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.