There may be no more "Kansas" way to spend a Kansas summer day than tooling around the Flint Hills, visiting a peach orchard, having a pasture picnic and feasting on a farm-to-table meal.
The event is broken up into two parts — a tour and luncheon, and an evening farm dinner — and participants can choose to buy tickets for one or both.
The point of the tour, said organizer Tiya Tonn, is to get Kansans in touch with their neighbors who produce their food.
"The whole premise to this event is inviting consumers out to meet producers face to face on their operations and let them start the conversation and get some direct answers," she said.
The day starts at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, when participants will meet at Fulton Valley Farms in Towanda, board air-conditioned charter buses and travel to Meadowlark Farm peach and apple orchard in Rose Hill. They'll tour the orchards, then travel to Bluestem Elementary in Leon, where they'll see the school's farm and hear about how taking care of animals and vegetables is part of the curriculum. While there, participants will enjoy a locally sourced lunch that includes farm-fresh brisket, peaches and more.
Their next stop will be the Korte Farms in Latham, where they'll learn about haying, followed by a trip to the Lazy B Ranch in Ellsworth to hear about the cattle industry. While there, they'll have a pasture picnic with samples from Grace Hill Winery and Walnut River Brewing Co. An acoustic guitarist will perform during the pasture picnic.
They'll drop by a livestock auction in El Dorado, and then the buses will head back to Fulton Valley Farms for a farm-to-table dinner prepared by the students from the Butler County Culinary Arts program.
On the menu: dishes made with local tomatoes, squash, zucchini and peppers as well as a carving station with mini-French dip sandwiches, and a street taco station. Dessert will be homemade peach cobbler with ice cream. During dinner, drinks will be provided by Grace Hill Winery, Walnut Valley Brewing Co. and Meadowlark Farms, which will serve its hard cider.
"People will be well-fed, that's for sure," Tonn said.
Last year's dinner drew about 160 people, Tonn said, and she expects a similar-size crowd this year. Attendees are split between two buses.
Tickets are $75 for the all-day tour plus the dinner. Tickets for the tour and the lunch are $40, and tickets for the dinner only are $45. They're available until 5 p.m. Wednesday at www.eventbrite.com/. After that, people can call 316-320-3166 to get tickets.