Friday, May 29, 2009

Catch the market on the web

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has posted a video of the Webb City market. View it at:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Inside News

The Agees are bringing apple wood chips, cracked walnuts and sassafras to the market tomorrow.

Dalton, our youngest vendor, will be at the market Friday too with his lemonade and tea.

Sentinel column - 5/29/09

Last year we were tickled when a couple who once sold at the market stopped by to visit. They had taken the day off for their anniversary and the market was one of their treats for the day.

So we weren’t surprised at another anniversary visit Tuesday, but we were surprised by who it was – the market manager of the Sedalia farmers market and her husband, Brenda and Mark Raetz. The Sedalia market just organized this year and we shared some of our experience and documents like rules and bylaws with them. They visited with our vendors, enjoyed lunch and music, loaded up with purchases and declared they would be back. Brenda wants to bring her whole market board to visit on a Friday (during peach season).

Sometimes we hear negative comments about new markets opening locally. Folks seem to think it might hurt our market. But we take a different approach. Our theory is the more markets there are, the more opportunity for people to make markets a regular part of their shopping. And that means more market customers, which is good for all of us. Over the winter, the Webb City market worked with new markets starting in MacDonald County, Monett, Joplin, Sedalia, Foristell, St. Louis, Battlefield and about five other Missouri communities, plus a few in Kansas.

What I hear nationwide is that markets are competing for growers, not customers. If you have good products, friendly vendors and a pleasant gathering place, customers will come. But farmers do not just appear. They have to be developed and they have to be able to make a living.

Webb City is very lucky because we have lots of growers interested in selling here. So many in fact, that we no longer accept new growers for the Friday market unless they have a product that we need. Otherwise, we’re directing new vendors to the Tuesday and Saturday markets. (The Saturday markets start in June.) We also give them a list of other area markets to try. Call me Polly Anna but I truly believe that the more successful our farmers and Missouri markets are, the more successful our own market will be.

I said we’re lucky to have a lot of growers, but it’s not really luck. We attract lots of vendors because the market appears to be successful. We’ve done a lot of grower education to help our new and experienced growers become more successful.

Speaking of success, Marilyn and I have been making farm visits this week and we’ve seen some significant improvements in agricultural practices. Our Hmong farmers are incorporating many locally appropriate techniques and our new growers are learning. A case in point is the Lone Star Farm, operated by Howard and Tracy Nutting in Anderson. They gave farming a try last year but didn’t have much production. In fact, they only made it to the market a couple of times late in the season. Over the winter, they took advantage of every learning opportunity provided by our market and the state and it really shows. They expect to be at market on Tuesday with cabbage, scallions, Yukon Gold new potatoes and maybe some beets.

The Agees from Fairview will be at the market for the first time today. Regular customers will remember them for their wonderful selection of heirloom fruits and vegetables last year.

Lunch today is barbeque beef sandwich, potato salad, 4-bean salad, cake and drink for $6. The Wild River Band plays from 11 to 1.

On Tuesday, Cooking for a Cause benefits Webb City Senior Scout troop 6438 and Rob Pommert plays from 11 to 1.

And a week from tomorrow, our Saturday markets begin from 9 to noon when you’ll find fresh local fruits and vegetables and a terrific breakfast cooked right at the market.

Farm Visits

Marilyn and I are doing farm visits this week. Eight yesterday, another 5 today. We found many gardens looking very good and a few that have been set back by the cool wet spring.

Most of the farmers at the Webb City market are small scale and do much of their work by hand (above - Ying Vang Xiong who sells on the south end of the pavilion in her garden yesterday). But take my word for it, a small 2 - 4 acre farm planted in produce is a huge project. I am constantly amazed by how hard our farmers work.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday's Market

We had more new produce on Tuesday. Hector Troyer brought a load of the first zucchini and yellow squash, as well as some beautiful cabbage and broccoli. Several growers had new potatoes and the radishes were abundant in many varieties.

Wonder what Friday will bring?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Don't Forget It's TUESDAY

Tuesday's market should be full of vendors - call your friends and neighbors so it's also full of customers! Every time we have a Monday holiday, folks forget it's market day because it feels like the first day of the week.

Only one vendor that we know of is taking an extended vacation - Hazel's Bakery is taking Tuesday off. Otherwise, we should have a full house, including at least one new grower.

See you soon!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Seninel column - 5/22/09

If you have a sick or damaged tree or shrub, you need to come to market today. Jon Skinner, urban forester for the Missouri Department of Conservation, will hold a clinic at the market today from 11 to 1. Bring a sample of your sick tree or shrub, or in the case of wind damage, bring a picture. Jon will diagnose the problem and suggest a course of action. You can also make an appointment with him for an on-site visit.

Trees have sure taken a beating in our area with ice storms and an inland hurricane. Take advantage of Jon’s expertise to make sure yours are healthy and strong. He’ll be located in the center pavilion. And if you’re running a little late, drop by anyway. Jon almost always stays beyond his scheduled time.

I have a favor to ask – mark your calendar for next Tuesday to come have lunch with us. And then try to remember when Tuesday is. Each year Memorial Day throws everyone’s week off. Monday’s a holiday, so Tuesday feels like the first day of the week – but it’s not. Tuesday will be the first time the Webb City High School Choir Boosters work Cooking for a Cause. If enough of us keep our days of the week straight and come to market to eat with them, it will be a good first experience.

The Kids Community Garden is underway. Kids and adult mentors planted the first tomatoes, peppers and eggplants yesterday. The garden is open to children in 5th grade or higher. For more information, call the garden supervisor, Rochelle DeLucia, at 629-7360.

We think there’s going to be lots of interest in food preservation this year and we’re planning two new programs to match that interest.

First, we are maintaining a list of folks who would like to be notified when a farmer has an abundance of product and is willing to sell in bulk for food preservation. If you would like to be on that list, stop by the information table.

Second, we are sponsoring, with University of Missouri Extension, two classes on food preservation. Both classes will be held at Central United Methodist Church at Broadway and Pennsylvania in Webb City. Tammy Roberts, a nutrition and health education specialist with Extension will teach the classes.

The class from 6 to 9 pm on Monday, June 22, will cover the basics of home food preservation. It will be hands on training in pressuring canning vegetables from fresh-picked to sealed in jars. Participants will learn the difference between boiling water canning and pressure canning and which foods are appropriate for each. The class will also cover freezing.

On Monday, June 29, from 6 to 8:30 pm, participants will learn the art of jelly and pickle making. The drying method of food preservation will also be covered.

The cost for one class is $10 per person and for both classes is $15. Registration forms are available at the market’s information table or by calling the Extension office at 417 358-2158.

Lunch today is meatloaf, au gratin potatoes, green beans, cake & drink for $6. Jack & Lee Ann Sours play during lunch from 11 to 1.

By the way, the Sours will be playing for a Contra dance in Neosho on Saturday. It’s always great fun. If you’d like to join in the dance, see below or talk to the Sours today.

Contra Dance - Home-grown fun

Contradance - Saturday, May 23 from 7 to 10 pm at Crowder College in Neosho, MO in the Longwell Museum of the Elsie Plaster Bldg.

Caller - Gloria Johnson. Live music by the market's own Baled Green and Wired Tight

Dances are held on the 4th Saturday of each month so mark your calendars! $5 donations requested to cover expenses. No prior experience necessary.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kids Community Garden

The Kids Community Garden is underway. Below: Rochelle DeLucia, garden supervisor, and Tim Green, market mentor, load up plants grown by Tim for the garden.

Planting will take place this Thursday from 3 to 5 pm at the garden located on Aylor Street just west of Madge T. James Kindergarten. The garden is open to any child in 5th grade or older.

Red Hat Ladies

We were pleased to have a local chapter of Red Hat Ladies grace the market today. They enjoyed lunch served up by the Carl Junction chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, as well as music by Rob Pommert.

If you have a group that would like to have lunch at the market, let us know and we'll save you a table.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Saturday Markets Start In June

Don't forget that there are no more Saturday markets until June 6. The reason is that there is not enough produce yet to cover three days, plus Relay for Life will be at the pavilions on the last Saturday in May.

Friday was our first beautiful day at the market and folks turned out in droves. Each market sees new products coming in. Today we had three kinds of radishes, kolrahbi, green onions, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries (from three different growers), to name just a few. Above - one of our regular customers shows off Pates high tunnel tomatoes. We're getting rave reviews on both our high tunnel growers (Below, the Greens respond to "Smile!")

One of the new faces Friday was Mor Xiong's new grandbaby.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blog Alerts - never miss out again!

If you would like to be emailed whenever the market blog is updated, go to:

Paste in
and your email address and you will receive a notice whenever a new post is made.

That way you'll be the first to know when a new product is coming in (think strawberries, peaches, field tomatoes & corn!)or something special is happening at the market.

Friday Market

We just received word that Countryside View Greenhouse will not be at the market on May 15. They have a school event to attend.

Ton & Helen Cha will be at the market for the first time with produce and Sherida Wittum will bring her concrete birdbaths molded on real elephant ear leaves.

Sentinel Column - 5/15/09

It’s strawberry season at the market. Fredrickson Farms is nearing their full harvest period. I’d recommend being at their stand before noon, because there will be a lot of demand. I was lucky enough to get some berries Tuesday and I can vouch for their flavor. It’s hard to beat a local berry.

Each spring we hope for a decent weather. And each spring, at least for the past three years, our hopes have gone unfulfilled.

I was talking to a new grower south of Joplin yesterday. He asked us to delay our on-site inspection. After three hail storms, his peppers and tomatoes were pretty much torn to shreds. He’d planted his carrots and radishes on a hillside. Two inches of rain in 45 minutes put his plants in piles at the bottom of the hill. But I think he’s going to make a fine farmer, because he’s not giving up. He’s already replanted and is counting this year as a learning experience. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I know farmers in their 80’s who are still racking up “learning experiences.”

I don’t think any of our farmers are complaining about the weather though. With all the tremendous storms we’ve had lately, there has been only minor damage done to their farms. The high tunnels are all still high, the peaches are ready for thinning next week, and the strawberries are still above water. Crops may have diminished some, but the harvest still looks good.

We’re expecting Irene Eicher at the market today with broccoli, eggs and violets. Steve Madwell will be back with his pork after taking last Friday off to gather up hog houses blown over to the neighbors. He counts himself lucky, the hogs and piglets all weathered the storm. Sue Henson of Rocky Hill Farm is having a “storm sale” on her heirloom tomato plants. Her small greenhouse was destroyed but she was able to save most of the plants. Now, with no place to keep them at her place, she’s selling them at the discount.

Ted Owens is back at the market with his early greens. Ted celebrated his 86th birthday this week. He says gardening keeps him young.

Black Forest House is now making gluten-free baked goods like bread, brownies, pound cake, chocolate muffins, pecan pie and chocolate chip cookies. Orders can be placed on Friday for the next Friday’s market or you can call them at 417 325-7506. If you have a special event coming up, be sure to check by Black Forest House. They are bringing all sorts of wonderful pastries to market and will also take special orders. You’ll find them every Tuesday and Friday on the east side of the south pavilion.

Lunch today is spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic bread, fruit fluff and drink for $6. Gospel Strings will play between 11 and 1.
Next Tuesday, Cooking for a Cause benefits the Carl Junction Order of the Eastern Star. Rob Pommert will play classical guitar and jazz, as well as sing popular music from the 60’s, from 11 to 1.

We hope to start an Art Market on the third Saturday of each month starting in June. It will be located in the grassy area across from the market. Any artists interested in selling can stop by the information table or call me at 673-5866.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

mmm, mmm - the strawberries are great

If you didn't make it to market today, you missed some fabulous strawberries. We're hoping for another load Friday, but the rain could ruin them, so you may want to head over to Fredrickson Farm in Carl Junction and pick your own on Wednesday or Thursday. Call Tami at 417-439-6141 for hours.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tuesday - a day for good eats & good works

Tuesday (May 12), eat lunch with us to benefit Big Brothers, Big Sisters and eat dinner with Culvers to benefit Lafayette House.

Culvers will be donating 10% of their sales all day Tuesday to Lafayette House, our regional shelter for women and their children escaping domestic violence. It's an important cause, made even more necessary in hard economic times, and if enough of us enjoy a meal at Culvers on Tuesday, we can turn the restaurant's generosity into a substantial gift.

See you there for dinner on Tuesday!

Inside News - Fredrickson Farms

Strawberries will be at the market on Tuesday (May 12)!!

They were supposed to be there on Friday, but Tami was rear-ended by a FedEx truck on her way to market so she spent the weekend recovering from a lot of soreness and dealing with insurance.

But all is well now and she's hoping to bring 100 quarts of berries to market on Tuesday.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday - May 9

We're open 9 to noon today (try to come by 11, things will probably get sold out). The weather is supposed to be decent (thank goodness) and we're expecting a fairly full pavilion - Reddings Mill Bread, Troyer Farm, Countryside View Greenhouse, Shoal Creek Garden and Greenhouse, Lee Farm - to name just a few. Breakfast cooked up from 9 to 11 and the Ninth Hour Quartet performs from 9:30 to 11:30.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Inside News - Honey

Just got a note from Resa Amos that she does not expect to be at the market until Friday, May 15.

New Vendor on Saturday

Randi Bachman will be at the Saturday market for the first time. Randi artisically recycles used fabrics into rag rugs, quilted totes and clothes pin bags. Sounds like some great gifts for Mom! See her goods this Saturday from 9 to noon under the pavilion.

Inside News - Strawberries

Tammy Fredrickson tells me that she hopes to have strawberries at the market on Saturday (May 9). They are just beginning to harvest, so if you want strawberries, I'd be there at 9. A downpour early Saturday morning will probably nix the berries - it makes poor picking weather.

Sentinel column - 5-8-09

Can’t make it to market on a weekday? Then this is the weekend for you. The market will hold its special Day-Before-Mother’s-Day Market Saturday (May 9) from 9 to noon under the pavilion. In addition to local produce, there will be lots of plants, planters and hanging baskets, just in time for Mother’s Day.

It’s also our Let’s Plant a Garden Day, when every child and student through college receive a free tomato plant, a bit of fertilizer and instructions from an experienced market grower. Look for the Kids’ Table next to Shoal Creek Gardens on the west side of the pavilion. That will also be the place to sign up children, 5th grade and older, for the Kids Community Garden.

We only have one Saturday market in May but starting in June the market will be open every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday through September.

Saturday, Ninth Hour Quartet performs from 9:30 to 11:30. They are one of our favorite singing groups and will be yours, too. Led by Matthew Holt, who accompanies them on the piano, Ninth Hour moves with style and grace from golden oldies to Southern Gospel.

Breakfast will be cooked up to order on Saturday from 9 to 11.

But, you may ask, what about Friday (May 8)? The pavilion should be filled, as it always is on Fridays. John Pate tells me that he’s bringing 250 pounds of his local high tunnel tomatoes. Those lucky enough to get his tomatoes last Friday said they were “fabulous!”

There should also be spinach, lettuce, green onions, broccoli, asparagus, mustard greens, pac choy, cilantro and some radishes. And, of course, there are loads of plants, honey, jams and jellies, baked goods and even koi for your water pond.

The Granny Chicks play today from 11 to 1. It is their first time at the market, so please make them welcome. Lunch is ham and beans, cornbread, brownie and drink for $5.

My children say that my motto ought to be “What can YOU do for ME?” Harsh, but often true. And to prove it, this is my invitation to you to be part of the market volunteer team.

We’re looking for the following volunteers for the regular season:
A griller for Cooking for a Cause - If you are good at grilling on a propane grill, we could use your help. We hope to recruit volunteers who can grill from about 10:30 to 1 on Tuesdays once or twice a month.

Golf cart drivers - We are fortunate to have Duane Hunt as a regular driver, but we’d like to have a couple of back up drivers to give him the occasional time off. If you’re a licensed (and careful) driver and would like to drive from 10:30 to 1 on Tuesday or Friday or 9 to 11 on Saturdays, let me know.

Assistant managers - We are blessed with a number of volunteer managers, but would like to train a few more volunteers to fill in when one or more of the regulars have to be away.

Friends of the Market – We are always looking for volunteers who can help out on special occasions like Berry Day or the Tomato Festival. Jobs include preparing sampling dishes in a certified kitchen, setting up displays, and serving samples to our customers.

If you would like to be part of the market volunteer team, please give me a call at 417 483-8139 or stop by the market information table.

Next Tuesday, Big Brothers, Big Sisters serves up Cooking for a Cause. Put it on your calendar!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Inside News - Tomatoes - Green Beans - Asparagus

I just got a call from John Pate. He plans to have over 250 pounds of tomatoes at the market on Friday. Reports from folks who bought his tomatoes last week (naturally I didn't get any since I always buy last), said they were wonderful.

John will also have some green beans.

Shanks Farms and Shoal Creek expect to have asparagus on Friday. Shoal Creek will also have high tunnel tomatoes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Check this out

Mike Pound's column on the market is at

Friday, May 1, 2009

Opening Day

We couldn't have asked for better weather today to demonstrate the value of the improvements made over the winter at the market. Despite regular downpours, we stayed high and dry on the new concrete floor and could walk from one end to the other never stepping out in the rain. It was quite a switch from what would have been the case last year. So three cheers to all the people who made the improvements possible.

And three cheers to Dr. Jon Hagler, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, for coming down to open up the market and personally hand us our Market of the Year award (& $1,000 check - that will come in handy since we had to buy new batteries for the market cart this year). He then took time to walk the market and meet every vendor and many customers. And when he headed home, it was with some jelly from Fairhaven and honey from Amos Apiaries.

He's a man of many talents, easily switching to German while sampling some of Bert Ott's Bavarian pastries, and discussing trips to Laos, Thailand and Vietnam when visiting with Mor Xiong.

Dr. Hagler is a big booster of local foods and of shortening the distance between producers and consumers, putting more money in the farmer's pocket and quality food on the consumer's table.

Despite the weather, we had 300 for lunch and lots of shoppers and well-wishers. Perhaps the most remarkable for me was the abundance of wheelchair bound patrons and children in strollers - easily maneuvering through the pavilion. Now that calls for another THREE CHEERS!