Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Webb City Sentinel column - 11/25/15

True to our word, our harvest decorations – scarecrows, straw bales, pumpkins and gourds – are in place for today’s Holiday Market because the holiday we’re celebrating is Thanksgiving!  What better time to load the table with food harvested or made by our neighbors?

This Saturday we’re switching gears, and holidays. The Christkindlmarket in the south part of the pavilion will be decked out for Christmas – garlands, lights, ornaments, tinsel – and Ms. Claus is visiting. Bring your camera for a photo with Ms. Claus. I guarantee you’ll not see a prettier smile or merrier eyes than those of our delightful Christmas lady. (She's at right.  photos below show just a peek of what we're looking forward to on Saturday)

The Pommerts will launch into their holiday music on Saturday so the market will look and sound festive. And thanks to our sidewalls and heaters you’ll be comfortable as well.

I was a bit worried about last Saturday’s weather. With a high of less than 40 and strong winds, I thought we were in for a cold morning, but not so. It was coat cool inside the pavilion. In fact, I shed my coat before the market even started and said a word of thanks to that friend of Webb City, the late Chuck Surface. When Chuck was in charge of the city’s economic development he scouted out a grant to pay for the market’s sidewalls. Parks director Tom Reeder took the project over after Chuck’s death. Tom designed and commissioned the sidewalls which have worked beautifully and he did it so economically that he had enough money left over to buy the two portable heaters. Frugal and effective - two of my favorite adjectives. The sidewalls and heat have made all the difference in the market’s ability to expand its winter activities. In a month or so, we’ll have even better climate control. The market received funding to double the size of the heaters and the park is installing flexible ducting in the ceiling which will push the heat throughout the length of the pavilion. Seems like we always have something going on to improve the market.
For example, next week we begin our Winter Production Education Center activities. On December 5, we build the seed starting structure at the center located on the Yang Farm just south of Rocky Comfort. Then on December 9, 10, 17, 18 and 19 we build the first of two high tunnels. This will be the heated tunnel. The unheated tunnel is slated to be built after the first of the year. If either of those projects interests you, or if you can lend a hand on one or more days, please stop and pick up a flyer with details at the information desk. We’re buying lunch! 

This spring we hope to begin seeing the fruits (actually vegetables) of the center as the Yang family start producing early tomatoes and peppers and cool weather crops like broccoli, cauliflower and greens.

Next fall we hope to see even more veggies as the farmers who participate in workshops at the center put their knowledge to work building and managing their own high tunnels, resulting in more produce for us and our customers and more income for our farmers.

Yes, it seems like we always have something going on to improve the market. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to keep up!

We have occasionally been complimented by customers and the organizations we work with on how organized the market is. That’s always lovely to hear because from our viewpoint it sometimes feels like chaos. But our chaos is really only lots and lots of good things happening at the same time.
We hope to see you at the market often this winter. We’ll be open every Saturday except possibly the day after Christmas and any Saturday that the roads are not safe to travel.

It’s a great place, not only to fill your plates with tasty, healthy food, but also pick up gifts. Why not tie a ribbon around a jar of honey or jam and put it at each place for your holiday meal?  Or tuck a bag of freshly roasted coffee beans in someone’s stocking?  And then there’s always bacon!  What a practical gift a cooler filled with frozen meats would be. There are lots of wonderful local gift ideas from our regular vendors and our Christkindlmarket artisans. Gifts that please both the giver and the recipient and bless the hands that made them possible.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Webb City Sentinel column - 11/20/15

Want to try Crockpot Squash Mac ‘N’ Cheese?  Come to the market tomorrow. We have a new Market Lady, Jordan Nichols, and she has created a recipe especially for the market by ramping up the health benefits – and taste – of macaroni and cheese. She’ll be serving it up tomorrow by the information table from 9 to noon.

Be sure to stop by Fairhaven’s table as well and check out this season’s pecan harvest. They’ll have picked out pecans. Carrole got busy in the kitchen this week and made batches of gooseberry jam and rhubarb jam to add to her already large offering of homemade jams and butters.  Right next door to them, Oakwoods will be giving out samples of a tasty dressing you can make with their roasted peppers.

We have a new honey vendor, Ed Cook, of Cook’s Berry Junction in Liberal. And we can also call him our salt vendor because he makes smoked seasoned salts. The choices are Sriracha, Truffle, Bourbon Bacon, Tequila Lime Dill, Adobe and Wasabi. I’m pretty sure Sriracha and Wasabi are HOT, and so not for me, but some of those others are tempting. They’ll make great stocking stuffers too.

And speaking, indirectly, of the holidays, we’ll be open this Saturday and next as usual, and also this Wednesday from 11 to 1 at the pavilion for our annual Holiday Market. We should have a good choice of produce, baked goods and other tasty treats as well as the wares of many of our Christkindlmarket vendors. If you want to pre-order baked goods, just stop by the baker’s booth this Saturday to place an order.  (That's bibb lettuce growing in one of the Braker Farm high tunnels - photographed yesterday)

We have a new Christkindlmarket vendor who I have been trying to recruit for years. Lee Ann Sours is known at the market as one of our fiddle players, but she is also an accomplished weaver and textile artist. At last she will be at the market with some of her lovely hats and scarves. Her supply is limited so this may be her only appearance. Don’t miss it.

Mark Barger will play his Native American flutes tomorrow. We won’t have a prepared meal, but Hazel’s Bakery will have some tasty muffins – I know because that’s what I had for breakfast last Saturday – and Holy Grounds will serve hot drinks. Enjoy the sounds and tastes of the market while you’re here, and challenge someone to a game. Our game table last week was constantly busy with folks, both young and old, playing checkers, chess and dominos and the little ones coloring. 

This past week we recognized some special people at the market. Each year the market board selects a market Champion, someone who has made a difference at the market. Past recipients include Karen McGlamery, Janet Taylor and Donna Krudwig, volunteer managers, as well as Extension educators Patrick Byers and Shon Bishop. Park Director Tom Reeder and the Perry Foundation are both part of that elite group. This year our Champion is Marilyn Thornberry who has volunteered countless hours at the information desk for over ten years. She is a Champion of the first order.

We also select a recipient for the Golden Washrag Award. The award gets its name from the efforts of the first recipient. About eight years ago, we began asking vendors to pitch in at the market, helping with set up or take down. Robin Green, with Green’s Greenhouse and Gardens, was the first to volunteer and spent that summer wiping down the tables and benches, hence the washrag name. The second year Nancy Rasmussen was the winner after having cleaned the market bathrooms all year. Yes, we have some pretty glamorous jobs at the market. Many other vendors have been thanked with the award – in 2011 all our Hmong vendors were recognized for the tons of produce they donated to feed the volunteers in the tornado recovery effort.

 This year, the award went to Tami Fredrickson and Missy Jones. (Tami's on the left, Missy on the right) Most market days this summer, despite working incredibly long hours at the farm, they stayed and helped close up the market. Now Missy and Tami are putting in hours and hours getting the market’s kitchen ready. If you want something clean, call this team. They do amazing work. So three cheers for Marilyn, Tami and Missy. They deserve thanks from everyone connected with the market and they sure have mine.

We’ll see you at the market tomorrow. It’s going to be another wonderful day!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Webb City Sentinel market column - 11/13/15

What a wonderful start we had last Saturday for our Winter Market.  It was busy, it was festive, it was loaded with vendors and their beautiful products and it’s going to be just as good tomorrow.  Who knows?  Maybe even better.

In addition to most of last week’s vendors, we’ll have some additonal vendors – Mende Staggs is coming for the first time in months with her pink oyster mushrooms.  They’ll go fast!  In the Christkindlmarket, BHaynes returns with her delightful hats and scarves made out of repurposed sweaters.

Market Lady Carolyn Smith makes her first appearance of the year with Hearty Autumn Salad.  The recipe is printed below, but come sample it on tomorrow and pick up some of the ingredients.  Carolyn managed to secure recipe booklets and some reusable bags from Ott’s dressing who donated the dressing for the demonstration.  The first 25 families who ask, get a bag!

Rob Pommert will play his gentle popular tunes.  Hazel’s Bakery will have muffins you can enjoy for breakfast.  Hebrew Holy Grounds promised to have coffee.

Anna Leonard, a certified application counselor with Mercy Hospital, will be at the market tomorrow to provide information on the Affordable Care Act and on obtaining health insurance through the Marketplace. 

It’s the Fall at the market.  Bring a camera (or your phone) and take a photo with the market scarecrows.  They are sitting just inside the market’s north and south entrances amid pumpkins and gourds donated by Fredrickson Farm’s Pumpkin Patch.  How’s that for good timing?  The Pumpkin Patch closed on October 31 and the winter market began the first Saturday in November and we got as many of their fall decorations as we could haul off!  And their generosity doesn’t end there.  Tami & Steve Fredrickson spent Thursday tearing the roof off the market bathrooms and will be working with some professional roofers they hoodwinked into volunteering to put on the new roof today. 
People sometimes give me a lot of credit for the market, but believe me, it’s a team effort and you couldn’t ask for a better team.

We’ll see you at the market tomorrow.


Layer the following ingredients on a salad plate or in a salad bowl.

Kale, torn in bite-size pieces (or substitute your favorite salad greens)
Dried cranberries
Butternut squash (shredded or cut in thin pieces)*
Beet (shredded or cut in thin pieces)*
Apple slices
Feta cheese
Toasted pecans (or substitute your favorite nuts)
Salt and pepper to taste
Serve with Ott's Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
*If you prefer roasted vegetables, cut the squash and beets in cubes, toss in a small amount of oil, and roast.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Webb City Sentinel market column - 11-6-15 Kay is Back!

You might think that things would be winding down at the market, but not so. In fact, we’re gearing up for one of our busy seasons!  

Tomorrow is the first Saturday of Christkindlmarket, and that news means we’re in for lots of treats, but how about this?  Hazel’s Bakery is back!  Kay McLaughlin is coming out of retirement for the second time, lured by the promise of the market kitchen. She is using her small inspected kitchen for the next couple of weeks but looking forward to cutting her baking time in half once the market kitchen and its convection ovens are fully operational. So we’re already reaping benefits from the market kitchen and it’s not even open for business yet. 

Kay, and her pies, cakes, cookies and fruit breads, will be set up next to Fredrickson Farms, because her apprentices are none other than Tami and Missy of that very farm. They’ve been elbow deep in flour for the last couple of days. Tami is our board president and she figured this would be a great way to learn all about the market kitchen (plus, she’s also her own best customer. She put in an order for 20 pies for the Lord’s Acre supper at her church tomorrow night.).

Another vendor expected at the market this Saturday is one that we’ve seen far too little of this year - Amos Apiaries with their local honey. They plan to come about once a month, so tomorrow’s the day to stock up, both for yourself and for gifts for the holidays.
The pavilion should be packed tomorrow. We have seven farms bringing produce. Robertson Family Farm is bringing frozen blueberries from their harvest this year and blueberry syrups. Misty Morning Farm will have cracked pecans, and they’re super fresh, harvested and cracked the week of sale. M & M Bistro returns with their Mediterranean menu of gyros, chicken wraps, hummus and tabouleh plates, plus the best baklava you’ve ever eaten.
And good eating you can take home can be found at The Red Tamale who will be selling handmade frozen tamales in the Christkindlmarket on the south end. We always vet prepared foods prior to accepting vendors. I knew we had a winner when the taste tester (my husband, Phil) declared the tamales superb. 

In the Christkindlmarket, which will be open in conjunction with the farmers market every Saturday from 9 to noon until Christmas, you’ll find some old favorites like woodworkers Ed Grundy and the Chaffin Family, seamstress Edith Bayless, as well as Willow Island with felted and knitted items, Copper Leaf Pottery and Odd Duck Soaps. We also have some new crafters you won’t want to miss.
Christkindlmarkets are an old tradition of open air holiday markets in German-speaking areas of Europe. We spread ours over two months of Saturdays so we celebrate two holidays with harvest decorations until Thanksgiving and then Christmas decorations and music after Thanksgiving. (Yes, Jesse DeGonia, that is how it is done.) 

And we do all this celebrating with the sidewalls down on the pavilion and with the heaters warming us. So come to the farmers market/Christkindlmarket, pose for a photo with the scarecrows, grab some hot chocolate, fresh produce, lunch for later, some gifts and learn how to make a holiday recipe. You may want to do a little jig too if you can’t resist the music.

Marshall Mitchell, our cowboy singer, will perform from 9 to 11. The Market Dude, Frank Reiter, will demonstrate Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries with toasted pecans and goat cheese, drizzled with balsamic honey.
Watch the market come alive while we celebrate yet another season. See you at the market! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Webb City Sentinel market column - 10-30-15

I’ve got a Halloween treat for you - something by a talented new writer!

One of our young vendors, Mabel Brubacker, recently sent me this remembrance of the 2015 growing season which I think you will enjoy.  (She wrote this while on a trip out west - that's her at the Grand Canyon.)

It might be hard to create a clear picture with a blurry mixture of planting, weeding, harvesting and selling in my memory, so maybe I'll just write about each activity, which repeated itself throughout the summer and is mostly all we did!

We had a wet year which made planting hard and gave the weeds the upper hand, but all in all we had a pretty good year for produce. Every few weeks we started another setting of 3-4,000 plants. David and Matthew did most of that, filling the trays with dirt and planting a seed in each pot, then Dad kept the plants watered till they were ready to be transplanted into the plastic mulch in the produce field. That was a long job for the whole crew! One person would punch holes in the plastic, some would plant the seedlings into the holes, others followed up with water, and then finally a large handful of dirt went around the plants.

Weeding seemed never ending and a losing battle this year with all the rain, and the weeds did get the upper hand, despite the hours upon hours we spent trying to subdue them. Often it was so wet they just transplanted themselves after we hoed them out and continued growing. Then produce picking days...morning to night days, busy with picking the veggies, washing them and packing them into crates. We had the whole nine yards at one time or the other. 

Market days are work and kept us hopping too: three days a week each to Springfield and Webb City... but selling is the rewarding part of raising produce - piling the fruit of your labors on the tables and watching happy customers choose what's most appealing to them and walk away with a bagful!  The market in Webb City is my favorite! 

And we girls also do some baking...I enjoy baking and started off doing it myself and selling in Springfield. We prefer to use whole wheat flour and started off with mostly that kind of baked goods, but when the main baker in the Webb City market retired we started baking for that market. My sisters began helping since I couldn't do it all anymore. We also decided to make things with white flour since the many of the customers seem to prefer that. I still make whole wheat bread and that sells more by far than the white bread. I also use whole wheat flour in the cinnamon rolls and cheese breads I make. Ruth has mastered the cookies, Sarah makes pies and quick breads, and Mary does the cakes, bars and pumpkin rolls. Those sell like hot cakes! 

So that's what we've been busy with, in addition to daily housework, canning and freezing fruits and vegetables.

In October produce season was slowing, but we stayed busy getting ready for our long trip to the west coast for the wedding. (Mabel’s brother Lloyd was married last week.) It feels good to have most of the things wrapped up we'd been hoping to. 

The winter squash are all harvested and most of the produce patches plowed down. We worked up some Concord grapes the other week, mostly into juice, then last week we got our yearly apple order from Waverly, and put up 75 gallons of cider, some applesauce, and pie filling.

Mabel is part of Harmony Hill Farm near Wentworth. Like our other farmers, the Brubackers work very hard but love what they do. Many of us will be happy to see them tomorrow after their two week absence for the wedding.
Another vendor we’ll welcome back tomorrow is Cottage Small Coffee Roasters. We’ve been missing Josh and Genevieve Moore and their excellent coffee beans most of the summer while they secured a new roaster. Finally, they’re back!

Tomorrow is our last Cooking for a Cause of the Season. It benefits the Joplin Humane Society. Pancakes, grilled ham and eggs to order.

The Mayfields from Ozark are playing. AND it’s Halloween so everyone who shows up in a costume gets a free mini-bag of kettle corn!  (Alright, even kids in regular clothes are going to get a bag too.)
Don’t forget that Tuesday markets are done for the season. Next Saturday we start our Christkindlmarket so expect to see lots of  gift ideas, as well as many of our regular vendors loaded with produce, baked goods, eggs, meats and other goodies. We’ll also have a new vendor with cracked pecans that she’s harvesting just for you this week. Watch for details in next week’s column.