Missouri at the Market: Stony Crest cultivates ag ‘oasis’ in urban KC

Rodger Kube’s business began as a drive-by tomato stand. His customers would drive up and yell out of their car windows how many tomatoes they wanted, and Kube would run the order to their car.

That tomato stand has now become Stony Crest Urban Farm, a growing business with its own weekly stall at the Brookside Farmers’ Market in Kansas City.

Kube took up gardening as a hobby with his wife, Diane Hershberger, in 1997, when they bought property in southeast Kansas City.

“We were gardners for personal use, but our business kind of grew bit by bit,” Kube said. “We started out giving things away, and then we would sell them on the street corner.”

The gardening hobby went wild, and the couple now runs a 7-acre certified organic operation that produces vegetables year-round. Stony Crest sells hyper-locally, keeping the produce within 10 miles.

Kube and his wife grow everything, from tomatoes to lettuce, kales, cucumbers, winter squash, sweet potatoes, arugula, peppers and more. They have been coming to the farmers market in Brookside each week for the past nine years.

“We started out as conventional farmers and moved into certified organic farming so that we could be at this market because we have an urban farm and we’re in protected area,” Kube said. “It’s kind of an oasis in the middle of the city where we can protect animals as well as grow our produce.”

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