Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sentinel Column - 9/4/09

It’s Labor Day weekend, and we don’t know whether to expect a big or a sparse crowd. We’re going to be optimists and hope for a big crowd, even though rain is forecast.

So, why come to the market today, Saturday and Tuesday? Because our farmers are bringing in loads of produce which you’ll want on your table for the holiday. Because the pavilions are covered and high and dry even in wet weather. Because we have good meals and good causes. Because you’ll enjoy the music and see friends. And you probably have other reasons as well. If so, tell us about them at the information table.

Produce at the market now includes tomatoes, sweet corn, lots of peppers of many varieties, onions, okra, potatoes, green beans, boc choy, lettuce, radishes, beets, sweet potatoes, apples, melons, summer and winter squash . . . well you get the idea. We’re also seeing fresh ginger, many fresh herbs and, on Saturdays, elephant garlic.

The market will look a lot like fall today. Tim Green plans to bring pumpkins and Heidi Stoller will have mums.

Everyone is raving about the flat bread of Jamey Smith of Redings Mill Bakery (above). Dee Agee, one of our growers who specializes in chemical free heirloom produce, buys a “loaf” at every market, loaded with herbs and cheese and other goodies. Then she takes it home, adds some of her own veggies, reheats it and says it’s heaven. I’d come early for Jamey’s flat bread. It’s developing quite a following.

Lunch today is all-you-can-eat ham and beans, plus plain or jalapeno cornbread, chocolate cake and a drink for $5. Kelly Lee James performs between 11 and 1.

Tomorrow’s (Saturday) breakfast benefits the R-7 Scholarship Foundation. The Foundation provides scholarships to Webb City High School seniors pursuing continuing education. We have a great crew volunteering on their holiday weekend to bring you biscuits and gravy, sausages, and coffee or orange juice between 9 and 11 tomorrow. You can also order eggs, fried or scrambled. Good food, at a good price, for a good cause. With music, no less. How can you beat it?

And you’ll love the music. The musicians of the Now or Never Gang are making their once-a-year appearance at the market tomorrow. The bluegrass and gospel group has been playing together for about seven years, but mother Dee has performed since she was 10 years old with Johnson Family Bluegrass. Dee plays banjo and guitar, her husband, Rick, plays dobro. Their daughters, Lacey, Brianna, and Leah, play guitar, bass fiddle, and fiddle and mandolin respectively. All the girls do vocals as well.

On Tuesday (don’t forget it’s Tuesday, even if you didn’t have a regular weekday on Monday!!), the Friends of the Webb City Library host Cooking for a Cause. Gary Kyger will play and sing between 11 and 1.

As the weather turns a bit cooler, you may be ready for a hearty stew. The following recipe is one that I did on KOAM-TV this week. Of the ingredients, we have the chicken, onions, tomatoes, okra, potatoes, and corn at the market.

Brunswick Stew

1 stewing chicken
2 cubes chicken bouillon or 1 cup chicken stock
2 large onions, sliced
4 cups fresh or 2 cans (1 lb each) tomatoes
2 cups lima beans
3 medium potatoes, diced
4 cups corn cut from cob or 2 cans (1 lb each) corn – drain liquid from cans
2 cups okra (optional)
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Cut chicken in pieces. In a large pot, add bouillon cubes or stock, then fill with water until chicken is covered. Stew until meat can be easily removed from bone, about 2.5 hours. Remove chicken, bone, skin and dice.

Strain broth and return to pot. Sauté onions in 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine. Place all ingredients, except chicken, in broth and simmer on low heat until potatoes are tender. Add chicken.

Brunswick Stew benefits from long, slow cooking. The flavor improves if the stew is refrigerated overnight and reheated the next day.

Adapted from The Williamsburg Cookbook