Monday, September 29, 2008

Last Tuesday Market

Tomorrow is our last Tuesday market. In October, we'll be open Fridays only - from 11 to 3.

Cooking for a Cause benefits the Webb City Parks tomorrow. Come join us for the last barbecue of the season.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sentinel Column 9/26/08

We have lots planned at the market this weekend (maybe it will take your mind off the lack of Mining Days).

Today Tammy Roberts, our extension nutritionist based in Lamar, will test pressure gauges beginning at 11. At 11:30 she’ll do a walk-through on canning green beans. This is not the traditional time of year for canning, but the market has such an abundant supply of green beans that it makes sense. And what a luxury to can when it’s not 110 degrees outside.

We’ll have a sign up sheet for people who would like to receive information on the full-blown canning class that Tammy and the market will hold next year. It will be hands on training in a commercial kitchen here in Webb City. The cost will be $15.

We’re also loaded at the market with eggplant, so we’ll do a sampling of Eggplant and Tomato Au Gratin beginning at 11. My daughter Emily emailed this recipe to me. It was one of the top articles read in the New York Times last week and is a low-fat version of Eggplant Parmesan. The culinary arts class at the Southwest Career Center in Monett prepared it for us.

Lunch today is chili with all the fixin’s, chips, crackers, carrot cake and a drink for $6. Bailed Green and Wired Tight will play between 11 and 2. They’re putting in a long session because the third graders from Eugene Field are walking over for a visit at 12:30. That always livens the market up as they explore on a scavenger hunt. They’ll be looking for lemon grass and snake gourds, dark and light honey, various meats, and for the most distant vendor (that’s Pates Orchard from Stockton). Our band plays and teaches about traditional instruments and we finish up with a cookie from the baker.

On Saturday, we should see more kids at the market because we’re painting pumpkins. Every child will receive a free mini-pumpkin to paint. Tables with paints and brushes will be under the south pavilion.

Between the pavilions from 10 to noon, Bob Foos will take photos of adults and kids with Suzy and Sammy Scarecrow among pumpkins, hay bales and corn stalks. There are two photo package options: one 5x7 and 8 wallets or two 4x5s. The cost for either package is $5.

Be sure to stop by our newest vendor, Black Forest House Pastries. They’ll have free samples of linzertorte and Black Forest cake on Saturday. Bert Ott trained in Germany and his baked goods have a European flavor. They include Bavarian pretzels, Danish rolls, apple strudel, bienenstih cake, coffee and cinnamon rolls. Since tomorrow is our last Saturday market, Black Forest will continue on Fridays.

Breakfast will be served until 11 and Coyote Pass will play throughout the morning.

Next Tuesday is our last Tuesday market and therefore our last Cooking for a Cause lunch. It will benefit the Webb City parks, a cause near and dear to our own heart since the King Jack Park is our home. Volunteers will serve up freshly grilled hot dogs, hamburgers and smoked sausages from 11 to 1.

With the last Cooking for a Cause, I want to acknowledge a generous gift that we have enjoyed this year. Shoal Creek Gardens has supplied our tomatoes all season for the hamburgers. Tim Green brings us a boxful of “not ready for prime time” tomatoes every Tuesday that we send over to Central United Methodist’s kitchen for slicing. (Tim is shown above with the remains of his compost pile. We use this picture in teaching our growers how to improve their soil.) The tomatoes may be ugly, but they sure are tasty. And as the supply of tomatoes dwindles, they’re often the only local tomatoes I get to enjoy. The Greens’ generosity has not only given us a taste of fresh and local at Cooking for a Cause, but also allowed more of the funds to go to our participating non-profits. Thanks, Tim and Vi.

In October, the market will be open on Fridays only through the end of the month. That will make our last day Halloween, barring a very hard freeze before then.

The Holiday Market is scheduled, as usual, for the day before Thanksgiving. We have flyers at the information table with details and contact numbers so you can pre-order your Christmas hams or Thanksgiving baked goods.

Today will be the last day for Urban Gardeners and their lovely flowers and herbs. Tomorrow will be the last day for Amos Apiaries until the Holiday Market. But for fall produce, baked goods, jams and jellies, meats and eggs, October will still be a great time to come to the market.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lots going on Friday

11:00 - Test your pressure cooker gauge. Tammy Roberts, extension nutritionist will test your gauge for free.

11:30 - Tammy will discuss canning green beans (we have loads still at the market & how nice to can in the cooler weather). We will also have a sign up sheet for folks interested in taking a full blown canning class next year. The cost will be $15.

Lunch is chili with all the fixin's, chips, crackers, carrot cake and drink for $6.

Bailed Green and Wired Tight will play Appalachian Mountain Music between 11 and 2.

The third graders from Eugene Field will visit the market at 12:30.

Last Week for Urban Gardeners & Amos Apiaries

Sad to say - Urban Gardeners (see flowers to top right) say this Friday will be their last for the season.

Resa Amos tells us that she will be at the market Friday and Saturday and then will be off to the fall craft fairs for the rest of the season.

She will be at the Holiday Market on the day before Thanksgiving. That will be 11 to 1 on November 26 at the Clubhouse, 115 North Madison.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Next Saturday is the Last Saturday Market

With the arrival of October, the market will go to Fridays only - 11 to 3. The gardens are just not producing enough to harvest two days in a row.

We hope the Saturday market has been a welcome part of your summer and we plan to continue it next year.

This final Saturday will have some special activities:

Our newest vendor: Black Forest House will be serving free samples of linzer tort and black forest cake.

McLaughlin-Logan Farm will give a free mini-pumpkin to the first 100 children for them to paint at the market. We'll have tables stocked with paints and brushes between the pavilions.

Susie & Sammy Scarecrow will make their first appearance at the market. The life-sized scarecrows always grace the market during the fall - ready to pose for a photo.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Webb City Sentinel column - 9/19

You never know what you’re going to find at the market - like a living breathing birthday cake marching from one end to the other.

Wayne Porter, former long-time minister at Webb City’s First Presbyterian Church and passionate volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, was surprised to find last Saturday that he reliving history. His son, John, and daughter, Tammy Graves, and his two sisters plotted a special 80th birthday for him. One that was patterned after his mother’s 80th birthday 22 years ago when she wore a rather remarkable birthday cake costume down Main Street in Nelson, Nebraska.

Unbeknownst to Wayne, his sisters, Darlene Shaw and Phyllis O’Dey, together with Phyllis’ husband Don, secured that costume and brought it to Webb City for his celebration. Wayne suspected nothing when the family wanted to visit the market Saturday. After all, lots of folks bring their out-of-town guests to the market. And he was amiable if perplexed when John led him from the market into the storage barn across the road. That is where the family was laying in wait to slip on the cake costume and candle hat.

We in turn were waiting under the south market pavilion with our band, the Missouri Mountain Gang, who played a rousing bluegrass version of Happy Birthday.

Wayne was a good sport, walking through the market in the getup telling friends, both old and just met, about his mother’s celebration and commenting “this is one of the more embarrassing moments of my life.” Certainly it was a memorable moment for his family and the market and I’m pretty sure that his son John may have a similar surprise waiting for him on his 80th birthday. After all, his children, Wesley and London, were at the market soaking it all in.

By the way, Wayne’s mother, Leona, actually sewed most of the cake costume. It was commissioned by a friend who owned a costume shop and who neglected to indicate the costume’s true purpose. Imagine Leona’s surprise when she learned that she was the special celebrant who was to wear the costume, down Main Street no less. A good sense of humor must run in the Porter family.

And good coping skills, too. It was a weekend of surprises for Wayne. First his sisters show up from Nebraska unannounced at his birthday dinner on Friday, then the market episode Saturday morning, followed by a surprise party that afternoon attended by his family, including his wife Joyce, and many friends. When I dropped by the party, there was Wayne garbed again in his costume recounting the now notorious cake story that he can add to the many other stories lived and retold during a long and productive life.

While we don’t expect to celebrate any 80th birthdays this week (and we probably wouldn’t tell you even if we did – we know how to keep a secret), there will be plenty of good food and community to celebrate. Lunch today is meatloaf, 3-bean salad, corn, tropical fruit cup and drink for $6. Webb City’s own Gospel Strings plays between 11 and 1. Resa Amos will demonstrate her spinning on her spinning wheel at her honey stand.

On Saturday, Ninth Hour performs. You remember them from their terrific performance this summer in Forever Plaid at the downtown theater. They’ll be singing gospel and popular hits from the past. The Thunder baseball team has a bake sale scheduled for Saturday. Breakfast will be cooked up to order until 11 or until the ingredients run out.

Be sure to check the market blog for details on next week.

Next Friday we plan a green bean canning demonstration and a sampling of eggplant Parmesan (yes, our farmers have eggplant in all shapes and sizes). Next Saturday we’ll have free minipumpkins for children to paint courtesy of grower Steve McLaughlin. Suzy and Sammy Scarecrow will make their first appearance at the market.

It’s fall at the market, bring the kids (and adults) out to enjoy the season.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Inside News

Ka Yang and her husband Neng are undergoing training for their winter jobs for the next two weeks. They plan to be at the market on Fridays and hopefully also on Saturdays, but will not be at the market on Tuesdays so that means NO EGGROLLS on Tuesdays!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Webb City Sentinel - 9/12/08

Is it cold and rainy? Grab an umbrella, put on your sweater and come on out to the market where you can celebrate the season under cover. Things are always a bit quieter at the market when it’s rainy so parking is easier, but we still have a market full of vendors and fresh produce.

Fall is coming into its own at the market with apples, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, mums and the fall crops of green beans, greens, broccoli, cabbage, green onions, beets and radishes. So brave the weather and come enjoy what your growers have worked so hard to provide.

Folks often think the market season winds down about this time, but nothing could be further from the truth. The season just changes and with it the market. For example, we are absolutely loaded down with green beans right now. We have more than we have ever seen before and it is because of that cool wet spell we had in August. Is it possible that I just wrote “cool”, “wet” and “August” in one sentence? In the nine years the market has been open, we’ve had more than a few years with not a drop of rain in August, and at least one when there was no rain in July and August. The result of this year’s strange August weather has been exceedingly productive green bean plants. And we expect that abundance to continue for some time because more plantings will be coming into maturity in the next couple of weeks.

This unusual situation has caused us to schedule a canning class for Friday, September 26th. Tammy Roberts, with Barton County Extension, will lead an abbreviated class on canning green beans that day. Next summer we plan to schedule a full 3-hour class at a commercial kitchen in Webb City so our customers can become expert at all sorts of canning. We also plan to have market demonstrations on drying and freezing food. As always, if you have suggestions for the market education program, let us know.

John Pate will have crisp, juicy apples just picked from the tree this weekend. Heidi Stoller will have her mums for sale at Friday's market.

The Urban Gardeners are back at the market on Fridays. Their flowers are thoroughly enjoying this weather and their bouquets are gorgeous. They also have herbs, a few heirloom tomatoes and other specialties like cloved pears.

The Lion’s Club will be at the market Friday selling raffle tickets for a street-legal three-wheel vehicle. The drawing is to take place the last day of market – which this year will probably be Friday, October 31.

Lunch today is barbecued chicken breast, au gratin potatoes, green beans, watermelon and drink for $6.

We are blessed with some outstanding bluegrass and gospel musicians this weekend. On Friday the Fabulous BRDs will play between 11 and 1. On Saturday, the Missouri Mountain Gang from the Springfield area will play all morning.

We’ll have breakfast at the market on Saturday until sellout or 11. The We Care of the 4 States food pantry will hold a PIE sale on Saturday. Doesn’t that sound tasty?

On Tuesday, we’ll have ratatouille – not the wee chef of movie fame, but the original French dish. The culinary arts class of the Southwest Career Center in Monett is preparing ratatouille for our customers to sample. It’s perfect for this time of year because almost all the ingredients are in season – eggplant, tomato, basil, parsley, bell peppers, yellow squash and zucchini. Only the onion is out of season. (Here’s a little insider information: my growers tell me that they don’t have onions now because in our area the large onion grown after midsummer turn hot as a firecracker. That’s why you’ll only find green onions at the market right now. We’re looking for a variety that will take us through the whole season, but no luck so far.)

Whatever day – or days – you come to the market during the next week, you’ll find something to delight your eyes, ears or taste buds.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Green Beans Galore!

We're loaded down with green beans at the market. The cool wet August spell (now that's an oxymoron) has resulted in some very happy green bean plants that are producing their little heads off.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sentinel column - 9/5

One of my favorite parts of managing the market is visiting our farmers. Marilyn, board president Tim Green and I had scheduled visits to eight farms on Wednesday. It was the only day we all had free this week, so we went despite the forecast of rain.
My, and did it ever rain. It rained and it blew – so much that Marilyn’s umbrella blew inside out and there were a few times that I thought my golf umbrella was going to give me an aerial view of the farms.

(That's a damp Tim Green inspecting Mor Xiong's tomatoes. They're looking good and are putting on their third set for the season.)

We always discover new things, new ideas, and new places on these visits.
At Hector Troyer’s we found the tomato plants edged with tall grass. The cover crop between the rows was mowed short but he had decided not to “weed-eat”, allowing narrow strips of grass to grow high on either side of the tomatoes. His hope was that the grass would shade the fruit from the late summer sun and reduce scalding. Interesting concept, but not one he’ll repeat. The grass is a hassle to harvest through, and almost unbearably itchy, and it didn’t have any effect on scalding. But it just goes to show that Hector is always looking for ways to farm better.

He also has a low spot in a field near the house that he’s tried to drain without much success. He’s thinking it would be a great place for a volleyball lawn next year. Personally, I don’t think I’ll challenge him to a game. He towers over me.

Neng Chang is coming to sell at the market next week. She is Ton Cha’s daughter-in-law. It’s one of those relationships that doesn’t translate. Ton’s children are all young and Neng is clearly older than Ton, obviously she isn’t married to one of his children. It has something to do with generations. Apparently her husband may be the great grandson of Ton’s grandfather. It’s all a little confusing to me, unfamiliar as I am with the complexities of Asian family structures.

In any case, we visited Neng’s garden Wednesday. Upon arriving, she took us to a tiny plot with some green beans, basil and peppers. I told her it was surely not worth driving an hour to sell such a little bit. “Oh, I have another garden.” So she took us to the other side of the house and there was half an acre of squash, cucumber and melons. Then she mentioned she had one other garden. We hopped in her truck and she took us through several fields. She parked and we walked down a steep path into a small valley surrounded by trees and filled with lush vines of squash, a field of rice (below), and other crops. It was a delightful secret garden with fertile soil, sheltered on all sides.

As we left that garden, she said next year she was adding another garden spot over the hill.

During our visit with Neng my list of produce had gone from three types in the first garden to almost twenty-five by the last, proving that persistence pays. As we have become more experienced at farm inspections we have learned that it is important to ask – “Is this everything?” Growers know everything they’ve planted, but unless we see it and note it on the inspection form, it can’t be sold at the market.

Another lovely discovery Wednesday was the Agee Farm. Their large gardens and orchards are filled with innovative plantings that were interesting to learn about and lovely to behold.

I had told them that we’d probably be at their place about noon and Dee said “plan on a light lunch.” When I protested, she said that her mother didn’t raise her to have company at lunchtime without providing a meal. And, to tell you the truth, the offer was welcome because we are often many, many miles from a restaurant when on inspections. What I didn’t expect, but should have, was the spread Dee provided. The Agees grow heirloom produce so we sat down to their Brandywine tomatoes, fresh salsa, smoked salmon from their last trip to Alaska, a French dessert cantaloupe, and cider they had pressed just the night before. These are clearly people who love good food. It was a feast of freshness.

If you’d like to experience your own heirloom feast, stop by the Agee’s stand. They’re at the market on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Lunch today is spaghetti & meat balls, garden salad, garlic bread, banana pudding, and drink for $6. Plainsfolk play Irish music between 11 and 1.

On Saturday we celebrate Scout Day at the market. Cub Scout Pack 25 will have a bake sale and host a craft table. The Webb City Girl Scouts will host a game and craft.

The Wild River Band will play from 9:30 to 11:30 and Hazel’s Bakery will cook up breakfast at the market until 11.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Inside News

Amos Apiaries will have comb honey at the market beginning on Tuesday.