Thursday, May 14, 2009

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.