City officials consider allowing wine sales by farmers at City Market

KANSAS CITY, Mo. –  There could be a new spirit moving at City Market. City leaders are considering an ordinance that would allow temporary vendors in the outdoor market to sell locally grown wine.

It could happen soon, too.  Kansas City’s Public Safety and Emergency Services Council is expected to render a decision in the near future, one that could allow Missouri-grown wines to be sold in the popular farmer’s market.

Vendors there say it’s an agricultural-based product, grown by farmers in their home region.

“This modernizes us. It keeps us current,” Megan Buum from City Market said.

That outdoor shopping center plays host to as many as 190 farmer’s market tenants every Saturday. Buum says support for farmers to sell locally grown wines helps the local economy.

“It benefits our local farmers,” Buum said. “They’re small business owners and this is a large part of their business. It’s new customers to their product, and income for them.”

City Market draws an average of 15,000 patrons each Saturday, according to Buum, who says some of those farmers also operate vineyards, and the grapes they use are another product from their fields.

“You have to grow the product yourself,” Buum said. “You have to be an approved farmer’s market vendor with a stall and you have to have appropriate permits from the city and the state.”

Ben Wisdom is a merchant known for seeking out new ideas. He’s operated Christina’s Produce since the year 2000, and while most of his produce comes from outside the metro, he supports the farmer’s market vendors efforts to sell their wines.

“There are businesses around the market that are retailing wines, but that’s from Napa Valley and other places,” Wisdom said. “This would allow patrons to come down and get wines from the fields in Missouri.”

“A lot of our patrons are tuned-in to the food world trends,” Buum added. “Farmers markets in other parts of Missouri and in Overland Park can sell wine. Our customers expect that same high-end of product here as well.”

A meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, during which, city officials were expected to render a decision. However, that meeting was postponed, and a new date is expected to be arranged soon.

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