Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sentinel column - 8-7-09

We’ve hit high season at the market with the arrival in abundance of melons. Several of our farms grow melons, but Frank Runyan of Sheldon definitely grows the most. Frank made his first appearance of the season on Tuesday with his pickup loaded with Odyssey cantaloupes and Crimson Sweet watermelons. Frank plans to be at the market every Tuesday and Friday until he’s picked his fields clean. On Saturdays, you can find melons at Circle E and Organic Way, among other vendors.

We also have plenty of sweet corn – yellow at Fairhaven and Circle E, peaches and cream bi-color at Broken Wire and the McLaughlin Farm.

And we have lots of tomatoes, too, including canners. Hector Troyer said Tuesday that he had sold large orders of canning tomatoes to four different folks. With our food preservation classes and our sign up sheets, we’ve been able to connect growers having an over supply of produce with folks wanting to do food preservation, making everyone happy.

We should have a good supply of peaches today (Friday). John Pate plans to bring the big truck. He’ll still probably sell out by 2:00, so I wouldn’t wait too late in the day, but there shouldn’t be a need to stand in a long line. John says some of the peaches are huge this year. You’ll find the biggest ones in the $4 boxes.

Speaking of the peach line, what a cheerful group of people they are. It took a few markets before the line began forming up smoothly, but I believe we’ve got the system down now. The first one in line takes the closest seat on the bench by Pate’s Orchard and the line forms as people sit in order on the benches and then stand behind. Sometimes we can have 50 people in line when the bell rings, but then it moves quickly. Usually all 50 have their peaches in less than 20 minutes.

I often serve as the line monitor, primarily to let folks new to the market know where the end of the line is. People are amazingly kind in cooperating which is a big help to me.

Today, lunch is a Philly cheese steak sandwich, oriental cole slaw, chips, brownie & drink for $6. Bailed Green & Wired Tight play from 11 - 1.

Tomorrow, the Saturday market runs from 9 to noon. The Carl Junction chapter of the Order of Eastern Star will be serving a breakfast of biscuits, gravy, sausage and drink for $3. This is a new fundraiser for us and looks like it will net between $100 and $200 each Saturday for participating non-profits. Next Saturday, Cub Scout pack 25 will run the breakfast. They’ll also have a bake sale next week.

The ever-popular Ninth Hour Quartet will perform tomorrow and Nancy Carlson will run the children’s craft table which will be coloring pages of fruits and veggies.

We have a new business opportunity for the right baker. Hazel’s Bakery hopes to go to Fridays only as soon as we can find a replacement for them on Tuesdays. We are accepting applications from folks who would like to sell pies, cakes, cookies and fruit breads, as well as other baked goods, on Tuesdays at the market. The market requires that baked goods come from a kitchen inspected by the health department, however that can be a church kitchen or a borrowed restaurant kitchen if the baker doesn’t own one. Applications are available at the information table or through our blog or web site by email.

If you haven’t visited our blog lately, please do. It has all sorts of inside news, photos and tips, as well as a link to vote for your favorite market in the country – hint, hint. The blog site is There’s a box on the site where you can sign up for blog alerts. You receive a short email whenever a new blog is posted – an easy way to keep up with market news. For example, that’s where you’d find out that Amos Apiaries is bringing in the fall honey harvest which should be at the market today, that Hazel’s Bakery will be away from the market next Tuesday so you’ll want to stock up on pies and cakes today and that Reddings Mill bakery will be back at the market on August 11. You can also see a picture of the Kids Community Garden and of our youngest vendor.

Next Saturday is our Market Roots Celebration. It’s a great way to explore your own roots and learn about where our neighbors and our food hailed from back in the mists of time. The celebration is a Webb City original, but we have shared it across the country. In fact, just yesterday we received a request for details from Green Market in New York City which wants to start its own Market Roots Celebration. We’re happy to help what, according to their web site, is the largest and most successful open-air farmers markets program in the country, connecting local farmers with city residents by delivering fresh healthy produce to all five boroughs through 46 markets.

Superintendent Ron Lankford often says that Webb City schools prepares its students to succeed anywhere. Apparently, at least in the case of Market Roots, the market is following the school’s lead.