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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Linn County spring farm tour set for Saturday, from 9 to 3

Bill Noffke of Skyview Farm in rural Pleasanton explains the process his company uses in making a variety of cheeses during last year's farm tour. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

There will be plenty of opportunities on Saturday, May 20, for families young and old to get out into the country and experience the variety of agricultural producers in Linn County.

The Linn County Spring Farm Tour is set to run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and there will be 11 stops on this spring’s tour. There is no charge to take the tour.

Maps of the tour are available at any of the farms.

New this spring is Seven Bridges Micro Greens at 1310 Laurel St. in Pleasanton. Not farming in the traditional sense, operators Bill and Dorothy Skipper grow four varieties of nutrient micro greens under lights. Also at the former Casey’s storefront will be Jeanette Bennett, a master gardener, setting up a children’s seed project, and she will also be discussing the benefits of homegrown food. Vegetable plants will also be on sale this Saturday.

Also in Pleasanton is the Pleasanton Farmers’ Market at 10th and Main streets. Several local vendors will have stands set up, selling homegrown products. This is a spot to hit early because farmers here tend to sell out quickly in the morning, particularly on farm tour days.

While you are in the area, stop in at the McKee Family Farmstead at 12253 Umphenour Rd. In rural Pleasanton. Hannah and Kodee McKee will be serving breakfast croissants from 9 to 11 a.m. and brats from noon to 2 p.m. Producers of farm-fresh eggs, poultry and chicken, the McKees will be processing early that morning.

Eric and April Castle with Castle Farms Fresh Meats, 5670 Scott Road in rural Pleasanton, will also have a lunch concession featuring brat and their pork bacon burger patties. On the tour, families will see baby pigs and baby chicks and children can play kids games here. Sweet Harvest Baking Co. will also have a food truck at this location. The Castles’ “farm to fork pork” products will also be on sale. An added bonus here, restrooms are available on site.

At nearby Skyview Farm, operated by Sheri and Bill Noffke, tour-goers will be able see a grade-A micro-dairy at 22722 E. 800 Road in rural Pleasanton. The Noffkes sell raw milk, cave-aged cheese, fresh cheese and other milk products they make from milk produced by their herd of Jersey cows. This is a fascinating tour that shows the ins and outs of milk and cheese production.

Also in the Pleasanton area is C&M McGinnis Grass Fed Beef at 17820 E. 1650 Rd. Clark and Marilyn McGinnis offer tours of their Angus beef operation that sells all-natural grass-fed beef. In addition to learning about their niche in the beef industry, the couple sell beef directly from the farm.

In nearby Mound City, Blue Dog Wine Co., a winery based in La Cygne on Sarah and Tracy Johnson’s family farm, is back again this tour, but in a different location. The Coyote, Blue Dog’s new venue on Main Street in Mound City, is both a tasting room and new outlet for the company’s line of wines.

About a half-mile west of Mound City on Kansas Highway 52 is the Jayhawk-Linn High School FFA barn. In addition to students showing their animals – which include pigs, lambs and goats – children who visit can learn about the benefits of joining FFA.

Heading to northern Linn County, Rocky Suns Farm at 10062 W. 2200 Rd. In rural Parker, has many activities for the tour and will be open on both Saturday and Sunday. The farm is located a mile west from Kansas Highway 7 on 2200 Road. Regulars on the tour, Dustin and Amanda Michelle have recently added onto their country store and have also a added a playground for children. Open year round, Rocky Suns has fresh, farm-grown vegetables and plants for sale as well as a host of farm-based products. Visitors can tour the grounds, which include greenhouses, a dairy barn, plenty of animals and activities for the kids.

Grace Heritage Dairy, at 40681 Hedge Lane, is a couple miles due north of Prairie View High School and is one of two Miami County operations on the tour. Sarah and Colton Easdon operate a four generation Nubian goat dairy farm. The couple sell raw milk and goat cheese. In addition to pet goats, visitors can also tour the barn that is more than 120 years old.

Crystal and Beau Stude’s Courage Farms, 28608 W. 403rd St. in rural Fontana is a vegetable farm that offers much more. In addition to selling fresh vegetables and baked goods, this farm will have plenty of activities, which include feeding animals and Blackjack the donkey. Free coffee and lunch are available at the farm.

Map screenshot from Linn County Farm Tour Facebook page.

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