Wednesday, December 30, 2009

No Market Friday - instead come to the parade watch breakfast!

There will be no Winter Market on Friday, January 1, but if you want a taste of community on New Years Day - and good food, come to the Tournament of Roses parade watch breakfast. It runs from 9:30 to noon at Central United Methodist Church, Broadway and Pennsylvania in Webb City. Watch for free or enjoy a breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, ham or sausage, pancakes and drink for $6 for adults and $3 for children. All profits go to the Webb City High School Band Boosters. Below, the band practices in California for the big day - look at that sunshine! Thanks to Emily Younker at the Globe for the photo. Check her blog out at for on-site coverage of the band trip.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sorry - No Redings Mill on Friday

I just heard from Jamey Smith & they are taking Friday off for the holidays - so no woodfired brick oven bread tomorrow. Sorry.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter Market - This Friday!

Be there or - well, I know our customers aren't square! So be there or miss out on good local food like the bread from Redings Mill (this shot of Ava and her dad was taken at the Holiday Market the day before Thanksgiving). Tim Green is bringing his high tunnel tomatoes. Organic Way plans to bring tomatoes, winter squash, radishes and maybe some greens. Fair Haven will have pecans, jams, jellies and their beautiful cedar handcrafted furniture. Load up on baked goods for the holidays and don't forget the meats - beef, buffalo, chicken, lamb, and elk. There will be farm fresh eggs from Flintrock Ranch's singing hens.

Winter Market is this Friday (December 18) from 11 to 2 under the market pavilion at the Main Street entrance to King Jack Park.

Monday, December 7, 2009

High Tunnel Field Day

South Central Specialty Crop Growers Association High Tunnel Tour
Time: December 17 at 10:00 AM
Place: 4318 Glaser Hollow Rd, Bland, MO 65014 (about 30 miles north of Rolla)
RSVP: By 5:00 PM Dec. 15. Contact: Laura at the Phelps County Extension office at (573) 458-6260 or There is no charge for this workshop. A gourmet lunch of Missouri raised products will be sponsored by a grant from the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Space is limited so register early.

Directions from St. James : Take Highway B North out of St. James approximately 16.5 miles to Schneider Road and go right. Schneider Road is just past Leduc church. Follow Schneider road approximately 3 miles and make a left at the T which is Glaser Hollow Road. Travel approximately 2 miles to the white house on the right side of the road.

This workshop will focus on organic production of lettuce and mixed greens in high tunnels during the winter months. Topics will include site preparation, planting, irrigation, weed control, pest control, harvesting, processing and how to manage the high tunnel environment. The tour will be of a 26’x96’ non-heated hoop house (high tunnel) covered with 2 layers of 6 mil. greenhouse plastic.

The Polar Bear Express pulls out of the station on Saturday

The Polar Bear Express will run Saturday (December 12) starting at 4 pm with the last ride departing at 6 pm. The Express, usually known as the Old streetcar No. 60, will be decked out in Christmas lights and decorations. Before and after the ride, children can warm up in the station (the Chamber of Commerce at 555 South Main Street) with a cup of hot chocolate and a visit with a friendly “polar bear”. The bear will be happy to pose for photos.

On the train, children will listen to the book, the Polar Express, during 10 - 15 minute ride. (Kids should dress warmly because the streetcar is not heated.) Each child will receive a Polar Express activity sheet.

At 6 pm the Four State Gospel Choir will lead Christmas carol-singing around the Kneeling Miner where Santa will light the city Christmas tree at 6:30.

It's all free and takes place at the Main Street entrance to King Jack Park just south of MacArthur (State Highway 171).

The event is sponsored by the Webb City Parks and Recreation Department, the Friends of the Webb City Parks, the Southwest Missouri Electric Streetcar Association and the Webb City Area Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, call 417 483-8139.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

High Tunnel Workshop on Monday

“Is a High Tunnel Right for My Operation” is the topic of a workshop set for 9 to noon on Monday, December 7, at the Mount Vernon Research and Education Center, 14548 Highway H. The first of a series of workshops on high tunnel technology, the workshop is free and open to the public.

The workshop on December 7 will examine the costs and benefits of high tunnel production with an emphasis on growing tomatoes and raspberries.

Hmong translation will be provided. Future workshops will be held on equipment and installation, spring high tunnel management and fall high tunnel management. High tunnels, sometimes called hoop houses, are large plastic-covered structures in which crops are grown directly in the ground. The tunnels are primarily used in our area to extend growing seasons. They can be heated or unheated.

Workshop presenters include Andy Read based in Rolla, Patrick Byers in Springfield and Jay Chism in Lamar, all with University of Missouri Extension. Tim Green and Hector Troyer from the Webb City Farmers Market will share their experiences with high tunnels.

The workshop is sponsored by the University of Missouri Extension and the Webb City, Joplin, Neosho, Monett and Pittsburg Farmers Markets. It is funded by a grant from the USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant Program.

For information or to register, call 417 483-8139.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Winter Market is this Friday

It's the first Friday of December so that means Winter Market will be at the pavilion from 11 to 2.

In addition to our regular winter vendors, Amos Apiaries will be at the market with local raw honey.

Honey, jams, jellies, and frozen meats all rank high as Christmas gifts - practical gifts with local flavor and sure to be used rather than collect dust on a shelf. Another special gift option at the market is the handcrafted cedar furniture from Fairhaven Gardens.

We'll also have lots of baked goods and fresh produce, plus raw milk from Marlee's Creamery. See you at the market!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Training for growers & gardeners

Fertility and Weed Management Workshop, a workshop for professional and hobby growers, will be held from 9:30 to noon on Tuesday (December 1) at the Neosho Crowder campus.

The free workshop will cover preplant fertility management (how to build great soil), the use of poultry litter and compost, mulching for weed control and the effective use of herbicides.

The workshop is sponsored by the University of Missouri Extension and the Webb City Farmers Market. It will be held on the second floor of the Arnold Farber Building, 601 Laclede.

Hmong translation will be provided.

For information, call 417 483-8139.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Market

The Holiday Market is Wednesday, November 25th - that's this week!

We'll be at the Clubhouse, 115 North Madison, from 11 to 1. And we'll have a crowd of vendors there:

Hazel's Bakery
Redings Mill Bread Company
Black Forest House Pastries
Old World Staff of Life Breads
Amos Apiaries - local honey and honey products
Sunny Lane Farm - all-natural beef, lamb and chicken
Hillside Farm - garlic (all decked out for the holidays!)
Organic Way Farms - produce, jams, jellies
Shoal Creek Garden and Greenhouse - high tunnel tomatoes and cucumbers
Vang Farms - produce
Xiong Farms - produce
Fairhaven Farm - produce, jams, jellies, hand crafted furniture (& Carrole hopes to be there after a long illness)

Be sure to take this opportunity to truly celebrate the harvest at Thanksgiving with produce and products from your neighbors. & don't forget - keep an eye out for gifts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

News from our vendors

Nancy Rasmussen of Sunny Lane Farms tells me they have raised some extra large roasting chickens for the holidays. If you want a 4+ pound pastured chicken, be sure to stop by her space during market on November 20 - or give her a call at 417 637-2001.

Marlee's Creamery has opened an on-farm store. It's open MONDAY - SUNDAY 6a.m. - 8a.m. AND 6p.m. - 8p.m. Those may seem like strange store hours, but since the store is in the dairy barn, it makes sense to be open while milking is going on. Get directions to the creamery by emailing:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Can't wait two weeks til the next market?

You don't have to!

My mother was telling me tonight that she has already devoured almost the whole pie she bought from Hazel's Bakery on Friday. "It was the best apple pie I have ever eaten," she said. High praise coming from a lady with extensive pie eating experience. That pie must have been pretty darn tasty. (That's Kay above with one of her grandsons.)

Both Hazel's Bakery and Black Forest Pastries do special orders. And many of their products freeze well, so you can order enough to tide you over till next market on November 20. You'll find their phone numbers in the column at right.

Also, if you're running short of fresh veggies, try Fredrickson Farms over in Carl Junction. They have winter squash, kale, leeks and several other cool weather crops. They also have herbs plants. Call Tami at 417 439-6141 for a run down of what they're harvesting, their hours and directions.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Winter Market

What a wonderful winter market we had today - sunny, if windy, lots of vendors, lots of customers(That's Tim Green decked out in his winter wear selling tomatoes from his high tunnel).

Jamey Smith's toasted flat bread was delicious, Fairhaven Gardens quickly sold out of their handcrafted cedar benches, Sunny Lane Farms lamb sold like hot cakes, the music was wonderful, lots of fresh veggies and baked goods. Marlee's Creamery arrived in a delightful antique milk truck. Organic Way Farms tells me that their kitchen has been certified so look for pickled beets, pickles and sour kraut from them soon!

The next market is Friday, November 20. See you then!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Free Pinecones

We'll have free pine cones at the information table at the market on Friday. Bring a sack and help yourself. Thanks to Rae & Joan Letsinger for providing them.

Annual Market Awards

Each year, at our annual Vendor/Volunteer Harvest Dinner, the market presents two awards.

The first, the coveted Golden Washrag, recognizes a vendor who has made a signficant contri- bution to the market.

The name of the award refers to the help that vendors provide in set up and take down. The most noticeable of those tasks is the wiping off of tables and benches. The winner of this year's Golden Washrag is Nancy Rasmussen, our chicken, beef & lamb rancher. Nancy organized and managed our Winter Market last year. Perhaps, even more impressive is that she kept the restrooms at the market clean and stocked all year. Now that's going way beyond the call of duty!

The second award is the Market Champion of the Year, given to a non-market vendor who has made a significant contribution to the success of the market. Last year the recepient was Donna Krudwig who ramrods Cooking for a Cause for the market. This year the award went to parks director Tom Reeder for his role in facility improvements at the market. Tom recognized the need for safer and sounder pavilions and last winter encouraged the park board to undertake strengthening the structures, the addition of the center pavilion, new roofing (which was done by city workers) and the installation of concrete floors (the concrete material costs were funded by the Perry Foundation). Tom also arranged for and supervised all the work. These efforts were particularly noteworthy after the May windstorm that probably would have taken down the pavilions had they not been reinforced and by the dramatic increase in the number of wheel chairs, walkers and strollers in the pavilions this year.

Our thanks and congratulations to Nancy and Tom.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wow - Winter Market has lots of good stuff!

This Friday, 11 to 2, under the pavilions will be our first Winter Market & the forecast is for warm and sunny! & we have some new products that folks have been wanting:

Marlee's Creamery will have raw milk. They are a Grade A dairy licensed by the state milk board.

Sunny Lane Farms has added lamb to their selection of grass fed beef and pastured poultry. It's available by the piece or whole.

Jamey Smith will be toasting up slices of Greek and cheese flat bread at the market for lunch during winter market.

Amos Apiaries will be at the market this Friday, as will many of our growers and bakers.

Fredrickson Farms will be back after taking a month off to run their pumpkin tours. They'll have pumpkins, leeks, winter squash, herb plants like thyme, oregano and parsley for your winter kitchen window. In honor of the pretty weather, Tami will have a pumpkin painting table for kids at her stand.

Since the weather is supposed to be nice, we've asked Lee Ann and Jack Sours to add music to the mix this Friday, so come enjoy a super Winter Market.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sentinel Column - 10-30-09

So what is it with Fridays in October this year? The forecast, as I write this column, indicates that yesterday’s high was 70 degrees and today’s 56! And that’s probably the warmest Friday we’ve had all month.

Well, at least we have the right meal for chilly weather today – all-you-can-eat chili, plus cornbread, cookies and a drink for $6. And if it’s just too cold to consider al fresco dining, you can always get it to go and enjoy it in your warm kitchen while you think of me bundled up at the market. The Loose Notes are scheduled to play from 11 to 1.

We’re transitioning at the market. Winter Market starts next Friday but, except for the lack of music and a meal, it will look much the same to our customers. I, however, have started wearing some different hats – not that you won’t see me at the Winter Market running the token machine. I’ve been working on the market’s training program. That means organizing seven different workshops, plus helping with the state’s workshops. Luckily I don’t have to run the latter, just help select locations and topics.

A couple of weeks ago I told my husband, Phil, that I was savoring the fact that I had no presentations scheduled. During the past year, I ended up in about five different towns in Missouri, and in several other states, doing presentations on various market topics. The very afternoon I was savoring all this free time, I was called about doing two presentations in St. Joseph and two in Wichita (which, of course, I will do because I’m a big believer in sharing information). Then last week, I got a call from the board of the new O’Fallon farmers market asking if they could drive over to Webb City to get some pointers. That’s a four-hour drive each way! Yesterday, I provided information a North Carolina market wanting to know how we got our non-profit status (all those training workshops probably has something to do with it) and today I communicated with the manager of a market in Houston, Texas, about our meals at the market. Their health department requires a $70 special permit every time they serve a meal at the market even though their vendor has a certified kitchen and caterer’s license. It reminded me how thankful I am that we have a health department that facilitates our activities, while providing the guidance and training needed to make sure the public is safe. My advice to her was to move to Jasper County.

We are fortunate in many ways to be in our neck of the woods. Most of our market workshops are the result of our great relationship with the University of Missouri Extension. The first market workshop, on Tuesday, November 2, will be on irrigation, with an emphasis on low-tech systems and will be on the Crowder Neosho campus. You may think that’s an odd location for a Webb City Farmers Market workshop, but we try to move the workshops around. Many of our farmers are located in Newton and McDonald counties, so Neosho will be a great location for them. Plus we invite the farmers of all the area markets to attend our workshops, as well as the general public. It’s our way of sharing the (knowledge) wealth with the whole region that gives us support.

Then we have a workshop on Monday, November 9, at the Southwest Research Center in Mount Vernon. It will be a farmer/rancher grant-writing workshop. Details on both workshops are on our blog:

Speaking of grant writing, we just received word that Webb City is the only market in the state to receive a 2010 Specialty Crops grant from the USDA (and we might be the only market in the country to receive the grant two years in a row!). The grant will allow us to work with Extension to put on regional workshops on high tunnels and on food safety.

This is the final market column of the season. News about the Winter Market and Holiday Market will appear in the news briefs. So it’s time to say thank you – to our wonderful volunteers like Marilyn Thornberry, Don McGowan, Duane Hunt, Sharon Nations, Donna Krudwig and Rick Ford. To our great non-profits who run Cooking for a Cause and the Benefit Breakfast. To General Mills and Schreiber for their generous food donations to the same. To the dozens of volunteers who help during various special market activities. To the Missouri Arts Council for their support of our music program and all the musicians who play at the market. To Tom Reeder, the park workers and the city for all they do and have done to make the market better. To Rochelle DeLucia and the master gardeners who supervise the Kids’ Community Garden. To the school for letting us share with students about local food and local farmers. To the area media who keep the community informed as to what’s happening and what’s in season at the market, especially to the Sentinel and Wise Buyer who go way beyond the call of duty. And, of course, to our vendors and customers to whom, in the end, the market owes all its success. We wish for you a wonderful winter, made all the better by the local produce, baked goods, honey and other goodies at the Winter Market. See you at the market!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Two grower/rancher workshops coming up fast!

Irrigation Workshop - 9:30 to Noon on Tuesday, November 3. for growers and hobbyists planting 5 acres or less. Topics includ low-tech irrigation systems, effective use of irrigation, mulching and other water conserving options. This free workshop will be on the second floor of the Arnold Fsrber Building, 601 Laclede, on the Crowder College Neosho campus in the Wright Conference Center.

SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) Grant Writing Workshop - 9:30 to 3:30 on Monday, November 9. Farmers and ranchers can learn how to write and submit proposals for grants to promote sustainable agriculture practices on their farm or ranch at this workshop at the Southwest Research Center in Mount Vernon, Missouri. Cost is $15, which includes lunch and workshop materials. To register, call 417 483-8139 by November 5.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Green Tomatoes

Like many gardeners and growers in the area, Resa Amos found herself this week with many green tomatoes that had to be harvested before frost. Since Resa is not fond of green tomato relish, she searched for a different way to use them and found the following recipe. The trial run resulted in such good bread that she plans to use it for all her green tomatoes, freeze the bread and enjoy it throughout the winter. One note - she baked the loaves for 1 hour rather than just 45 mintues.

3 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 c. grated, drained, green tomatoes
3 c. flour
1 1/4 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. raisins
1 c. chopped nuts

Beat eggs well. Add sugar, oil, salt, vanilla, and tomatoes. Sift dry ingredients together. Gradually add to tomato mixture. Stir in raisins and nuts. Pour into greased bread pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Webb City Sentinel - 10/23/09

In the past, the end of the market season depended on the weather. The first hard freeze put us out of business. Well, not this year. With farmers preparing for Winter Market, the weather may put an end to certain field crops, but it won’t end production.

Today, customers will find peppers, yellow squash, zucchini and green beans a the market. That produce is normally rare in late October, but we are reaping the benefits of farmers planning for the upcoming Winter Market. Next week we may even have the first of the high tunnel tomatoes and cucumbers.

Of course, we’ll baked an array of fabulous baked goods, jams, jellies, and mums.

Fall produce is in good supply. Expect broccoli, cabbage, peanuts, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, radishes and turnips at the Circle E Ranch stand. Other growers have lettuce, acorn squash, boc choi, mustard greens, green onions, pumpkins… The list just goes on.

Who can we thank for this abundance? As unlikely as it sounds, we can thank our meat vendors. They’re not growing the produce, but they came up with the idea that makes winter vegetable production profitable. That’s because the meat vendors wanted a Winter Market. A twice-monthly market through the winter keeps their customers supplied and their profits up. Nancy Rasmussen, our chicken and beef rancher, took on the organization of the Winter Market, handling vendor placement and support. I did a little advertising. This year volunteer managers will handle the market and operate the information table and the debit/credit/EBT token system.

The Webb City Farmers Market started out 10 years ago with three vendors and look at us now. The Winter Market last year was primarily meat vendors and three bakers. This year we have added a baker (Black Forest Pastries will be selling through December and won’t that be great for the holidays?) and at least three farms with high tunnels. Plus the Palmers at Fair Haven tripled their sweet potato planting in anticipation of the Winter Market. Resa Amos plans to be at every first market of the month with honey.

So despite the cold weather today, you can expect to find loads of good things. And come November 6, you will find an expanded Winter Market.

Lunch today is meat loaf, au gratin potatoes, corn, brownies and drink for $6. Lots of folks have been doing take-out since it’s a little chilly to sit and eat. The Sours will play traditional music.

Next week, which is our last regular season market with music, the Loose Notes will play. Lunch will be all-you-can-eat chili, plus cookies and drink for $6.

We had a busy day last Friday. As always, the scarecrows from Webster School were wonderful. Mrs. Wales’ Webb City ScareCardinal won first place. Second place went to Mrs. B. Fowler’s class and third to Mrs. Cox’s class.

The winner of the giant pumpkin weight-guessing contest was Susan Cha. At 127 pounds, her guess was only off by 2 pounds from the actual weight of 125 pounds (the pumpkin outweighed Susan herself by about 90 pounds). Organic Way Farms threw in two additional giant pumpkins that were awarded to the second and third closest guessers – Paul Amoriello at 128 pounds and Jeni Spiva at 120 pounds.

Finally we were delighted to have the third-graders from Mark Twain Elementary visit the market last week, as well as dozens of toddlers with Webb City’s Parents as Teachers program. Like most Webb Citians, we are continually impressed by the breadth and depth of the educational opportunities provided by our school system and by the teachers and staff we see working with the students.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Training Time!!!

While market hours are reduced during the winter, market activities are not. Two workshops, presented by University of Missouri Extension in cooperation with the Webb City Farmers Market, are coming up quick:

Irrigation Workshop
9:30 – Noon Tuesday, November 3
Crowder College Neosho Campus
· Low-tech irrigation systems
· Effective use of irrigation
· Mulching and other water conserving options

Fertility and Weed Management Workshop
9:30 – Noon Tuesday, December 1
Crowder College Neosho Campus
· Preplant fertility management
· Use of litter and compost in fertility management
· Mulching for weed control
· Effective use of herbicides

These workshops are designed for fruit and vegetable growers, both professional and hobbyists, planting 5 acres or less. It is open to all at no charge. Hmong translation will be provided. For more information, contact Eileen Nichols at 417 483-8139.

All workshops will be in the Wright Conference Center on the second floor of the Arnold Farber Building, 601 Laclede, on the Crowder College Neosho campus. Park in the lot in front and come in the main doors.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Inside News - Where have all the flowers gone?

Sad to say, the Urban Gardeners have closed up shop for the season. We will miss their spectacular dahlia bouquets.

Webb City Sentinel - 10/16/09

We’re looking forward to a special market today. The third-graders from Mark Twain Elementary are coming for the first time ever. Children participating in Parents as Teachers are painting pumpkins at the market today. In honor of both, the street car will be running from 11 to 2. Rides are free and there will be room for all comers regardless of age.

We have two contests today. One is our annual scarecrow contest. More than twenty life-sized scarecrows will be set up and visitors can vote for their favorite. The scarecrows are made each year by the children of Webster First and Second Grade Center. We’ll also have a guess the weight of the pumpkin contest. The winner, drawn at 1:00 from the correct guesses, will win the giant pumpkin donated by Organic Way Farm.

Bailed Green and Wired Tight will play. Lunch is served from 11 to 1 and is beef stew, corn bread, chocolate cake and drink for $6. Sounds just right for the cool forecast.

I was talking to Tim Green today about the weather. He was commenting that his high tunnel plantings are, so far, resulting in a bountiful harvest of yellow squash and zucchini, but the burpless cucumbers are taking their time. He put it down to cool cloudy weather. “We should still be seeing 70 degrees during the day, at least that would be normal.” I begged to differ. I’m not sure what normal weather is anymore, even in Missouri where unpredictable weather is a running joke.

Gary Bandy of KSN-TV told me earlier this year (before his studio was destroyed by the high winds in May) that it was becoming difficult to predict the weather based on computer models because the models use past weather patterns which don’t seem to have much relevance to current patterns.

All of which means that farmers must use every tool available to be successful and the high tunnel, which looks like a clear quanset hut with crops planted directly in the ground, is one of those tools. It gives the farmer some control over the temperature, if not the amount of sunlight. We expect to have more than ten high tunnels in production for the winter market this year (that would be ten more than we had last year). There will be gaps in production, naturally, but there should be summer squash, green beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers through much of the winter, as well as cool weather crops like lettuce and spinach. Fresh produce plus meats, honey, jams, jellies and baked goods should result in a winter market well worth visiting.

The winter market begins in November on first and third Fridays from 11 to 2 under the pavilions. Cold won’t chase us away, though icy roads will. We don’t want our farmers or customers out on dangerous roads. While we don’t expect to have meals or music, we the wireless EBT, credit, debit machine so customers can use their cards and shop with market money.

Other market plans include the Holiday Market, held each year on the day before Thanksgiving from 11 to 1 at the Clubhouse, 115 South Madison. It will be a great time to stock up on honey, jams and jellies for the holidays (or for Christmas presents). There will be loads of baked goods, but to be sure you get what you want, like pumpkin or pecan pies, pumpkin rolls or coconut cakes from Hazel’s Bakery, or European or American pastries from the Black Forest House, I would order ahead. Just stop by your favorite baker at the market some Friday this month and place your order.

We will soon be saying farewell to the lovely red potatoes we have enjoyed this year. Before they’re gone, try this good make-ahead recipe that can be halved or quadrupled according to the crowd you’re expecting. I made it while taping at KOAM-TV last Friday morning, put it in an ice chest and drove to my daughter Emily’s house in Indiana on Saturday and baked it on Sunday for Emily and her friends after spending the day painting - & it was delicious. I felt a bit like Wonder Woman with a paint brush in one hand and a casserole in the other, though I have to admit, I didn’t look much like her.

Make Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole

10 potatoes (about 3 1/2 pounds)
1/2 pound cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 pinch dried marjoram
salt and pepper
1/2 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook potatoes for 20 minutes or until tender but not mushy.*

2. Drain and let cool slightly, peel.

3. With a potato masher, mash until smooth, do not use an electric mixer, blend in cream cheese and butter until melted.

4. Mix in onions, sour cream, parsley, marjoram, and salt and pepper to taste.

5. Transfer to 8 inch baking dish, smooth top.

6. Sprinkle with crumbs, (Casserole can be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 week. Let thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours. Add 10 minutes to baking time.) Bake in 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through and top is lightly golden.

*I prefer to peel and chunk the raw potatoes prior to boiling. And I don’t think you would go wrong by adding some shredded cheddar cheese in with the cream cheese.

Next Friday, lunch is meat loaf, au gratin potatoes, corn, brownies and drink for $6. Jack & Lee Ann Sours play. Let’s hope for warmer weather so Lee Ann doesn’t have to wear woolen gloves while playing the fiddle.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Inside News

Invite your friends to the market this Friday, it's going to be a big day. The Scarecrows from Webster First and Second Grade Center will be there. Visitors will vote for their favorites. There will also be a guessing contest - how much does the giant pumpkin donated by Organic Way Farm weigh? The winner will be drawn from the correct answers at 1. Organic Way will help load the pumpkin, but the winner will have to unload it!

The streetcar will run from 11 to 2. It's free!

Lunch is beef stew, cornbread, chocolate cake and drink for $6. Yum, sounds just right for fall. Bailed Green and Wired Tight are playing the whole market long because we have a bunch of special guests coming.

Parents as Teachers is hosting a pumpkin painting party for toddlers. Your kids are welcome too, as they are every Friday because the market sets up painting tables for their use. A little after noon, the third-graders from Mark Twain are visiting the market. It's the first time Mark Twain has come to the market, so we're very excited to have them.

What's up with the growers. Well, if you were at market Friday you probably noticed that the Agee's didn't show up with their sweet corn or flavored vinegars. Instead they were cleaning up after being swamped by 8 inches of rain. They advise that the gardens are destroyed - so sorry, no sweet corn.

The Troyers will be back this week. Last Friday they were part of the three-couple team that prepared lunch for a wedding party. They were expecting 400!

They're not at the market, but if you're looking for small pots of herbs to take you through the winter, stop by Frederickson Farms. I picked up parsley (they have curly and flat), oregano, chives and winter thyme. I'm going to love that fresh taste in the depths of winter. A 4' pot is only $1.50. The Farm is in Carl Junction. Just look for the pumpkin sign on Grimes Road on the way to downtown.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Webb City Sentinel column - 10/9/09

James and Dee Agee will be back at the market today. While they were between crops and hadn’t much to sell, they’ve been setting up at the Neosho Farmers Market. Now that their last patch of sweet corn is ready it’s worth the longer drive to Webb City. They will also have decorative Indian corn and corn stalks, as well as some produce fresh from their garden. I have been looking forward to their return because I want to buy several bottles of their flavored vinegars for Christmas gifts. It’s pretty, delicious and local.

Jamie Smith will not be at the market today because he must attend a funeral. He expects to return next Friday.

With our Friday-only schedule in October, I’ve had the chance to visit several markets this week. I find visiting other markets a great way to learn, plus I love markets.

Last Saturday I went to the Neosho market. Several of our vendors sell there and I had heard good things from those vendors about the new market.

It is certainly smaller than Webb City’s which isn’t surprising for a first season, but it felt full with abundant tables. I’m really impressed by their volunteer manager Mary Horine and by the city’s support. You may have read in the Globe that Neosho is pushing forward with plans to create a special park just for the market. Currently they are located a block northwest of the square on a parking lot which fits them well now but will, I expect, be too small next year.

Wednesday I got to visit the farmers market in Washington, Missouri. They are in a new pavilion built around an historic downtown structure. It’s full of features that I loved – fabulous bathrooms, covered roof with lights and fans, lovely landscaped and hard-topped parking. What I found a little iffy was the way vendors enter the space. They must drive right through the middle where the customers gather. There is no access from the outside other than two driveways to enter and exit. I find backing our trucks up to the pavilion is sometimes a bit too exciting if they arrive after customers have begun to congregate. I can’t imagine driving right through the customers, but Washington seems to have worked it out.
My friend Jo Letsinger and I were in the area to ride a segment of the Katy Trail. That’s a railroad bed that has been converted to a walking/biking trail. It begins near St. Louis and ends in Clinton and is under the care of the Missouri state parks system. The Katy Trail is considered one of our nation’s jewels when it comes to biking. I have to say that between the weather (which was fabulous),the trail, the scenery and the people we met both on the trail and in the adjoining businesses and farms, it was a wonderful experience that we hope to repeat.

We met a couple from Colorado who were about to complete the entire trail, having started in Clinton. I asked which part was their favorite and they couldn’t decide. The bluffs and the river between Columbia and Jeff City were spectacular but the rolling farmland and open river bottoms found between Augustus and Defiance had its own beauty. Not the breath-taking kind they were accustomed to in Colorado but a more gentle pleasing beauty, a beauty that cradled you rather than knocked you off your feet.

Fall is a great time to create beauty in your own neighborhood. We’ll have some gorgeous mums today and pumpkins of all sizes. I invite you to add some seasonal color to your life by stopping by the market.

Speaking of seasonal, it’s sweet potato time. Two of our farmers, Fairhaven and Circle E, planted lots of sweet potatoes this year with a goal of having enough to last beyond Thanksgiving. This versatile vegetable not only tastes good, but also is easy to prepare and is loaded with nutrition. Carrole Palmer of Fairhaven shared this recipe with me. It’s easy and tasty.

Sweet Potato Cobbler

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced to 1/4 inch
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup butter or oleo cubed

Pre-cook sweet potatoes in the water until crisp-tender (about 10 minutes).

Reserve 1 1/2 cup cooking liquid and drain off remaining liquid.

Layer potatoes in greased 13 x 9 x 2 pan. Add reserved 1 1/2 cup liquid. Combine sugar, flour, and spices and sprinkle over potatoes.

Dot with cubed butter.

Place pastry (see recipe below) over filling. Cut slits in top. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes.


Mix with a fork: 2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2/3 shortening and 5 – 6 tablespoons cold water. Roll out between layers of wax paper.

Hmmm-hmmm. Tastes like fall!

Lunch today is lasagna, side salad, garlic bread, peanut butter cookies & drink for $6. Gospel Strings play.

Next Friday is Scarecrow Day. Be sure to vote for your favorite! Lunch is beef stew, cornbread, chocolate cake and drink for $6. Bailed Green & Wired Tight will play.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Webb City Sentinel column - 10/2/09

We are always delighted when children come to the market, whether as customers, vendors or just to see the sights. And we’ve had plenty of all three lately.

Friday, the third graders from Eugene Field visited the market. They interviewed customers and vendors, sought out new vegetables (the coyote squash with its prickly spines was a standout as were the gigantic sweet potatoes), listened to the music, learned about the market, and enjoyed a cookie baked by Bill McLaughlin of Hazel’s Bakery.

This week I got to be the special lunch guest at Webster School. I am always impressed with how well behaved the students at Webster are. They listen carefully and are full of curiosity. The last group of students was particularly eager to examine the winter squash I brought from Fredrickson Farms. I had three kinds of acorn squash, plus butternut, turban, and Curshaw squash, peanut pumpkin, and neck pumpkin. Each was more unusual than the last with the last three consistently receiving ooohs. And what singers they are. Each year we finish up with a song about scarecrows. We run through a practice and then sing it for real. They sang with such enthusiasm that I believe we scared off every bird in the neighborhood.

The students at Webster make scarecrows each year for their Hoe Down celebration. On October 16th, the scarecrows will be on display at the market for our annual scarecrow day. Come vote for your favorite. The first place scarecrow wins mini-pumpkins for the students that made it.

Also on the 16th, Parents as Teachers is sponsoring pumpkin painting at the market, so we should be awash with little children. The streetcar will be giving free rides from about 11 to 1 on that day as well.

During October, we’ll have the pumpkin painting tables set up during every market. We supply the paints, brushes and cover up shirts. You supply the pumpkin, which you can buy at the market or bring. Suzy and Sammy Scarecrow will pose for photos the market.

You can have a pumpkin painted for you at the Proctor Kids’ Pumpkin Patch. The Proctor children, who raise pumpkins and decorative gourds, have opened a stand at the market. The older children are at Webb City High School on Fridays, but the younger ones are home schooled and their pumpkin project is part of their learning experience.

Other market news – The Black Forest House Pastry Shop expands its specialties starting today. In addition to the “regular” European and American pastries and sugar-free and gluten-free items, the Shop has onion pie (despite how it sounds, it’s yummy), ham and egg strudel squares, Bavarian pretzels and rolls, Black Forest cake, roasted almond cake, hardrolls, Christmas stollen, Christmas cookies, and peppernuts. Now to get a true flavor, here’s some of the Bavarian translation: zwiebelkuchen, blätterteig, laugeweck, schwarzwälderkirschtorte, binenstich, brötchen, elisen lebkuchen, and pfeffernüsse.

Bert and Daffol, bakers and owners of the Shop, take special orders (with three days notice) and will deliver within a 20-mile radius.

Bill Perry was kind enough to stop by this week to say that he had visited a lovely market in Colorado. He said it had many special qualities but no more special than Webb City’s. I think Bert and Daffol and their pastries are one reason Webb City stands out. Not only is their product a rare delicacy for our area, but they are kind and generous people. I’m always seeing customers claim a hug from Bert and rarely does a market end without Daffol bringing a box of pastries to the information desk for us to give Damascus House, a local men’s shelter. When I first began dropping the goodies off at the House, the residents would head upstairs to the kitchen with the box. Now they give me just enough time to start the car before they dig into the pastries right on the sidewalk. I’m with them. Bert and Daffol’s pastries are too good to wait.

The market is open from 11 to 2 on Fridays only during October. Lunch today is chili mac, peas and carrots, roll, fruit fluff and drink for $6. Kevin Snyder plays between 11 & 1.

Next Friday, lunch is lasagna, side salad, garlic bread, peanut butter cookies and drink for $6 and Gospel Strings.

Schools & the market

Students & the market go together like peas and carrots.

Last week the third graders at Eugene Field walked over for their annual field trip to the market. You can see more photos of the trip at:

Today I visited Webster and spoke to the 1st and 2nd graders about winter squash, scarecrows and harvest. On October 16th, the Webster scarecrows visit the market and you'll get to vote for your favorite. Also, on October 16th Parents as Teachers participants come to the market to paint pumpkins (there will also be free streetcar rides between noon and 2).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall Delights at the Pastry Shop

Bert and Daffol Ott are gearing up for fall by expanding their selection of delicacies. In addition to the usual pastries, chocolate covered pretzels, brownies, etc., they will have:

Onion pie (Zwiebelkuchen)
Ham and egg strudel squares (Blatterteig)
Bavarian Pretzels and rolls (Laugewech)
Black forest cake (Schwarzwalderkirschtorte)
Roasted almond cake (Bienenstich)
Hardrolls (Brotchen)
Christmas stollen
Christmas cookies (Elisen Lebkuchen and more)
Peppernuts (Pfeffernusse)

Apologies to the knowledgeable - I can't figure out how to add the two dots over the vowels!

The Otts are happy to take special orders - 417 325-7506 and will make deliveries in a 20 mile radius from their bakery southeast of Carthage. Please give them 3 days notice. They also make sugar free and gluten free items.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Webb City Sentinel column - 9/25/09

Fall fell on us with a vengance Tuesday. Cold, wet and dreary all day. It felt like winter, but I can’t help hoping for better. Hanging around with farmers forces me to be an optimist so I expect our brilliant fall weather to kick in soon.

It’s a favorite time of year for me – crisp air, crisp apples, colorful leaves, colorful pumpkins, heaps of green beans and winter squash, and the approach of quieter, calmer times.

Next week, with the arrival of October, the market goes to its fall schedule of Fridays only from 11 to 2. That means that tomorrow is our last Saturday market for the season.

I think I can safely say that Saturday markets have been well received and will be sorely missed. Many of our customers simply can’t come to market during the week so Saturday is their only option. However, as fall approaches, the fields and gardens are producing less and our customers begin to dwindle as well. Going to one day a week allows us to maintain a substaintial supply of both produce and customers. Customers want the former and vendors need the latter. Unfortunately for our Saturday customers, Friday continues to be our biggest day of the week by far. Typically, our vendors sell 50% to 100% more on Friday than on either Tuesday or Saturday. As long as Friday is our big day, that’s the one we have to stick with when we go to one day a week.

But if you can only come on Saturdays, be sure to stop by Organic Way tomorrow. They are hoping to organize a CSA in the Webb City area. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and I think is currently only available in the Columbia and Kansas City areas. Farms that operate a CSA sell shares in their crop in the spring. Then as harvest arrives, members of the CSA receive a box of produce each week, usually at a single off-farm distribution point. In our case, that would be somewhere in or near Webb City. CSAs help farms by literally providing seed money in the spring and spreading the risk. If a crop fails, the CSA members share the loss. On the other hand, CSA members reap the rewards of bumper crops, can count on a box of produce each week from a farm they know and don’t have to worry about the farmer being sold out before they arrive. Organic Way currently has a CSA program that distributes in Kansas City so they can tell you all about how it works.

Just a note about the name, Organic Way was named before the federal government legislated a certified organic program. Organic Way does not participate in the federal program, but does use organic, chemical-free methods on their farm.

We’re expecting a crowd of students from Eugene Field today. Each year the students walk to the market, visit with the mayor, do a scavenger hunt at the market, learn about fresh veggies and local farms, listen to the music and enjoy one of Hazel’s cookies on their walk home.

This year, Jerry Fisher, mayor-pro-tem, is stepping in with a talk about city government while the kids enjoy a ride on the streetcar. The streetcar will be running from about noon to 1:30 and you are welcome to take a free ride and learn about Webb City along with the students.

The scavenger hunt is always fun. Each class receives a list of things to find out, like why there is dark honey and light honey or how far does the furthest farmer come. They interview customers and vendors to find out why they come to the market. It is always a fun experience for us and for the students.

In past years, we’ve also had Greg Estes with his sheep dogs when the students visit, but Greg is currently without sheep dogs. He’s been through three puppies this year, but hasn’t found one with the right temperment for herding. He has to wait for the right dog, so we will have to wait, too. Maybe next year.

Today’s lunch is chicken and noodles, corn, roll, yellow cake and drink for $6. Jack and Lee Ann Sours play traditional music.

Tomorrow the Webb City High School Choir Boosters serve breakfast and also host a bake sale. Breakfast has become a real hit at the market and a good fundraiser for local good causes. It’s our last breakfast of the season. Don’t miss it.

Another great reason to come tomorrow is that the Missouri Mountain Gang is playing from 9:30 to 11:30. They are a terrific bluegrass group from Ozark. They will also be playing at 4:00 pm over at the Carl Junction Bluegrass Festival. We have flyers at the information table with the Festival’s schedule.

Tuesday is our last Tuesday market of the season and, hence, our last Cooking for a Cause of the season. Stain Glass Theater will serve the meal and receive the profits. William Adkins will perform from 11 to 1.

Since it’s our last Tuesday, it will also be the last day for Lorraine Yoder, our new Tuesday baker. I bought her cinnamon rolls last week and they have been terrific. My only complaint is that they disappear too fast. I will definitely be stocking up on cinnamon rolls and sticky buns Tuesday – unless you beat me to them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What a great place to live

The Arts in the Park celebration was a success in many ways. My favorite part was the variety and the response. We had crowds for classical violins, for Shakespeare, for jazz, as well as the more typically available music forms of blue grass, gospel and praise. Three cheers for variety.

We also had a wonderful response to the children's art activities. Beth Skinner brought supplies for 500 kids to make sculptures and ran out of supplies by mid-afternoon.

If you didn't get a chance to join the Friends of the Park, you can still do so at the information table at the market. It's $5 for a year, and you get $5 off at your next meal at Chatters.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tuesday Market

Pate's Orchard and Fairhaven will not be at the market on Tuesday, September 22. They plan to be at the market on Friday.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Arts in the Park at the Market on Saturday

Be sure to stop by the market on Saturday (9/19) to enjoy a plethora of arts, going on from 9 am to 7 pm. The market will be in full swing during its usual time - 9 to noon, with lots of additional arts activities during and after market. For a schedule see the ad in Friday's Webb City Sentinel or Joplin Globe.

Our headliners are Missouri Boatride featuring mandolin player Dean Webb who is best known for his guest appearances on the Andy Griffith Show as one of the Darling Family. They play at 2:00.

& bring your friends! If this is a success, we'll do it again next year.

Cooking with Bitter Melon

Bitter melon is a a common ingredient in many Asian cuisines, however many in America not previously exposed to this unique vegetable are unsure as to how to make the most of or in some cases, temper the flavor of this delicious vegetable. Here, we have compiled several tips for preparation of this distinctive vegetable.

Basic Preparation

Cut bitter melon in half, discard seeds and fibrous core. This vegetable is not typically peeled, as the skin is edible and turns a vibrant green during preparation. The seed are also edible, however they are very firm and do not soften well with cooking, so removal is recommended. Like eggplant, bitter melon can be salted and rested to remove some of the bitterness from its flesh. Simply core the melon, dust it generously with salt and let it sit for ten minutes. Rinse the slices and prepare as you wish. Another way to reduce bitterness, is to blanch cut melon slices it in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes.

Lightly pickling the bitter melon also helps to remove the strong flavor. For one bitter melon, bring 1 cup of white vinegar to a boil. Add 2 Tbs. sugar, 2 Tsp. salt, and 1 Tsp Turmeric. Bring all to a boil and add bitter melon slices. Boil for two minutes, remove, drain and cool. Then prepare as you wish.

Bitter melon is commonly stuffed with spiced meats, curried, sauteed with onion or red pepper with scrambled eggs or omelettes. Another common preparation is in stir-frys with fermented black beans, chicken and other meats.

When developing your own recipes be aware that bitter melon is an excellent ingredient to use with strong flavors including spices, rich sauces and fermented flavors. With spicy foods, bitter melon acts as a coolant and with rich sauces such as coconut milk or curry, the flavor balances the natural oils in these other ingredients acting as a palette cleanser.

For many tasty and easy to prepare recipes which enhance the flavors of this unique melon, visit

Thanks to City Market of Kansas City for this information.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Webb City Sentinel column - 9/18/09

It’s fall and things should be slowing down – but they’re not in the least. We’ve added a new baker to the market. Our long time baker, Kay McLaughlin, has cut down to Fridays only so our Tuesday customers were facing the dire prospect of weight loss. Never fear. We have found a Tuesday baker that will enable you to face winter well fed. Lorraine Yoder had her first market this week and, my oh my, we’re going to like her baked goods. Her table was stacked high with sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, cookies, pies, cakes and country breads.

Like all our bakers, Lorraine bakes in a kitchen certified by the health department. In her case, that’s the kitchen of the Country Cupboard and Bake Shoppe just outside of Stark City. The shop is closed on Mondays so she has full use of the kitchen. (She is also in the kitchen on the other days, but then she is baking for the Shoppe.)

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the Arts in the Park celebration. The market will be in the thick of things with all our usual vendors, plus Countrside View Greenhouse, bringing a big trailer of mums, and the kids at Fredrickson Farms with pansies, pumpkins and produce.

During market we’ll have lots of different music groups, plus a little sword-fighting and Shakespeare. There will be the market breakfast, as well, which will benefit the new Friends of the Webb City Parks (more about them later. BTW, that's the new Webb City Parks and Recreation Department logo).

At noon we’ll transition into full blown Arts in the Park. Several of our vendors will stay for the full day. Amos Apiaries will have honey and do spinning demonstrations on the peddle-driven spinning wheel. Countryside will stay till all the mums are sold. We’ll also have Linda Williams with her hand-crafted aprons and Randi Bachman with her rag rugs.

There will be kids’ art activities all day and children’s workshops in the afternoon. Area artists will be painting, singing and dancing. You’ll find familiar food – hot dogs, smoked sausages and hamburgers from 11 to 6:30 at the food stand, along with snacks like apples and caramel dip, popcorn and nachos.

And, with the exception of any food or art you purchase, the whole thing is free thanks to generous grants from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, MSSU, Chris Anderson and Sharon Love of Edward Jones, and local artist Rebecca Perry.

Now, about Friends of the Webb City Parks. It’s an organization for folks who appreciate the parks and want to know what’s going on. Members will be on an email or mailing list and receive quarterly information on the parks. For $5, you’re a member of the Friends for one year, you get a free drink at the celebration, you get $5 off your next meal at Chatters and you’re entered in the celebration drawings. The drawings include a basket of goodies from the market, as well as prizes from Wal-Mart, Culvers, Hinkley Ace Hardware and Cardinal Scale. What a deal!

Lunch today is spaghetti, side salad, garlic bread, brownies & drink for $6. The lovely Gospel Strings play between 11 and 1.

On Tuesday, Cooking for a Cause benefits the Chief Sarcoxie Days Committee and Bill Adkins performs from 11 to 1.

Be sure to wave at Suzie and Sammy Scarecrow as you come in off the highway – they’re the ones playing the fiddle and painting a picture beside the Arts in the Park banner.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ride the Streetcar this Saturday!

The Streetcar will be running Saturday from 9:30 to 5. & rides are Free!

It has been several years since the streetcar has operated. With the support of the Park Board and City, the tracks are now in good shape and the streetcar volunteers have put the car in good order. So come enjoy the Arts in the Park Celebration and ride the streetcar this Saturday.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Baker on Tuesday!

The Webb City Farmers Market welcomes a new baker on Tuesday. Lorraine Yoder of Stark City will bring cinnamon rolls, white, wheat and cinnamon country breads, cookies, cakes and pies. Lorraine bakes out of the Country Cupboard and Bake Shoppe kitchen between Newtonia and Stark City.

Lorraine is filling the spot previously held at the market by Hazel's Bakery. Kay & Bill McLaughlin of Hazel's have cut down to just Fridays at the market.

Cooking for a Cause on Tuesday benefits Healing the Family, a Joplin non-profit providing therapy and counseling for families affected by child abuse. The Joplin Exchange Club will grill and serve the hot dogs, hamburgers and smoked sausages at the market from 11 to 1.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Suzie & Sammy Get Ready for the Arts Celebration

Suzie & Sammy Scarecrow are all ready for Arts in the Park on Saturday, September 19. Put it on your calendar!!!

Inside News - Comb Honey

Resa Amos will have comb honey at the market today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Inside News

The Troyers will be back at the market Friday.

Hillside Farms from Carthage has been selling elephant garlic on Saturdays.

The food and nutrition classes from Carl Junction High School have been visiting the market this week. They are learning to cook fresh produce, so shop at the market and then prepare it in school.

My, my. What a downpour we had Friday! Our performer Kelly Lee James had to ditch his electronics and go back to his roots - acoustic guitar. All those electrical cords didn't seem like such a good idea.

Meanwhile, volunteer manager Donna Krudwig (aka Darth Vadar on right) adapted as well. Yes, that's a trash bag draped artistically around her shoulders.

It's great to have the concrete, but we still need to work on drainage on the east side.

Pat Walls wrote on my wall today - "You'll be happy to know that we take our WC Farmers' Market canvas bag with us every time we go to the local markets here in Sarajevo. Hope all is well back home. Cheers...".

Chris Pistole with the Audubon Center was at the market Tuesday filming a couple of segments for KODE's "Together Green Moment". Chris thought the market was a good place to talk about buying locally (as in produce grown within 70 miles rather than trucked in 1,500 miles) and growing chemical free (of which we have several farm and garden examples).

Webb City Sentinel - 9/11/09

I get a lot of undue credit for how beautiful the market often is, so I’m expecting a lot of compliments today. Everywhere you look, the market will be filled with beauty.

Bob McLaughlin called yesterday to say that he’s coming to market today even though he’d planned to be on vacation. His flowers are just too lovely to stay home in his garden. The dahlias are always gorgeous in the fall and with this cool, wet weather, they are glorious. So expect a fabulous display of color at the Urban Gardners’ stand next to the information table today.

Heidi Stoller will be at the market with her beautiful mums – a big one is only $8. Heidi has been raising mums for our market since she was a young teenager. She will soon be joined by two other growers, Alexandria’s and Countryside View Greenhouse. Both nurseries had at least 800 mums when we dropped by on inspections last month.

Shoal Creek Gardens and Greenhouse are bringing pumpkins, both the large orange ones and smaller decorative ones with pale skin and orange and green ribs. The Agees have decorative Indian corn and other fall decorations. They also have wonderful flavored vinegars which will make great presents as the holiday season nears.

Of course, the produce is also beautiful – Broken Wire’s brilliant hot and sweet peppers (above), Der and Mai Lor’s lush lettuce, the piles of corn at Circle E and Fairhaven’s stands, John Pate’s baskets of apples, the Troyer’s table loaded with onions, tomatoes, and winter squash, the Vang’s potatoes and green beans.

In fact, we’ll celebrate beautiful stands next week by having a voting station on each market day so customers can vote for the vendor with the most beautiful display. Stop by the information table for your ballot.

Next Tuesday we have our new baker for the first time. Kay McLaughlin of Hazel’s Bakery is cutting down to just Friday, so we advertised for a new Tuesday baker, received some applications and did some tasting trials. I know, it’s a tough job but someone had to try the samples. Our Tuesday baker is Lorraine Yoder. If you’ve ever enjoyed the baked goods from the Stark City Bakery, then you have already tasted her wares. She plans to bring pies, cinnamon bread and country white and honey wheat breads.

Lunch today is Baked chicken, stuffing, mixed vegetables, banana pudding & drink for $6. The Plainsfolk play Irish tunes between 11 and 1.

Tomorrow (Saturday), the always-popular Ninth Hour Quartet performs. The Benefit Breakfast supports the Friends of the Webb City Public Library. Biscuit, gravy, sausage and drink cost $3. Two eggs, fried or scrambled, is $1. You get a free refill on the biscuit and gravy is you’re feeling especially hungry. And there’s butter and jelly if you’re not the gravy type.

Next Tuesday, Cooking for a Cause benefits Healing the Family. The Joplin Exchange Club provides the workers and always match their Cooking for a Cause profits, so the good cause receives twice the benefit when the Exchange Club is involved. Gary Kyger will play and sing during lunch.

If the gardens we saw planted during our second round of inspections last month are any indications, the market will soon be overflowing with green beans. It will be a great time to buy in bulk for preserving. If, however, you want to sit down to green beans now, here is a recipe that I’ll be doing on KOAM-TV next Tuesday morning.

Green Bean Salad with Walnuts and Shaved Parmesan in Lemon Dressing

Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 pound green beans
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly shaved (about 1/2 cup)

1. Toast the walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat until they start to brown in spots & become fragrant. (Take care not to overtoast them, as they will burn very quickly once toasted.) Immediately transfer nuts to a dish to cool.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the beans and salt; cook until tender but still firm, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Transfer the beans to a colander in the sink and run cold water over them. Trim the beans if necessary.

4. Toss the beans and walnuts in a large bowl & season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice and olive oil until well combined. Pour this mixture over the beans and toss until well coated. Transfer the salad to a serving platter or to individual plates. Scatter the Parmesan shavings on top.
From: Farmer John’s Cookbook

All right, I’ll confess it. I’ll be sound asleep when this recipe airs on Tuesday. KOAM is kind enough to let me tape several recipes at a go so I only have to do one early morning for a whole month of segments. Bless ‘em.

Don’t forget to check the blog for the latest news – like the visits to market by the Carl Junction high school food and nutrition class, the elephant garlic on Saturdays, the note I received today about our Farmers Market bag in regular use for shopping in Sarajevo, and the TV segments filmed at the market Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sentinel Column - 9/4/09

It’s Labor Day weekend, and we don’t know whether to expect a big or a sparse crowd. We’re going to be optimists and hope for a big crowd, even though rain is forecast.

So, why come to the market today, Saturday and Tuesday? Because our farmers are bringing in loads of produce which you’ll want on your table for the holiday. Because the pavilions are covered and high and dry even in wet weather. Because we have good meals and good causes. Because you’ll enjoy the music and see friends. And you probably have other reasons as well. If so, tell us about them at the information table.

Produce at the market now includes tomatoes, sweet corn, lots of peppers of many varieties, onions, okra, potatoes, green beans, boc choy, lettuce, radishes, beets, sweet potatoes, apples, melons, summer and winter squash . . . well you get the idea. We’re also seeing fresh ginger, many fresh herbs and, on Saturdays, elephant garlic.

The market will look a lot like fall today. Tim Green plans to bring pumpkins and Heidi Stoller will have mums.

Everyone is raving about the flat bread of Jamey Smith of Redings Mill Bakery (above). Dee Agee, one of our growers who specializes in chemical free heirloom produce, buys a “loaf” at every market, loaded with herbs and cheese and other goodies. Then she takes it home, adds some of her own veggies, reheats it and says it’s heaven. I’d come early for Jamey’s flat bread. It’s developing quite a following.

Lunch today is all-you-can-eat ham and beans, plus plain or jalapeno cornbread, chocolate cake and a drink for $5. Kelly Lee James performs between 11 and 1.

Tomorrow’s (Saturday) breakfast benefits the R-7 Scholarship Foundation. The Foundation provides scholarships to Webb City High School seniors pursuing continuing education. We have a great crew volunteering on their holiday weekend to bring you biscuits and gravy, sausages, and coffee or orange juice between 9 and 11 tomorrow. You can also order eggs, fried or scrambled. Good food, at a good price, for a good cause. With music, no less. How can you beat it?

And you’ll love the music. The musicians of the Now or Never Gang are making their once-a-year appearance at the market tomorrow. The bluegrass and gospel group has been playing together for about seven years, but mother Dee has performed since she was 10 years old with Johnson Family Bluegrass. Dee plays banjo and guitar, her husband, Rick, plays dobro. Their daughters, Lacey, Brianna, and Leah, play guitar, bass fiddle, and fiddle and mandolin respectively. All the girls do vocals as well.

On Tuesday (don’t forget it’s Tuesday, even if you didn’t have a regular weekday on Monday!!), the Friends of the Webb City Library host Cooking for a Cause. Gary Kyger will play and sing between 11 and 1.

As the weather turns a bit cooler, you may be ready for a hearty stew. The following recipe is one that I did on KOAM-TV this week. Of the ingredients, we have the chicken, onions, tomatoes, okra, potatoes, and corn at the market.

Brunswick Stew

1 stewing chicken
2 cubes chicken bouillon or 1 cup chicken stock
2 large onions, sliced
4 cups fresh or 2 cans (1 lb each) tomatoes
2 cups lima beans
3 medium potatoes, diced
4 cups corn cut from cob or 2 cans (1 lb each) corn – drain liquid from cans
2 cups okra (optional)
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Cut chicken in pieces. In a large pot, add bouillon cubes or stock, then fill with water until chicken is covered. Stew until meat can be easily removed from bone, about 2.5 hours. Remove chicken, bone, skin and dice.

Strain broth and return to pot. Sauté onions in 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine. Place all ingredients, except chicken, in broth and simmer on low heat until potatoes are tender. Add chicken.

Brunswick Stew benefits from long, slow cooking. The flavor improves if the stew is refrigerated overnight and reheated the next day.

Adapted from The Williamsburg Cookbook

Friday, August 28, 2009

Inside News

John Pate tells us that he expects Tuesday to be the last day for peaches until the Parade variety are ready about 10 days later. The good news is that he thinks his apples will be ready for market on Friday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Webb City Sentinel - 8-28-09

Last Friday, the irises donated by the Letsingers flew out of the market so Jo and Rae got busy and thinned out another two borders. Those irises will be at the market tomorrow (Saturday). The catalog says “Tall German Bearded Iris … various color in solids and bicolors … these orchid-like flowers are the ‘iristocrats’ of the last spring garden … need at least 1/2 day of sun and the rhizome needs to be covered with no more than an inch of soil … height will vary from 30 to 40 inches.”

After the bell rings at 9 am, the irises will be available for free at the market information table.

We’re expecting lots of watermelon today and tomorrow. Frank Runyon’s melons have been delicious this year. I haven’t gotten a single one that wasn’t just right. Tim Green plans to bring a bunch of melons this weekend and we have several other growers bringing melons.

We will soon be transitioning into the fall gardens. Most of our growers have done a good job of sequential planting. Ervin Eicher has been planting sweet corn all season and hopes to have plenty through September. On our farm inspections, we’re seeing lots of new green bean plantings. In fact, I predict that in the next three weeks we’ll be buried in green beans, so if you’re thinking of canning or freezing it will be a great time to buy in bulk. We’ve also seen a lot of snow peas, lettuce, spinach, radishes and beets going into the ground. And, of course, the pumpkins and apples are ripening.

It’s the time of year that people begin to ask when the market is closing. We will have our regular schedule of three markets a week through September, unless we get a hard freeze earlier. Then we go to Fridays during the hours of 11 to 2 in October. In November the winter market begins – 11 to 2 every first and third Friday of the month.

Last year was our first for winter market. It was mainly meats, baked goods and jams and jellies. And, given that there was little produce, it turned out to be a very succesful first year. However, we have several growers already lined up to provide winter produce. Marilyn and I visited Shoal Creek Greenhouse and Gardens Wednesday on a midseason farm inspection and saw one high tunnel planted in young tomatoes and the other just planted in green beans, squash and cucumbers. The Fredricksons in Carl Junction are considering growing salad greens this winter in their greenhouse and we’ve had inquiries from three other farms about growing for the winter market.

So the answer to “when is the market closing” is that it is not. Happily for the market volunteers, the winter market is very low maintenance and managed by Nancy Rasmussen, our beef and chicken vendor. That way we volunteers get a break. Or should I say, we take on different responsibilities.

I received word this week that our grant request to do grower training this winter will be approved by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) soon. That grant will fund a food safety from field to market workshop, as well as a series of workshops on high tunnel technology. We are the lead market in organizing this training program and have invited the markets in Joplin, Neosho, Monett, MacDonald County and Pittsburg to participate. Any area farmers are welcome to attend. All the workshops will be conducted in English and in Hmong. Most of our immigrant farmers speak English fairly well, but when it comes to food safety we want them to understand completely and, of course, technical matters can be difficult to understand in any language.

Speaking of language, we had our last English as a Second Language class last Friday. Our instructor, Jared Zamouski,is back at MSSU now that summer is over. Jared did a wonderful job with his students, helping them improve their ability to interact with customers. He brought photos of the different vegetables sold at the market and the students took turns playing the seller and the customer talking about the produce, how it is grown and prepared, explaining prices and so forth. NALA (Neighborhood Adult Literacy Agency) connected us with Jared who volunteered his time. It was a good experience which we hope to repeat next summer.

We were taken aback this summer at a customer’s response to English as a Second Language. He seemed to think that we were denigrating English. So just in case others think we’re putting English in second place, let me explain that linguists consider the language that you grow up speaking your first language. Languages that you learn subsequently, are considered a second language. When we say English as a Second Language, it simply means that it is a class for people who did not grow up speaking English, as opposed to an English grammar or literary class like one might attend in high school.

What’s happening at the market this weekend? Today lunch is all-you-can-eat chili with fixin’s, plus sugar cookies and drink for $6. The Granny Chicks will play between 11 and 1. Tomorrow on Saturay, PEO is serving breakfast. All profits will go to their scholarship fund. Drywood Bluegrass will play.

On Tuesday, the Civil Air Patrol will serve Cooking for a Cause. I had to do a little reseach on the Patrol. It’s a Congressionally chartered, federally supported, non-profit corporation that serves as the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force. It’s an all-volunteer organization that performs three congressionally assigned key missions: emergency services, including search and rescue and disaster relief operations; aerospace education for youth and the general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth. Our local chapter is primarily for cadets ranging from 12 to 21 years.

Our music Tuesday will be by Willaim Adkins. He was a big hit at last Saturday’s market and I encourage you to make time between 11 and 1 to hear him.

Monday, August 24, 2009

More irises coming!

On Saturday, August 29, we'll have more irises from Jo and Rae Letsinger. They're free & they'll be gorgeous next spring. Gather some up at the information table after the bell rings at 9.

From the catalog:

Tall German Bearded Iris....various colors in solids and bicolors....these orchid-like flowers are the "iristocrats" of the late spring garden...need at least 1/2 day of sun and the rhizome needs to be covered with no more than an inch of soil....height will vary from 30-40 inches due to various factors.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday at the Market

We couldn't have asked for a nicer day today. The weather was great, the produce was top notch and folks were in a good mood - as they usually are at the market.

William Adkins played at the market for the first time and he was a big hit, with folks filling the benches throughout the market. He'll be back on Tuesday, September 1st.

The weather is more like late September than August and we are beginning to see fall produce like the huge pumpkin at little Nicole Courdin's stand. The winter squash has arrived - butternut, spaghetti & acorn (the photo of acorn squash below was taken on a market inspection this week at Troyer Farm).

Frank Runyan tells us that he should have watermelons for another week. Get them while you can, they've been delicious

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sentinel column - 8/21/09

Life is good.

I am surrounded by good and gifted people. For example, Jo & Rae Letsinger, who are dear friends in Sarcoxie, are giving away more than 200 iris plants at the market today. Rae is a masterful gardener and deeply interested in plants. Every year he adds new specimens to his collection, each marked with a stake denoting their botanical name. Rae’s iris beds have thrived. Since thriving irises multiply and must be thinned out periodically to maintain their vigor, Rae did some major thinning this week. His sister Jo will bring the plants to the market today. The catalog describes the plants as “early blooming clumps with flower stalks 8” to 16” tall, extremely vigorous, fantastic edger for front of the border.” Rae always buys top quality, so being free, these are a real bargain. Bring a sack to the information table and gather some up for your garden. We’ll start handing them out at 11 after the bell rings.

Mike Moore was at the information table Tuesday when Bill Perry stopped by to say that Childrens’ Haven has a newsletter coming out with information on the market’s support. Childrens’ Haven did a Cooking for a Cause last month and growers have donated food to Childrens’ Haven several times during the high season. With an average of 12 children, plus staff to feed, free fresh produce can really stretch the food budget. Mike was surprised, he didn’t know about the market’s gleaning program, and if Mike didn’t know, lots of others may not know either, so let me tell you about our generous growers. Typically on Tuesdays and Saturdays, they load us down with donations of sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes and lots of other produce. Black Forest Pastry almost always has two or three boxes of pastries to donate. We make arrangements for the gleanings to be picked up, or deliver them ourselves to various feeding programs, including the Damascus House rehab program, Crosslines, Childrens’ Haven, City of Refuge and Salvation Army. Tuesday I dropped some produce by the Cerebral Palsy Center in Webb City.

We have also been blessed by people we don’t know this week. A debit card was found in the parking lot on Tuesday and turned in by a kind customer. I couldn’t find a phone number for the card holder on the internet so called the issuing bank – US Bank. They tried calling the card holder, but the number they had was outdated. The bank said they would cancel the card. I said, “oh please don’t. Let us hold it for the rest of the day and if the customer doesn’t contact us we’ll drop it by the bank”. Within an hour, the customer came to retreive the card. The bank had somehow gotten hold of her. Since she was from Pittsburg and I was looking for a Missouri number, I would never have found her so kudos to the US Bank employee that went the extra mile.

Another good thing at the market has been the conversion of our Saturday morning breakfast to a benefit. Customers have been great supporters, the profits have been maximized by the generous donation of biscuits by General Mills, and nonprofits are calling in to reserve days. We had been seriously overbooked on Cooking for a Cause, having to turn down numerous organizations that wanted to participate. Now with the Saturday Benefit Breakfast we’ll have 16 more groups we can support.

This Saturday, the breakfast supports CROPwalk, which is supported by many churches in the Joplin area including Sacred Heart and Central United Methodist, as well as Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Missionary Baptists, Lutherans and several schools. The money raised goes to Lafayette House, the Salvation Army and Crosslines, as well as to other US and international hunger projects. Breakfast is served from 9 to 11 (& I’m still looking for a few workers. If you long to start Saturday early cooking sausage at 7 am, stop by the information table today and we’ll sign you up). Biscuits, gravy, sausage and eggs is $3. Two eggs your way is $1.

We have a new musician on Saturday – William Adkins who plays the guitar and sings. Expect a lot of John Denver and other mellow tunes from the 70’s and 80’s. I hope you’ll make him welcome.

Today Gospel Strings graces us with their music. Lunch is a BLT sandwich, macaroni salad, spinach salad, cake & drink for $6.

Next Tuesday, Cooking for a Cause benefits the local chapter of the American Red Cross. Much of their funding goes to help local families who have suffered a major fire in their home. Disasters come in all sizes and, in our area, it often comes in the form of a house fire.

The market is loaded with green beans, tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, squash, cucumbers, okra, greens, onions, and melons. We have some fabulous peppers, including bells in many colors. For a wide variety of sweet and hot peppers, try Broken Wire Ranch. Grower Tom Lewis has some beauties, and can roast them for you right on the spot. It smells delicious,and tastes even better.

Yes, life is good.

(Photos - top: Mor Xiong's stand, bottom: the Troyer stand)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Free Iris on Friday

My friends Rae & Jo Letsinger are bringing 200+ standard dwarf bearded iris of various colors (catalogue says "early blooming clumps with flower stalks 8" to 16" tall, extremely vigorous, fantastic edger for front of the border")to the market Friday. Rae is a plant enthusiast and uses top quality material so these will be nice iris. Bring a sack to the information table to carry home some free iris.

Monday, August 17, 2009

We're looking for a great baker

The Webb City Farmers Market has been blessed with a wonderful pie and cake baker in Hazel’s Bakery, but Hazel is hoping to cut down to just Friday markets soon. That means that the market has an opening on Tuesdays, and possibly on Saturdays, for an excellent baker. Pies and cakes, as well as dinner rolls and other baked goods are in demand at the market.

Applications are available at the market or by calling 417 483-8139 or by emailing the address above. The market requires that baked goods be produced in a kitchen inspected by the health department. Hazel’s plans to continue providing the market with baked goods on Tuesdays until a new baker is in place.

Friday, August 14, 2009

High Praise

We get compliments all the time at the market which we love, but when a fellow market groupie complements us, that’s high praise indeed. A lady, who like us collects markets where ever she goes, told us today that the Webb City market is the friendliest, warmest (in a good way), cleanest and best market she’d ever been to.

Yesterday, we were at the State Fair where the Governor opened the Ag Building by recognizing the Webb City Farmers Market as the state’s 2009 market of the year. He and Mrs. Nixon are big fans of local foods and know that supporting local food is also supporting local economies, plus it tastes really good!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Black Diamond Watermelon

Shoal Creek Greenhouse and Gardens are bringing Black Diamond watermelons to market on Friday and Saturday!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Webb City Sentinel column - 8/14/09

Resa Amos and I drove about 250 miles on Wednesday making this season’s second visit to our northern farms. Farm inspections are challenging from a time perspective. It’s hard to come up with the five full days needed to visit every grower, but it has its perks (in addition to the very necessary purpose of verifying that all our farmers are selling only what they grow).

For example, Frank Runyon’s place west of Sheldon is always a pleasure to visit. It’s located on a small lake surrounded by beautifully manicured lawns, as well as his fields of melons, garden produce, blackberries and young fruit trees. It’s lovely enough to be a resort.

Jeff Koehn welcomed us to Countryside View Greenhouse in Walker which is northeast of Nevada. He has 900 hardy mums well underway for fall, in addition to many perennials and fruit trees. In fact, Resa’s eye was caught by a Red Haven peach tree which she bought and we hauled back in my little car. When we went in to make the purchase (I bought some cinnamon candies) Resa remarked that it looked just like a little Mennonite country store. Jeff replied that was understandable since he’s Mennonite.

Hospitality is the key word at Fairhaven Berry and Vegetable Farm. Carrole has been under the weather for the past few weeks and we’ve really missed her at the market. Sitting a spell on their front porch is always part of the ritual of our visits there, but this visit was extra special because of the time we were able to spend with Carrole.

And it’s always so satifying to walk the farm with Joe. He and Carrole, like many of our vendors, are committed to making the market the best it can be. That’s why Joe still has six plantings of sweet corn that should ripen all the way to the end of September. That’s why they’ve ordered an additional 1,000 strawberry plants and a load of raspberry brambles. That’s why they planted three times the number of sweet potatoes this year as they did last year. They put in the extra effort so the market can be well stocked with local produce through the whole season, and in the case of sweet potatoes into the winter market. Speaking of sweet potatoes, the first harvest will be at the market on Friday and Saturday.

Our next stop was Pate’s Orchard where the China Pearls are ready for harvest. The China Pearl is a white peach with a taste and scent that, to be redundant, is fruity – but fruity in an almost tropical way. It’s delicious and I’d recommend you give it a try if they’re not sold out by the time you get to market.

At Broken Wire Ranch, south of Stockton, we were in for a treat. Tom Lewis specializes in peppers – hot and sweet – and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many peppers in my life. Row after row, each 450 feet long, just loaded with bright yellow, orange and red peppers of every shape and size. Tom is definitely the pepper king of the market, made more so by his pepper roaster. You can pick out the peppers of your choice and he’ll fire them up right at the market.

Sunny Lane Farms was our next stop. We got to meet their market herd of one and two year old herefords. The pastured poultry were out in the field in their new huge cages. The cages are new because in the last wind storm the old cages blew into the pond, though not before owner Nancy got all the chickens out. We also met Nancy’s new flock of sheep which later in the year will enable her to add lamb to the choices at her market stand. She’s taking pre-orders now.

Our last stop was the Vang Farm. We hadn’t planned to stop there but a road detour took us within a hundred feet of their farm, so I called and asked if they’d mind a spur of the moment visit. Geena Vang and her mother – who is the chief farmer – took us through their very extensive plantings. They have an amazing quantity of green beans. They’re also loaded with okra, egg plant, potatoes, onions, Thai peppers and lots of other vegetables. It is impressive that Mrs. Vang, with the help of her husband, manage such large plantings, mainly with hand labor. She’s sure not afraid of hard work.

During the next two weeks, we’ll be heading south, west and east finishing the inspections. We take our grower-only rule very seriously, so much so that a violation results in eviction from the market. That’s the one rule violation that we do not forgive. Intrigity is too important to the market’s success to allow any one vendor to tarnish it – which, of course, doesn’t make it any easier for me to tell farmers they have been banned. That is, for sure, my least favorite job as manager. But the up side is that, thanks to the market’s success, some 30 family businesses continue to thrive at the market. That’s one of our reasons for being and, like bread upon the water, it has spread as other communities, seeing Webb City’s success, have begun their own markets, providing venues for success for many more growers. So here’s to local markets supporting local growers, while boosting the local economy and providing local fresh food to local communities.

Lunch today is Chicken Perlu', mixed vegetables, rolls, fruit cup & drink for $6. Lee Ann & Jack Sours play from 11 to 1.

There’s lots happening on Saturday. Cub Scout Pack 29 hosts a bake sale and serves breakfast. The Granny Chicks perform. It’s also be our monthly Art Market. And, finally, it’s our Market Roots Celebration. Bring the kids to see where their food originated, see where the families of our vendors and volunteers can from and place a pin where your own roots were planted on the Historical Society’s map.