Thursday, October 4, 2018

Webb City Sentinel market column - 10-2-18

Just one more Tuesday before we wrap up the weekday markets for the year. We’ll be open from 4 to 6 pm. this Tuesday. Volunteers from Central United Methodist Church will serve up ham ‘n’ beans with cornbread, cake and a drink for $5. Ham ‘n’ bean refills for $3. All proceeds support the market’s WIC program (which has been temporarily suspended while we seek more funding). Scott Eastman will perform on the market stage. Even though it’s our last weekday market of the year, you’ll still find honey, baked goods, beautiful mums, handcrafted soaps and loads of fresh local produce. Extension will do a market fresh demo with samples. Put it on your calendar. We would like to end the weekday markets with a full house!

We’re open on Saturdays throughout the year. This Saturday, the streetcar gives free rides from 9 to noon. Enjoy a ride around the park, see all the improvements that have been made, enjoy sitting in the midst of Webb City history. No. 60 is over a hundred years old and going stronger than ever.

We have some fun music this week!  The TriStatesmen Chorus and the FOG Quartet play from 9 to 10 Saturday.  The Granny Chicks take the market stage from 10 to noon. 

Cooking for a Cause is once again staffed by volunteers from the Methodist church and will benefit the WIC program. Biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, sausages, hashbrown casserole and juice or coffee is $6 and served till 11. 

This Saturday is the last Cooking for a Cause of the year, but don’t despair. Breakfast will continue and in much the same form but it will not be a benefit until we reopen for the full season in April.  Until then we are delighted to announce that Chef JT Amos (of pasta fame) is expanding his small business which was started at the market with his artisan pasta. He will serve a very similar breakfast menu – even the hashbrown casserole. His exact words - “I don’t mess with success” so he will use Linda Stewart’s recipe for the casserole. He also plans to add a second meal choice, possibly French toast. He is an accomplished chef and we can expect a delicious breakfast on Saturdays as we enter the winter season.

Another fun activity for the opening day of Winter Market (October 13) is our annual Fall Foos Fotos. Bob Foos will take portraits from 9:30 to 11:30. Organize your family, friends and pets or just sit for your own portrait among the market’s mums and pumpkins overlooking the park commons just west of the market (south of the kitchen). Two packages are available for $15 each (8 wallets with two 4x5s or 8 wallets with one 5x7). Add an 8x10 to either package for a total cost of $20. You can also order extra wallets, 4x5s and 5x7s in case you want to share the photos with family and friends.

And while you’ve got your calendar out, please note that Clickety Clack – We’re Reading Down the Track has been rescheduled this month (we didn’t want to compete with the Maple Leaf Parade). It will be Saturday, October 27th, from 9 to noon. Free reservations are available on We usually have extra seats, especially on the early runs, but having reservations will keep you from waiting. This month, the book we’re reading is Steam Train, Dream Train. A fun story about a train full of animals, we’d sure love to have some of those animals to show during the ride. If you have a stuffed monkey, kangaroo, polar bear, penguin, giraffe, elephant, rabbit, camel, turtle, dinosaur, or mouse that you wouldn’t mind several hundred children loving on, let us know.

The streetcar leaves every twenty minutes from the station just west of the market. A craft and an operating model train will also be at the station.

We are so fortunate that individuals and organizations have stepped up to help us buy the books we use for Clickety Clack. Three cheers for the Friends of the Library who stepped up in a big way. We put a book on each bench so children can read along – that means for each month we buy 24 books (22 benches, plus one extra for the reader and one to put in the library). We could use two more sponsors to close out the year (at about $100 each). Next year we’ll re-use most of our books and so expenses will be reduced.

A friend reminded me last week that I had once said the market is meant to be a gathering place. That is an essential part of building community, one of the market’s major goals. A study came out just this week indicating that some neighborhoods, regardless of economic status, consistently produced more successful children than others. A community that produces successful children is the kind of community I want to live in, don’t you?  I think a children’s literacy event like Clickety Clack has a role to play in that. As does the market. Come join us in building community.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Webb City Sentinel's market column - 6/27/18

Tuesday we opened the market in a tremendous storm. The wind was blowing rain from the west so furiously that folks under the east side of the pavilion were getting wet. You can imagine how drenched the vendors set up on the west side were. Once it became clear that we had to drop the sides on the west, we all worked furiously to get them tied into place. All except the six vendors helping Howard, the kettle corn vendor, hold down his canopy. It felt like an inland version of those movies showing people tying the rigging in heavy seas. But thank goodness for those sides!

Despite the foul weather we had a nice turnout for yesterday’s market. It’s the time of year when missing a market is a shame. There is such abundance and new crops coming in all the time.

On Saturday Crosslines, our regional food pantry, will receive all the profits from Cooking for a Cause. We are gearing up for a crowd. My husband Phil who ramrods the breakfast has ordered 40 dozen eggs from one of our farms and Central United Methodist Church has lined up an experienced crew to prepare and serve the meal. Scrambled eggs, biscuit and gravy, sausage, hashbrown casserole, slices of local tomatoes, and coffee or juice for $6. 

The Granny Chicks will be on the market stage.

The Free Kids Meals are breakfast from 9 to 10 – blackberry parfaits with market fruit and milk. Lunch is from 10:10 to noon is meat and cheese kabobs, crackers, market produce and milk.

Tuesday Stewart’s Bakery will have roast pork loin, potatoes, cucumber and onion salad and dinner rolls for $6. Ghetto Taco will have street tacos. 

The Free Kids Meal on Tuesday will be beef nachos, market fruit and veggies, and milk.  The Webb City Police Department will do a free KidPrint. Parents will receive a card with their child’s finger prints. The police will bring out some of their impressive vehicles and the fire department will be there with a fire engine. Even the adults like seeing the equipment and visiting with the folks who keep us safe.

MU Extension is doing a recipe using crookneck squash Tuesday. Crookneck cooks up just like regular yellow squash but has better storage qualities. Our newest grower, Stephanie Gregory, has lots of it but most folks seem unfamiliar with it. We hope to cure that Tuesday. Stephanie’s farm, Our Little Piece of Heaven, is located 8 miles east of Diamond. She’ll be coming on Tuesdays only. Stop by and say hi. 

Another new Tuesday vendor, D‘n’D, has a wide selection of smoked salts and seasonings. There are too many to list but here are a few:  smoked sea salt, smoked peppercorns, smoked pink Himalayan chipotle salt, and smoked paprika. You’ll get to try some Tuesday at the Market Lady’s demonstration table. She’s doing sweet corn flavored with the salts. 

Don't forget the market's Empty Bowls 2.0 going on till July 14.  Choose a lovely handcrafted bowl at the market or Granny Shaffers, The Bruncheonette, Instant Karma or Eagle Drive In, make a $15 donation, take the bowl home and come to the market on Saturday, July 14 to enjoy dessert.

And that brings us to this week’s “secret” – the melons are here!  Both Braker and E & O have cantaloupe. Harmony has yellow doll ice box melons (which are delicious) and soon we should have lots of all kinds of melons – if the weather cooperates. Owen Detweiler was worried about that storm that went through Tuesday. If it dumped a bunch of rain on the melons he planned to harvest for this week he may just put them in the compost pile. While most of our farmers were delighted to have rain, those who raise melons want dry, hot weather during harvest. Rain can ruin the flavor of a melon and Owen won’t purposely sell a bad melon. Let’s hope the rain missed his farm and we’re soon all feasting on my favorite berry (yes, according to MU Extension horticulturist Patrick Berry watermelon is a modified berry!). See what you learn from reading to the end?
See you at the market!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Webb City Sentinel market column - 6-19-18

We are excited to announce Empty Bowls 2.0!  You may be familiar with Empty Bowls which takes place in the fall and is based and organized by Phoenix Fired Art in Joplin. Two years ago, thanks to the suggestion of one of our customers, they began including the market as one of several nonprofits active in local hunger projects to benefit from the fundraiser. That was how we began the WIC program. Response to that program has been so robust that we must go beyond that annual gift to keep the program going beyond a few weeks. 

So when I expressed an interest in the bowls remaining from last fall’s event, Heather Grills, owner of Phoenix Fired Art, invited me to come fetch them and put them to work. These tend to be smaller bowls so we are asking for a $15 donation instead of the $25 minimum requested at the fall event. And since they are small, instead of filling them with soup, we are going to fill them with dessert!  And not just any dessert, but dessert featuring the blackberries from the market’s research plot at the Mt. Vernon Research Center. 

And who is making this dessert?  Why, Stewart’s Bakery, Granny Shaffers, Instant Karma, Eagle Drive-In and the Bruncheonette. Hard to beat that line up. 

The bowls will be at the market every time we’re open through July 14th which is the day to pick up the dessert. In other words, choose your bowl, make your donation, and take the bowl home. Then on Saturday, July 14th, bring your receipt to the market to pick up your dessert.

The bowls will also be available at all the participating restaurants so if it’s handier, stop by Granny Shaffers, Instant Karma, Eagle Drive In or The Bruncheonette to make your choice. When you pay you will receive a receipt and that receipt is your ticket for dessert so don’t lose it.

More good news about WIC - A few weeks ago we shared that we had received a generous gift for the WIC program from South Joplin Christian Church. Just this week we received a check for over $300 from the Christian Women’s Fellowship of South Joplin. What a generous people!

The market is overflowing with local produce now. The blueberries and blackberries are coming in. The zucchini, yellow squash, and cucumbers are amazingly abundant. That’s the thing about those particular crops, one day they put out their first blooms and in a blink of an eye the plants are loaded with veggies. And if you blink twice those veggies get totally out of control. Moby zucchini!

Tomorrow the Hairy Vetch Band will play on the market stage. We’ll have two cooking demonstrations. The Market Lady and the educators with MU Extension will each have a market fresh recipe for you to sample.

The Free Kids Meal will be soft beef tacos, market veggies, and milk. 

Stewart’s Bakery is serving lunch while Apple Road Farm is off making a wedding cake. Linda will serve a Sloppy Joe with mustard potato salad for $6.

On Saturday Cooking for a Cause profits go to fund scholarships at Cottey College. Volunteers from PEO will serve up farm fresh scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuit and gravy, hashbrown casserole, juice or coffee for $6.

The Free Kids Meal is breakfast, served from 9 to 10, pancake on a stick, juice, and milk. Lunch is served from 10:10 to noon and is turkey and cheese sandwich, market veggies, and milk. I expect there will be some blackberries on the plates too since we are beginning to harvest from the market’s plot in Mt. Vernon.

Tuesday we’ll do it all again with even more produce, supper by Stewart’s Bakery, street tacos from Ghetto Taco, a free kids meal served from 4:30 to 6:30. Just Jake and Corky will be on the market stage and we expect both the Market Lady and our MU Extension educators to have something tasty for us to try.

Now for your reward at the end (I hope you didn’t just skipped to the end!). Both Braker Berry Farm and Still Waters Farm tell me the sweet corn should be at the market on Saturday. Greg may even have some on Thursday!

There will be more delicious news next week. But in the meantime, come feast at the market!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Webb City Sentinel market column - 6-13-18

The market’s WIC program is off to a great start. In the first week almost 50 young low-income families ate healthier thanks to the program.

Our weekday markets are filling up with produce and vendors. They will probably never catch up with the “big day”, Saturday, but they have almost as many farmers and many of the specialty vendors now. The Red Tamale and Savory Sauce have both begun selling on weekdays. Mac’s Cinnamon Rolls and MoBlooms were at the market one weekday this week. The weekday markets are great for shopping and eating at a more leisurely pace.

Although I have to say the Free Kids Meals are pretty busy on weekdays.  Thursday we had over 200 kids eat with us.  Thursday lunch is always popular, but having both the fire department and the police department there with their shiny vehicle really livened things up.  They’ll be back Tuesday, July 3.  That’s going to be a BIG day!

On Saturday The Free Kids Meals are – Breakfast from 9 to 10 is pancake on a stick, juice and milk. Lunch from 10:10 to noon is a turkey and cheese roll-up, market veggies and milk.

Cooking for a Cause will be staffed by volunteers from Webb City Masonic Lodge #512 and Webb Chapter #204, Order of the Eastern Star. They will donate their profits to the Tri-County CP Center. Farm fresh scrambled eggs, biscuit and gravy, sausage, hashbrown casserole, and juice or coffee for $6. 

Richard Hugh Roberts will be on the market stage.

Clickety Clack – We’re Reading Down the Track leaves the station every twenty minutes from 9 to noon. Our readers, Cathy Hall and Cheri Dawson, will lead everyone in reading the early reader “Thomas” book – Blue Train, Green Train. There will be a craft for the kids created by our queen of crafts, Lisa Sweet, and supervised by volunteers Nancy and Kharlie. Rick Gardner will have a Thomas the Tank Engine train operating.

It’s all free for the community, though, of course, it’s not really free. Special thanks to Kim and ClintLambeth who paid for this month’s books (we need one for each of the 22 seats, one for the reader and one to stay at the library). And our thanks to the park workers who put up the canopies that shelter the craft and train tables just east of the depot. And, of course, to our streetcar volunteers!

You can make a reservation on If there are no reservations left, come anyway. We typically have a lot of no-shows and our excellent volunteers will try to make sure everyone gets to ride.
On Tuesday, Stewart’s Bakery will serve for $6 a choice of Italian stuffed zucchini boats with tossed green salad and Italian knots bread or pecan, grape chicken salad on wheat berry bread and chips. The chicken salad will also be available by the pint or $5. Lemonade or tea is only another .50 with the meal. Ghetto Taco will cook up street tacos. Scott Eastman will be on the market stage. University of Missouri Extension nutrition educators will demonstrate zucchini pizza bites.

Now for that tidbit for folks who read to the end – Braker Farm had blackberries at the market this week! Agee’s will also have some Saturday, plus a LOT of rhubarb.  He has a great crop this year and rhubarb can be hard to come by so take advantage of it.

Also Owen of E & O Produce tells me he has about 30 hanging baskets left and he has discounted them to $17 each. They are gorgeous and a deal. He’ll have them at the market Saturday and after that I’m guessing the baskets will be gone until next spring.

See you at the market, where the community gathers for fresh goodness.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Webb City Sentinel market column - 5/30/18

We started our kids meals off with a bang Saturday.  Last year our highest meal count on a Saturday was about 90.  Last Saturday we almost hit 200!  And the amazing part was that our head cook, Kelly, wasn't even phased.  "I fixed for a few extra."  Going to a breakfast for the first hour and a lunch for the last two seems more responsive to family plans.  We thought from the beginning that Saturdays were going to be a busy day for the kids meal and now, with the new schedule, it appears that they will be.  
My grandkids are visiting for a couple of weeks and 2-year-old Wyatt enjoyed his first kids meal yesterday.  He loved the taco, not so much the market veggies.  But he did follow his parents rule and take a bite of the sugar snap peas, cucumber and tomato.  It helped that I took a bite first.  Folks who know say just keep reintroducing new foods to children and they'll come to enjoy them.  I was really pleased that during the state's annual meal training I learned that it was OK for parents to encourage their children by modeling with a bite.  Adults are not to eat the kids' food but if it helps them try the cucumber, sure, Dad, take a little bite and rave!  Also be sure to stop by the MU Extension cooking demo.  The nutrition educators plan to be at the market pretty most Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Yesterday's recipe was kale chips using market kale.  Eden said she had lots of folks surprised to find them tasty.

Tomorrow we're open from 11 to 2.  The free kids meal is served from 11 to 1 and will be beef nachos, market veggies and milk.  Apple Road Farm is serving chicken jambalaya with homemade rolls and dessert for $6.  Just Jake and Corky are on the market stage.  We'll have all our usual Thursday vendors, plus The Red Tamale.  They are doing a great business on Saturday but don't want to miss our weekday customers so they're giving two days a week a try.  Extension is demonstrating kale smoothies.

Saturday is another full day.  The kids meal is biscuit and gravy, orange juice and milk from 9 to 10.  From 10:10 to noon, it is a hot dog, market veggies and milk.  Cooking for a Cause - scrambled farm fresh eggs, sausage, biscuit and gravy, slices of local tomato, hashbrown casserole, coffee or juice for $6 - will benefit the Webb City High School Reddettes.

The Granny Chicks will be on the market stage.  Spiva is bringing Veggie Art to the market.  This fun event is free and lets kids create their own art using market veggies.  Colorful and fun creatures emerge from the pile of squash, zucchini or whatever else is in good supply.  (File photo is of Katey Fredrickson at our zukemobile day a loooong time ago.  Katey is a teenager now!)  
What a kid can do with a zuke!  

Another free event that everyone will enjoy is a ride on Old No. 60.  Webb City's restored streetcar will pull out of the depot just west of the market about every 20 minutes from 9 to noon.  The ride through the park only takes about 15 minutes.

We restart our WIC coupon program on Saturday.  Families can bring their WIC coupons once a week to the information table and receive two $5 coupons good for fresh, uncut fruits and vegetables, meat and eggs.  The coupons are good only for the day they are received and, of course, no change is given.  This program is funded through many sources, all private.  Empty Bowls organized by Phoenix Fired Art is the major funder, but we also have done several fundraisers right at the market, Central United Methodist Church makes a monthly donation and individuals chip in too.  We have one long-time customer who drops by a ten dollar bill for the program almost every week.  This is a very popular program and deeply appreciated.  We would love to offer it year round and welcome any additional support - we'll need it just to make it through the summer!  
We will be running  our own Empty Bowls fundraiser in June and July - the exact date will be determined by the blackberry harvest.  We think it will be July 18.  Phoenix Fire has given the market hundreds of handcrafted bowls for the fundraiser and Stewart's Bakery has volunteered to organize the contents of the bowls which will feature market blackberries in a delicious dessert.  We'll start displaying bowls in a couple of weeks and we would really like to find some additional locations to display and sell the bowls.  If you have a business or organization that would host a display, please let us know.  We love the idea of combining the visual art of the bowls with the culinary arts of the blackberry dessert with the living art of creating a healthier, most generous community.  Want to help?  Stop by the information table or give me a call at 417 483-8139.

Finally, of course, we'll be open on Tuesday. Stewart's Bakery will serve lasagna, green salad and garlic bread for $6.  Ghetto Taco will have street tacos.  The Free Kids Meal is served from 4:30 to 6:30.  Garrett's Family Farm will be at the market with beef, chicken, pork and farm fresh eggs.  We will welcome a new vendor on Tuesday - Song Lee who makes some of the best egg rolls we've ever tasted.  Tuesday is becoming the meal highlight of the week. (Except, of course, we also have delicious meals on Thursday and Saturday!)

Carol Parker was at the market doing a live remote yesterday and she remarked on the good selection available - from honey, to baked goods, to meals, to lots of growers.  I had to agree.  It's going to be a very good year on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays!  See you there.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Webb City Sentinel market column - 5/22/18

Master Gardeners work with the kids.

The potato patch is in place at the Kids Community Garden (with the help of over 200 children) and now we’re getting excited about the Free Summer Meals for Kids! The meals start on Saturday which is the first market day after school is out. We’re changing up the Saturday meal a bit this year. Last year we found that many kids had already eaten breakfast by the time they came to market so this year we’re doing breakfast from 9 to 10, then taking ten minutes to switch out to lunch which will be served until noon. The menu this Saturday is a breakfast served from 9 to 10 - pancake and sausage on a stick, orange juice and milk, followed by lunch served from 10:10 to noon – ham and cheese sandwich, market veggies and milk. Families who want to spend the morning in the park can feed the kids breakfast, do a little shopping or listen to music, head over to the splash pad, enjoy a walk, or feed the geese and then come back for lunch. 

Beginning Saturday, we’ll serve the meal at every market. This Tuesday’s meal, served from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, is soft tacos, market veggies and milk. Next Thursday’s meal, served from 11 to 1, is beef nachos, market veggies and milk.

Children, from ages 1 through 18, may eat for free. There are no income or residency requirements.

Tomorrow (remember, no kids meal yet!), Extension is demonstrating a recipe using kohlrabi. This veggie originates from Germany and to me tastes a bit like the stem of broccoli only crunchier. Many people, myself included, prefer the stem over the head because it is sweeter. Be sure to try kohlrabi which is good raw or cooked.

We have a new musical team – Randy Corbin and Phil Greer – playing on Thursday. Apple Road Farm will serve baked pasta with meat sauce and cheese, a side salad, bread and dessert for $6.

Hopefully you’ll notice some activity in the Kids tent, but not by kids. We are serving our annual Thank You meal there Thursday for city employees and the park board and city council. It’s our small way of acknowledging how much the city does for the market. The park workers and public works have helped us out many times. So has the fire department, which among other things, sent a crew over complete with fire truck to help get the sidings on the pavilion before the first winter storm last fall. The police are a regular presence at the market keeping an eye on things and during the summer they coming once a month to do KidPrints for children. The city council, the park board, the city hall staff and water department all provide support and encouragement that is essential to our success. 

Saturday, the police department will do their first KidPrint of the summer. Parents will receive their children’s cards with their fingerprints. Hopefully these cards will be lovely mementos and never used as crime solving tools. Of course, we’ll have free breakfast for kids from 9 to 10 and free lunch from 10:10 to noon.

Breakfast for the adults is served from 9 to 11. All profits from Cooking for a Cause will benefit the Webb City High School Choir Boosters.

The Pommerts perform on the market stage.

The Kids Garden Club will transplant impatiens and butterfly flowers and will color “Fierce Flowers”.

Next Tuesday Scott Eastman is playing and Ghetto Taco will serve street tacos for supper.

Now for what you really want to know – what’s in season?  Well, the yellow squash, zucchini and cucumbers came into their own at yesterday’s market. We’ve gone from just a few to piles of them. And, yes, it is early for that kind of abundance but our farmers really know how to grow. Sadly, they can’t control the weather and so the strawberry crop has suffered from the downpours we’ve had lately. 

Even so, we had several hundred quarts yesterday, but that was not nearly enough to satisfy demand. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we’ll see a bigger harvest. We still have asparagus but that will soon be a memory so enjoy it while you can. Pate’s Orchard will be at the market Saturday with tomatoes and cucumbers. John tells me that the peach crop came through the freezes well but will be a little late this year. Look for peaches toward the end of June.

Something else to look for - our Turquoise Tables. The Turquoise Tables movement is a quiet national movement encouraging folks to build community by painting a table turquoise and moving it to the front or side yard rather than the back yard. And sitting at it two or three times a week, inviting others to sit there as well, with or without you. A team of volunteers came last Saturday from Joplin with paint donated by Sherwin Williams and painted the two tables we had sanded and ready.
It seemed like a natural fit for the market where all are welcome and invited to sit and visit with old and new friends. Probably all of our tables should be turquoise but having only two will make them stand out and be our way of saying “Welcome, stay and visit for a while.”  Let’s build community. We look forward to seeing you this week.