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Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Susan Rommelfanger, Rommey Farms
Kansas Ag Connection - 03/01/2024

A child walks along a path next to a verdant garden surrounded by farm fields, pausing every few feet to read a few more pages from a children’s book as displayed on stands along the way.

This is a story walk. It was created by an innovative farm couple that is producing fresh products while educating the public about food.

Susan and Don Rommelfanger own Rommey Farms, based in Cassoday, Kansas, which has a story walk located on it. It’s one example of the way they are connecting with consumers.

At right: Don and Susan Rommelfanger | Download this photo Susan grew up on a ranch near Towanda where she was active in 4-H. “My dad always had a huge garden. We enjoyed those fresh vegetables,” she said. She attended Butler Community College and Friends University.

Her sister moved to Cassoday. When Susan went to visit, she found the annual Cassoday hog roast and fire hall dance was underway. That’s where she met Don Rommelfanger.

Rommelfanger had grown up in Greeley and attended Pittsburg State. He became grounds supervisor at Butler Community College and lived at Cassoday where he was also the fire chief. When Don met Susan at the fire hall, there must have been a spark between them. You might say that it kindled a romance. Okay, no more fire jokes.

The Rommelfangers were married in 2015. They bought land west of Cassoday. Susan became an Extension Master Gardener.

“Ever since I was a little girl, it's been my dream to bring fresh, locally grown, sustainably produced foods to my community and the surrounding communities,” Susan said. They tilled a half-acre plot of garden and started producing. They called it Rommey Farms, for short.

In the first year, they took produce to the Old Town Farmer’s Market in Wichita. The business grew from there.

“Pendletons (at Pendleton’s Country Market) near Lawrence helped us get going,” Susan said. When the pandemic hit, Shop Kansas Farms helped as well. Rommey Farms is also a member of the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s From the Land of Kansas program.

“We wanted to develop a relationship with our customers,” Rommelfanger said. They established a CSA, which stands for community-supported agriculture, which refers to an arrangement under which consumers agree to receive a regular delivery of a local grower’s seasonal produce.

“People wanted to support us,” Rommelfanger said.

In the first year, Rommey Farms had nine CSA members. In 2023, there were 39. In addition to CSA members, Rommey Farms sells directly to consumers through its farm stand, online store, and popup tent sales.

The Rommelfangers partner with a local non-profit child care provider service on education. They’ve also organized a new non-profit group called the Prairie Wellness Foundation which promotes healthy ways of growing and consuming nutritious food.

Today, Rommey Farms produces lettuce, radishes, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, green beans, summer squash, cantaloupe, sweet corn and more. They have a cow-calf herd plus chickens and a seven-hive apiary where they produce their own honey. In the summertime, they produce cut flowers.

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