Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sentinel Column 10/3/08

It’s Scarecrow Day at the market today. Every fall each class at Webster School makes a life-sized scarecrow as part of their Fall Hoe Down, an evening when their families come to celebrate fall by reading and learning. All the teachers wear country clothes like overalls and a few of our market vendors even set up to give it an authentic harvest feel.

Today, the day after the Hoe Down, the school loads up the scarecrows and brings them to the market to share with the community. So come to the market to see the scarecrows and vote for your favorite! The winners will be announced at 2. This year every child in the winning class will receive a mini-pumpkin courtesy of McLaughlin-Logan Farms.

The market will be open every Friday in October (barring a hard freeze) from 11 to 3. The market is still loaded with produce like apples, greens, peppers, zucchini, squash and much more.

Countryside View Greenhouse will be at the market today with mums. They are big and beautiful and a very good price. We’ll also have our pork, beef, chicken, buffalo and elk vendors, as well as our jam and jelly makers, and bakers.

Lunch today is barbecued beef sandwich, pasta salad, peas, pudding and drink for $6. The Wild River Band is playing during lunch.

We’ll have the painting tables set up each Friday so folks can bring or buy a pumpkin and paint it right at the market. We often hear a word of thanks from parents and grandparents for this service. It’s one less opportunity for the furniture or carpets to end up painted. We cover the picnic tables – and the children – so most of the paint goes on the pumpkins.

Suzy and Sammy Scarecrow are at the market, ready to pose for a fall photo. We think of this as something for children, but every year we have a few adults who pose with the scarecrows as well. Sammy and Suzy even appear on television occasionally. This week they did a thumbs up for KSN, as did many of our vendors. As I watched Mor Xiong, who grew up in Laos, give a bright smile and two thumbs up, I was struck by the turns that life takes. What were the odds that Mor, who grew up speaking an unwritten language in a part of the world without radio or cars, would end up half way around the world on television giving two thumbs up?

I was interviewing Scott Yang this week in preparation for a panel he, Tim Green and I are doing in Kansas City later this month. Scott moved to the United States in 1979. In Laos, which is humid and tropical, the low temperature in winter is about 65 degrees. Imagine the shock Scott was in for when he moved to Missoula, Montana, where the winter temperatures can go below zero degrees, way below. Small wonder that he eventually made his way to Missouri.

Something that seems to be common among our immigrant farmers is their courtesy, cheerfulness and eagerness to learn and improve their skills. I guess most of us could trace our own roots to similar immigrants who took a risk and found opportunities to create a better life for their families. It continues to be a privilege for us at the market to work with these relatively new citizens, to learn from them as they in turn learn from us.

Next Friday lunch will be spaghetti and meatballs, garden salad, garlic bread, brownies and drink. Bailed Green and Wired Tight will provide the entertainment.

Going to one day a week enables us to pack the pavilions with vendors and produce. It’s harvest time!