Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Blogging takes a vacation - but the market doesn't

I'll be in Scotland for the next couple of weeks, so the blog will have the Sentinel columns, but no inside news. The menus and music will continue to be updated on the market's website:

Speaking of music, mark your calendar for Saturday, August 9th - 9:30 to 11:30. Ninth Hour will be performing. Three are Webb City boys and all are fantastic singers. You may have caught them in Forever Plaid when it was at the Route 66 Theater. Matt Holt is their director and pianist. This is a perfomance you won't want to miss.

& don't miss coming to the market while I'm gone. This is the high season when the choices are the widest and most abundant. It's the height of the flavor season.

I had two of Frank Runyon's watermelons over the weekend - delish!


Sentinel Column August 1

We’re loaded with tomatoes, so that must mean TomatoFest time!

This Saturday, we’ll celebrate with contests, sampling and demonstrations.
The Fun categories are: Heaviest/Biggest, Smallest Ripe Tomato and the Weirdest Tomato. Winners receive $15 of market tokens courtesy of the Richardson Law Office.

The Quality categories are: Best Red, Best Other Color and Best Small (cherry, grape, etc) Tomato. The winners receive $25 of market tokens courtesy of Granny Shaffer’s.

Tomato entries must be made between 8:30 and 9:30 in the south pavilion. Two tomatoes of the same variety are required for the Best Red and Best Other Color. Eight are needed for the Best Small. Only one tomato is required to enter the Fun categories.

Judging begins at 9:30 and hopefully winners will be announced by 10:30.
Judges this year are Mike Pound of the Joplin Globe, Chef Scott Teal, executive chef at the Holiday Inn and Mike Wiggins, owner of Granny Shaffer’s.

Tomato sampling will run from 9:30 to 11:30 in the north pavilion.

Tammy Roberts, Extension nutritionist, will demonstrate how to make gazpacho at 9:30 and 10:30 in the north pavilion. There will, of course, be a tasting afterwards.

Drywood Bluegrass will play and a full breakfast is served until 11 for $5. Redding Mill plans to be there will lunch specialties.

Webb City’s own Cub Pack 39 will have a bake sale.

We said farewell this week to one of our volunteers, Cody Vaughn. Cody is a senior at the high school and in the honors program. The program requires that participating students put in community service hours with a limit of three hours per organization. Cody offered to drive our market cart as his service and, of course, pretty much did the three hours in one day. He completed his fourth Tuesday of driving this week – now that’s really community service when all he gets is the satisfaction of helping. And, of course, what we really loved to hear was “See you next summer” from him when he left.

Now that watermelon and cantaloupe are at the market folks can really gather an armload quickly. Don’t forget we have wagons between the pavilions. Veggie valet is at the information booth. You can leave your purchases in the shade there while you buy more, eat lunch, visit or listen to the music. And though the walk to your car may have been easy coming in, you may want a lift back with all your melons, corn, tomatoes, pies, etc. There is a picnic bench under the west canopy between the pavilions. That’s the shuttle stop. If the shuttle is driverless, just stop by the information booth and a driver will be at your service.

Today lunch is barbecued beef sandwich, baked beans, corn salad, carrot cake and drink for $6. Coyote Pass will play.

Next Tuesday Cooking for a Cause will benefit Girl Scout troop 6438. This troop, which has met at Central United Methodist church since Brownie days, is made up of high school students. They deserve a pat on the back for sticking with a great program literally for a decade.

Speaking of decades, next year the market celebrates its 10th birthday. Any ideas on how we should celebrate?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thanks, Cody!

Cody Vaughn is off to camp and school. He spent Tuesdays in July driving the market cart. Last year Tuesdays were so quiet that we really didn't need the cart - this year we've had close to one thousand customers each Tuesday and many have taken advantage of a lift to the pavilions. Even more have caught a ride back to their car now that they are carrying sweet corn, tomatoes, watermelon AND cantaloupe.

Cody's done a great job and says he'll be back next summer after completing his senior year at Webb City High School.

Friday, July 25, 2008

We're loaded with produce

Fresh from the field sweet corn continues to come in by the truckload. And there are lots of field and garden tomatoes. If you're looking for canners, try Hector Troyer's stand. He was selling 20 pound buckets of canning tomatoes for $10 each last week.

Above - Mai Lee takes care of customers.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Watermelon & Canteloupe

Frank Runyon will be at the market Friday with his first harvest of melons.


Saturday, August 2
Webb City Farmers Market

Tomato Contests –

Best overall quality categories –

· Red Tomato
· Other Color Tomato
· Best grape, cherry or other small tomato

(Two tomatoes for Red & Other Color categories, 8 tomatoes for Small category entered must be delivered to the south pavilion between 8:30 & 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 2.)

First prize in each category is $25 in market tokens redeemable at any market vendor.

Fun tomato categories –

· Heaviest/Largest Tomato
· Smallest Ripe Tomato
· Weirdest Tomato

(One tomato for each category entered must be delivered to the south pavilion between 8:30 & 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 2.)

First prize is each fun category is $15 in market tokens redeemable at any market vendor.

Top tomatoes will be announced at 10:30 and displayed until 11:30.


9:30 until we run out – Sample a variety of fresh local tomatoes

9:30 & 10:30 – Gazpacho demonstration by Extension nutritionist Tammy Roberts. Tasting to follow.

9:30 – 11:30 – Drywood Bluegrass plays

10:30 – (or there abouts) Winners of the Tomato Contests announced

9:00 - Noon – Learn about the many different varieties of tomatoes sold at the farmers’ market by chatting with growers.

Pick up a contest entry form at the information table at the market or email: eileennichols@sbcglobal.

Sentinel column - July 25

It’s almost August, and inquiring minds are asking – will the Saturday markets continue? YES. We had originally planned to just do June and July, but the response to the Saturday market has been much good to give it up now. We have many new customers who could not come on Tuesday or Friday because of other commitments (working can sure get in the way sometimes) and our vendors have been pleased with sales.

With harvest running a good three weeks late because of the cold wet spring, our farmers are just now hitting their high season. And since many increased their plantings by at least 50% to accommodate an additional market day, we should have plenty of produce, probably all the way through fall. The key question now is – will our customers continue coming on Saturdays once the dog days of August pass. We are hoping you will.

This Saturday Pack 29 will have an activity table where boys and girls can buy a model kit of a birdhouse for $2 and construct and paint it. The whole project takes about an hour, but the painting can be done at home if you’ve got a busy morning. It will also be a good opportunity to meet some of the cub scouts and their leaders. Scouting, whether for girls or boys, can have a profoundly beneficial effect on a child. You may know someone who’s ready to be a scout. Bring them to the market on Saturday and introduce them to scouting.

The Webb City Band Boosters will host a bake sale on Saturday. They’re a big group so we’re expecting a lot of baked goods. Be sure to stop by to support their efforts (it’s a sacrifice, but I’ll try to eat a few brownies for the cause).

We have a couple of new vendors coming on Saturday. Lone Star Farm from Anderson will be at the market for the first time with green beans and cucumbers.

D & J Lemonade will have lemonade and tea. You may have noticed the lemonade kids Tuesday. Dalton and Jocelyn set up under their mother’s watchful eye in the far parking lot. When I discovered them, I invited the kids to be market vendors. We didn’t have a lemonade vendor and we try to encourage young entrepreneurs by waiving their season fee. And, of course, we couldn’t have them selling in the parking lot. It’s way too dangerous, plus we’re obligated by our lease with the Park Board to manage all vendors. So they filled out an application, their mom called the health department to make sure they were using good food safety practices and complying with health department rules, and now their ready to officially go into business at the market. (We invited them to start on Friday, but that’s their little sister’s birthday and family comes before business.

Lunch today is all-you-can-eat ham and beans, plus cornbread, brownie and drink for $5. Hymn and I will play from 11 to 1.

On Saturday, we’ll have a full breakfast for $5 until 11 (unless we run out earlier like last week). Jamie Smith will be back with his pizza, specialty sandwiches and stuffed mushrooms. He’ll serve until noon. Jamie was away last week at a festival on a parking lot that measured at 130 degrees HOT. You can imagine how hot it was in his food wagon with the oven blazing. I think he’s done with summer festivals unless they’re under shady trees.

Stonebrook will play bluegrass from 9:30 to 11:30.

Next Tuesday, Cooking for a Cause supports the Chert Glades Master Naturalists.

Next Saturday is TomatoFest with tomato contests, tomato sampling and a gazpacho demonstration at 9:30 and 10:30. Details are on our blog ( You can also email for entry forms in the tomato contest from there.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Paul Rowden & Friends

When Paul Rowden says he'll bring a few friends to play at the market, he means it. As you can see from the picture about 15 accomplished musicians played throughout the Saturday market today, having such a good time that they continued playing almost an hour past the advertised time. It was a real treat for all of us.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sentinel Column 7/18

Unless you are one of the Sentinel’s out of state subscribers this is probably not news for you because you were probably at the market, but last Friday was the biggest day in the market’s history. By our estimates, about 1,300 folks came to the market. And it’s not even tomato season yet! Must be the power of sweet corn.

People were amazingly good-natured about the traffic and parking. They, like us, were surprised at the crowds but usually said they were happy the market’s doing well. I just encouraged our customers to think positive – not only can they get fresh, local produce at the market, but they can get their exercise for the day too if they chose to walk from their parking space.

Duane Hunt was busy shuttling customers and their produce back and forth for about two hours in the market cart. And for the one person who swore she’d never come back on a Friday, he suggested trying a Saturday morning when things are calmer. (We only had 700 customers last Saturday.)

The market cart has been a real help, both for the customers loaded with produce and for the volunteers setting up the market. So our thanks to the folks who underwrote the cart’s purchase last year – Cardinal Scale, Mid Missouri Bank, the Tri-State Water Resource Coalition, Stadler-LaMere, the Richardson Law Office and Amos Apiaries.

We still have a pretty good supply of sweet corn (it lasted until half an hour before closing on Saturday). As one planting is picked out, there may be a lull until the next field is ready. Our farmers hope to harvest off and one through September this year.

Blackberry season will fast be upon us. In fact, we’re having Blackberry Day tomorrow (Saturday). Tammy Roberts, an Extension nutritionist based in Barton County, will demonstrate blackberry smoothies at 9:30 and 10:30. (Yes, there will be a tasting after each.) We’ll serve small cups of blackberry cobbler with ice cream for $1 each (until we run out). Paul Rowden & Friends will play bluegrass, gospel and old style country throughout the morning. Hazel’s Bakery will serve a full breakfast from 9 to 11 and Ka Yang will have her Asian foods.

Today, lunch is meatloaf, green bean salad, braised baby carrots, watermelon/cantaloupe and a drink for $6. Gospel Strings will play.

Next Tuesday, Children’s Haven will benefit from Cooking for a Cause. This local non-profit provides a temporary home to children who might otherwise go into foster care because of the illness of a parent or other family difficulty.

Now, back to the first paragraph of this column – about it not being tomato season. Just between me and you, the field tomatoes are finally in! We had enough Tuesday to take care of every customer. So if you’ve been longing for the full flavored taste of a juicy homegrown tomato, come on down to the market. It’s tomato season.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lost & Found

Have you lost an audible pedometer? If so, give Eileen a call at 483-8139.

Market in the News

Two market vendors are featured in the current issue of Missouri Ruralist. Go to:

to read the stories. Thanks to Sherri Mitchell for bringing her copy of the magazine to the market and giving us the heads up.

Inside News

Tuesday was the first day of the season that we closed with tomatoes still for sale.

& Pate Orchard is bringing the big truck Friday which will almost double our peach supply. The Red Havens are in!

Yes, we're entering the bountiful season. Word is that cantaloupe and watermelon are only a week or so away!

You will find these products at many stands, but those currently bringing in the largest supply are:

Sweet corn - Wells Farm
Green peppers - Troyer Farm
Green beans - Ka Yang
Potatoes - Ka Yang & Mor Xiong
Tomatoes - Troyer Farm, Josh Orr & Scott Yang

Plus you will find the above and much more like squash, zucchini, onions, hot peppers..... at those vendors as well as many others including the Lees, Eichers, Fairhaven, Shoal Creek, the Chas, the Vangs, & Fredricksons. Just take a stroll through both pavilions to see what's in season.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tuesday Market

Here are a few things we're expecting on Tuesday:

Green Peppers at Troyers and Lees
Incredible (yellow) corn at Wells
Temptation (bicolor) corn at Troyers & Eichers
Ambrosia (bicolor) corn at Fairhaven
Okra at the Chas

Plus lot of other good stuff!

The Exchange Club runs Cooking for a Cause and donates their profits to the 501c3 Healing the Family counseling service.

Ka Yang is back with her egg rolls!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wow - what a crowd

Friday was the biggest market, in terms of sales and customers, that we've ever had. Folks were parked half way to the soccer field on the south and west of the Kneeling Miner on the north. It must be the allure of sweet corn.

Above, the Yangs fill bags as quickly as they can on Friday.

Thank goodness most folks were patient and kind about the traffic jam. And thank goodness Duane Hunt was running the golf cart. He got quite a workout.

When you have to park a distance, think positive - not only can you get fresh local produce, but also your exercise!

Saturdays have been much calmer than the weekdays, so it might be an ideal time to do your marketing. We're expecting:

Sweet corn - The Wells Farm, Troyer Farm & Fairhaven
Peaches - Pates Orchard & Fairhaven
Blackberries - Fairhaven
Green Peppers - Troyer Farm, as well as several others
Green Beans - Helen Cha & others
Tomatoes (in limited supply) - Pates Orchard, Lee Farm, Troyer Farm

plus lots of other good stuff - just wander around.

New this Saturday - pies from Redings Mill - peach pie and blueberry pie

The Joplin Welcome Club will hold a bake sale.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sentinel Column 7-11

Finally, we have sweet corn and loads of it. We have Bodacious, a yellow variety, and the bi-color Temptation. You’ll find corn at the Troyers, Wells, Palmers & Eichers on Tuesdays and Fridays and all the afore mentioned except the Eichers on Saturdays. In other words, we’ve got A LOT of corn.

Hannah Mehrens, our intern volunteer this summer, went with me on several farm visits this weekend and one of the highlights was the Wells cornfield. It’s hard to beat shucking an ear of corn and eating it right in the field. (That's Kristie Wells shucking my snack.) The early corn is so tender that it doesn’t even require cooking.

But cooking does have its fans and there are so many ways to cook corn - boil, steam, grill, roast or microwave, and then slather it with butter. That’s the time to add some salt. According to the Illinois Extension service, adding salt to the boiling water just makes the corn tougher, as does overcooking, so wait until the butter goes on.

The service also suggests squeezing on some lime juice or brushing the ear with olive oil and sprinkling on the following dried herb mix.

4 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme

The key to good corn is freshness and proper storage. The shorter the time between harvest and eating, the better it will be, and if the corn is kept cool or refrigerated during that time, so much the better. Don’t shuck the corn until right before cooking.

Back to Hannah. She’s volunteering at the Saturday market. She works during the week at Richardson’s Candy House while she pursues an associate degree in agriculture at Crowder College. Her passion is growing and using fresh produce and convincing others to do the same, which makes her a really good match for the market. We hope that she’ll share a little of that passion and do a few cooking demonstrations for us this summer.

Two other volunteers I need to acknowledge are Cody Vaughn and Duane Hunt. They’re driving the market cart for us so folks parking in the far lot have an easy way in and out. Tuesday and Friday have become so busy at opening that the cart is a real godsend, especially now that the corn is in. It’s one thing to enjoy a walk to the pavilion, but something entirely different to haul 3 dozen ears of corn that distance.

Friday’s lunch is chicken salad on a lettuce leaf, tomato and zucchini salad, corn, banana pudding and a drink for $6. Jack and Lee Ann Sours will play traditional music.

On Saturday morning, we’ll have a full breakfast from Hazel’s Bakery, as well as cooked-at-the market pizzas and stuffed mushrooms from Redings Mill Bakery. They’ll also have specialty sandwiches and, brand new for the Saturday market, pies! Blueberry and peach.

Saturday has been short on baked goods, but that time is past because in addition to the Bakery’s pies, our non-profit bake sales are kicking in this week. The Joplin Area Welcome Club will host the bake sale this Saturday.

The Loose Notes will play gospel and bluegrass this Saturday.

Monday, July 7, 2008

No Eggrolls This Week

Ka Yang will be out of town this week visiting her mother who is ill. Ka expects to be back at the market on Tuesday, July 15th.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Lost & Found

If you're missing a key with a red covering on the head, please stop by the information table. Also, we found way back in early May the bluetooth headset of a cell phone. It has a Motorola symbol on it.


Our annual PestoFesto is this Tuesday. Darryl Alton of Urban Gardeners will demonstrate pesto making using both the traditional pestle and the food processor at noon. He'll be located in the northeast corner of the north pavilion.

Urban Gardeners will be making a rare Tuesday appearance in honor of PestoFesto. They have wonderful planters with a variety of basils, as well as mixes of gourmet herb plants. They'll also have pesto kits Tuesday.

Inside News

Looks like we'll have at least three vendors on Tuesday with sweet corn!

Steve McLaughlin is planning do fried green tomatoes at the market, and may also grill corn. He'll be set up by his mom, Kay McLaughlin at Hazel's Bakery. Making it a family affair - Steve's daughter, Maddie, will usually be at the market with her lemonade stand. All her profits go to the Autism Center.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sentinel column - 7-3 We're open Thursday this week!

I’ve always heard that, in our area, a good gardener will have tomatoes for the Fourth of July. Well, not this year. Our Spring was so cold and wet that most field produce is a good two weeks behind schedule. What that means is that you won’t see a lot of tomatoes at the market today. But in another couple of weeks, we should be buried in them.

Our growers have planted literally thousands of tomato plants to be sure we have enough, but the weather has delayed the harvest. The up side is that we should have produce a little later than usual this year, but to take advantage of that folks will need to continue coming to the market as summer turns to fall – not much consolation now, I know.

Hector Troyer hosted a field day for our growers last month and I think most were amazed by the number of tomato plants in his fields. Hector’s goal this year is to come home with a few of boxes of tomatoes after every market, in other words to have tomatoes for the late shoppers as well as the early ones. According to his research it should take 240 man-hours each week to harvest the number of tomatoes he has planted. That’s a few more hours than Hector has and I don’t think his son Lance is going to be much help. Lance has a great smile and can stand on his tipy-toes now, but at 8 months he’s not much of a field hand. I expect Hector will be putting in long hours this summer, like most of our farmers.

The market is blessed with growers who make the market’s well-being part of their plans. Hopefully, Hector will profit from his massive tomato planting, but his primary motivation was to be sure the market had plenty.

Another grower, Tim Green, is already looking to double the size of his high tunnel next spring. He has hated that some of his customers waited in long lines for tomatoes only to see the last ones sold before their turn.

That experience has been far too common for our customers lately because of high demand and delayed harvests. Most have been very kind and supportive and we really appreciate that because we know it’s disappointing. Stick with us – the bounty is just around the corner.

We’ve had lots of beautiful onions at the market this year, something we were short on last year. We’ve also had a much-improved supply of green beans, potatoes, kohlrabi and cabbage.

The first of the Asian cucumbers were at Helen Cha’s stand Tuesday. I’m not a cucumber fan, but my friend Claudette Brown says the Asian ones are wonderful. Raspberries and blackberries are coming into season and can be found at several stands – Fairhaven, Pates, and Orr to name a few.

Lunch today is a barbecued beef sandwich, baked beans, potato salad, cake, and drink for $6. The Plainsfolk will play Irish music. We host our big bake sale to benefit Crosslines today.

Cooking for a Cause on Tuesday also benefited Crosslines and raised over $450 for our regional food and clothing pantry. We had a bevy of volunteers from Central United Methodist and First Baptist churches, both of Webb City, manning the grill and serving tables.

On Saturday, we’ll be open from 9 to noon under the pavilions. The Missouri Mountain Gang from the Springfield area will play bluegrass.

Jann Amos will have a demonstration hive at the market Saturday. You, and the kids, can see a cross section of a living, working beehive without the usual risk.

Hazel’s Bakery will serve a full breakfast. Jamie Smith will have cooked-at-the-market pizzas and stuffed mushrooms, as well as specialty sandwiches on his artisan breads. I had his Hillbilly BLT last week and it was delicious. It’s piled high not only with the bacon, lettuce and tomato that you’d expect but also shaved ham. And for $4 you get a sandwich that is plenty big for two people. It’s a real buy.

Next Tuesday is our Pestofesto. The Urban Gardeners will have pesto kits for sale and several of our growers will have basil for sale. Darryl Alton will give a pesto making demonstration at noon. You won’t want to miss that. He’s quite the showman, plus you get to sample.

Remember, we’re open rain or shine – last Saturday should prove that. Despite an absolute downpour during most of the market we had 14 vendors and over 300 customers. What a crazy bunch! Can’t help it, we love our market.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Inside News

Boy, did we ever get slammed today. Tomatoes, peaches and corn were all sold out in 30 minutes, mostly because supplies are still very limited. We're hoping that by next week, there will be plenty - or at least enough to last through lunch.

Don't forget that we're open on Thursday, not Friday, this week because of the holiday. We'll also be open on Saturday. We won't be seeing Madewell Pork or Flintrock Buffalo this week because of the Fourth. However, we are expecting pretty much everyone else. We'll have our usual bakers on Thursday as well as our annual Crosslines bake sale.

Speaking of Crosslines, we cleared $458.25 for Crosslines at Cooking for a Cause today. Great turnout of customers and super volunteers supplied by First Baptist and Central United Methodist churches of Webb City and the Carterville United Methodist Church.