Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Webb City Sentinel market column 11/21/18

It’s finally Holiday Time! I’m stubborn - first there is Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and THEN Christmastide. I know, I am totally out of step with retail reality, but I celebrate in season. That may be why I love the market and its seasons so much.

Today is our annual Holiday Market which we have held the day before Thanksgiving for years. We’ll be open in the pavilion from 11 to 1. We expect three farms with local produce just harvested for your Thanksgiving table. Food like tossed salad fixin’s, winter squash, carrots, broccoli and more. Our bakers will have cakes, cookies, pies, dinner rolls, pumpkin rolls and cinnamon rolls. We’ll have jams and jellies, the new season’s picked out pecans, kettle corn, some of the best goat cheese you’ll ever taste, pork, and live shrimp.
Madewell Pork will be at the market for the first time since summer. Steve sells at Greater Springfield Farmers Market which also is open on Saturdays so the Holiday Market is one of his few chances in the winter to get to our market. Take advantage of it. We don’t expect him back for a while.

Both our soap vendors, Jane’s Art Glass, and other crafters will be at the market. If you have family coming in that you won’t see again before Christmas, stop by and pick up a locally made gift to send home with them. Save the postage. The post office is swamped this time of year.
Stewart’s Bakery will serve chicken noodle soup for eat-in or take out. Scott Eastman graces the market stage.
It’s a short market, only two hours long, but a mighty one. There are fewer vendors than usual but an excellent selection geared to Thanksgiving. 

Since it’s the day before Thanksgiving, you won’t see any Christmas decorations unless you peek through the windows to the south section of the pavilion. We’ve started putting them up there but it will be closed off until Saturday when we will be decked out in our holiday best!

Saturday is Small Business Saturday. It’s a national campaign and we’ll join the celebration, but let’s face it – every Saturday is Small Business Saturday at the market. We have more than 50 small businesses that sell during the year. We expect about 30 to be at the market Saturday. 

Stewart’s Bakery will serve a hearty breakfast. Just Jake and Corky will be on the market stage.
The first Saturday in December we begin the first Polar Bear Express. Like Clickety Clack, this is a collaboration of the market, the Friends of the Library and the Southwest Misouri Railroad Association. The streetcar, festooned with Christmas garland, balls, and lights, will run every 20 minutes from the station just west of the market from 9 to noon. The book, The Polar Express, is read during the 15 ride through the park. 

We’ll have a fun holiday craft for kids in the pavilion, where they will also get to visit with Ms. Claus or Santa or both! Tickets to the free ride can be reserved at Just search for Polar Bear Express Webb City. It all begins December 1.

Unfortunately, the Park’s night time Polar Bear Express is sold out. You can still see some of the light show by driving through the park, but the roads are usually blocked for safety on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights when the streetcar is operating.

So get on and get your free reservations for the Saturday morning ride. And I’ll see you at the market today and every Saturday!

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.