It’s Friday 2am, and Valerie Visser is in her kitchen baking cinnamon rolls. It’s a tradition, one that the residents of Riley, Kansas and its surrounding communities have come to embrace when they stop by The Fork in the Road Kansas, a quaint little brick and mortar market on the side of the road.
In 2018, I toured the state of Kansas with 8 fellow bloggers, a farmer, a 2-person film crew, and representatives from the Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Soybean Association. We spent three days touring the entire state, visiting cattle farms and dairy farms. The three days ended with an epic meal on the front porch of a majestic farm house in Lawrence, Kansas. I learned so much about farming, raising pig and cattle, GMO’s, meat hormones and antibiotics. I have spent my entire life in the city so it’s eye opening to learn about where our food comes from, and meet the people that work hard to grow that food.
Valerie and her husband live on a farm just outside of Riley, a small farming town 140 miles west of Kansas City, 130 miles north of Wichita, and 120 miles south of Lincoln, Nebraska. While her husband tends to the corn, soybeans, and wheat they grow on their farm, Valerie spends her time running an honor system market and raising her children. Her story is quite interesting.
As Valerie was growing up, her parents both dreamt the same dream, on the same night – to sell cookie dough. They built a business selling cookie dough to area clients and markets in the state of Kansas. When Valerie went to school at Kansas State, she too began to prepare and sell cookie dough in the Manhattan, Kansas area. And while she continued this business into the first few years of her marriage, she just felt that something was off.
She spent some time working next to her husband on the farm where in addition to row crops, they were also harvesting cover crops like turnips, and raising pigs and cattle. In 2012, they placed a few vegetables on a table for passersby along Kansas Highway 77. They left a box on the table for money to be left, and thus opened their first honor system farm stand.
After much time spent in prayer and reflection, Valerie felt the Lord telling her to continue the farm stand.
In October 2019, what started as a farm stand by the side of the road, turned into a brick and mortar store, at the front of their farm. The Fork in the Road Kansas market still operates on the honor system and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The store has become wildly popular since its opening and now Valerie works with local distributors and farmers to offer a wider selection of fruits, vegetables, meats, carrot cake, cookie dough, and on Fridays -homemade cinnamon rolls.
Free bibles are also offered at the market as both Valerie and her husband are both dedicated to their spiritual beliefs.
I loved my conversation with Valerie as it opened my eyes to another spin on farming. And I always love speaking to a fellow believer and exchanging God sighting stories.
Thank you so much to Valerie for taking the time to speak with me and Jancey from Kansas Soybeans for introducing us!
Read more about farming in Kansas: