Thursday, May 29, 2008

When the market goes to the farmer, instead of the farmer coming to the market

Market managers or board members visit every vendor that sells at the market. In the case of growers, we visit twice during the season. That way we can be sure our vendors are selling only what they produce or grow and our vendors get to share their labor of love. Today Marilyn Thornberry and I visited a number of vendors to the east including Flintrock Bison Farm. Rudy Long's 180 Highline chickens were pretty sure it was feeding time when we visited. Even when we walked over to survey some of the Long's 400 buffalo, they scurried along behind us - ever the optimists. Fact is, Rudy doesn't often give them feed. They're free-range and get most of their nutrition in the fields.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sentinel column May 30

Our customers are so good at solving problems. You may remember that last week’s column included a request for a portable playpen or stroller for baby Lance Troyer to use while his parents sold at the market. Before market even opened last Friday, Katey Jordan Booher called to say she was bringing a playpen. On Tuesday, Marilyn Clark dropped by with a stroller. Both will be kept at the market for Lance and any other vendor infants to use.

The stroller does bring up another market challenge though. Lance will just be using it for a chair, which is lucky because our lovely new dust-free gravel is very unsuitable for strollers and wheelchairs. We need to find a way to make a smoother path. If you have a suggestion or lead on how we can do that, please give me a call at 483-8135 or drop by the information table at the market. It’s a serious problem that we need to solve quickly.

We’re at that fun time in the market when we have new vendors and new products every week. John Pate will be back at the market for the first time today (no, he’s not bringing peaches. Those should be coming in towards the end of June). To find out what he is bringing, go to our blog at It has a new feature called “Inside News”. That’s where you can get the inside scoop on items coming to the market in quantities are too limited to publicize.

Ervin and Irene Eicher will be at the market soon. Marilyn Thornberry and I visited these new growers on Wednesday and believe they’re going to be a great addition. They garden on about 5 acres north of Avilla and they’ve put in a wide variety of veggies that are looking great. The Eichers hope to bring some strawberries and asparagus along with some other spring produce this week. Irene also raises African violets.

Panhia Vang from Jasper had some gorgeous lettuce at market on Tuesday. One customer commented as her order was bagged up that she could use it for a bouquet. Other new produce on Tuesday included new potatoes, kohlrabi, edible pod peas, Chinese cabbage, and broccoli. Hector Troyer had some lovely slicing onions. We are buying several bundles to use on the hamburgers at Tuesday’s Cooking for a Cause.

The Urban Gardeners had a tableful of beautiful rose bouquets on Friday. I hope to buy some today to put on the graves of two dear friends, Margaret and Lewis Triemer. Roses were Margaret’s favorite flowers. Tim Green has beautiful planters to grace your home or the grave of a loved one.

Lunch today is B-b-q beef sandwich, 4 bean salad, roasted potatoes, brownie and drink for $6. Ka Yang will serve sandwiches, noodle salad and egg rolls. The Gospel Strings will make their season debut at the market today. Donna Crow plays mountain dulcimer, Treva Dawson, hammered dulcimer and Mary Bohnstedt, guitar in this trio of friends from First Baptist Church.
We’re late again with the Kids Community Garden but it has just been too wet to prepare. Steve Fredrickson of Fredrickson Farm took time out of his busy strawberry season to till it up last week during a brief respite in the rain.

The first planting day for the garden is this Thursday at 3:15 p.m. It is located on school property on Aylor Street just west of Madge James kindergarten. Any child, in-coming 5th graders and older, is welcome to participate. For more information, call the garden supervisor, Rochelle DeLucia, at 629-7360.

If you’re an adult and would like a garden patch, give me a call. I’ve been asked to find a gardener for a private garden space near the high school. The owner will even supply water for an occasional basket of veggies.

Next Tuesday, Cooking for a Cause benefits Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Rob Pommert will play and sing for us. Be sure and spread the word about our Saturday markets, which begin June 7. The Saturday markets will be under the pavilions from 9 a.m. to noon every week in June and July. If they go well, we may even continue them later into the year.

Inside News

Pates Orchard will be at the market with tomatoes this Friday. John Pate and Tim Green have had a friendly competition going on to see who would have the first ripe tomatoes out of the their tunnels. Looks like John's going to win, though Tim thought he might have some ready on Friday as well. We only expect a couple of bushels this first time, so be at the market at opening if you want some of the first local tomatoes.

We also expect the Eicher's from north of Avilla to be at the market for the first time with some strawberries and asparagus.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bake Sale Opportunity

The market will host a bake sale each Saturday beginning in June. If you have a nonprofit that would like to participate, please give Eileen a call at 417 483-8139.

All bake sale items must be what the health department calls "non-hazardous" which basically means that the item doesn't need refrigeration. So fruit pies, breads, cookies, cakes are all good, while cream pies and eclaires wouldn't be.

The market will be open under the pavilions every Saturday beginning June 7 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thanks for the playpen!

I posted just yesterday that we were looking for a playpen for little Lance Troyer so he'd have a comfortable space from which to reign over the market and this morning before market even opened I got a call from Katey who brought by a just-like-new playpen she no longer needed. Now Lance has a safe clean place to play and sleep at the market.

We have the best customers in the world.

Thanks, Katey.

& Thanks to Marilyn Clark for bringing Lance a stroller Tuesday. He's all set now.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kids Community Garden Underway

Three cheers for Steve Fredrickson who took time out of the busy strawberry season to till up the garden today (as a gift to the kids and the market). The kids should start planting next week. Anyone interested in participating should call the market's garden supervisor, Rochelle DeLucia at 629-0483.

Webb City Sentinel column - May 23

Hector and Lois Troyer came to the market for the first time this season. They had a table loaded with broccoli, radishes and lettuce. Hector always creates a beautiful display that attracts lots of customers. However, his vendor neighbor, Tim Green of Shoal Creek Gardens, accused him of unfair marketing practices Tuesday because Hector brought their son Lance. Tim says Lance is an unfair advantage because Lance, who was born in November, is a customer magnet. At the end of market, the Troyers took home Lance and two small bunches of lettuce.

Since they live near Stark City, the Troyers have quite a drive to get to the market and they always load up as much produce as they can fit in the vehicle to justify the trip (at gas prices on Tuesday, bringing the truck would cost them $30 each market day). They’re trying to make do with their car for now which means they can’t bring a stroller or playpen for Lance. We’d be happy to provide storage, but the Troyers don’t have any extra baby equipment they can leave at the market. What we’d really like is a small playpen or portable crib that folds up for storage. If you have one you would like to donate (or sell at a bargain price) to the market, please give me a call at 483-8139.

I’m happy to report that we raised over $200 Friday for the Webb City Jaycees Disaster Relief Fund. We also took a trunk load of water, baby items, canned food and even dog food to the Red Cross operating out of Neosho. Now you may think dog food wouldn’t be needed, but one of the nurses said she had delivered some dog food to a disaster victim for his pet just the day before.
The winners of the drawings were: Ed Kelley, Kathy Dixon, Diane James and Ed Navarro. The James live all the way over in Pittsburg and come to the market every week. When I delivered their prizes, they declared that the market was their favorite place to go. At the price of gas, I sure hope it continues to be worth the trip.

It certainly has become more fun to come on Tuesdays. Rob Pommert is singing and playing the guitar from 11 to 1. He does favorites from the 1930s to the present as well as classical and jazz instrumentals. He’s been a great favorite with our market guests. I passed Ann Watrous engrossed on a bench Tuesday. She rallied long enough to sigh, “that’s my all-time favorite song”. Don McGowan dropped by the information table to say, “I vote for the guitarist to be here every Tuesday.” And he will be, with a few exceptions, until school starts up again. Rob teaches guitar at Ozark Christian College.

Next Tuesday, Beta Sigma Phi will run Cooking for a Cause to benefit the Boys and Girls Club.Today we have a band new to the market – The Wild River Band. They play old-style country, hits from the 50s and gospel. Lunch will be meatloaf, picnic pasta salad, corn, chocolate or pistachio pudding and a drink for $6. In addition, Ka Yang will have egg rolls, noodle salad and sandwiches.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We have a new member of the family!

Lance Troyer made his first appearance at the market Tuesday. He is the son of Hector and Lois and was born last November. Tim Green accused Hector of using unfair marketing practises. That Lance is a customer magnet!

Monday, May 19, 2008

What Strawberries?????

If you were at the market at 11:20 Friday you may have asked that question. Fredrickson Farms brought 100 quarts of strawberries to market and even at $4 a quart sold out in less than 15 minutes. And though they tried their best to get more to the market our customers kept going over the farm and buying them there before they could even get on the truck.

But there should be berries at the market Tuesday. Tami Fredrickson has closed the farm to picking and isn't taking orders or selling from the farm until after market on Tuesday. Here's hoping they can keep the market full of berries.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sentinel Column 5-15-08

Fredrickson Farms will have strawberries at the market today and Shank’s Farms will have asparagus. Ton and Helen Cha are bringing broccoli, Asian leafy greens, green onions and herbs. The wet cold weather has delayed many crops, so it’s wonderful to have some of our favorites finally coming in.

I get to work with some remarkably generous people at the market. Last week I called Hector Troyer who lives north of Fairview to make sure that he, Lois and their new baby boy Lance were alright after the tornado. They were fine, but his neighbor hadn’t been so fortunate. In fact, he was on his neighbor’s roof putting down tarp when I called, could he call me back?

When we talked later, I learned that the tornado had passed less than half a mile from his house and that his fields had suffered some damage. He had hoped to be at market this week with lettuce and broccoli, but the storm will delay his arrival for a few weeks.

When Joe Palmer of Fairhaven Gardens arrived at the market Tuesday morning the first thing he did was seek me out. “When you get a chance, I’d like to talk with you.” He wanted to help the market do a fundraiser for the tornado victims. I went to each vendor asking if they’d make a donation and all were eager to do so. So we’ll have drawings today at noon, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 for a variety of goodies at the market. Each drawing will be for a generous collection of market products like planters and hanging baskets, produce, honey, jam and jellies, meats, handcrafts and baked goods. All the money raised (and while we’ll ask for a dollar donation for each entry, we’ll be happy to take more!) will be given to the Webb City Jaycees who have a disaster relief fund at Southwest Missouri Bank. The funds will be administered by the Jaycees to help local victims get back on their feet. The Jaycees are also collecting work gloves, safety glasses, ear plugs, tarps, shovels, rakes, chainsaws and chainsaw supplies, water, Gatorade, juice, personal items like soap, shampoo, and sunblock, non perishable food items and baby supplies like formula, diapers, and wipes. If you want to drop any of these by the market today, we’ll get them to the Jaycees.

Lunch today is b-b-q chicken, au gratin potatoes, peas and carrots, bread pudding or banana pudding and a drink for $6. Originally Kay was just doing banana pudding for dessert but in my not-so-bright mind I turned that into banana bread and then into bread pudding, which is what I advertised. So Kay will have a choice of banana or bread pudding. She made my life simple by making hers more complicated.

Jack and Linda Sours are playing traditional music today. They were here last week with Brandon Wooden playing Appalachian mountain music and it was a delight to watch the children come into the market near them. Almost to a child, they burst into dance.

The Webb City Lions Club plans to be at the market this season with drawing for a street-legal three-wheel vehicle. Funds raised will go to their community programs, of which their eyeglass program is probably the best known. Long-time Webb City businessman Lee Englert will staff their booth today.

On Tuesday, the Exchange Club will operate Cooking for a Cause. They are donating their profits to Healing the Family, a non-profit counseling service. Rob Pommert will play the guitar during lunch.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Death in the Family

I just learned from Doris Sweeton that her brother Bill Qualls has died. We will have a card at the market Friday if you wish to sign it. Should you prefer to send a card yourself, here is the contact information:

Katherine Qualls (Bill's wife)
1760 SE Brushcreek Rd
Columbus KS 66725

Sandy Qualls and Doris Sweeton (his brother and sister)
4254 SE 22 Terrace
Columbus KS 66725

Bill and his wife owned B & K Gardens. To quote Doris, "He loved to garden and to come to the market." We will miss him.

The latest storm & peach news

A quick call to our growers up north brought good news. No damage, though a lot of rain to ground that was already saturated.

I caught John Pate on his cell while he was in the orchard working with his nectarine trees. He said he has a bumper crop this year, but it will be a little later than usual. He hopes to be at the market with peaches about the third week in June.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Strawberries & Asparagus!!!!

Finally, the strawberries are coming in to the market. Fredrickson Farms expects to have loads of berries at Fridays market.

Shank's Farm is back, after being gone way too long, with asparagus. What could be better than getting one of Suzie's bright smiles with your asparagus?

Lee Englert will be on hand selling chances on a small street-legal one-person vehicle. All donations will benefit the Lions Club eye glasses program.

The Sours will play traditional music during lunch on Friday. Lunch is B-B-Q Chicken, Au Gratin Potatoes, Peas & Carrots, Bread Pudding and drink for $6.

Tornado Victim Benefit at the Market Friday

The market is holding a benefit for the tornado victims this Friday, May 23. Donations of $1 (or more) are requested. Drawings for a variety of products from market vendors will be held at noon, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30. All money donated will go to the Webb City Jaycees who provide money to local disaster victims to re-establish their lives.

The Jaycees are also collecting the following items which may be dropped off at the market on Friday:

Work Gloves
Safety Glasses
Ear Plugs
Personal Care Items: soap, shampoo, sunblock, etc.
Shovels, rakes chainsaws or chainsaw supplies
Non-perishable food items
Baby Items: Formula, diapers, wipes, clothes

Severe Weather

Jay Chism, Extension agronomist, and I visited 6 market farm families who live south of I-44 yesterday. On the way we saw some terrible devastation in Newtonia and along Iris Road.

Of all our farmers, Helen and Ton Cha were the worst affected. The hail destroyed their broccoli and chinese cabbage crops which were nearly ready for sale. Ton also lost a section of one of his turkey houses and his greenhouse had to be repaired. The Cha's live just east of Fairview.

Hector Troyer who lives north of Fairview was less than 1/2 a mile from the path of the tornado. He, Lois and their new baby boy Lance took shelter at Lois' parents. Hector lost much of his lettuce crop and broccoli to hail but he had already put his farm back in shape by the time I got there (and taken time to help tarp a neighbor's house). He had planned to be at the market this week but now will be delayed two or three weeks.

The severe weather seems to have missed most of our other farmers.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sentinel Column 5-9-08

We’ve had some beautiful plants at the market since opening. Whether you want plants for the garden or for landscaping, you should have plenty of choices. We have an especially good selection of herbs right now and they make a lovely garden whether in beds or pots. They’re pretty, they smell good and they liven up a meal.

Perhaps it was the catnip Tim Green sells that attracted our two feline visitors last week. Whatever the attraction, they were particularly fond of laying among the plants. We’re really not supposed to have animals loose at the market. It’s not exactly according to health department rules. So I spent much of the day gathering them up and taking them to the neighboring houses from which we assumed they had come. At some point I must have mentioned that I might call animal control and as the market closed I had three different vendors looking for the animals. They had heard through the grapevine that I sending the cats to the pound and these vendors were willing to adopt them on the spot. It just goes to show what good-hearted people I work with. The cats, however, had already moved on to greener pastures and were nowhere to be found.

We have a big weekend at the market with our usual Friday market and then on Saturday, we’ll be open again from 9 to noon under the market pavilions. It’s our day-before-Mother’s-Day market and there will be lots of gift ideas for Mom. It’s also our annual Let’s Plant a Garden Day when each child and youth(through college) receives a free tomato plant, with some fertilizer and instructions. Last year little Ava Smith, of Reddings Mill Bakery, received a tomato plant that she grew into a prize winner at the TomatoFest. Children’s Haven is running a free hand-painting booth.

The Fabulous BRDs will play bluegrass throughout the morning. If you’re a bluegrass fan you probably know the members: Corky Dow of Carthage, Gary Harrel and Joe Johnson who are both members of Johnson Family Bluegrass as well as other groups, and Gary Shipley who has played with the Sullivan Family.
There will be presentations by the high school speech and drama club. They have a whole passle of kids who qualified for nationals in June. They’ll have a bake sale at the market on Saturday to help with the expenses of traveling to Nevada for the competition.
The Palmers with Fairhaven Gardens are holding a drawing on both Friday and Saturday for one of their lovely wood crafted planters.
So come to the market on Saturday morning, especially if you work during our regular hours and can’t make it on Tuesday or Friday. It’s our trial run for June and July when we plan to be open every Saturday morning.

But if Friday works better for you, come on down today. We’ll be open from 11 to 3. Lunch starts at 11 with all-you-can-eat chili, plus corn chips or crackers, fruit fluff and drink for $6. The Plainsfolks are playing Irish music.
We had exciting news at the market last week. We’ve become a tax-exempt 501c3 organization. That may seem ho hum to you, but it means that the market can now accept tax-deductible donations and grants. Previously we had to work through partners like the Historical Society and Extension Service in applying for grants or accepting donations. The designation is made all the sweeter by the fact that we had been told by many, including national market experts, that the IRS no longer gives 501c3 to markets, treating them like trade organizations instead. Our application was carefully structured and supported by letters from many, including the city, the school district, the extension service and others. And it sailed through in less than two months with no questions or rewrites. How sweet it is

Severe Weather

Many of the markets growers were hard hit by the hail that accompanied the tornadoes of Saturday. Extension agronomist Jay Chism and I will visit several of the farms on Monday and will post an update. Hazel's Bakery suffered some roof damage but they are also without electricity or water which means they will not be at the market on Tuesday. They hope to be back with pies and cakes on Friday and will definitely be back on Friday to serve the meal.