Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sentinel column 10/10

It’s been school time for us lately. Friday before last the third graders from Eugene Field walked over for a visit. They had four stations: one with Mayor Biggs, one with our musicians Bailed Green and Wired Tight, one with me and a scavenger hunt.

It’s always fun to see what they remember to include in their thank you cards. Clearly the pumpkins were a big hit – especially the fact that Steve McLaughlin gave each of them a mini-pumpkin. I didn’t get to see the mayor’s thank yous, but I’m sure the kids were impressed.

I was pleased to see they remembered the many varieties of eggplants I showed them. Who would have thought eggplant would get their attention? But then who would think the same vegetable comes in a large purple size, a skinny green shape, a small green and white ball and a tiny but tasty tidbit?

The scavenger hunt is always fun. And was especially so that day because Resa Amos was demonstrating wool spinning and Rudi Long had buffalo skins and skulls and elk horns out for sale.

I have to wonder, though, if the music wasn’t the best. I always book Bailed Green and Wired Tight for our third grade visit. They are wonderful musicians and equally good teachers. They play lively traditional music, but they also stop to show and demonstrate the individual instruments – especially the banjo. The thank you notes were full of “awesome”s and “great”s and even one “you were my very favorite thing at the market (but don’t tell the others).”

It’s hard for eggplant to beat Appalachian mountain music.

This week has been Webster School’s turn. Their class scarecrows all came to the market on Friday.

On Wednesday I was Webster’s guest luncheon speaker. They have a guest speaker every week. I took Sammy Scarecrow, our life-sized market scarecrow, along as backup. He leads the singing at the end of the program.

It’s always a pleasure to visit Webster. The staff and teachers treat the students with such courtesy and respect and the students respond in kind. One lunch period came in and sat down so quietly I didn’t even realize they’d arrived until Mrs. Dykens complimented them on their manners. Now, when was the last time you’ve seen 120 children so well behaved? Go to Webster School where it happens every day.

I took a variety of pumpkins and squash from Frederickson Farms to show the children. I had the standard pumpkin, one that looked like something from Cinderella, a green one and one with a long neck. It’s easy to come up with something eye-popping at Fredrickson’s. They grew over 60 kinds of pumpkins and gourds this year.

Fredrickson’s sells at the market in the spring and summer, but come fall they’re busy fulltime with their business at the farm.

Steve and Tami Fredrickson are donating all the proceeds from their hayrides this weekend to the Ronald McDonald House. They hope to restock the pantry for the Joplin charity, which provides a "Home Away From Home" for the families of seriously ill children and ill expectant mothers staying at nearby hospitals. The rides are $1 each and will take place at the farm between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and between noon and 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Fredrickson Farms is located in Carl Junction just off Z highway at 303 North Grimes. The farm also sells mums, pansies, straw, and corn shocks and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and Sundays from noon to 6 pm. For more information, call 417 649-7462.

Lunch at the market today is spaghetti & meatballs, garden salad, garlic bread, brownies and drink for $6. Bailed Green & Wired Tight play during lunch. There will be paints and brushes on two tables for kids to paint pumpkins. And, of course, Suzy and Sammy Scarecrow will pose for pictures.

The market is still loaded with all kinds of produce, including tomatoes, so come on down every Friday in October.