Friday, July 31, 2009

Lots of Benefits on Saturday, August 1

Tomorrow we'll have the following special activities:

The Kids Community Garden makes it first appearance at the market with the children selling produce from their garden just west of Madge T James Kindergarten. Next Saturday, August 8, there will be an open house at the garden to celebrate National Farmers Market Week. Plan to drop by between 9 & 11 for a glass of lemonade & a tour.

Webb City High School Choir Boosters host a bake sale tomorrow at the market.

The Carl Junction Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star hosts our benefit breakfast. Biscuits, gravy, sausage & a drink for $3.

Kids Craft Table - It's August which means surely hot weather is around the corner. Be prepared. Make a free fan!

Sentinel column - 7-30-09

There are lots of perks that go along with volunteering at the market – the satisfaction of providing the community with a special place and with supporting local farmers, seeing friends and making new ones. But perhaps the best perk is an invitation to Wednesday night dinner at Frederickson Farms.

Steve and Tami Fredrickson farm right in town in Carl Junction and each summer they hire a several teenagers to work there. They need the help, of course, but they also are committed to a big education component. By the end of summer, the students have planted, harvested, prepared for and sold at market, and now, learned to cook fresh vegetables.

Steve noticed that customers often ask, “how do I prepare this” and his young salesmen did not know. Like many of us, they had not grown up with fresh vegetables. Instead they lived in the world of microwaving and canned and frozen foods. Steve wanted them to know from personal experience what they were selling and how it was prepared.

So Steve and Tami added a piece to the kids’ summer experience – preparing and serving a dinner for a table full of folks. Around the Fredrickson’s big table that means about 10 people.

My mother and I were among the lucky guests this week. Sagan, Erica and Patrick were the cooks (the other student/employee, Cory, was away at an FFA meeting). The kids get $40 and all the fresh herbs and vegetables they want from the garden. The Fredericksons also provide the meat. The kids do their shopping at the market on Tuesday, which this week added bread and peaches to the menu. They prepared lasagna from scratch, brochette and caprese. Brochette is a mix of fresh tomatoes, basil and olive oil on toasted slices of bread. The kids dressed it up with a blend of farm cheese and basil. Caprese is fresh tomato slices and fresh sliced mozzarella topped with a dressing. Needless to say, it’s hard to go wrong with Frederickson Farms heirloom tomatoes.

The kitchen was humming with activity as the students put the meal together. Occasionally, one would come over to the kitchen table to review a recipe on the laptop. That was a first for me. I’m used to referring to a written recipe, but the students had the Food Channel on line and used video instructions. (That's Sagan in the photo below.)

We sat down to a feast with the cooks, the hosts and three other friends of the Fredricksons. While we ate the students talked about the experience. The house rule is you have to try everything and Sagan said she was pretty sure she didn’t like sweet corn and grilled onions until she tried them. Now they’re on her favorite foods list. Patrick said no one in his family liked shrimp, including him. Then a Wednesday night menu included shrimp grilled with bacon and veggies. Turns out it’s his favorite dish. It was a hit with his family, too, when he prepared it at home the next week.

After dinner, we had a tour of the garden. With rows 500 feet long, it’s a bit larger than your typical garden. We finished up at the pond where the kids fed the fish and we all visited late into the night, enjoying the company and the cool summer breeze.

It is remarkable to me that the Fredericksons have created such an atmosphere of congeniality and calm in the midst of the busy summer harvest season. They may have to put in 14-hour days all summer, but they make time for friends and the students, and always stop to drink in the pleasures of country living.

So, should you be lucky enough to receive an invitation to Wednesday night dinner at the Frederickson’s, say yes!

Dinner this week ended with a wonderful dessert of homemade ice cream with peach topping. I have printed it below.

Now for market news.

Lunch today is BBQ chicken breast, rice & vermicelli, corn, fruit fluff & drink for $6. The Wild River Band performs from 11 to 1.

Saturday sees some special activities. We have a Benefit Breakfast – biscuits, gravy, sausage and drink for $3. The Carl Junction Order of the Eastern Star will operate it this week. Like Cooking for a Cause, nonprofits will run the Saturday breakfast from now on, so if you have a group that would like to participate, let me know.

The Webb City High School Choir Boosters will host a bake sale and the market will host a craft table for kids to make a fan at the market. The Anderson Brothers will play from 9:30 to 11:30.

Here are those recipes I promised. What I love about the peach recipe is that, unlike peaches frozen into ice cream, as a topping the peaches are warm and full of flavor. It’s one of my new favorite desserts.

Homemade Ice Cream

4 eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 pint whipping cream
2 pints half and half
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 Junket tablets dissolved in small amount of water

Beat eggs, mix in sugar. Mix in remaining ingredients in order and add enough milk to fill container. Let sit for 15 minutes and then freeze.

Peach topping

4 ripe medium peaches
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 almond extract
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
toasted sliced almonds

Cut peach in half and remove pit. Cut each half in half again. Combine brown sugar with extracts. Toss peaches in the mixture and set aside for 15 minutes while you pre-heat grill. Grill peaches skin side down until light charred, about 3 minutes. Turn and grill on the other 2 sides until you get nice grill marks, about 1 minute each. Place back in brown sugar mixture.

Place almond slices in a small skillet, drizzle with olive oil and toast lightly.

To serve, place a generous scoop of ice cream in a bowl, top with peaches and sauce and sprinkle with almond slices.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Inside News

Reddings Mill Bread Company will be on vacation this week and next.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Inside News - Honey

Resa Amos of Amos Apiaries tells us that they will be coming on Fridays and Saturdays only this month while they prepare for the fall harvest.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Farewell to a Friend

We were saddened to learn of the death of Paul Rowden, a remarkable traditional musician who played several times at the market with his friends last season. To quote from the Saturday, July 19, 2008, market blog post:
When Paul Rowden says he'll bring a few friends to play at the market, he means it. As you can see from the picture about 15 accomplished musicians played throughout the Saturday market today, having such a good time that they continued playing almost an hour past the advertised time. It was a real treat for all of us.
He will be missed.

Market Gleanings

Our farmers often donate produce and baked goods left at the end of market to local shelters and food pantries. As Ervin Eicher said Saturday, "I'd rather it fed the hungry than my cows." Ervin and his family from Circle E donated more than 20 dozen ears of sweet corn. Other growers donated boxes of bell peppers, onions, zucchini, squash and tomatoes. They were delivered to the City of Refuge homeless shelter in Joplin and to Damascus Road in Webb City which has a group home for recovering addicts. There was so much that some remained and that went to the monthly Contra Dance at the Webb City Clubhouse where folks made donations for the produce. Those donations will go to Crosslines.

In the picture below, market board president Nancy Rasmussen helps load the gleanings.

Tomato Day

We had 25 entries in our Tomato Day contests from market growers as well as community gardeners. Each was coded so the judges did not know who grew what. (Our judges were Mike Pound, Joplin Globe, Chef Scott Teal, Holiday Inn, Vickie Fuller, Southwest Area Career Center and Mike Wiggins, Granny Shaffer's - that's a picture of Mike and Chef Scott above - each in their work clothes - well, Mike does have on his Saturday shorts).

And the winners are:

Biggest Tomato - 2.05 lbs. Agee Farm - Brandywine Pink
Smallest Ripe Tomato - Organic Way Farm - Mountain Spring
Best Other Color Tomato - Fredrickson Farms - Brandywine Black
Best Red - Nicole Courdin - Super Sweet cherry
Weirdest Tomato - Fairhaven Berry and Vegetable Farm - Ponderosa Pink

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sentinel Column - 7-23-09

While our farmers have been swamped with zucchini and other prolific produce, I have been up to my eyebrows in farmers market grant applications. I’m writing to you from Washington DC where 60 of us from across the country are reviewing more than 500 proposals for funding from the US Department of Agriculture. My team is reviewing the proposals to install EBT capability, sometimes in a single market sometimes regionally or statewide.

EBT, formerly known as food stamps, became inaccessible to most farmers market when it went digital. Having food stamps convert to an account which could be drawn down by swiping a card in a credit card machine made a lot of sense, but meant that the vendor or his market had to have access to such a machine and all the services it required, like a communication system and service provider and, for that matter, a bank account. You would be surprised how many farmers markets do not have a bank account.

The development of a wireless credit card machine solved the communication problem. Most markets, of course, do not have a land line. But those machines are expensive – over $1,000 when we bought ours. Then there are the monthly service fees and the transaction fees and the need to have someone available to operate the machine.
All of this can be a very expensive process, especially for markets operating on a shoestring budget.

The only reason our market was able to install EBT three years ago was by winning a grant from Project for Public Spaces that paid for all of the costs and by having a terrific volunteer base to operate the machine. We in turn served as a model for other markets in the state. Missouri now has about 15 markets accepting EBT. Only 140 to go, which demonstrates how serious the barriers to installation and operation of EBT are.

At Webb City we have the best of all worlds. We can accept EBT, making fresh fruits and vegetables available to our low-income customers and we can also accept debit and credit cards, making the same good food available to the many folks who no longer carry much cash.

Reviewing the proposals has been a revelation, both in terms of the quality of the applications and in the style of the reviewers. And revelation was my whole purpose in offering to be a reviewer. I’ve written a lot of successful grants but have never been on the reviewing end. I wanted to learn how decisions are made in selecting winning proposals.

One clear revelation is that there is a tremendous need for grant writing education. We had many applications that appeared to have a good idea at their core, but were so poorly expressed that we had a choice of guessing in their favor or ranking them below funding. Our instructions required the latter which was a shame. Which brings up the second revelation. I knew that as a grant writer I should also take care to respond clearly to every question, but now I know that I should assume the reviewer knows NOTHING. Every piece needs complete explanation and documentation.

And finally, at least with a peer review like this one, the reviewers bring their own experience. I had opinions on what made a strong proposal. One of my colleagues had a very strong bias in favor of any proposal from minority groups or markets located in very low income areas. The third team partner focused on cost effectiveness which was appropriate since he worked for the funding agency. The beauty of the team approach was that these perspectives were moderated through discussion and by averaging our scores.

Just as I had hoped, this experience has given me insight into what makes a successful proposal. I plan to test this out by submitting a couple of proposals next week to the state. I should know by fall if this new found confidence is warranted.

But what you really want to know is what’s happening at the market? Today’s lunch is meat loaf, scalloped potatoes, green beans, cake and drink for $6. Gospel Strings performs from 11 to 1.

Tomorrow is Tomato Day at the market. Bring your entries to the tomato contest to the market between 8:30 and 9:30 tomorrow morning. To enter the quality tomato contest bring two tomatoes for each category (Best Red or Best Other Color). One tomato will be cut up for the judges to sample. The other will be put on display. To enter the fun category, bring one tomato for each category – Biggest by weight, Smallest Ripe and Weirdest. Granny Shaffer’s is providing prizes of market tokens for each category. Our esteemed tomato judges this year are Mike Wiggins with Granny Shaffer’s, Chef Scott Teal with the Holiday Inn, Vicky Fuller with the Southwest Area Career Center and Mike Pound with the Joplin Globe. Winners of the contests will be announced at 10:30 and on display until 11:30. We will have samples of tomatoes from our vendors for you to try beginning at 9:30 until we run out. The Missouri Mountain Gang plays from 9:30 to 11:30.

Tuesday’s Cooking for a Cause benefits Childrens Haven which provides a safe loving home for children whose parents cannot care for them because of a temporary family crisis such as illness. Rob Pommert performs from 11 t0 1.

Monday, July 20, 2009

We're spreading the word

You may have noticed billboards lately advertising the market. Most Thursdays, the digital board at Connie's Antiques is advertising our special Saturday events and the stationary board at the old Coach's Corner is advertising the market in general (photo below courtesy of Monica Vaughn).

We also have literally thousands of new color brochures about the market which we'd love help in distributing to local businesses, churches and other folks. If you know of a place that would put them out, please drop by the market and pick some up at the information table.

All this is courtesy of a Specialty Crops grant from the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Tomato Day is this Saturday

Calling all tomatoes. Entry your tomatoes Saturday morning between 8:30 & 9. Winners will be announced at 10:30. For Best Red or Best Other Color, enter two tomatoes of the same variety. For Smallest Ripe, Biggest or Weirdest, enter one tomato. Prizes provided by Granny Shaffers - Best Red and Best Other Color - $25 of market tokens. Smallest Ripe, Biggest and Weirdest - $15 of market tokens.

Sample a variety of tomatoes sold by market vendors starting at 9:30.

Attack of the Giant Zucchini Day

What a fun day we had. Lots of BIG zucchini - the winner was Tim Green, Jr., with a 9.95 pound zucchini.

We had lots of fabulous zucchini creatures and cars created. A sampling is at left.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Webb City Sentinel - 7-17-09

My husband, Phil, said he got the best sweet corn of the season Tuesday. He likes a well-filled tender ear of corn that he doesn’t have to share with corn worms and that’s what he got from the Circle E Ranch. The Eichers have been planting corn several times a month since spring and hope to have it most market days.

The blackberries have been wonderful this year and are in good supply. And cantaloupe is in season. Several of our growers are bringing it, but Hector Troyer wowed us Tuesday with over 100. Every one of them sold.

Saturday is our Attack of the Giant Zucchini Day. We’re looking for the biggest zucchini in the area and I know of several farmers who have been tending what they hope is a prizewinner. Dalton Honsinger, our little lemonade seller, described in detail to me Tuesday his strategy: careful watering and daily inspection for any bugs trying to get an early taste. Everyone is welcome to enter the contest. The weigh-in will be at 10:30 and the winner gets fame, glory and $20 in market tokens.
Other zucchini activities include free samples of zucchini cake made by Hazel’s Bakery. We’ll also have a kids’ craft table where kids (and adults) can release their inner zucchini. There will be wheels to make zucchini cars and pipe cleaners, toothpicks and other supplies to create aliens, fish, and whatever else the young imagination can come up with.

Other Saturday activities include a bake sale by the Chief Sarcoxie Days Committee and breakfast of biscuits, gravy and sausage. The ever-popular Ninth Hour Quartet performs. The monthly Art at the Market is this Saturday. We are expecting six artists ranging from painters to jewelry makers to potters. They’ll be in the south pavilion.

Finally, there will be a drawing for $20 worth of market tokens so even those of us without gardens have a chance for a prize.
Speaking of gardens or the lack thereof, while May Lassiter was waiting for the market to open Tuesday, she told me that friends asked her if she still gardened. “Why, I live too close to the farmers market to garden!” My feeling exactly.

Today, Jack and Lee Ann Sours perform traditional music. Lunch is chicken salad, potato salad, cole slaw, pudding & drink for $6.

Next Tuesday the Webb City High School Band Boosters benefit from Cooking for a Cause and Rob Pommert plays music of the Beatles and Sinatra and lots of other favorites, as well as classical guitar.

Be sure and look for our newest Tuesday vendor, Darren Swartz of Walnut, Kansas. Swartz's Locally Grown Produce is Certified Naturally Grown, which is a label for small farmers that grow using organic methods but do not participate in the USDA certified organic program. The program includes an on-line application process, annual farm inspection and random pesticide testing.

Darren considers himself a steward of his farm, caring for the woods, the soil, the air and the water, and striving to leave the land better than he found it. In 2004, his farm received the Kansas Wildlife Habitat Conservation Award.

Next Saturday is our Tomato Day (we can’t have any more TomatoFests. Some guy in Carmel, California threatened to sue us if we continued using the name because he had patented it. He thinks people will confuse us with them. Hmmmm.) Anyway, if you’re a gardener, bring your best, biggest, smallest or weirdest tomato to market by 9:15 on Saturday, July 25. Judging starts at 9:30. Our judges this year are Mike Wiggins of Granny Shaffers, Chef Scott Teal of the Holiday Inn, Vicky Fuller of the Southwest Area Career Center, and Mike Pound of the Joplin Globe. Our thanks to Granny Shaffers for underwriting our prizes of market tokens in each category.

It’s a great time to visit the market. See you there!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Art at the Market

This Saturday is our monthly art market. The artists will be located on the east side of the south pavilion and include painters, jewelry makers, a glass artist and a potter. Be sure to check it out.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Vacation at the market

It happens in my family and probably yours. Children and grandchildren come to visit and you put them to work. After all, you wouldn't want them to be bored!

Friday, Mor Xiong's daughter and granddaughter from California helped her at the market. Saturday, James Agee's son and grandchildren (below) worked during their "vacation".

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Webb City Sentinel - 7- 10 - 09

If you were at the market last Friday, I don’t need to tell you that we were overflowing with both produce and customers. In fact, we had more customers than ever before in our history. We figure that 1,500 people went through the market between 11 and 1, and another 300 in the last two hours. That’s a lot of people to fit into a 200 by 30 foot space and let’s not even talk about fitting their cars in the parking areas.

Don McGowan, our wonderful park board liaison, ferried customers to and from their distant cars till the crowd let up. And customers were amazingly patient with the lines and crowds.

Our market cart has been getting steady use during every Tuesday and Friday market so despite parking almost out of sight to the south of the pavilions, folks don’t have to walk more than a few steps to the market. Getting the market cart has turned out to be a great idea and we tip our hats to the folks who bought it for us: Cardinal Scales, Mid-Missouri Bank, Stadler-LaMere & Co., The Richardson Law Office, the Tri-State Water Coalition and Amos Apiaries. It’s the gift that keeps giving.

The shuttle stop in the pavilion is the bench right at the handicapped entrance. Just have a seat and soon the cart will arrive to deliver you and your purchases back to your car.

Two other services that receive plenty of use now that produce is coming in by the truckful are our wagons and carts that customers are welcome to borrow while shopping and our Veggie Valet, where they can drop off their purchases while they buy more, eat, chat or listen to the music.

At the risk of creating another traffic jam today, let me whisper – the field tomatoes are in. I had a customer stop me Saturday to tell me that he’d bought a box on Friday as a trial run. He was back to load up. “They’re delicious. I’m visiting from Dallas and we just don’t get tomatoes that taste that good down there.” So, if you have to stand in line for that good taste, just remember, it’s bound to take less time than driving up from Texas.

And I’m going to whisper this even more quietly, John Pate promised to bring the one-ton truck loaded with peaches on Friday (including Red Havens).

We’ve got a full month of special Saturdays coming up. Tomorrow is our Blackberry Day. Until we run out, each customer will get a small sample of blackberry cobbler with ice cream. We’ll also have a drawing for $20 worth of market tokens.

Next week we have a brand new celebration (perhaps new to the whole world). It’s the Attack of the Giant Zucchinis. We’ll have a Great Zucchini Contest. The heaviest zucchini will win fame, glory and $20 of market tokens. We’ll also have some other goofy activities that you’ll hear about next week. In the meantime, if you’re a zucchini grower, start grooming your biggest to bring to the market.

We’ll follow that up with our Tomato Day and then during National Farmers Market Week, we’ll celebrate our youngest growers with an open house at the Kids’ Community Garden.

If you’re looking for a bargain on hanging baskets, be sure to stop by Alexandria’s located under the canopies south of the pavilions. She had some terrific baskets for only $10 each this week. Also, we expect Craig Hansen of Hillside Farm today. Craig sold at the market two years ago until he took a job with the state, but his heart is still in garlic, which he grows by the hundreds. He’s taking the day off to sell his fresh elephant garlic at the market today.

Lunch today is spaghetti red, side salad, garlic toast, chocolate cake & drink. The Plainsfolk will play Irish music. Tomorrow the Granny Chicks will perform between 9:30 and 11:30. And speaking of Saturdays, if you don’t want to fight the crowds, that’s the day to come. There’s plenty of produce and folks tend to come throughout the morning so there’s never the big lines we have on Tuesday and Friday. It’s downright relaxing.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cody to the Rescue

Last Friday, I found a huge line at the Troyers, with Hector trying to keep up with boxing tomatoes and Lois trying to serve 40 customers. Just then Cody Vaughn, our youngest market volunteer who graduated from WCHS this year, popped in and asked if he could help. He teamed up with me, selling and restocking until the crowd thinned. The moral of that story: If you really don't want to help, don't offer!

Above: We were too busy to notice that Cody's mother snapped a photo.

Friday, July 3, 2009

July 4 Market

We'll be open from 9 to Noon on July 4th. Broken Wire sent word that they will have stuffing size jalapenos! Breakfast will be biscuits, gravy & sausage with orange juice or coffee. All profits benefit Crosslines. See you there!

Wow - What a Day at the Market

Traditionally the day before the 4th of July is one of our biggest market days, but this year it blew our records out of the water. We figure about 1,800 folks came to the market today. Troyer Farm went through 600 pounds of tomatoes in less than 2 hours. From the farmers stand point, it was a terrific day. We hope it was a good day for our customers, too.

It was definitely a good day for learning. We had good participation in our first English as a Second Language Class. At right, our NALA volunteer, Jared Zamouski, teaches about the phrases "What is this?" and "What is that?". Each student had the chance to ask and answer these questions which come up at the market all the time. Next week Jared plans to work on how to greet customers.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Webb City Sentinel - 7-3-09

First, yes, we will be open today and tomorrow. On today, that means 11 to 3 and on Saturday, from 9 to noon. We’re hoping that folks will start out their holiday with a visit to the market. Most of our growers will be at the market because harvest is approaching full swing. Taking time off now means a lot produce (and hard work) goes to waste.

Second, yes, the sweet corn is in and the field tomatoes are also coming in. Be sure and check your corn. This hot weather has given the corn worms a boost. Usually the first planting, which is what is being harvested now, is worm-free even if it isn’t sprayed with pesticide. It’s in the August corn that worms become a problem, especially for our pesticide-free growers. Thanks to last week’s super hot weather, the worms have decided it’s August. Farmers who have detected a problem are throwing in extra ears, but I would recommend peeling back the tops of your corn to make sure you don’t end up short on corn for your holiday.

I find that chopping the tips off leaves me with most of the ear and none of the wildlife. However, if you want to avoid any risk of worms, stop by Fairhaven. They are shucking their corn and putting it in clear bags so you can easily see just what you’re getting.

We should have a good supply of tomatoes this weekend and a bumper crop of other produce like zucchini, squash, onions, potatoes, cucumbers, and green beans. I even saw some of the first eggplant on Tuesday.

The market’s cooking class was a big success on the last two Mondays of June. We had many more sign up than could be accommodated, so Extension has agreed to repeat the course in July. The classes will be held at Central United Methodist Church, Broadway and Pennsylvania, in Webb City. The cost is $10 per class or $15 for both.
On Tuesday, July 21, the class will cover the basics of home food preservation. Students will participate in the process of pressure canning green beans or another garden vegetable from fresh-picked to sealed in the jars and will learn the difference between boiling water canning and pressure canning and which foods are appropriate for each. Freezing foods will also be discussed.

On Tuesday, July 28, the class will cover the art of jelly and pickle making and processing in a boiling water canner. Dehydrating foods will also be discussed. Both classes run from 6 to 8:30 pm.

To register, contact the Extension office at 417-358-2158. And if you’re planning to do a lot of home preservation this summer, be sure and stop by the information table at the market. We’re maintaining a contact list of folks interested in buying in bulk. When one of our farmers has surplus produce and can sell in quantity, you’ll get a call.

This is our week of All-American markets, when we celebrate the generosity of America. Cooking for a Cause benefited Crosslines, our regional food and clothing pantry. On Saturday, the breakfast of biscuits, gravy, sausage, orange juice or coffee (for $3) will also benefit Crosslines. Our thanks go to the meals volunteers from Central United Methodist. CUMC is one of more than 60 churches that work through Crosslines to help our neighbors in need.

Our market gleaning program is another example of generosity. Just last week our vendors donated $200 worth of produce and baked goods to local agencies feeding the homeless.

And, of course, we don’t want you going hungry either, so come join us for lunch today. The meal is BBQ beef sandwiches, potato salad, oriental cole slaw, dessert and drink for $6. The Loose Notes perform from 11 - 1.
On Saturday, breakfast is served from 9 to 11. Gary Kyger is performing throughout the morning.

Next Tuesday, Cooking for a Cause supports the Joplin Humane Society.

Finally, we begin our English as a Second Language class at the market today. NALA volunteer, Jared Zamouski, will lead an informal class each Friday from about 1:15 to 2:15 in the south end of the pavilion. The class is for our immigrant growers to practice and improve their English – now how All-American is that? – but it is also be open to any non or limited-English speaker, regardless of native language or relationship to the market. There are no fees and no tests. All are welcome.