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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Both retired, Carl and Kathy Flora work to sell homegrown items, new cookbook

  • She’s retired from keeping area dogs well-groomed at Kathy’s Canine Clips, and he’s retired after 27 1/2 years of serving as Frontenac chief of police.

    Together Carl and Kathy Flora are now raising a huge garden and selling their produce, home-baked goods and jelly and her new cookbook at the Pittsburg Farmers’ Market.

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  • She’s retired from keeping area dogs well-groomed at Kathy’s Canine Clips, and he’s retired after 27 1/2 years of serving as Frontenac chief of police.
    Together Carl and Kathy Flora are now raising a huge garden and selling their produce, home-baked goods and jelly and her new cookbook at the Pittsburg Farmers’ Market.
    “We’ve always enjoyed gardening and love being able to provide locally grown produce,” Mrs. Flora said.
    Her husband added that they also like meeting and greeting shoppers  and enjoy the company of the other vendors.
    “We’ve got a whole lot of dedicated vendors here at the market,” Flora said.
    “That’s what attracted us, the environment of the Farmers’ Market family,” his wife said.
    They and other growers have had some challenges with the outdoor environment this season because of the unusually cold spring.
    “Anytime you have snow in May, you can expect late tomatoes,” Flora said.
    But conditions are improving.
    “This week we had garlic, herbs and several kinds of greens,” Mrs. Flora said. “Soon we’ll have tomatoes, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes and cucumbers. With a lot of vegetables we like to plant heirloom varieties, and a lot of our seeds are imported from Italy. We also have a nice berry patch.”
    Of course, they also sell other items as well, including baked goods such as cinnamon rolls, jellies and her lye soap, which she makes during the winter when she’s not busy out in the garden.
    Lye is highly caustic and Mrs. Flora has to be very careful handling it.
    “I cover all up and use goggles, a mask, the works,” she said. “But I pH test it and the soap is quite mild, with olive and coconut oils in it.”
    She also adds fragrances to her soap batches. Her husband’s favorite is Arabian spice.
    “That’s aromatherapy right there,” Flora said.
    Another of his wife’s projects is her new cookbook, which is available Saturdays at the Pittsburg Farmers’ Market or by calling 620-232-1772.
    “That was something she always wanted to do,” her husband said. “I didn’t get to see too much of her for a week or two because every time I looked, she was on the computer working on the cookbook.”
    Mrs. Flora said that she has loved cooking since she was a little girl and her mother showed her how to warm up canned soup.
    “Like a lot of women, I have boxes of recipes,” she said. “I have recipes from home economics and junior high school. When I retired and started trying to arrange them, I thought doing a cookbook would be a nice way to honor some friendships and some people who are no longer here.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Mrs. Flora said that the recipes came from family, friends and even some fellow market vendors.
    “There are a lot of good recipes in there for Farmers’ Market produce,” Flora said.
    That would include recipes for Swiss chard breakfast squares and pound cake flavored with rose geranium leaves.
    “Rose geranium used to be used a lot more in cooking than it is now,” Mrs. Flora said. “It’s wonderful with pound cake.”
    One of her hobbies is trail riding, and she’s included a lot of trail riding and camping recipes as well, along with some for venison.
    “All of these recipes are tried and true family favorites,” Mrs. Flora said. “But people have different tastes, and I encourage them to personalize the recipes according to what they and their family like.”
    She and her husband try to eat healthfully and use primarily vegetable oils and fats, though they prefer real butter to margarine. They also generally use turkey in place of pork.
    Mrs. Flora, who came to the Frontenac area in 1973, grew up in the Langley and Ketchum area in Oklahoma. That’s not the deep south, but she said the food there was definitely more southern than that of southeast Kansas.
    “I grew up eating floured, pan-fried chicken with mashed potatoes or grits,” she said. “I ate a lot of grits, fried okra, green tomatoes and squash, but not zucchini.”
    Mrs. Flora admitted that when she first came to this area,  she didn’t really like local fried chicken and had never tasted anything like the Italian cuisine that Frontenac is sofamous for.
    “Now I love southeast Kansas fried chicken and Italian food,” she said.
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