Pat & Rachels Gardens mission is to establish a healthy, sane business which produces excellent quality food for the Olathe and Greater Kansas City area and to share our ideas and research so others may benefit. The Leek family has been gardening and cooking good food for years. Gardening and farming is a way of life and a wise teacher. Though I supported my family as an educator and not as a farmer, home-grown food and the rural life allowed us to provide a healthy environment for our children. We lived in Ft. Scott, Kansas for twelve years on a forty-acre farm where we raised all but three of our children. We also raised chickens and pigs and milked everyday. Our team of Belgian draft horses, Will and Appetite, completed our little farm.
We moved to Olathe, Kansas in 1988 where we put up our first hoop house and small greenhouse. Son Tom and I started a gardening business on two acres following Eliot Coleman’s lead and his work with hoop houses. Our first wholesale buyer was the Community Mercantile in Lawrence. After I retired from teaching in 2012, we expanded the business when my son Ernest purchased a ten acre farm for us to work. Naming it after two of my children who died in 2008 and 2013, Pat and Rachel’s Gardens was born. We earned our USDA Organic Certification in the spring of 2013. Our daughter, Esther, and her husband, Rob, helped grow the business.
Daughter Jane served as assistant manager of this organic business in 2017. Jane, who speaks Italian as well as Spanish liked to say “we are SOL, solar, organic, and local.” “Sol” is also the Latin word for the sun. The baby of the family, Angie, an interior designer for BRR Architecture, helps us with design, marketing, and social media.
In 2018 we welcomed Catherine Sercer who brought her expertise in growing vegetables to be our farm manager. Her hard work and attention to detail have improved the variety and quantity of our offerings. She begins her fourth year with us this season. We sell at the Overland Park and Brookside Farmers’ Markets and serve others through our Organic CSA.
In addition to our Certified Organic Farm, we have a Certified Organic, state licensed kitchen where we produce a wide variety of popular products. Having a doctorate in curriculum and instruction trained me in the value of research. We have been an active partner in the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program of the USDA. This grant program encourages new ideas to be tried and research findings to be shared. See more about our research under the Processing + Research tab on this website.