Thursday, August 6, 2020

Webb City Sentinel market column - Wednesday, August 5, 2020

It is finally full blown melon season and that makes me very happy. I like melons of all kinds but watermelon is my favorite and there’s finally enough watermelon that those of us who buy last still have lots of choices. (Since the market opened I have made it a personal policy to buy last if an item is in short supply. I would rather the customer go home with what they came for.) 

At yesterday’s market I loaded up with seedless melons for the next kids meal. When you’re cutting up watermelon for 100 kids, you don’t want to pick out seeds. I know. I did last week when the seedless melons were not being harvested in sufficient numbers to last the whole market, much less enough to supply the kids meal. Not so at yesterday’s market. There were still loads of seedless watermelon at the end of market. So the kids will be delighted and I will be happy because instead of spending three tedious hours preparing the melons I’ll be able to whiz through them in less than one.

And there were plenty of other kinds of produce too, including long beans which I wrote about last week. As promised, at the end of the column are recipes using long beans.

We’ll have five farms at tomorrow’s market including our biggest melon producers:  Brakers, Harmony Hill, and E and O. There will also be honey, coffee, beans and drinks, meats, and cut flowers. Songbird’s Kitchen will serve Asian specialties like egg rolls and crab Rangoon. Enjoy the uncrowded Thursday market while you can. There are only two left this year! 

Saturday will feature our usual abundance of vendors, 11 produce farms, two mushroom growers, a cut flower farm, plus flowers from many of our regular growers, three bakeries, our shrimp farmer, two meat producers with beef, chicken, pork, and lamb, plus farm fresh eggs, and our cow’s cheese producer Grison Dairy & Creamer. We’ll have King’s Kettle Corn, 2T’s Soaps, DnD Smoked, Good Golly Tamale, and MaMa JoJo’s with pasta and sauces. We expecting another new vendor (yes, we’ve added four new vendors in the last 10 days). Alchemist Heaven will have handcrafted perfume oil and all natural body products. We only expect her one Saturday a month so be sure to check her out.

Cooking for a Cause benefits CROPwalk and will be operated by volunteers from Central United

Methodist Church. CROPwalk is held all over the country and raises money and awareness about hunger. Part of the funds raised stay in our area supporting organizations like Crosslines and the rest goes around the world providing assistance to refugees and areas of chronic and intense poverty. Locally the walk, which this year will be online due to COVID-19, is supported by many churches as well as individuals. Come enjoy scrambled eggs, sausages, hashbrown casserole, biscuits and gravy, and coffee or juice for only $6. It’s served to-go, but you can enjoy it at the market or wherever you choose to savor it. Drew Pommert will be playing in the yellow and white tent north of the pavilion. Breakfast and music run from 9 to 11. The market closes at noon on Saturdays.

The Free Kids Meals this week are:

Tomorrow lunch from 11 to 1 is served to-go in the kids tent:  ham and cheese sandwich, carrot sticks, watermelon, and milk.

Saturday has both breakfast and lunch served to-go in the kids tent:  Breakfast – bacon and egg casserole, watermelon, and milk AND lunch - chicken salad with crackers, cherry tomatoes, cantaloupe, and milk. The kids get both meals, regardless of income or residency, as long as they are between 1 and 18 years old.

While Tuesday is too far away for me to have details, you can expect a dandy market. We usually stay open on Tuesdays until mid-October after the mums are all sold. Yes, it will be mum season before we know it.

Now’s the time to focus on summer crops like long bean. Long beans are bunched by our growers in either all green or a mix of green and dark purple.  They both taste the same.  My personal recipe is super simple, because that’s how I like my food. I can prepare a whole bundle of long bean in a large skillet. It makes two very generous servings but can easily serve more if you don’t devour it like I do. I rinse the beans and then cut about half an inch off the bottom. The rest I cut into about 3 inch pieces. In a large skillet I heat on medium low enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom. I chop a clove of elephant garlic and brown it in the skillet. I get my elephant garlic from Hillside Farm who will be at Tuesday’s market. Then I add the beans and cover, tossing occasionally

to coat with the oil and make sure everything cooks. Cook until the beans reach the tenderness you like.

For me that’s under 10 minutes. This dish reheats well in the microwave.

Now for the real treat, a family recipe. Bertha O’Rourke Cardetti was the mother of our wonderful volunteer Janet Taylor. Bertha was English, German, and Irish and married into an Italian family. She became a wonderful Italian cook, learning from her mother-in-law who came to the US as a young child from Bologna, Italy. This dish was always a favorite of Janet’s and became a staple in her own home when her children were growing up. She still makes it about once a month. “It’s really simple and very good!!  I’ve probably made it ‘healthier’ over the years, exchanging olive oil for some of the margarine used in the original recipe.”  She’s also replaced the green beans with our Asian vendors’ long beans. Talk about an international dish.

Bert Cardetti’s Green Bean Stew (adapted by Janet Cardetti Taylor)


1 pound beef stew meat

1 pound long beans, cleaned and cut into 3” to 4” pieces

1 medium onion, dice

2 cloves of minced garlic

(or squeezed garlic)

2 celery stalks, chopped

parsley (or parsley flakes) 

tomato juice or V-8


In a Dutch oven, brown stew meat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Remove meat from pan and set aside. If needed, add a bit more olive oil and sauté the diced onion, chopped celery, and parsley, adding the garlic after a few minutes. Add the browned meat back into th

e pan. Top the meat with the beans. (Janet usually salts and peppers each ingredient as it goes into the pan.)  Pour 3 – 4 cups of tomato juice over the beans. Add water until the beans are covered. Bring to a boil on medium high for about 30 minutes, then turn down to simmer and let cook for at least 2

to 3 hours. Janet usually adds some Tuscan herbs at the end of the simmering time. I had to look up Tuscan herbs:  basil, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, fennel seeds, and garlic. You can find recipes for the mix online.

Janet sometimes adds small potatoes about half way through the cooking time to make it a complete one-pot meal. “My mother always served this dish with potatoes, so I thought I’d just

add them to the pot to save a step.” (and a dish)  She also sometimes substitutes pork for the beef.

It sounds like a hearty and satisfying meal and one that I’m going to try soon. Do you have a favorite market recipe?  I’d love to hear it. Whether enjoying fresh melon or cooking up a family meal, the market makes everything tastier, don’t you think?  See you at the market.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Webb City Sentinel market column - Wednesday, July 29, 2020

If you were at the market last Saturday, you saw three new vendors. They’ll be back this Saturday, plus an even newer one! We’ll have farm-raised shrimp from Clear Water Shrimp Farm based near Neosho, Asarum Flower Farm which is a specialty cut flower farm also near Neosho. If you’d like to see beautiful flower photos, check Asarum out on Facebook. Good Golly Tamale from Billings has frozen tamales and fresh tamale sauce. Last Saturday they had green chili chicken, chipotle chicken, and vegetarian cheese. Our newest vendor is Missouri Mushrooms from Ash Grove. They’ll have oyster mushrooms and lion mane mushrooms. More on Saturday below, but first let’s talk about tomorrow.
Tomorrow Songbird Kitchen will have made-at-the-market Asian food. Many of our farms, Braker, Harmony, Lee, Whole Earth Harvest Farm (that’s the new name of the Lykou Lee Farm), Nature Valley, and Vang Garden will be at the Thursday market. We’ll also have Helm Honey, Juniper Coffee, and Stormy Farms (with all-natural meats). Thursday is a great day to shop if you want to avoid a crowd, especially after the first half hour. Enjoy Thursdays while you can. Unless the school starting date changes, August 13 will be our last Thursday market of the season.

Now, let’s get back to Saturday. In addition to our four new vendors, most of our farmers will help us bring in August – Agee’s, Braker, E & O, Harmony, the Lees, Nature Valley, OakWoods, Pates, and Still Waters. We expect three bakers – Harmony, Redings Mill, and Sunflower. Two ranches – Garrett and Sunny Lane. And our specialty vendors – 2Ts Soap, DnD Smoked, Juniper Coffee, Kings Kettle Corn, and MaMa JoJo’s.  And I won’t be surprised if we hear from a few more vendors as Saturday nears.
Cooking for a Cause on Saturday benefits the Come Back Kids Scholarship program in Sarcoxie.This project is raising funds to provide scholarships to Sarcoxie graduates who agree to return to teach in the Sarcoxie school system. The goal is to raise $100,000 and the scholarships will be for up to $5,000 awarded to junior and seniors in college.  Served from 9 to 11 just north of the pavilion. Max Barnett is on the market stage on Saturday.

The Free Kids Meals this week are:
Tomorrow:  Meat and bean taco salad with tomato, cheese, and lettuce, chips, market cantaloupe and watermelon salad, and milk.

Saturday (the kids get a hot breakfast to-go and a sack lunch):  Brownie batter oatmeal with watermelon, and milk AND Hot dog, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and milk

The meals are free to any child, aged 1 through 18, regardless of residency or income. 

We’ll have market Tuesday from 4 to 7. Ghetto Taco will have street tacos and Cochinita Mexicangrilled corn. There will be a free kids meal. I don’t have the menu yet, but I expect it will be filled with tasty market produce. It’s served from 4:30 to 6:30 in the kids tent north of the pavilion.

Finally, a couple of celebrations. The market was notified this week that it has received a grant from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. They are helping with our music costs to the tune of $1,800 this year. We also learned that the WR Corley Trust has awarded the market’s WIC program $1,000. The WIC program is funded without any government support so gifts from foundations, trusts,
churches, businesses, and individuals are critical to the market’s efforts in making sure young low-income families have access to fresh local foods.

 So three cheers for the arts and three more cheers for the Corley Trust. And three cheers for my newest favorite vegetable – Long Beans.  I’ll have a couple of long bean recipes, including a special family recipe, to share with you next week. See you at the market.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Webb City Sentinel market column - Wednesday, July 22, 2020

I love being with my family in Denver but I have to admit it sure feels good to be back in Webb City, plowing through all the work and life that piled up while I was gone for almost four months. And it was lovely to go back to the market Saturday and find it thriving despite the trials of COVID and a late start for corn and melons. It was especially nice to hear that sales were up from the same Saturday last year, even with those shortages. My heartfelt thanks to our vendors who have stepped up and our customers who have continued to support the market. And to the market staff and volunteers who have managed under difficult circumstances and Webb City public works who created a safe space south of the pavilion in which to expand. Thanks to the efforts and support of many, the market has expanded its protected sales area by 50% over last year, giving us the space these times require and allowing the market to continue to be one of the heartbeats of our community when so many of our other gathering places must be closed or limited.
Expansion on the south - the new Perry Foundation extension and the canopies.

The on-line store has expanded too. The Lee Family Farm has joined the store with sweet peppers – banana and bells - and hot peppers – habanero and GHOST, yes that’s about as hot as it gets. Plus they had fingerling eggplants on offer last week. The Garrett Family Farm has added meat bundles, giving us four meat vendors online now, including Misty Morning Farms’ grass fed 90/10 ground beef. The market is also putting its Market Fresh Salads on-line so look for cantaloupe this week and watermelon the following week as they come into good supply. A 32 oz. container of cut cantaloupe or watermelon costs just $4. I saw the same product, except not fresh and local, in a grocery store in Denver last week for twice that so it’s a deal. In all there are 13 market vendors selling over a hundred products on line.
The online store hours are changing. Starting this Thursday at noon, the store will be open 24/7 so you can place your orders anytime. Pickup will still be on Tuesdays at the market between 5 and 7 pm and must be placed by noon on Sunday to be picked up the following Tuesday. That’s because the farmers and bakers need a couple of days to harvest and/or bake to bring you fresh and local on Tuesday. Delivery is available within 10 miles of the market. Just hope on once the store closes at 

The free kids meals this week are served in the tent north of the pavilion:

Tomorrow – lunch is from 11 to 1 – hamburgers with lettuce and tomatoes, berries, chips, and milk.

Saturday breakfast is served hot to go along with a brown bag meal for lunch – blackberry and oat yogurt parfait and milk AND ham & cheese sandwich, sliced cucumber and cherry tomatoes with ranch dip, and milk.

Meals are free to any child, age 1 through 18, regardless of residency or income. Sorry, next Tuesday’s menu isn’t available yet but will be served from 4 to 6 in the tent.

On Saturday, Cooking for a Cause benefits Ronald McDonald House. Justin Cauble plays.

On Tuesday, Ghetto Taco will serve street tacos and Drew Pommert performs.

Lots of folks are stepping up by wearing masks at the market. The market is doing its part by offering a free market mask to anyone who doesn’t already have one. They are in fabric with fruit and veggie themes and made by our friends at Harmony Hill. You’ll find them at the information table. For folks who already have a mask but just want another, they can buy a mask at Harmony Hill’s table.

I’ll leave you with an insider’s tip. Teng Yang at Nature Valley insisted I try his ice box melon when I  was at the Tuesday market. It’s a small watermelon, about the size of a cantaloupe. As market was closing he still had a number on his table. I expect folks thought they were unripe because they were so small. Well, having just taken my first bite I can assure you, hmmm hmmm, it is delicious!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Webb City Sentinel market column - Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Good news. Melon season is here. Cantaloupe made its debut at the market yesterday. Watermelons are expected on Saturday. We typically have four or more farms that plant large melon fields so now that the crops are ready for harvest we should see tables full of many kinds and sizes. I hope so because I have my own plan for market melons.
We have been working for several years on ideas to maximize the use of the market kitchen and also find ways to use surplus produce. One very successful project has been the free kids meal which uses a lot of our produce. In fact, when the state audited the program last year, the auditor was amazed that almost 50% of our ingredients were purchased from our farmers. She said no other program in the state came close to that
percentage. And I believe her.

I review all sorts of programs as a grantreviewer and also try to keep up with what other local foods programs are doing. Typically farm to table programs have a goal of 10% to 20% of their ingredients being local produce. We aim higher.
So I've ordered containers and sharpened my chef knife and just as soon as the melon harvest is large enough that there are melons at the end of the market day, I plan to buy the surplus and make fresh fruit salads.
I expect to also add some store-bought fruit like grapes, but the salads will primarily be cantaloupe and watermelon, two of my own favorite foods. I hope our customers will be interested since our melons are delicious. But melons can also be rather large, so I'm hoping those customers who can't manage to eat a full melon will choose a salad once or twice or three times a week. All profits will go to help with market expenses. Win-win-win. Farmers sell all their melons, customers get a new ready-to-eat local product, and the market becomes more sustainable. Watch for the new Market brand fruit salad in a week or so.
The market will be open tomorrow from 11 to 2. The free kids meal will be a meat and cheese burrito, cherry tomatoes, sliced peaches, and milk. It will be served in the large tent north of the pavilion and is free to any child aged 1 through 18.
On Saturday kids get two free meals: Breakfast, served warm and packed to-go, is “Chunky-Monkey Morning Oats, with peanut butter and banana, plus milk. The kids can also pick up a sack lunch of a club wrap with market greens, market veggies, and milk.
The Chert Glades Master Naturalists serve Cooking for a Cause. Enjoy scrambled eggs, hashbrown casserole, biscuit and gravy or jammin' biscuit, sausage, local tomato slices, and juice or coffee for $6. Just Jake & Corky play. Music and meals run from 9 to 11.
Tuesday is Eat Street at the Market and there will be lots of food truck choices: Ghetto Taco, Culver Creek BBQ, Flounders (fish and chips and more), Smack Dab (Southern comfort food), Songbird's Kitchen (Asian specialties), MaMa JoJo's (pasta and more), and Squeezers Lemonade. Andrew Ballantyne plays. The food trucks are at the market between 4 and 8, while the produce, meat, and other vendors are at the market until 7 every Tuesday evening.
One of the things I love about our Eat Street food trucks is their camaraderie. Far from being cut-throat competitors, they fully understand that having a variety of food choices means more customers and more business for everyone. That's part of the market's philosophy too – our vendors understand that having successful vendors is good for all the vendors, as well as for the market and the customers. That's why vendors will recommend another vendor if they don't have what you're looking for. They support each other and also want our customers to have a successful shopping trip. One more reason to love the market.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Webb City Sentinel market column - Wednesday, July 8, 2020

I'm starting the column this week with a trip down memory lane, revisiting part of a column from last fall. It was an item after the style of Carolyn Foat's Acts of Kindness column in this paper.
“Tim Green's wife, our dear Vi, was diagnosed with cancer and underwent a long treatment which ultimately failed last spring. Tim said that another of our vendors, Carrole Palmer, called Vi on the phone two or three times a week for 22 months. 'It really cheered her up.' Such an intentional and sustained act of kindness. Would that the world had more Carroles or folks like her.”
Sadly we lost our friend and long-time vendor, Carrole Palmer, last Friday evening. Carrole, one of the kindest people I ever knew, had a heart as big as all outdoors, but in the end, that heart failed her. It is a shocking loss to many of us at the market. Should you wish to send a sympathy card to her husband Joe, and friend Maria, just drop it by the information table or mail it to the market at PO Box 1, Webb City, MO 64870 and we'll be sure it gets to them.
She taught both Joe and Maria how to make her popular jams, jellies, and butters so I expect we will continue to enjoy those, along with their delightful names, like the one filled with many kinds of berries called Traffic Jam.
 I've found a couple of snippets in past Sentinel columns to give you a taste of the flavor that Carrole brought to the market.
From a story on the market's TomatoFest: “Fairhaven wins Weirdest Tomato every year because Carrole Palmer takes her contests very seriously. She always keeps an eye out for a curious tomato with a 'face' and decks it out with a little straw hat or some other prop that makes it stand out. The Weirdest Tomato contest is always customers’ choice and this year Carrole’s weird tomato won every single vote.” Carrole was an artist, even when it came to weird tomatoes. And her sense of humor was keen.
When a customer stormed out of the market because I responded to his complaint that too many of our vendors were “foreigners” with “We're glad to have them” without telling him their story: “I have to admit that my regret at being inarticulate and unresponsive was almost matched by my dismay at Carrole’s comment. 'It (complaints about foreigners) happens more often than I’d like to say. I just don’t respond to them.' I noticed she also didn’t ask him if he wanted to buy anything. The Palmer’s are as kind as they come and have taken the Asian vendors into their hearts, and often have taken the younger ones into their arms, giving them a hug whenever they meet. They were proud as punch when Mina, a young woman who had helped at her parents’ stand since high school, graduated from college this month.
So bless the good souls like the Palmers and the other native-born farmers at our market who have befriended our immigrant farmers, and bless our immigrant farmers who try so hard, load me down with gifts of produce and pitch in to help clean tables and take down the umbrellas at every market, and especially bless our dear customers who treat all our vendors with respect. Thank you.”
Carrole was the essence of the market's vision of being a welcoming kind community. She will be sorely missed.
The market calendar this week:
Tomorrow Songbird's Kitchen serves Asian specialties. Drew Pommert plays. Farmers include Agee's, Braker Berry Farm, E & O Produce, Harmony Hill (also baked goods), Lee Family Farm, Lykou Farm, Nature Valley Farm, and Vang Gardens (also cut flowers). (You may have noticed that Songbird's Kitchen, and the last four farms listed are Asian-owned. And they continue to make our market a better place!) Stormy Farm will have pork, chicken, and farm fresh eggs. Helm will have honey and Juniper Coffee will have freshly roasted coffee beans and iced coffee.
The Free Kids meal tomorrow is served hot and packed to go from 11 to 1 in the Kids Tent north of the pavilion. It will be a turkey, spinach, and provolone sandwich, fruit, and milk.
Thursdays are lovely days for folks who want room to socially distance especially between 5 and 7 pm.
Saturdays are our busiest days and this one is no exception. In addition to most of tomorrow's vendors, Saturday's vendors include 2Ts handcrafted soaps, DnD Smoked seasonings and mixes, Garrett Family Farm and Sunny Lane with all-natural meats, Grison Dairy and Creamery with cows' milk cheeses, Kings Kettle Corn, MaMa JoJo's Pasta, Misty Morning Farms, OakWoods Farm, Pate's Orchard, Redings Mill Bread Co., Salt & Light Farmhouse (mushrooms), Still Waters Farm, Terrell Creek Artisan Goat Cheese, and the Yang Family Farm.
Cooking for a Cause will be served up in the Kids Tent north of the pavilion. It benefits the Friends of Camp Mintahama this week. Randy and Phil are on the market stage.
The Free Kids meal will be served in the Kids Tent. The menu is a Sloppy Joe (filled with hidden zucchini!), market cherry tomatoes, fruit, and milk.
Tuesday Ghetto Taco returns with street tacos. Cochinita Mexican Street Food will have spicy grilled
Mexican corn. Our newest Tuesday vendor, Red Fern Farm, will have grass-fed beef for sale.

We're still waiting on a good supply of sweet corn and the cantaloupe is probably a week away with watermelon coming in the week after that. These favorite crops were delayed by a cool wet spring. But you will find loads of tomatoes in every size and color, and too many other fruits and veggies to list.