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Meet the vendor: Bailey’s Orchard

Meet the vendor: Bailey’s Orchard
Posted on 06/11/2020
Laura Bailey with lettuceLaura Bailey and her husband, Scott, operate a small farm in Edgerton, Kansas, called Bailey’s Orchard. Laura and Scott grow produce on both their farm and the adjacent farm still owned by Laura’s father. They had always gardened, but 10 years ago when Laura started working in the Gardner Edgerton School District, their hobby garden grew into a summer job for her. 

Farming is not foreign to Laura. She grew up helping on her parent’s pumpkin and pine tree farm — the same land where Laura and Scott have some of their garden today. She enjoys being at the Lenexa Farmers Market interacting with customers. It reminds her of the time she used to spend with her mother in the barn helping customers during pumpkin and pine tree season.

In addition to the pumpkins and trees, Laura’s dad — who still farms today — used to grow sweet corn in the summers. He would fill their pickup truck with sweet corn and drive to Olathe to sell it on a street corner. Laura says this was before farmers markets. She has been at other markets in the area but was drawn to Lenexa Farmers Market because it was a true farmers market with only local farm-grown produce. 

Laura and Scott grow their produce in both a field and a high tunnel. A high tunnel is like a greenhouse, but usually not heated (though one of their high tunnels can be heated). Laura says customers often confuse a high tunnel with hydroponics, but it is quite different. In a high tunnel, the vegetable plants are planted directly in the ground, just like in the field. The plastic dome covering over the plants allows farmers to get their plants in the ground earlier and be protected from any late freeze or frosts like we had this year. Ultimately, that results in being able to bring produce to the market ahead of the typical season.

Bailey’s Orchard has 50 peach trees consisting of 12 varieties. Currently Laura and Scott are at the point of needing to replace their peach trees. Peach trees take around three years to begin really producing fruit. They are at peak production during year eight, and they start to decline around year 12 will eventually need to be replaced. Their peach crop was damaged by the late frosts we had this year, so their peach yield will be small. 

In addition to peaches, Bailey’s Orchard grows cucumbers, lettuce, zucchini, bell peppers, cantaloupe and tomatoes. Laura grows three varieties of cherry tomatoes and three varieties of standard tomatoes, with the Mountain Fresh variety being her favorite.

Laura and Scott take pride in everything they grow and enjoy interacting with and educating customers. Stop by the Bailey’s Orchard booth on the west end of the Lenexa Farmers Market every Tuesday to purchase some of their tasty produce.

Published June 11, 2020