The Leek family, has been gardening and cooking good food for years. Though I made my living as a school teacher, my wife, Sandra and I gardened in Vinland, Kansas while in college. Our first son, Ernest, was born in Lawrence. We gardened in Ft. Scott, Kansas on a forty-acre farm while we raised our children. We even used a team of Belgian horses named Will and Appetite. We moved to Olathe, Kansas in 1988 but continued to garden. When our twenty-year old daughter, Rachel, was killed in 2009 while riding her bicycle in Lawrence, my son, Tom, and I started a gardening business since she was such an inspiration to us. Following Eliot Coleman’s lead and his work with hoop houses, we started gardening year around and supplying the Community Mercantile in Lawrence. Thus Rachel’s Gardens was born.
After I retired from teaching in 2012, we expanded the business to include my son Pat who unexpectedly died in March, 2013. He was twenty-one. We added his name to the business. Thus Pat and Rachel’s Gardens was born. We earned our USDA Organic Certification in the spring of 2013. The following year we expanded to a ten-acre farm outside of Olathe about halfway to Lawrence. Another Leek, Esther and her husband, Rob, helped grow the business. Jane Leek is currently living in Lawrence and serving as assistant manager of this organic business. Jane, who speaks Italian as well as Spanish like to say “we are SOL, solar, organic, and local.” “Sol” is also the Latin word for the sun. The baby of the family, Angie, a design student at KSU helps by designing our logo, our farmer’s market display, our labels and even our lounge for the employees at the farm.
We are an active owner-member of Fresh Farm HQ,( www.fresh-farm-hq.myshopify.com ), the new farmer-owned cooperative food hub serving the Kansas City area. Our farm serves Fresh Farm HQ as a sub-hub where farmers’ produce is cooled and stored before distribution. We joined the Overland Park Farmer’s Market this year (Wednesdays and Saturdays) (www.opkansas.org/things-to-see-and-do/farmers-market/). We partner with the Community Mercantile in Lawrence,( www.themerc.coop ) and grow specialty crops (red okra, yellow wax beans, and our Spicy Asian Mix for 715 (www.715mass.com) , a fine restaurant in Lawrence. We provide certified organic vegetables to Door to Door Organics and Natures Own Health Market here in Kansas City,( www.doortodoororganics.com)(www.naturesownhealthmarket.com). Chef Allen of Shadow Glen club restaurant, orders tasty produce from us as well. Pat & Rachel’s Gardens LLC is one of the only certified organic processing facilities in the Kansas City area.