Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sentinel column - June 27

What a mob we had at the market last Friday. It was the first day this season when we truly had a traffic and parking problem and, frankly, it caught us off guard. In the past, we didn’t run into traffic problems until Fridays in the middle of July.

I met with park supervisor Tom Reeder this week to do a little parking/traffic problem solving. At his suggestion, we are asking customers to exit south on Garrison if they have parked beyond handicapped parking, making the road one way going south by the pavilion.

We will also block off the sides of Garrison Street to keep the full width of the street available for traffic. That should allow cars to flow much more smoothly.

Corky Johnson will man the golf cart today so folks can park a distance away without taking a hike. Corky does a great job with the cart, safe, efficient, attentive and friendly. As the summer continues we may need the cart at every market, so if you’d like to drive it and are willing to meet Corky’s high standards, please come by the information table. We’ll sign you up.

The information table will move to the west side between the pavilions on Fridays. Should you need a ride out to your car, just come to the information table and we’ll take you and your purchases right to your car door.

Tom Reeder also plans to remove some of the rocks and debris that have made parking south of the pavilions something of an obstacle course. Hopefully, as the amount of produce and the number of customers increase these measures will make coming and leaving the market less of a trial.

I’d like to take a moment to say how impressed we at the market have been by Tom in his new position as park supervisor. He’s been very helpful, both with advice and assistance, in our little corner of the park. We really appreciate it and think the parks are going to become even more of an asset for our community under his guidance.

Speaking of assets, ours are increasing all the time. On Saturday, Jamie Smith plans to debut his food wagon. He’ll bake (in a portable brick wood-fired oven) pizzas and stuffed mushrooms right at the market. He’ll also have a selection of sandwiches on his delectable breads.

So on Saturday, when we’re open 9 to noon, you can have a big breakfast from Hazel’s Bakery or a snack or lunch from Jamie’s Redings Mill Bakery or Asian cuisine from Ka Yang. Add in the shopping and music by Baled Green and Wired Tight and you might as well plan to spend the morning with us.

Saturday also kicks off our All-American week when we fundraise to feed our neighbors in need.

On Saturday and Tuesday, We Care of the Four States will sell perennials at the market. There will be purple cone flowers, tall garden flox (I love those), columbine, ground cover, shamrock, hardy begonias, salvia and autumn sage to name a few. All are grown by volunteers at We Care of the Four States, which is a food pantry located at 6879 East Newman Road. A 501c3 established in 2000, it allows folks in need to shop for supplemental groceries once every five weeks. The only requirement is a social security number, an ID and the need for food.

On Tuesday, the market will host Cooking for a Cause to benefit Crosslines, our regional food and clothing pantry. Crosslines is supported by about 60 area churches and supplies people referred by Family Services, the Red Cross, Economic Security, Lafayette House and partner churches with supplemental groceries once a month.

And on Thursday (did you catch that? THURSDAY), the market will host the annual mega-bake sale. You’re invited to bring a bake good or buy a baked good – or both – all in support of Crosslines. The market’s All-American events are one of Crosslines biggest fundraisers of the year. We hope you will be part of this worthy project.

Back to that THURSDAY. We always move our market to the day before the Fourth of July because we don’t want to spend our holiday at the market, and neither do our customers. So we will be open on Thursday, July 3, from 11 to 3. We will be closed on Friday, July 4th, and will be open from 9 to Noon on Saturday, July 5th.

Today the Wild River Band plays from 11 to 1 with a break at noon when the Ninth Hour will perform songs from JLT’s upcoming Forever Plaid. This quartet of local young men, accompanied by Matt Holt, will treat you to some tight harmonies and golden oldies.

Forever Plaid has a special showing at the Route 66 Movie Theater on Saturday, July 12. It will benefit the Webb City Library and the city’s downtown efforts. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the market.

Lunch today is stuffed peppers, two-tone green beans, squash casserole (Janis Jackson’s great recipe), whoopee pie and drink for $6.

Josh Orr will do trick rope demonstrations at Noon on Fridays and Tuesdays and at 10:30 and 11 on Saturdays.

Today is Barb Pate’s birthday. Bet she’ll be at the market – what better way to celebrate? Stop by the Pate’s Orchard stand in the north pavilion and wish her a happy one.