August 27, 2022
By Cheryl Schifferdecker
Special to the Tribune
During this summer’s Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Missouri, August 11-21, two Pleasant Hill gardens achieved multiple awards for their produce including several first place ribbons. The two gardens are unique and different from one another in how they function.
Receiving 11 award ribbons in this year’s Missouri State Fair, the Randolph Family Farm is a family-operated garden which offers vegetables free to their neighbors with a “take what you need and leave what you can stand” attitude. They have a small stand at the end of their driveway located in rural Pleasant Hill. The garden is managed by Clifton Randolph and Rachael Kircher Randolph with the help of son, Brice (age 10), and Rachael’s parents, Mike and Bev Kircher. This year marks the fifth anniversary for their participation in the Missouri State Fair Horticulture Show. They always put together a basket display as well as individual vegetables, fruits and herbs for the fair. “This year, we showed 21 varieties of veggies,” reports Rachael. Their awards included 4 first place ribbons, 4 second place ribbons, and 3 third place ribbons. Their first place awards went to: Cucumbers, market grower basket, mixed heirloom plate and heirloom vegetable (burgundy okra), and sage in herbs category. Other entries which placed second and third included: Beans, okra, heirloom tomatoes, huckleberries, giant red celery, tomatoes and oregano.
The Randolphs also participate in the Downtown Lee’s Summit Farmer’s Market.
“We love growing produce and raising chickens for eggs to share every week with our customers at the Downtown Lee’s Summit Farmer’s Market,” Rachael says.
Receiving 16 award ribbons from this year’s state fair, the Pleasant Hill Community Garden (PHCG) located on the SE corner of Lexington and Myrtle functions as a group membership garden in which members have the opportunity to get their hands in the dirt and access fresh vegetables for a $45 yearly fee. The garden offers aesthetic benefits to the area, and brings healthy produce to the tables of many families who otherwise could not have a garden for one reason or another.
Extras are donated to the Pleasant Hill food pantry. PHCG has 27 members this year with Felicity Finnerty, Nancy Baker and Vera McCoy representing as state fair committee members. PHCG awards for their second year participating in Horticulture at the fair included 5 first place, 7 second place, and 4 third place ribbons. The following blue ribbons were received: Community Garden Harvest Display, green beans, okra, banana peppers, and leafy greens which received first and second place. Other ribbons for second and third place included: Largest tomato, heirloom vegetable, mixed heirloom plate, jalapeño peppers, potatoes, slicing tomatoes, cantaloupe and cabbage.