Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Webb City Sentinel column - 10/2/09

We are always delighted when children come to the market, whether as customers, vendors or just to see the sights. And we’ve had plenty of all three lately.

Friday, the third graders from Eugene Field visited the market. They interviewed customers and vendors, sought out new vegetables (the coyote squash with its prickly spines was a standout as were the gigantic sweet potatoes), listened to the music, learned about the market, and enjoyed a cookie baked by Bill McLaughlin of Hazel’s Bakery.

This week I got to be the special lunch guest at Webster School. I am always impressed with how well behaved the students at Webster are. They listen carefully and are full of curiosity. The last group of students was particularly eager to examine the winter squash I brought from Fredrickson Farms. I had three kinds of acorn squash, plus butternut, turban, and Curshaw squash, peanut pumpkin, and neck pumpkin. Each was more unusual than the last with the last three consistently receiving ooohs. And what singers they are. Each year we finish up with a song about scarecrows. We run through a practice and then sing it for real. They sang with such enthusiasm that I believe we scared off every bird in the neighborhood.

The students at Webster make scarecrows each year for their Hoe Down celebration. On October 16th, the scarecrows will be on display at the market for our annual scarecrow day. Come vote for your favorite. The first place scarecrow wins mini-pumpkins for the students that made it.

Also on the 16th, Parents as Teachers is sponsoring pumpkin painting at the market, so we should be awash with little children. The streetcar will be giving free rides from about 11 to 1 on that day as well.

During October, we’ll have the pumpkin painting tables set up during every market. We supply the paints, brushes and cover up shirts. You supply the pumpkin, which you can buy at the market or bring. Suzy and Sammy Scarecrow will pose for photos the market.

You can have a pumpkin painted for you at the Proctor Kids’ Pumpkin Patch. The Proctor children, who raise pumpkins and decorative gourds, have opened a stand at the market. The older children are at Webb City High School on Fridays, but the younger ones are home schooled and their pumpkin project is part of their learning experience.

Other market news – The Black Forest House Pastry Shop expands its specialties starting today. In addition to the “regular” European and American pastries and sugar-free and gluten-free items, the Shop has onion pie (despite how it sounds, it’s yummy), ham and egg strudel squares, Bavarian pretzels and rolls, Black Forest cake, roasted almond cake, hardrolls, Christmas stollen, Christmas cookies, and peppernuts. Now to get a true flavor, here’s some of the Bavarian translation: zwiebelkuchen, blätterteig, laugeweck, schwarzwälderkirschtorte, binenstich, brötchen, elisen lebkuchen, and pfeffernüsse.

Bert and Daffol, bakers and owners of the Shop, take special orders (with three days notice) and will deliver within a 20-mile radius.

Bill Perry was kind enough to stop by this week to say that he had visited a lovely market in Colorado. He said it had many special qualities but no more special than Webb City’s. I think Bert and Daffol and their pastries are one reason Webb City stands out. Not only is their product a rare delicacy for our area, but they are kind and generous people. I’m always seeing customers claim a hug from Bert and rarely does a market end without Daffol bringing a box of pastries to the information desk for us to give Damascus House, a local men’s shelter. When I first began dropping the goodies off at the House, the residents would head upstairs to the kitchen with the box. Now they give me just enough time to start the car before they dig into the pastries right on the sidewalk. I’m with them. Bert and Daffol’s pastries are too good to wait.

The market is open from 11 to 2 on Fridays only during October. Lunch today is chili mac, peas and carrots, roll, fruit fluff and drink for $6. Kevin Snyder plays between 11 & 1.

Next Friday, lunch is lasagna, side salad, garlic bread, peanut butter cookies and drink for $6 and Gospel Strings.