Laura Christensen's Blue Door Farm fights off a cold spring

Blue Door Farm fights off a cold spring.



Christensen inside a high tunnel at Blue Door Farm.
  • Megan Dejmal
  • Christensen inside a high tunnel at Blue Door Farm.
A cold, wet start to growing season means that humans and bunnies alike are waiting a little longer for carrots. Fat City caught up with Laura Christensen, who operates Blue Door Farm in Kansas City, Kansas, as she worked her fields in preparation for the opening of the Brookside Farmers Market and the start of transplant season.

Now in her seventh year of farming, Christensen has a sense that the spring and summer harvests are likely to be delayed. "Last spring was drier and warmer," she says. "Everything is going to be a few weeks later, but the markets will still have produce, particularly leafy greens coming out of high tunnels."

The crops in the fields are off to a slow start.
  • Megan Dejmal
  • The crops in the fields are off to a slow start.
In the high tunnels on her certified-organic farm, Christensen has planted greens, chard, fennel and arugula, all of which can thrive in cold temperatures and high humidity. In her fields, she's waiting to plant tomatoes until the soil temperature rises and the danger of overnight frost abates. Christensen is also keeping an eye on the root vegetables in the ground; her beets and carrots have yet to germinate.

The forecast isn't all tepid: The cooler temperatures have kept pests away and should lead to a bounty of head lettuce.

"Everyone is in a wait-and-see mode," Christensen says. "But once the weather heats up, I expect to hear from lots of gardeners asking about heat-resistant and drought-tolerant plants."

Christensen has dozens of heirloom-tomato plants, from cherry to slicers, and she recommends the Eva Purple Ball and Purple Calabash. The former has a sweet taste and a thin pink skin, and it's productive even in extreme heat. The Purple Calabash looks like a Cinderella pumpkin and deserves to be the T in your BLT.

"I know this year will be great," she says. "I just don't know how yet. That's farming. It's a little different each year. If you want to eat locally, you have to roll with it."

Christensen is selling transplants and produce at the BadSeed Farmers Market (1909 McGee) Friday nights and at the Brookside Farmers Market (63rd Street and Wornall) Saturday mornings through June.

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