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.