-cold bottles will be replaced with steaming mugs. Some comforts will remain, including local chefs and farms working together to build bountiful communities around the table.

@KANSASMag KansasMagazine (get spotted; use #kansasmag to tag us)







Contact Sunflower Publishing for details (785) 832-7264 sunpubads@sunflowerpub.com


Unique home home decor, decor, fashion, fashion, and Unique and gifts! ifts! WatchFun ourplay Live area Salesfor on Facebook! ids! (785) 212-6134

Open 7 days a week!

Open Mon-Sat 10:00-5:30 p.m.

www.LindsborgVacationRentals.com 855-872-3487

Scandinavian Gifts and Workshop Visit our artist and craftsmen!

Open 7 days a week

National Geographic’s

Jim Richardson

Come visit us for food & fun - FULL BAR!

Photographs | Jewelry | Books 127 N. MAIN STREET LINDSBORG smallworldgallery.net


785-227-2053 www.hemslojd.com

Downtown Lindsborg

Memorial Art Gallery 401 N. First St. in Lindsborg


crownandrye.com Open 7 days a week Lindsborg, KS


Where in Kansas?



Rose Hill



Cider Days Kansas farms and cider masters perfect the taste of a traditional drink

Kenneth and Denise Gardner developed a love for dry hard cider while spending a summer in England. When they couldn’t find similar dry cider after returning home, the couple purchased a one-gallon cider-making kit that planted the seed for their resulting business, White Crow Cider Company in Wichita. “All the cider over there is much drier,” Denise says of their experience sampling ciders in England. “We were going, ‘Hey, these are actually pretty good, and you can drink more than one of them and not feel terrible afterward.’” Like wine made from fermented grape juice, hard cider is apple juice that has gone through a fermentation process in which its sugars have turned into



alcohol. Also like wine, there is a sweetness scale of dry, off-dry, semi-sweet and sweet. Kenneth says most Kansans only have access to commercial cider varieties on the sweeter side. “You can’t really drink many of them at one time because they are so saturated with sugar,” he says. “I’ll have half a glass and I’m done with it, I don’t want any more.” The couple’s goal is to make their ciders sessionable, meaning they are suitable for drinking over an extended period of time, in small batches using fresh-pressed apple juice mostly from Kansas orchards. “We do make ciders that range from dry to sweet although most people seem to think the sweet are not as sweet as other brands,” Kenneth says. Denise adds unusual flavors to the sweeter ciders. “I’ll do a tart cherry cider or a hibiscus lime cider that is sweet,” she says. “Most of the sweet ones you get in here will be something different you can’t get somewhere else.” Their Hibiscus Lime Cider is popular year-round, while Cinnamon Oak is well-liked in autumn and a Chai tea version is trendy in the winter. For the classic dry version, Kenneth suggests a variety that closely resembles the type of cider that inspired their journey. “Our Discord is just a plain dry; it’s like a light apple wine,” Kenneth says. whitecrowcider.com | 316.202.8191 Above White Crow Cider Company in Wichita Opposite Kenneth and Denise Gardner


Story by Cecilia Harris



Dave and Dani Craft Cider

Meadowlark Farm Orchard and Cidery

Manhattan In their Tasting Room at Liquid Art Winery in Manhattan, Dave and Dani Tegtmeier have built a cider tap bar that serves pints of cold cider from a converted—but still playable—upright piano. On tap are the couple’s Dave and Dani Craft Cider experimental flavors such as Mango Chili or Blueberry Lemonade. Bottled ciders available at the winery and in retail liquor stores across Kansas include Apple and Apple Pie, and seasonal Bourbon-Barrel Cherry, Cranberry Hopped, and Cranberry Almond flavors. All are made from real ingredients blended into the base after fermentation, are 6.2% to 6.5% ABV, naturally gluten free, celiac friendly, and produced with minimal sugar. davedaniciders.com liquidartwinery.com 785.370.8025

Rose Hill After picking your own fruit, sip on a bottle of cold, lightly carbonated hard apple cider produced by Meadowlark Farm Orchard and Cidery, a 35-acre farm near Rose Hill. Choose from a sweet hard cider with lots of apple flavor named Meadowlark Red, the semi-dry and crisp, subtle apple-flavored Meadowlark Gold, or the very dry, citric Meadow Hopper. Or try Meadowlark Peach, a hard cider blended with peach wine crafted from the orchard’s peaches. The farm’s store, open year round with hours varying with the seasons, sells jams and salsa alongside fresh vegetables and fruits such as apples, pumpkins, peaches and strawberries. Every Saturday night from the end of July through October features Orchard Music. themeadowlarkfarm.com 316.518.8907

Where in Kansas?





Wheat Weavers Kansas Association of Straw Artists preserve an art both ancient and contemporary

The art of wheat weaving is a multicultural craft that goes back as far as ancient Egypt and has been practiced for hundreds of years across Europe and in Mexico. Today, a dedicated group of wheat weavers is keeping the ancient art alive with locally grown material. Mary Thrower, a retired magistrate judge for the 28th Judicial District in Kansas, is one of those artists. She began the craft in the early 1980s when she was introduced to it by her mother, a dedicated wheat weaver who sold much of her work to earn extra money for the family. “She continued weaving up until her death in 2016,” Thrower says, adding that her sister and a niece are also carrying on her mother’s tradition. Thrower continues her mother’s legacy as an artist and advocate for the craft, having served as president of the Kansas Association of Straw Artists (KASA), as well as being the current president of the National Association of Wheat Weavers (NAWW). Thrower explains that the term “wheat weaving” is a misnomer. “We call it wheat weaving, but it’s really not weaving—a true weave goes in and out—this is actually plaiting.” To make wheat ready for plaiting, or braiding, it must be soaked so that the stem is pliable, from ten minutes to overnight, depending on the variety and stiffness of the wheat. There are about 200 types of plaits a wheat weaver can learn. Thrower finds the repetition of plaiting to be calming. She often makes heart-shaped wreaths—a common, and old, tradition in wheat weaving, as wheat wreaths were traditionally hung on the hearth to celebrate the harvest. Another Kansas artist, Dianne Gardner, learned to weave around 1988 and became a founding member of KASA. Gardner is continually working on a new wheat creation. She crafts complicated pieces, some very large, by using a variety of plaiting techniques and marquetry, which involves opening the straw, flattening it, and gluing it to a backing such as cardstock. She also likes to plait ornate crosses, hearts, dolls, and wreaths. On her farm near Formoso, about twenty miles north of Beloit, Gardner and her husband grow a small patch of specialty wheat for weaving, in addition to the market wheat they produce. These special



weaving varieties, Turkey Red and Larned, have extra-long stems and reach a height of up to five feet on average. The Gardners hand cut and bundle these varieties, providing much of the wheat-weaving materials to KASA members. “I realized there were getting to be a limited number of places to get weaving wheat for people who don’t live on a farm,” she explains. Wheat for weaving can be left its natural golden color, bleached with peroxide to give it a bright, light-yellow sheen, or dyed another color after bleaching. To introduce contrast, wheat weavers may mix varieties that differ in color from yellows to reds, while the hair-like strands on the heads of wheat— the beards—can vary in hue from golden to blue or even black. KASA meets four to six times per year, often in the central part of the state from which many of the KASA members hail. “Anybody is welcome to come, even if you’ve never done it before,” says Thrower. “We’re very active here in Kansas.” The meetings usually feature a member sharing a wheat-weaving plait or technique.

Opposite Dianne Gardner shows some of her work created with wheat varieties grown for their suitability for weaving.


By Amber Fraley

Kansas Wheat Artists To learn more about wheat weaving in Kansas or to join a meeting of artists, contact the Kansas Association of Straw Artists by email at mthrower50@gmail. com. To find a list of Kansas straw artists with works for sale, visit kswheat.com/ consumers/straw-artists.

National Convention Kansas hosts the annual conference of the National Association of Wheat Weavers, April 27–29, 2023, in Wichita’s Drury Plaza. For more information about attending the conference or wheat weaving in general, visit nawwstraw.org.

Gordon Parks Celebration Fort Scott The annual Gordon Parks Celebration honoring the world-renowned photographer, writer, musician and filmmaker will be October 6–8 on the Fort Scott Community College campus, with additional activities throughout the city. Honoring the life, achievements and contributions of Parks, the celebration includes speakers, artists, and programs for all ages. Other activities include film showings, an exhibit of Parks’ photographs, a book club presentation on his book A Choice of Weapons, and an annual photo contest with the theme “I Am Driven By…” at the Ellis Fine Arts Center, which houses the Gordon Parks Museum. Elsewhere in Fort Scott, the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes includes a history display on Parks, and the hometown filmmaker is the topic of a mural at Riverfront Park. There also will be guided tours of The Learning Tree Film Scene Sign Trail. Gordonparkscenter.org 620.223.2700 ext. 5850

Gordon Parks Museum Fort Scott Community College Beyond filmmaking, Gordon Parks was the first Black photographer at Life magazine and was a master of fashion photography for Vogue magazine. He also authored 20 books and wrote original musical compositions, film scores, poetry and a ballet. The Gordon Parks Museum honors the award-winning artist through exhibits describing his life and works and through educational programs about the arts, cultural awareness, and the role of diversity in society. “Gordon Parks excelled so much in many fields,” says museum director Kirk Sharp. “Not many people achieve that type of success in one field. He was a renaissance man.” Although Parks didn’t have the chance to finish high school or attend college, he received more than 50 honorary doctorate degrees during his lifetime, according to Sharp. Parks gifted 30 of his photographs to the museum after attending the first Gordon Parks Celebration in 2004; among the group was the iconic Tuskegee Airmen, which he took while working for the Office of War Information in the 1940s, and American Gothic, which featured a Black government office cleaning woman holding a broom and mop in front of an American flag. Per his wishes, many of his personal belongings were donated to the museum upon his death. Family members later contributed two of Park’s cameras and one of his tripods. Gordonparkscenter.org 620.223.2700 ext. 5850


Where in Kansas? Fort Scott


Honoring Gordon Parks New display signs inform about and celebrate the Fort Scott locations where the famous artist filmed his masterpiece


By Cecilia Harris

In 1969, Kansas native Gordon Parks became the first Black American to release a major Hollywood studio feature film. The Learning Tree, released by Warner Brothers, was filmed mostly in Fort Scott and was based on Parks’ semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Although it was Parks’ first feature film, the multitalented photographer also adapted the screenplay, composed the score, and produced the motion picture about the life of a Black teenage boy facing poverty and segregation in the 1920s. Now, Fort Scott is celebrating Parks’ legacy by placing informational signs at locations where important scenes were filmed. The Learning Tree Film Scene Sign Trail consists of 13 sites in and around Fort Scott and includes the courthouse in nearby Mound City. Each sign features photographs and a short narrative of the scene that took place at that location. A QR code on the sign allows those with smart phones to access a virtual tour providing further information about the scene and the film itself. “We wanted to really expand the legacy of Gordon Parks and help make that legacy even more lasting by having these signs as a tribute to him,” says Kirk Sharp, director of the Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott. The signage marks the movie’s historical importance to the community and beyond; in 1989, the Library of Congress chose The Learning Tree as one of the first 25 movies placed on the newly established National Film Registry, which preserves films that are culturally, historically and aesthetically significant. Other movies included that first year were Gone with the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, The Wizard of Oz, and Star Wars. “It was a barrier-breaking movie all the way around,” Sharp says. “It’s a story that was important then and is still important now as it is part of the same issues we’re dealing with, and Gordon did such a wonderful job of illustrating that through the film.”

A sign near the high school, which Parks attended his freshman year before leaving the state, explains scenes involving the main character, Newt Winger, who confronts a teacher about her racist views in a classroom and later shares his concerns with the principal in his office. Few structural changes have been made to the three-story house that was known in the film as the home of Judge Cavanaugh, for whom Newt’s mother, Sarah Winger, worked as a maid. In one key scene of the film, Newt and his parents talked to the judge about the murder he witnessed at Jake Kiner’s barn. Another of the stops is the first Black church in Fort Scott, the African American Methodist Episcopal Church built in 1866. Members of the church choir appeared in the movie’s church scene. The Parks family attended this church before membership declined. It later was torn down; however, one of the church’s stained glass windows and two of the pews are on exhibit at the Gordon Parks Museum. Parks eventually created 11 documentaries and iconic films, including Shaft, Leadbelly and Solomon Northup’s Odyssey. Gordonparkscenter.org 620.223.2700 ext. 5850




kansas air

Hunting Lodges

Life’s Finer Moments

By Bethaney Phillips

Pheasant hunting gets an upgrade in north central Kansas with Heartland Game Birds’ guide and lodge services. Since 2018, owners Clay Wallin and Nathan Lindberg have helped hunters snag some of the best pheasants the area has to offer. In 2021, they brought a new overnight venue to Courtland, allowing out-of-town hunters to book luxurious digs with a Main Street vibe. The Lodge includes two levels (which can be split off or connected for a large party), two full kitchens, multiple bathrooms, and room to sleep 18. Completely gutted and restored with classic wood finishes, bunk beds, and cozy leather furniture, The Lodge allows hunters to rest and relax after a hunt. Off-seasons, the locale is also available for Airbnb rentals. Travelers from as far as Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Texas, Minnesota, and California have contributed to a doubling of hunting bookings. The guest accommodation, which takes up three lots on a corner of downtown Courtland’s Main Street, benefits from being on the same block as the town’s restaurant and brewery. “Courtland has a unique vibe that we’ve got going on,” says Wallin of the town with a population of approximately 300 people. “We’ve got all the pieces together to make it something unique. We’re in the entertainment business as much as we are in the hunting business.” Guests can also ask for add-ons, such as meal plans (which Wallin and Lindberg cook themselves), to make their hunting tourism gig as all-inclusive as possible. Wallin says he and Lindberg plan additions to The Lodge, including outdoor patio space, and more living quarters. A new mess hall should be completed by the end of 2023, and eventually there will also be an upgraded area for cleaning birds. Wallin says there are many challenges in remodeling such an old space. “There’s a lot of brick and a lot of maintenance to that. But it’s all been worth it.” heartlandgamebirds.com | 785.243.0600



Clay Center Deer hunters can take a break in a cabin at Life’s Finer Moments when they travel to the Clay Center area. Partnering with area guides, the Cott family maintains the 40-acre property for guests. In addition to a massive event space in the main lodge, Life’s Finer Moments also offers two cabins that each sleep six. The cabins have fully supplied kitchens, covered patios, and plenty of ground to explore. Meals are also available. lifesfinermoments.com 785.447.1678

10 Gauge Kinsley In the southwestern portion of the state comes 10 Gauge, a lodge and hunting guide service for hunters harvesting prairie dogs, Rio Grande turkeys, and more. The brand is known for its full-service approach, from offering all meals, to hauling hunters to the field and offering portable stands. The 10 Gauge cabin boasts impressive wood layout, full mounts, and furs. It can also be rented by nonhunting parties for events or stays. 10gaugeoutfitters.com 316.680.4274

Clay Wallin and Nathan Lindberg have opened an urban-style getaway for their hunting clients in Courtland.


New locations expand the state’s rich offerings for hunting tourism accommodations


kansas air

Fally Afani



A conversation with KANSAS! photographers about their lives in photography @onthetownphoto | @iheartlocalmusic www.onthetownphoto.com | www.iheartlocalmusic.com

Fally Afani is an awardwinning journalist with a career in media spanning more than two decades. Afani’s work has been featured in magazines, in newspapers and on television stations across the state. She has received several Kansas Association of Broadcasters awards as well as an Edward R. Murrow award for her online work in journalism. She is also the recipient of the Rocket Grant Award, which helped develop live music events for her community. Afani has lived in Lawrence for 22 years, but she grew up in Minneapolis, Kansas, and the Middle East as a PalestinianAmerican living in Saudi Arabia.


What was your first camera? I believe the first camera I owned was one of those long, rectangle ones I got from the corner store. I remember having to purchase bulbs from the local pharmacy to go on top of the camera. They were square shaped, with a bulb on each side, so you could take four photos before having to replace it. What are some objects that you like to photograph that are not common in other photographers’ works? I love going for the action shot, and I noticed that photographers rarely go for the action shot with drag performers. So when I started photographing drag

performers a few years ago, I avoided studio work and instead headed straight to my most comfortable setting: the stage. Even drag performers don’t often have photos of themselves in action, often relying on home setups to promote their work. My goal was to show what they look like in action in hopes that folks would be drawn to their art—which I consider some of the most important art of my generation.

job there when I was 15. It set the tone for working in the music industry for the rest of my life. In Lawrence, I continued to cut my teeth in live music and grow as a music journalist. But in Lucas, I met a woman named Erika Nelson who owns a traveling museum called “The World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things.” She is a fascinating woman. At the time I was shooting a “Getting that What is the hardest thing documentary I to photograph badly? To produced about shot where a photograph well? I’m a music unknown punk guitarist photographer by default, so roadside getting the real vibe of a show jumps and does attractions in at its most chaotic is pretty the splits in the America important to me. Getting that (primarily folk air, or someone shot where a punk guitarist art), and she jumps and does the splits in the stage dives and taught me the air, or someone stage dives and value in not only starts crowd starts crowd surfing, those are maintaining but the hardest shots on Earth! But also highlighting surfing, those when you get them, the rush attractions are the hardest these is incredible. When you think and what they shots on Earth!” do for rural about the span of a three-hour concert, if you get that one split communities. –Fally Afani second that shows everything Through our in motion at once, you feel like you’re conversations, I learned what art does really capturing what it feels like to be for a community and how it can help us a music fan. all succeed. Oftentimes when a community is struggling, the first sign Draw a map of Kansas and of danger is that it loses arts funding. pinpoint three locations that have Nelson shows these rural communities significance for you or your career. how art can save them. As someone What are they? Lawrence, Salina and who grew up in a rural community with Lucas. I grew up playing music in our own roadside attraction (Rock City), Salina, and even worked my first radio this hit hard in all the right places. 2022 ISSUE 5 | KANSAS! MAGAZINE




“When you live in rural Kansas, more often than not, you will end up driving behind a tractor or some kind of farming equipment. Farmers are without a doubt very important for the culture in the Midwest. Without them, we wouldn’t have the food we have on our tables. As a photographer, I aim to capture the world around me and bring everything to life for other people’s enjoyment. I wanted to capture this photo as admiration for those farmers as they spend so much time out in the field growing, harvesting and providing their crops for the community. Being a farmer isn’t just a job but a livelihood for most in the rural areas.” –AMANDA OVERTON, PHOTOGRAPHER

Instagram: @amanda.o.photography

Overton is from Franklin County and has been photographing for more than seven years. She finds that photography allows her to access her creativity and perspectives she wouldn’t have without a camera in her hand.



PHOTOGRAPH Amanda Overton

Location: Franklin County

Where in Kansas?


Kansas City Edgerton Chetopa






We Love Kansas By Cecilia Harris


Self-Pick Apple Orchards



PHOTOGRAPH Shutterstock

CIDER HILL FAMILY ORCHARD Kansas City Visitors sip on an apple cider slush or an apple cider freeze (an apple cider slush with ice cream) while eating an apple cider donut at the Cider Hill Family Orchard. With a 38-acre orchard containing some 6,000 apple trees, the Kansas City attraction produces a large harvest to enjoy in a variety of treats. But exploring the grounds is also part of the fun as the Apple Wagon transports guests to the middle of the orchards where they can pick their own apples beginning in August. Besides picking apples, families also may spend time in the pumpkin patch, at one of five fishing ponds, or—during the weekends—under the shade trees eating barbecue prepared and served by the owners. The orchard gift shop stocks apple crisp, caramel apples, apple butter, the Cider Hill signature sundae and more; orchard-picked sweet cherries, pears and sweet corn are sold when in season. ciderhillfamilyorchard.com | 913.721.2507


reasons THE APPLEHUTCH Plains There’s no admission fee at The AppleHutch near Plains, a familyfriendly destination where kids play in the corn pit and can get up-close to a military truck and antique tractors. Guests of all ages can pick Gala and Honeycrisp apples off the trees as early as August. Other peak picking times are in September for Jonalicious, CandyCrisp and Cameo, and in October for Aztec Fuji, Pink Ladies and Granny Smith. The orchard also sells pumpkins, gourds, pears, jujubes and peaches when in season. Every Saturday in October, local vendors gather at the grounds to offer homemade food items and handmade crafts. Facebook.com/applehutch 620.629.1447

BRENDA’S BERRIES AND ORCHARD Chetopa Apple-picking season at Brenda’s Berries and Orchard near Chetopa usually begins by the last week of September. The Enterprise and Gold Rush varieties are most plentiful for harvest during October, and their season usually ends in early November. Orchard-harvested apples typically are available through May. Also offered when in season are pick-your-own blackberries and raspberries, and orchard-harvested pears, Asian pears, pecans, peaches and

asparagus. Visitors are encouraged to call in advance to notify the owner of when they plan to arrive. The orchard accepts cash and checks only. brendasberries.blogspot.com 620.597.2450

GIERINGER’S FAMILY ORCHARD & BERRY FARM Edgerton At Gieringer’s Family Orchard & Berry Farm near Edgerton, nearly 20 different varieties of apple trees, including Ultima Gala, Firestorm Honeycrisp and Striped Fuji, grow on trellises. Visitors can pick from these trees from September through October and enjoy family activities such as a combine slide, a hay mountain, corn pit, pumpkin jump pad, apple sling shot and corn mazes. There is also an on-site market featuring Kansas-made products and produce grown on site such as sunflowers, pumpkins, sweet corn, tomatoes, blackberries, peaches, blueberries and strawberries when in season. goberryfarm.com 913.893.9626

ST. ANDRE ORCHARD Atchison Apple pickers wishing to avoid the crowds should schedule an appointment at St. Andre Orchard near Atchison. The orchard features specialty varieties such as a yellow apple called


A Fall Travel Destination, with Hunting, Fishing and Family fun. Enjoy, Prairie Dog State Park, Sebelius Lake, historic downtown, casual dining, galleries, unique shopping experiences, Prairie Dog Golf Club, Station 15 Visitors Center, parks, walking trails, and disc golf. Drive Highway 36

www.DiscoverNorton.com • 785-877-2501

Pristine that is ready for picking as early as July, a large sweet/tart eating apple named Zestar available in August, and the tart apple Gold Rush that lasts for months in refrigeration after being picked in late October. Around the orchard is a five-acre butterfly habitat. Ducks, geese, pigs, sheep and kittens expose children to life on a farm. Other fruits to be picked include blackberries, peaches and nectarines when in season. facebook.com/standreorchard 913.370.3792

LEGACY ORCHARD Harper Tractors carry guests directly to the apple trees of Legacy Orchard, located on 30 acres near Harper. The orchard provides Jonathan apples and Arkansas Blacks, a sweet cooking apple that keeps well and dates to 1870. The orchard’s store usually sells apples, pears, cantaloupe, watermelon and pumpkins alongside apple butter, peach jam, and peach bourbon BBQ sauce; in other seasons, stock includes peaches, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers and other vegetables. Legacy Orchard typically hosts Fall Fest the first week in October. It also is open for autumn family portrait sessions made by appointment with a local professional photographer. facebook.com/Legacyorchard 620.222.9722

Scott Bean Photography K A N S A S L A N D S C A P E A N D N AT U R E P H O TO G R A P H S

7 8 5 - 3 4 1 - 1 0 4 7 | S C OT T @ S C OT T B E A N P H O TO . C O M



must see

Spend the weekend supporting local farms, wineries and vineyards. This selfguided tour features over 30 locations in the Kaw River Valley. kawvalleyfarmtour.org

celebrations in the U.S. This year’s theme is “Hiawatha’s Haunted Harvest” and will feature a costume and pumpkin decorating competition, queen’s court crowning, a parade and more. facebook.com/HalloweenFrolic/

Columbus Day Festival

Turkey Trot Trail Run

October 7–9 | Columbus

November 12 | Osawatomie

Get ready for the annual Columbus Day Festival and Hot Air Balloon Regatta. The Columbus Chamber of Commerce presents a weekend full of events including an art exhibit, kite flying, hot air balloon glow and regatta, farm heritage show and much more. Visit online to see the full schedules of events. columbusdayballoons.com/ schedule-of-events.html

Dust off your favorite running shoes to get ready for the annual Turkey Trot Trail run at Flint Hills Trail State Park. The trot will include a 10k, 5k and 1-mile run. Participants can choose to walk, run or bike the race. travelks.com

October 1–2 | Kaw River Valley

Maple Leaf Festival October 15–16 Baldwin City Celebrating its 65th anniversary, the Baldwin City Maple Leaf Festival offers activities for all ages. Visitors can expect to enjoy a 5k run, parade, quilt show and more. mapleleaffestival.com

Halloween Frolic October 31 | Hiawatha Enjoy one of the oldest Halloween

Holiday Open House November 12 | Lindsborg Kick off this holiday season by shopping local with the people of Lindsborg. This year, businesses and galleries will be decked out in holiday attire and decor. Visitors can expect to enjoy snacks, in-store drawings and more. visitlindsborg.com

Holiday Home & Fun Show November 12–13 | Liberal KSCB Home Shows presents the Holiday Home & Fun Show at the Seward County Activity Center. Experience vendors that range from home improvement, gifts, food, crafts and more. travelks.com


Follow us on Facebook & Instagram @slaterstantiques


THE KC METRO’S NEWEST ANTIQUE & VINTAGE HUB Something for Everyone Across Two Buildings of Eclectic Vendors!


Home for the Holidays Festival November 26 | Great Bend Get into the holiday spirit with an annual cookie contest, local shopping, a lighted parade, horse drawn carriage rides and more. Email chayes@ greatbendks.net for more information on the event. travelks.com

Flint Hills Children’s Choir Holiday Special December 11 | Manhattan Enjoy a festive evening at the McCain Auditorium featuring Konza and Bluestem choirs, with special guests from Bates Dance Studio and Little Apple Aerials 7–9 p.m. mccain.k-state.edu/ events/2022-2023/

Hyde Park Luminaria December 17 | Hutchinson Take a drive through Hutchinson’s beautifully lit Hyde Park for its 37th annual Christmas Luminaria. Kids can also meet Santa at the corner of 20th and Washington and enjoy musical entertainment and horse-drawn wagon rides 6–10 p.m. visithutch.com


Kaw Valley Farm Tour

Where in Kansas?


Osawatomie Columbus

Hiawatha Baldwin City


Hutchinson Great Bend Lindsborg


Vendors line the Baldwin City downtown at the annual Maple Leaf Festival.

must see

FIND MORE EVENTS AT TRAVELKS.COM/EVENTS All events are subject to change. Confirm with organizers before finalizing plans.



Their appearance is shrouded in mystery, and covetous towns have attempted to kidnap them, but Marysville’s population of rare black squirrels has thrived for 110 years and will be honored at anniversary celebrations this fall

Story and photography by Rachael Sebastian




arysville proudly celebrates a number of historic events—from being the first home station on the Pony Express route west of St. Louis to developing as a city on the main line of Union Pacific Railroad. The northeastern Kansas town is all about the rails, trails, and preservation. But 2022 is all about squirrels—black squirrels, to be exact. This fall marks Marysville’s 50th anniversary of designating itself as Black Squirrel City, and residents—and its celebrated squirrels—are welcoming visitors to take part in commemorating an unusual population of park-dwelling mascots. Some history (and much lore) There are several explanations for how a population of black squirrels arrived in Marysville. Some say the squirrels escaped from a traveling carnival; others believe they were let loose during a 1912 Grand Army of the Republic reunion, and some say that a small population of black squirrels had been native to nearby Mission Creek since the early 1800s. But the town’s historical records and local biologists do agree that however the squirrels arrived, a steady population of squirrels has lived in Marysville, though no official census of the population has been done. The animals, melanistic eastern fox squirrels, are estimated to make up one-fifth of the town’s squirrel population. They are protected by city ordinance and have been formally honored since 1972, when Marysville established itself as “Black Squirrel City” and decreed an annual Black Squirrel Night celebration in late October. That first celebration didn’t pass without scandal, however. A former Marysville resident who had moved to Hobbs, New Mexico, arrived in town for the event and was later charged, along with an accomplice, with kidnapping a pair of black squirrels to start an unauthorized breeding colony in Hobbs. Marysville and Hobbs officials later agreed to send a male and a female Left A black squirrel in Marysville Opposite Lucy the black squirrel statue

PHOTOGRAPH (LEFT) courtesy Marysville Advocate

Black Squirrels of Marysville

September 23-24-25, 2022





Medicine Lodge, Kansas peacetreaty.org NEXT PAGEANT IN 2024

Understanding Medicare Insurance Can Be Overwhelming, But It Doesn’t Have To Be!

to Hobbs for breeding purposes. A male and pregnant female squirrel were sent to Hobbs in January 1973, but the population failed to survive. Statues In 2016, Marysville installed More 34 five-foot fiberglass squirrel Information statues at businesses and public locations throughout For more information the town. One of the black about the 2022 Black squirrel statues, Eve, stands Squirrel Festival, near the bandstand at City Park visit facebook.com/ blacksquirrelcity. and includes two information panels about the squirrels, Maps and audio their history, and their tours of the Black characteristics. Squirrels on Parade The number of statues are available at various in this Black Squirrels on locations, including Parade program is growing; the Marysvillle the city plans to have a total Public Library, 1009 of 50 statues—each uniquely Broadway. decorated—throughout Marysville by the 2022 Black Squirrel Night. Kaci Smith, an art teacher at Valley Heights High School, 12 miles south of Marysville, created Choo-Choo, a black squirrel statue with Oaxacan-inspired colors and patterns that sits outside the historic Union Pacific depot. Smith is now working on two more squirrel statues ahead of the anniversary celebrations.

Let our professional advisers help you learn exactly what you need and then find the right products to fit your situation. Capper’s Insurance Service works with 17 major insurance providers to customize a plan and a rate that’s right for you.


Annuities and Life Insurance

Medicare Advantage Plans

Prescription Drug Plans

Long-tTerm and Short-Term Care Insurance

Critical Care Conditions Insurance

Accident/Disability Insurance

Dental, Vision, and Hearing Insurance


We’re here to help. Call 800-678-7741. www.CappersInsurance.com

Mandy Cook with Simon, the black squirrel statue



Who is the squirreliest of them all? FREEDOM SPIRIT at the Marysville Armory 306 Veterans Memorial Dr. This patriotic-themed squirrel has it all: a bald eagle motif with a scene of a bison on a winter plain along with lyrics from “Home on the Range.” LUCY (Pictured on page 27) at CJ Express West 400 Broadway A black squirrel boasts a tail filled with shimmering concentric patterns.

PHOTOGRAPH Kansas Tourism

CHOO-CHOO (Pictured on page 29) at Union Pacific Depot 400 Hedrix Avenue The Oaxacan-inspired patterns across the tail and body of this squirrel pay homage to the railroad station’s Spanish Colonial architecture.

st “ The proguI dcaen thin laim is c I am f rom



D. - Dwight

er Eisenhow

Year of the Squirrel Mandy Cook, Marysville’s convention and tourism chair and the director of the Marysville Public Library, says the 50-year anniversary has already generated a lot of excitement for the town, with a shopping crawl, disc golf tournament and other monthly events honoring the Year of the Squirrel. She says this year’s celebration will include celebrations of Black Squirrel Fest on October 22 and the traditional Black Squirrel Night on October 27. Traditionally, Black Squirrel Night is celebrated with the city blocking off downtown for a costume contest, food stands, and dance performances by the local dance companies and music from schools and local groups. Additional activities for the anniversary year will be announced closer to the event. “This is definitely amping up the momentum this year,” Cook says, noting that library staff are handing out free maps for all of the black squirrel statues almost every day. “The buzz has just never really died down. We have something truly unique to this area, and Marysville has done a spectacular job celebrating and tapping into that.”

Best U.S. Small Town TravelAwaits (2021)

Best Historic Small Town USA Today (2021)

Home to the Largest Town Square

“As an artist, it is quite an honor to become a part of our county’s history, and I think it’s a beautiful way to show off our local talent,” Smith says, adding that ChooChoo was easy to paint and “flowed very naturally” once she had chosen her theme and colors.

10 West Jackson Iola, KS 66749

PHOTOGRAPH courtesy Marysville Advocate

iolachamber.org • (620)365-5252

Proud Past – Brilliant Future Come Visit Eisenhower State Park Pomona State Park 785-528-3714 (Osage City Hall) www.OsageCity.com

A black squirrel at City Park.




NATURE & COMMUNITY A New Guide to Kansas Mushrooms Sherry Kay, Benjamin Sikes, and Caleb Morse Sherry Kay, Benjamin Sikes, and Caleb Morse have revised A Guide to Kansas Mushrooms, published in 1993, to account for the variety of ways mycology has changed in the last thirty years, while holding to its original purpose as a guide for active mushroomers. A New Guide to Kansas Mushrooms incorporates new understanding of fungal taxonomy that has been largely unearthed by genetic tools over the past three decades, highlights key taxa, and includes a life list of the more than 1,200 species now cataloged from Kansas—nearly twice the number known at the time of the first edition. “A mycological masterpiece! This delightful and practical guidebook is an invaluable companion to anyone interested in experiencing the fascinating world of wild mushrooms.”—Jonathan Conard, professor of biology at Sterling College and author of Kansas Trail Guide 408 pages, 209 photographs, 1 map, 9 figures, Paper $25.95

Nothing but the Dirt

Stories from an American Farm Town

Kate Benz “Kate Benz shares the simplicity and complexity, the challenges and rewards, the highs and lows of a rural town and agricultural community. The way she has connected the personal story and local culture is informative and endearing. You’ll want to go visit Courtland. I love this book so much—it’s one of the most enticing farming stories I’ve read.”—Marci Penner, director of Kansas Sampler Foundation 256 pages, 29 photographs, Paper $24.95

When a Dream Dies

Agriculture, Iowa, and the Farm Crisis of the 1980s

Pamela Riney-Kehrberg “While most historians see the Farm Crisis as primarily an economic story, Riney-Kehrberg demonstrates unequivocally that it was a family story first and foremost. Her attention to the enormous role played by women, not only in working on and off the farm but in managing the emotional and social life of the family within the community, is firstrate. Anyone interested in the strengths and tragic flaws of rural life in America needs to read this book.”—Deborah Fitzgerald, Leverett Howell and William King Cutten Professor of the History of Technology and department head, Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT 304 pages, 20 photographs, Cloth $39.95 Ebook editions available from your favorite ebook retailer.

University Press of Kansas Phone (785) 864-4155 • www.kansaspress.ku.edu



Reese’s Next Act Farmer Frank Reese has long been a national leader in preserving and growing heritage turkeys and chickens; now his McPherson County farm seeks to shepherd genetically preserved poultry into the future

Story by Patricia E. Ackerman Photos by Jim Richardson


n the 1950s, Frank Reese grew up showcasing his family’s prize-winning poultry at the Saline County and Kansas state fairs. Seven decades later, Reese has earned national recognition among poultry breeders, chefs and food specialists for going against the worst trends in large-scale factory farming. Reese raises turkeys and chickens in uncrowded, natural environments that help preserve the conditions, genetic structure, and taste of the breeding lines established by his forefathers over 100 years ago. The New York Times famously described his turkeys tasting like the “essence of turkey” in a 2001 article; Brooklyn-based Heritage Foods has been distributing Reese’s birds to



Frank Reese has won international recognition for preservation of heritage turkey breeds at his Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch.


spaces restaurants and savvy consumers for the past 20 years; and Reese has even won acclaim from and formed partnerships with unlikely allies such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) because of his humane, spacious breeding grounds and living conditions for his poultry. The Good Shepherd Ranch way Just outside of Lindsborg, Reese’s Good Shepherd Ranch has been the proving grounds for his approach to birds. Here, he raises some 1,000 turkeys and 400 chickens. The turkey flock includes all 8 of the standard turkey varieties currently certified by the American Poultry Association (APA), and the chicken flock is heritage New Hampshire and Barred Rock breeds. Good Shepherd (in Lindsborg and through its authorized partners) is the only poultry operation in the United States currently breeding these types of birds for high-quality commercial production. Other heritage breeders have developed noncommercial

operations, primarily focused on show chickens. But Good Shepherd is the first and only commercial heritage breeding operation with an APA-approved flock certification program. Birds raised with this traditional More About approach are Good Shepherd Ranch is currently often referred to as “standardbred” closed to visitors, but you can poultry. The lives of read about their operation these standardbred and keep updated on the birds and the future opening of the center at goodshepherdconservancy.org. conditions they live in are in stark contrast to what Reese believes are harmful, massproduction trends. In modern factory farming, birds often are debeaked, declawed, and packed together, as many as 5,000 in an enclosed barn. Even if these commercially raised birds are not genetically modified, Reese notes, they barely resemble a traditional chicken.


Experience one of the largest remaining Bison herds roaming our Kansas native prairie.


Mountain Man Rendezvous September 23-25, 2022

FREE admission No reservation needed

Visit our website for more information 34

MaxwellWildlifeRefuge.com MaxwellWildlifeRefuge@gmail.com


Frank Reese holds one of his turkeys at his farm near Lindsborg.



“While commercial poultry breeding operations may not use GMOs, they actively engage in genetic engineering that fosters dwarfism and obesity, causing birds to grow up to 300 times faster,” Reese says. “These genetically engineered birds become obese, with shorter limbs and shorter breast bones. These deformities cause breathing problems, making it difficult for the birds to run, jump, fly, or mate. Instinctively, they still want to perform these tasks, but they are trapped inside of deformed bodies.” These birds are raised in such conditions and numbers to lower costs as much as possible, particularly for a market heavily influenced by the fast-food industry. According to Reese, some “70% of the chickens around the world are raised for fastfood markets, rather than grocery stores.” The challenge for farmers who choose to raise birds in traditional methods is to create a base of clients who value the genetic heritage, breeding conditions and taste of the birds enough to pay for the increased costs that come from raising them in smaller numbers and in better conditions. And recently, Reese has begun creating partnerships— first in Kansas and now globally—to form and sustain markets for heritage birds.



The heart of heritage breeding Reese began his partnerships in Kansas, where he has been advising three partner farms, each of which raises approximately 2,000 turkeys in accordance with Reese’s high standards. He plans to expand his partnerships as part of the expansion of the scope and mission of his farm in Lindsborg. In 2019, Reese established the Good Shepherd Conservancy as a nonprofit dedicated to “safeguarding biodiversity” by practicing and promoting “conservation, education, and research and development in collaboration with farmers, poultry producers, scientists, consumers, and culinary professionals.” A year later, the conservancy brought on Jed Greenberg as executive director. Greenberg—who is setting up his own sister farm of heritage birds for kosher markets—sees the conservancy’s mission as “preserving the genetic breeding lines and knowledge of Good Shepherd Ranch and to empower farmers throughout the nation to independently raise and market these birds in their regional communities.” To support this growing commercial market, the Conservancy is launching two major initiatives to educate consumers and create local communities where certified and trained breeders raise poultry without intervention or genetic alteration. The first of the two major initiatives is the creation of the Good Shepherd Conservation Center on the grounds of Reese’s farm near Lindsborg. The center is being built with the support from donations and partnerships, including a $150,000 loan from the ASPCA as well as a $75,000 McPherson Community Foundation grant for interior building construction. Planned to open in stages from 2023– 2028, the center will allow visitors to see heritage breeds close up, tour a welcome center, and visit an on-site museum that narrates the history of heritage breeds and the importance of their preservation to U.S. agricultural history. The center will also hold a working library and genetic archives with plans for a guest house, professional kitchen, working hatchery, poultry lab and poultry barn exhibits. Additional plans for the Conservation Center include a partnership with the Kansas State University Extension Above Reese gathers eggs at his farm.

Home of





COOL Cats ! Street Art & Mural Festival October 6-16



Scan for Visitors’ Guide!

Anderson Bed & Breakfast at Manhattan


Mill Creek Lodge at Volland Point

C&W Ranch at Smolan/Salina

Underhill Farms at Moundridge

Whatever your fall plans, choose a Kansas Bed & Breakfast Association inn for a memorable lodging experience rollinghillszoo.org 785.827.9488 • Open Daily! 625 N. Hedville Road, Salina, KS


spaces Council to host an annual Kansas 4-H poultry event. Reese also hopes the center’s resources can provide much-needed research in the field of poultry conservancy, including credible studies on behavioral issues related to genetic engineering. The second major initiative planned for the Good Shepherd Conservancy is the Farm Fellowship Program, a training program designed to increase the network of trained breeders with knowledge and hands-on experience of working with heritage breed birds. Reese plans to begin the program with training in 10 breeds of poultry (4 turkeys, 6 chickens) and enable new breeders to help raise 10,000 birds of each breed annually across the United States within 5–10 years. The first Farm Fellowship Conference was in August 2022 brings 16 fellows selected from more than 70 applications received from across the United States and a few from international locations. The fellows are at different stages in their own heritage bird operations but will all learn the Good Shepherd approach to raising, processing, and selling heritage breeds. Reese says that training breeders in all aspects—such as facility use, feeding, processing, marketing, transporting, and understanding in-state and out-of-state regulations—will “put the power of production back into the hands of the American farmer, rather than keeping them dependent upon corporate ‘sharecropper’ systems.”



A past and future practice way with birds Reviewing their plans, Greenberg notes the challenging incentives of heritage breeding compared to the quicker returns of what he calls “rapid-grow” livestock. “True heritage breeds of Barred Rocks require 16–18 weeks of growth whereas current commercial industry standards use genetic modifications to push this to only 6 weeks of growth,” he notes. The same genetic modification that allows for large-scale farming’s accelerated growth schedule—an obesity gene—is also one of the primary dangers and concerns about modern methods. Not only do these modifications cause dwarfism in birds, Greenberg notes, but they lead to meats with a “bland taste.” So, the challenge, Greenberg says, is to create markets of consumers and producers that economically support the naturally growing heritage breeds. Reese agrees, noting that “some of the most important questions we need to discuss with farmers revolve around economics, as well as heritage poultry breeding and genetics.” He and Greenberg point to heritage breeding as an economic tool for farmers. While some farmers might be able to concentrate entirely on heritage breeds, many successful farm operations need to diversify between crops and livestock, heritage breeding can allow for family members to add a flock, enhance agricultural diversity, and generate supplemental revenue to help sustain their farm. For Reese, the proven methods of poultry farming established in the U.S. during the late 1800s remain the strongest model for quality poultry breeding. These were the methods that Reese knew growing up. From his boyhood, he recalls a local turkey farm run by an Agnes Trow, “who raised, dressed, and marketed 150–250 turkeys directly to customers each year.” She controlled every aspect of production and sales, and Reese believes her ability to manage all aspects of her operation was key to her success. Good Shepherd is betting that this type of model—and these types of birds—can be the future as well as the past. As explained in the conservancy’s official vision statement, the farm in rural Kansas seeks to create a market that has not only saved heritage birds from the prospect of extinction but also made them “wildly popular again” and sought after by consumers who value “tasty, nutrient-dense poultry that comes from healthy and contented animals.” “Our prayer is for billions of naturally growing birds to be raised by happy, independent farmers each year,” reads the statement. “Our will is to preserve historical poultry for a better future.” Above Reese’s birds move freely in their barn, part of his belief that poultry should be given adequate space and time to grow naturally.

STORY BY Kalli Jo Smith and Beccy Tanner PHOTOGRAPHY BY Michael Snell and Doug Stremel


Farm toTable,

The latest eating trend isn’t a trend at all, but a traditional way of dining—and living—that has come full circle or never gone away

Right (From top) Grace foraging through the garden that provides many of the vegetables and herbs used in meals. Trinkets, knick knacks and family heirlooms find their place in this farm-to-table restaurant. Guineas roam the yard and greet guests upon their arrival. Opposite Wild foraged cattail and broccoli soup with squash tendrils.

on a historic homestead, amid the walnut groves and the sounds of wildlife, sits Saltwell Farm Kitchen—a unique farm-totable restaurant just 10 minutes northeast of Overbrook. Upon entering the cozy establishment, customers are greeted by furry and human friends alike. Dogs, cats, chickens, guineas and goats roam the property and are likely to greet you with sweet, slobbery kisses or watchful and curious eyes from afar. “Welcome to Saltwell!” Shantel Grace, co-owner of the homestead that includes the farm-to-table restaurant, calls from her front porch. Rozz Petrozz, executive chef, co-owner and Grace’s partner, follows while raising two glasses of wine. “We’re so happy you could make it.” Named after its salty wells built on the original 1856 McKinzie Farmstead, Saltwell offers a dinner experience like no other, with a carefully curated eight-course meal that changes daily based on the availability of ingredients. “When we first started coming up with how we were going to run this place, we knew that was going to be a big reason for our work out here. Honoring local farmers and the work they do is so special to us,” Grace says. Each table is set with linens featuring delicate designs and a variety of antique and second-hand heirlooms. Flowers, some picked from the yard, others grown by local flower farms such as Moon on the Meadow Farm, grace the tables while lights dangle from above. “A lot of the antiques are from my mom,” Petrozz explains. “Others are from thrift shops or were gifted to us. Some of the linens were even shower curtains, believe it or not,” Grace replies. When the two first happened upon the abandoned homestead, they were immediately captivated by the land’s potential for charm and intimacy. And after fighting off a few locals ( figuratively), the property was theirs—but it would require a lot of work. “The land was what drew us in, though the house was in pretty rough shape. At one point we were sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags with no electricity,” Grace recalls. “It was definitely an interesting experience, but one that was worth it.” Sheilah Tackett, manager of Saltwell, notes the two worked hard to get the restaurant up and running quickly. “They really got to work fast. They had Wi-Fi within a month and were sleeping in tents at one point,” Tackett says. After a few months of construction and many late nights, Grace and Petrozz invited friends and family to test the new farm-to-table restaurant idea they had brewing. “They had started doing test runs with family and friends just to see how it would go,” Tackett says. “It may not have been an official opening, but a soft opening and an exploration of how they could successfully run their new business.” 2022 ISSUE 5 | KANSAS! MAGAZINE


“We really are so proud of our little spot.This is our home, and we’re so honored to share it with others.” –SHANTEL GRACE



After weeks of tests, Grace and Petrozz officially opened spring 2021 and were soon selling out tables weeks in advance. Open Fridays and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m., through reservation only, Saltwell follows a seasonal schedule. From May through October, visitors dine outdoors near the Potting Shed Bar. Mid-October through April, visitors can enjoy a candlelight dinner indoors near an antique woodburning stove. It’s hard to believe this piece of land was anything other than Petrozz and Grace’s dreamy farmstead escape. And while you won’t find towering buildings or a steel chef ’s kitchen, as Grace likes to say, visitors will find a culinary escape that will have them wondering if they’re enjoying a freshly foraged salad on a French countryside or in Kansas’ backyard— perhaps a mix of both. After dinner, as the sun sets and the crickets begin their nightly whistles, Petrozz and Grace chat with their guests, a tradition they started early on. The quiet nightfall is soon filled with laughter as the fire crackles. “We really are so proud of our little spot,” Grace says. “This is our home, and we’re so honored to share it with others.” Saltwell is open year-round and offers an array of farm-to-table dinner and drink options for customers. To book an online reservation, visit saltwellfarmkitchen.com.

In our roots “We all have hometown appetites,” wrote Riley county native Clementine Paddleford in the early 20th century. “Every other person is a bundle of longing for the simplicities of good taste once enjoyed on the farm or in the hometown he or she left behind.” Paddleford, who went on to release the groundbreaking culinary book How America Eats, wrote and explored food at a time when Americans were moving away from meals with food obtained from traditional, small-scale farmers and toward a lifestyle of dining in restaurants or on prepared groceries. But that idea of the taste “left behind” remained. And with that taste, came an experience. For hundreds of years, farm-to-table experiences in Kansas have been about making memories, about creating a personal fabric as families and loved ones gather together to prepare and enjoy daily meals. In recent years, archaeologists have discovered more about the city of Etzanoa where at least 20,000 ancestors of the Wichita Nation thrived in and near what is Arkansas City. The Etzanoans were farmers who cultivated beans, maize, pumpkin and squash between 1450 and 1700. Early Euro-American pioneers brought with them recipes and food customs from around of the world. Every so often, meals did not go as planned. Wichita trader Jessie Chisholm died in the spring of 1868 from eating bear grease—once a Kansas delicacy after harsh winters and lean times—that had gone rancid. A stone marker on his grave reads, “Jesse Chisholm, Born 1805, Died March 4, 1868, No one left his home cold or hungry.” Even though was he was done in by food, Chisholm was eulogized for his warmth in sharing it. Opposite (Clockwise from top) Locally seared pork loin with wild black raspberries graces the table. Chef Rozz preps for dinner as the summer sun begins to set. Saltwell owners Shantel Grace and Rozz Petrozz sit together outside of their home and restaurant.

Food—how we prepared and shared it—was more than just a memory. It was part of each individual character and part of our common experiences. That began changing, however in the 1950s–1960s when local farmers markets almost completely disappeared and refrigeration, roads and mass transportation became more commonplace. Then came television dinners, then microwaveable meals. It was estimated by the 1990s, food in the U.S. traveled an average of 1,300 miles and changed hands at least six times before being eaten by American consumers. And at that point, we began to reclaim what we had lost. Over the past three decades, local farmers markets began making comebacks and growing in popularity. Restaurants began to seek local providers, and customers began to appreciate these connections. Foods—Kansans are remembering—taste better and fresher from local gardens and growers. The proof? Taste any vine-ripened, locally grown tomato. Taste is coming back to our palates. As long as we stay away from rancid bear grease.

Small-town restaurants: farm-to-table pride Small-town restaurants are a matter of pride and can often make the difference in whether a community thrives. They are gathering spots, watering holes and boosters of local economies. We pick our favorites most often based on loyalty, the historical experience, and memories we have created along with the outstanding food and the chances of encountering local characters. “We have customers that come easily from a 100-mile radius on a regular basis,” says Greg Wolf, who along with his wife, Ruby, and their children run the Sawyer Family Food Store in Sawyer, about 11 miles south of Pratt on US-281. “We have multiple customers that have ended up in our store from Alva, Oklahoma, which is 60 miles away to the south. … So, they are not even “locals” and yet they are regulars here.” For 50 weeks a year, the Sawyer Family Food Store churns out trays of homemade cinnamon, cherry, peach, and raspberry rolls made with Hudson Cream Flour from neighboring Stafford County. The store is open Thursdays through Saturdays, and it’s the homemade atmosphere that the Wolfs, an Old German Baptist Brethren family, have created that draws people in. It may be a growing trend in the larger cities featuring farm-to-table cooking, but in the smaller towns it is not so much trendy but the way cooks have always prepared food. For instance, there are loyal fried chicken aficionados who periodically journey to Pittsburg to argue which restaurant serves the best, and to try just one more bite to make sure. For a century, the Cozy Inn in Salina has been slinging out hamburgers and grilled onions in the same shoe-box-size establishment with the six porcelain bar stools, counter and wood cupboards as it did in 1922. Hoxie, in Sheridan County, is an unlikely place for a high-end restaurant featuring farm-to-table food. But Emily Campbell with the Elephant Bistro and Bar does just that. Right (From top) Sheilah Tackett, manager, serves cheesecake to guests. Heirlooms baby green salad with edible flowers and a sweet and spicy mustard vinaigrette is prepped as an appetizer. Saltwell is named after its salty wells built on the original 1856 McKinzie Farmstead. Opposite Each tablescape is set with linens featuring delicate designs, a variety of antique and second-hand heirlooms and locally sourced flowers.



Fred Harvey and the first golden overlap of farm-to-table and modernity

“Our customer demand is just continuously going up and up and up,” Campbell says. “We provide an elegant dining atmosphere with an eclectic menu of everything from dry-aged steaks to seafood to tacos and a lot of it is farm-to-table locally sourced as much as we can out here. “I opened this restaurant because I wanted something valuable for our community. I wanted us to have something out here that nobody else does. I truly believe in supporting local. I believe in building your own economy.” One of the biggest challenges for this local economy is that small farms have to charge chefs more for their produce than big corporate food producers, which means customers have to pay more for meals. “One of the things [complaints] is that it is too expensive,” says Luciano Mottola, who owns Luciano’s Italian Restaurant in Mulvane. “People buy some stuff that’s cheap without thinking about the quality … that may mean it’s cheap because the genes have been modified. It takes time to grow food naturally.” Mottola, a native of Tuscany, met his wife, Nancy, when she was teaching English in Italy. The couple lived in Italy for three years then came to Kansas to return to her hometown of Mulvane. For Mottola, the move meant changing his default understanding of “local” food when local is no longer the Italian seashore. “We are always searching and making sure the right things go on the table,” he says. “If you want lobster, for example, the price is like $400 because of what is going on.” That’s too pricey for most Kansans, and it is definitely not local to Mulvane, so the search is on for other products, preferably found closer to home—a new generation’s recreation of farm-totable “hometown taste.”



In the 1870s, Fred Harvey saw an opportunity to provide railroad passengers with good food and services. At the time, as people traveled from one community to the next, there was no standard for service. One stop might include substandard food, while another might provide great, home-cooked meals. His goal was to raise the bar on what customers could expect at each one of his restaurants. The first Harvey Dining Room opened in 1876 in the Santa Fe Topeka train depot. The next, in 1877, opened in Florence. Passengers came to expect punctual service on tables with imported linens, silver, china and excellent meals— thick, juicy steaks and more. Male passengers were required to wear suit jackets at meals, and if they didn’t have one, the restaurants often had spare jackets at the ready. By the time of his death in 1901, Harvey had 45 restaurants and 20 dining cars in 12 states. But his company continued to flourish and grow in popularity with Harvey family members continuing to staff the company. Currently under restoration, the Fred Harvey Museum in Leavenworth tells the story of how Harvey created the world’s first chain of restaurants and hotels called Harvey Houses, known for providing fresh, tasty meals and safe, clean places to spend the night. And Harvey did all of this by relying on farms—in particular, his farm. The Fred Harvey Farm in Newton, which opened about 1908, covered about 500 acres and employed some 150 people. It had facilities to process poultry and to bottle cola, ginger ale, root beer and club soda produced on site. According to the Harvey County Historical Museum, in 1921 alone the farm shipped out 60,000 gallons of milk, 20,000 gallons of cream, half a million pounds of poultry, a half a million dozen eggs and 45,000 cases of soda. Harvey’s work gained national attention in 1946, when Judy Garland starred in the movie The Harvey Girls. The film was about a mail-order bride who travels by train with a crew of young women who are opening a “Harvey House” restaurant. By then, in the post-war cultural turmoil, many Kansas families were incorporating prepared foods such as Crisco, Jell-O and peanut butter into their daily diets. At that time, farm-to-table was losing out to fast foods … but generations would remember an innovative golden period where the two overlapped in stylish dining halls along the rails.

Above Saltwell’s kitchen—the duo spent months redesigning and making final touches on this quaint space.


Kansas!Ad_Fall.pdf 1 5/20/2022 12:37:25 PM

CONTACT TODAY www.jaegames.com jaegames55@yahoo.com








A restaurant in the middle of our state taps local suppliers, a skilled chef, and great beer to draw in customers from surrounding counties and beyond

Story by Meta Newell West Photography by Justin Lister


t’s Prime Rib Weekend, the first Friday and Saturday of the month, at Fly Boy Brewery & Eats in Sylvan Grove, and on this particular weekend the restaurant will end up serving some 160 customers—about the size of one-half of the town’s population. “It’s cattle country, so we serve a lot of beef,” says restaurant co-owner and head chef Grant Wagner. But that modest statement doesn’t explain the tremendous success of prime rib weekend at the restaurant near Wilson Lake. In fact, with good beef being served throughout Kansas, the standards are even higher for chefs, and Wagner has attracted people from all over the state to his restaurant by excelling at the main dishes while pairing locally sourced and seasonal ingredients with his vast culinary skills to create inspired farm-to-table food. In serving up his 14-ounce cuts of prime rib, Wagner often pairs the dish with garlic mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, au jus, and his restaurant’s signature creamy horseradish sauce. Steaks might be accompanied by a grilled wedge salad featuring locally grown romaine lettuce. The kitchen sources beef from the nearby 4 Ranches Beef to make one-pound ground steaks with toppings such as burgundy mushrooms, caramelized onions and Swiss cheese. Wagner’s prime rib and steaks are perfectly seasoned, cooked using a sous vide method, where meat is cooked “under vacuum,” to retain its moisture and to allow the inside to WAGNER’S PRIME reach the preferred temperature without RIB AND STEAKS overcooking the outside. Adding to that, are perfectly seasoned, Wagner will reverse sear the meat— cooked using a sous vide cooking it in an oven rather than on a method, where meat is grill—to create juicy, tender bites. cooked “under vacuum,” When he isn’t featuring beef, to retain its moisture Wagner varies his weekend specials, such as grilled chicken served with and to allow the inside handmade gnocchi and fresh pesto. He to reach the preferred has also served chicken carbonara (with temperature without grilled chicken, pancetta lardons, sun overcooking the outside. 2022 ISSUE 5 | KANSAS! MAGAZINE



Smoked Honey and Thyme Sweet Potatoes Typical of many of Grant Wagner’s recipes, this one is infused with several layers of flavor, from smoked honey to flamed vermouth. These potatoes can be made ahead and stored for dinner; Grant says if you are preparing them fresh, then you should be aware that the final step of the recipe is most easily completed if all ingredients except the butter are kept warm. SERVES About 10 INGREDIENTS • 1½ cups honey ( Wagner says he uses Labertew honey, “collected from local, hardworking bees”) • ¼ cup chopped fresh thyme leaves • 5 pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cut to roughly 1-inch cubes • 1¼ cups Antica vermouth (Wagner recommends Antica vermouth, but says any quality, dry vermouth will work) • 12 ounces butter, cut into cubes • Kosher salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Heat a smoker to 200 degrees. Wagner uses oak or hickory at the restaurant to maximize the smoke imbued in the honey. 2. Stir the chopped thyme into the honey and smoke for at least an hour and not more than 3 total. 3. In the meantime, bring enough water to cover the sweet potatoes to a boil, approximately 2 gallons. 4. Preheat an oven to 325 degrees, while the water is coming to temp. 5. Once the water is boiling, add the sweet potatoes and cook until fork tender, approximately 20 minutes. 6. Strain the potatoes and place them on a parchmentlined baking sheet, then roast them in the oven for 30 minutes. This step will evaporate a lot of the water and intensify the flavor in the sweet potato purée. 7. While the potatoes are drying in the oven, place the vermouth in a small sauté pan and turn heat to high. 8. Once it is at a boil, you can ignite the evaporating alcohol if you have a gas range and cook on low heat until the flame goes out, or just reduce by approximately 15% to remove the alcohol if using electric burners. 9. Finally, combine all the ingredients in a food processor or food mill and season with salt to taste.

Note: The purée will last up to a week in a refrigerator and is easily reheated on the stove or in the oven or microwave.



dried tomatoes, peas, and penne pasta tossed in a cream sauce) and creamy smoked salmon pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes and grilled asparagus. Sides and accompaniments always receive special attention. Regular choices include perfectly steamed broccoli and green beans, crisp salads, hand-cut fries dusted with Parmesan cheese and lots of fresh garlic. Many of the ingredients in these sides come from just a few miles away.

“One of my favorite foods is frozen pizza, and I learned my way around my mom’s kitchen making boxed brownies and banana smoothies.” –GRANT WAGNER

“We are now engaging local gardeners to grow produce,” Wagner says. These local goods include fresh green beans and potatoes for side dishes, cucumbers that are turned into pickles (processed in 25-pound batches) to be used on hamburgers and sandwiches, as well as bell peppers to be used in omelets and on Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. Wagner has also found a local baker to make beer bread for panini sandwiches. For Wagner, local food has always been a way of life. Born and raised in nearby Bennington, Wagner says his parents were active gardeners who believed in living off the land. “We hunted, ate a lot of deer meat and grown food,” Wagner says. “I think that’s what bolstered my love of food.” That love was eclectic, a combination of fresh, local foods along with the standard kid favorites.

FLY BOY BREWERY & EATS LOCATION: 105 N Main St., Sylvan Grove HOURS: Thurs.–Sat., 5–10 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. RESERVATIONS: Not taken PHONE: 785.526.7800 2022 ISSUE 5 | KANSAS! MAGAZINE


The Brewery Freshly brewed beer has always been part of Fly Boy Brewery & Eats. After Grant Wagner and Lucas Haas bought the restaurant, Haas took charge of the microbrewery and inherited favorites such as the Hotel Oscar Whiskey beer, a light beer made from oatmeal, oranges, wheat and local Labertew Apiaries honey. Haas has also introduced new lines such as Hell’s Broth, a Prohibition-era–inspired drink that would have had Carrie Nation up in arms. He is also working on brewing tomatoes into beer for an all-in-one red beer.



“One of my favorite foods is frozen pizza, and I learned my way around my mom’s kitchen making boxed brownies and banana smoothies,” Wagner jokingly confesses. Leaving Bennington, Wagner received an associate’s degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, Arizona, and then worked in highend Kansas City restaurants. But a preference for small-town life brought him back to his roots. His history with Fly Boy goes back to 2014 when the original owners, Clay and Linda Haring, hired him to plan their menus. “I ended up as the executive chef for three years and loved the community,” he says. After that, Wagner cooked for a while in a 38-foot food truck. He says it was a lot of fun, but he was ready for something more stationary when Linda Haring called again in October 2019. “She asked me to work one shift and then convinced me to buy the restaurant,” Wagner says. On January 1, 2021, Wagner and his partner, Lucas Hass, took possession of Fly Boy, keeping the restaurant’s brewery heritage front and center, but also building on Wagner’s recent innovations. One recent special menu read: •

• • •

Arugula, Moscato-Poached Pear, and Curried Pecan Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette Maple Glazed Pork Belly with Grilled Asparagus Smoked Honey & Thyme Sweet Potato Purée Orange-Chocolate Torte with Vanilla Wafer and Raspberry Coulis

And following these bold and sophisticated creations, Wagner might serve

Putting Flight into Fly Boy Original owner and pilot Clay Haring made aviation part of the restaurant’s theme from the start, and that tradition continues. Restaurant sides are referred to as “Co-Pilots,” appetizers are listed as “Engine Starters,” and desserts are called “Final Descents.” The restaurant’s décor is also aircraft-themed, from photos on the wall to a large model of a Beechcraft Staggerwing hanging from the ceiling. Look closely, and you will note that the beer kegs feature tap handles that look like tiny propellers and landing gear and that the restaurant’s sample of flight beers are served on custom propeller-shaped boards. 2022 ISSUE 5 | KANSAS! MAGAZINE


another one of his specials, chicken-fried chicken. “It’s the best in the entire state,” he claims proudly. While Wagner and Hass aim to provide the best dining experience possible, they also support the local community. Working with the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation, they donate a dollar from the sale of each Sylvan Sunrise cocktail. In addition to working with local gardens and purveyors, they employ high schoolers as wait staff. Regular diners, such as Steve Bonner from Stafford, include Fly Boy Brewery & Eats on their list of top spots. “They always have great food, service and atmosphere,” he says. Just be sure to grab a spot in line early if you’re heading out for the restaurant’s Prime Rib Weekend because reservations aren’t taken in advance, and the lines—for both the first and second seatings—are one of the longest things on Sylvan Grove’s Main Street.

V I S I T D O D G E C I T Y . O R G / L O C A L

SOIL TO SIP OR FARM TO TABLE, ENJOY THE BEST THE WEST HAS TO OFFER Dodge City offers unique dining experiences from mouthwatering steaks made from locally sourced beef to brick oven pizza on hand-stretched dough. Pair these delicious meals with spirits from our local distillery or a hand-crafted, locally brewed beer.

1- 8 0 0 - O L D -W E S T

Easy as ABC Save up to 35% compared to cash tolls

Order at



Local Partners Fly Boy Brewery & Eats features ingredients from several local suppliers, making it a true farm-to-table experience. Here are two of the restaurant’s biggest partners.

4 Ranches Beef

4ranchesbeef.com | 785.826.7614 Fly Boy Chef Grant Wagner turns to 4 Ranches Beef in Tescott for top-quality, flavor-packed meats including perfectly marbled steaks and ground beef that becomes the basis for memorable burgers. According to Clint and Kerry Cramton, who own 4 Ranches Beef, their beef is grass fed, grain finished, and dry aged, a process that involves extended hanging time (from 14 to 21 days) for additional tenderness and flavor. Cattle are monitored at each step along the way, from ranch to table. Take a pound of ground beef for instance—it begins with one animal that’s been bred, born and raised on their ranch and then processed and packed in a family-owned, USDAinspected Kansas facility. The Cramtons began their farming careers when they married in 2008. By 2019, the couple established the beef side of their business. They named it 4 Ranches Beef in honor of the long line of cattlemen and cattlewomen who came before them. Business expansion was underway about the time Covid-19 hit, and, like many smaller independents around Kansas, they had to adjust to meet customer needs, loading their beef onto a semi and making deliveries around the state. Their cow-calf operation is made up of SimAngus cattle, a cross between Simmental and Angus breeds. While Clint manages the crops and cattle, Kerry is the face of the business—taking orders, making deliveries, running their website, marketing their product, and helping to move machinery, bring in the harvest, or do anything else that’s needed. Both Clint and Kerry grew up working alongside their families, so hard work comes naturally to them. They pass that work ethic on to their young sons, Coyer (11) and Case (9), as they involve them in everyday farm and ranch operations. “They both love all things country,” Kerry adds. Kerry is at home both on the ranch and in their farm kitchen, where she creates family meals with Cramton beef, such as vintage dishes like her grandmother’s goulash, trendy recipes such as ribeye steak bites with sweet potatoes and red peppers, taco-seasoned ground beef stuffed peppers, or ever-popular pepper-crusted brisket. She posts many of these recipes online and sells the beef through the ranch’s website, as well as through direct sales to consumers and area restaurants. Beef options are listed on their website and range from individual cuts to steak and assorted beef bundles; larger amounts are also available, including one-eighth of a beef (approximately 70 pound of selected cuts) up to a whole processed beef. For the Cramtons, the business and the ranch are part of the same daily life. “We’re raising kids, cows and crops,” Kerry says.



Labertew Apiaries Labertew Apiaries on Facebook 785.526.7878 or 785.526.7412

If a dish on the Fly Boy menu has honey, then it almost certainly came from Labertew Apiaries, a family business with a retail store in downtown Sylvan Grove and more than 1,000 beehives spread across different flowering fields in the neighboring counties. “That may seem like a lot [of hives], but in the beekeeping world we’re considered a small commercial operation,” says Stan Labertew, who runs the business with his wife, Sandy, their son Ben, and Ben’s wife, Angie. In addition to these four primary owner-workers, all three of Stan and Sandy’s children, as well as their nine grandchildren, have been involved in various aspects of the business over the years. Stan says, “These days I leave a lot of the heavy lifting to the grandsons as a bee box of honey can weigh up to 100 pounds.” Sandy comes from a family of beekeepers. Her dad learned the business from his uncle and then shared his knowledge with Stan after he and Sandy were married. When Stan signed a contract with Sylvan Unified Schools in 1977, they moved to the area. Besides serving as junior-senior high school principal, teaching and coaching, he gradually began buying bees and developing agreements to place hives in seven counties around Sylvan Grove. After years in education (Sandy also worked as a speech therapist for the Beloit Co-op in the Sylvan Unified and Lincoln districts), the Labertews are spending their retirement as full-time beekeepers, responsible for the everyday care of the bees. Ben, a counselor, teacher and coach, helps out whenever possible, after Generally, the school and on weekends. Labertews’ bees Angie, a first-grade teacher, is in charge of marketing and produce about public relations. Her posts 5,500 gallons on social media engage and of honey each educate followers and keep them updated on the seasonal year. Although cycle of bees. it’s harvested

just once a year, Labertew honey is available year-round and sold at the company’s gift shop in downtown Sylvan Grove as well as throughout the state.

As the days grow longer and warmer in the spring, the dance of the honeybees begins. Depending on where the hives are located, Labertew bees may gather the pollen and nectar from plums, dandelions, sunflowers, wildflowers, clover, soybeans or alfalfa. Hives are checked weekly during the summer. Harvest begins the first part of July and lasts through September or October.

In preparation for cold weather, half the hives are wrapped in tar paper that provides insulation while the bees semi-hibernate over the winter. The other half are loaded on a semi and transported to California where they help pollinate that state’s almond crop before returning to Kansas in the spring. Generally, the Labertews’ bees produce about 5,500 gallons of honey each year. Although it’s harvested just once a year, Labertew honey is available year-round and sold at the company’s gift shop in downtown Sylvan Grove as well as throughout the state. Labertew honey is an essential ingredient in the cinnamon rolls and a honey, cinnamon and nutmeg latte sold at Munchkintz Bakery in Ellsworth. Half-Day Creamery in Topeka also uses the honey in their flavored yogurt.



K A N S A S !









Poet Laureate

Harvest Moon After Lucas Bessire

A fountain coin glows tossed above us into a lustre a gold light over everything reflecting our wishes of abundance

* Lucas Bessire is the author of Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains *Maria is plural for ‘mare,’ which is Latin for sea. 17th century astronomers mistook the large dark areas of the moon for bodies of water. *Ogallala is the Ogallala Aquifer, which runs beneath South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The Ogallala accounts for one-third of all irrigation in the United States. It supports one-sixth of the world's annual grain production.



About the author Huascar Medina is the seventh Poet Laureate of Kansas, serving from 2019–2022. The author of How to Hang the Moon, and Un Mango Grows in Kansas, Medina also serves on the National Council of the Arts and was named as a 2022 Poet Laureate Fellow by the Academy of American Poets.

Above Huascar Medina, Poet Laureate of Kansas

PHOTOGRAPHS (FROM TOP) Shutterstock, Nick Krug

Gazing into the future the maria of the moon mimic the Ogallala scarce and bone-dry

Give the Gift of Kansas Give the gift of Kansas to friends and family this holiday season. From the Land of Kansas offers gift boxes filled with sweet and savory treats everyone will love. All of the products are Kansas-made, grown, and produced by members of the From the Land of Kansas program. Support Kansas producers and agribusinesses.


Ko n z a

Products are locally grown, made and produced in Kansas.

Choose to order now, and ship later.

$55 A d As t r a

Order Your Holiday Gift Boxes Today! shop.fromthelandofkansas.com If you are ordering more than 10 boxes email fromthelandofkansas@ks.gov to place your order.

Outdoors Hit the trails. Take to the water. Find your outdoor adventure in Topeka, Kansas! Explore river access, miles of trails, and discover guided excursions as you start your journey in the #TopCity.


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.