Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Winter Market - call for crafters & artists

The market is seeking high quality arts and crafts for the Winter Market through December. The seller must be the producer of the product and must submit photos of their work for the jury committee. Crafters/artists will be located in the southern part of the pavilion. Each space is approximately 6 feet deep by 9 feet wide. The cost is 5% of sales per market day. All vendors at the market must have a state sales tax number. For more information, email eileennichols@sbcglobal.net

We're aiming eventually to add a Kris Kindle market atmosphere to our Winter Market in November and December, though we never expect to match those of Germany (as in Munich below)



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just in case you didn't believe me....

when I said the Lors loaded me up with greens on our last farm visit. This is what happens when a friend asks for "half of a head of mustard greens"!!! Notice Der in the back scouting out more to give me.

Thanks to Sara Becker of Lincoln University Extension who captured the moment.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sentinel column - 11-5-10

Today is our first day of Winter Market and with a high of 50 degrees forecast, it will certainly feel like it. It’s the perfect day for our first ever Soup Day. Why Soup Day? Well, for one thing, what’s better on a cold day? For another, we have a new soup vendor – Jimmi’s of Lockwood. And finally, Trish Reed, our regular Friday lunch vendor, is serving soup this year at every Winter Market. We’re really excited about that last news. Trish, and her husband Jim, are wonderful at comfort food, and if this winter is as cold as the last one, warm soup will be super comforting for those of us on site every first and third Friday from 11 to 2. We think our customers will like it too whether they eat it at the market or take it home hot. (That's Carrole Palmer at the market. Sad to say, the zucchini and berries are long gone, but Fairhaven will bring green beans, lettuce, Swiss chard and Carrole's jams and jellies today.)

Lunch today is chicken vegetable rice soup with a roll and crackers for $4. Trish will also have coffee and tea for $1.

Soup Day entails one of our favorite activities – sampling. Sunny Lane Farms will serve samples of Crockpot Tortilla Soup, the recipe for which is printed below. Flintrock Ranch is scheduled to serve samples of Buffalo Stew and Jimmi’s will have samples of Greek Potato Soup and Double Cheeseburger Soup.

This may be our last market for a good selection of produce. With cold weather upon us, many of the tender plants like peppers, tomatoes and eggplants will be a fond memory by our next market on November 19th. Fredrickson Farms will be back at the market today now that their busy season of pumpkin picking and tours at the farm are finished. Tami expects to bring pie pumpkins, decorative pumpkins, winter squash, and pots of oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, chives and peppermint, plus flowering kale for winter color in your beds.

We’ll also have lettuce, boc choy, green beans, Swiss chard and other cool weather crops, meats, jams, jellies, raw milk, and baked goods.

Our vendors are gearing up for the Holiday Market on November 24. An annual tradition for the market, it is held from 11 to 1 the day before Thanksgiving at the Clubhouse, 115 North Madison. Amos Apiaries will be there so you can stock up for the winter. Resa tries to make the Winter Market, but the weather has to be fairly warm or the honey will sugar. That lets today out. Since the Holiday Market is indoors, you can count on buying honey then.

Our bakers, soup makers and jam and jelly makers are taking orders for the Holiday Market. Pick up a flyer at the information table for the contact numbers for all the vendors selling at the market or just place your order with the vendor at the market today.

I resolved last year to give as many locally made products for Christmas as I could. Many I bought at the Holiday Market – honey, jams, jellies, peanut brittle. I found family and friends appreciated the personal touch and I appreciated keeping my gift giving dollars local a little longer.

Crockpot Tortilla Soup – the winter version – we’ll still have fresh peppers today so you can substitute those for the can of chile peppers and also make fresh enchilada sauce if you want.

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth or chicken stock
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
7 corn tortillas
vegetable oil
shredded cheddar
sour cream

Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn, beans and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours. Remove chicken breasts, shred & return to soup.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup and top with dollop of sour cream and shredded cheddar.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sentinel column - 10/29/10

As I write this, I am in the library of the Dalton, Massachusetts, public library. Clearly a building from before 1900, it has wireless internet and has many of the beautiful features of our own library – tall ceilings, big windows encased in lovely woodwork. But they are not lucky enough to have the space the Webb City library has. No meeting rooms here and only about 1/3 of our book space. In fact, it’s not nearly as big as even our original library, much less the expanded version.

The Webb City Library is a lesson in dreaming. When Dorothy Glover organized the campaign to expand the library, I truly thought her dream was just that – a dream. Yet two years later it was a reality. Had it been up to me, I would have dismissed the possibility out of hand. Good thing it wasn’t up to me.

I’m not good at the Big Idea. The market in many ways grew by accident and by good timing. After our first year in 2000, Paul Jackson, who had been a regular customer, told me that he thought the market needed an on-site manager. (The first year I just ran out and opened the market and then ran back by to close it down.) And Paul said the most remarkable thing. “I’d be happy to be the on-site manager.” I love people who come up with good ideas and then make them happen. It was having a manager on-site that allowed us to expand significantly and begin our journey towards a truly organized market. Paul started diagramming the spaces so he could pull vendors in and give each the space needed. It was some eight years later that research came out saying that on-site managers and diagrams were essential for a market to expand to more than just a few vendors. Paul saw the need before any research was available.

I think the same kind of growth may follow another project developing in Webb City – the Polar Bear Express. Last year, the Polar Bear Express was a rather spontaneous project that developed with only two weeks’ notice. (The “Bear” was added to the Polar Express after discussions with the franchise holder for train events connected to the book “The Polar Express”. We could never afford to do an official Polar Express train – they’re very elaborate and expensive. The franchise holder actually suggested we add “Bear” to the title, but still use many of the aspects of the books. He was incredibly generous with his suggestions.)

If all goes well, the Express, aka the streetcar, will run the afternoon and evenings of the first two Saturdays in December. The parks department plans to put up a big tent for children to visit with Santa, do some crafts and have a cup of hot chocolate. The Polar Bear will be waving off the train and high-fiving the passengers. Volunteer readers will read the book during the ride while the passengers follow along in the book placed on each bench.

The little depot on the south side of the park will be decked up (and we’d love to have some live elves to wave as the train goes by). The parks department plans to decorate the Georgia Bridge with Christmas lights. Once the sun goes down, it should really feel like the North Pole is just off in the distance.

I love Christmas and I just wonder if this might be the beginning of making Webb City a Christmas town. I’d love to hear your Christmas ideas – especially if you can make them happen!

The Farmers Market is open today with all-you-can-eat chili, plus cracker & Fritos, chocolate or vanilla pudding & drink for $6. SwingGrass plays from 11 to 1.
We’ll have painting tables set up for pumpkin painters today. We supply the paints, brushes and shirts; you supply the painters and pumpkins.

Next Friday we start our Winter Market, which looks a whole lot like regular market except we don’t have music – it can get a little cold for fragile musical instruments. Winter Market is under the pavilion from 11 to 2 on the first and third Friday of the month.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sentinel column - 10/22/10

I was skeptical. A vaguely familiar vegetable appeared at the market this fall. When I asked for a name, the grower shrugged and said she thought it was chayote. That seemed so unlikely. Chayote is a Latin American vegetable. What on earth was it doing at the market stand of an Asian farmer? But that’s exactly what it was – and is. From Mesoamerica to the early European explorers to Asia and now back to America.

Chayote is an edible plant – all of it, but you will find the fruit at the market. It’s related to cucumbers, but the similarity pretty much ends there. When harvested young it can be sliced and eaten raw in salads or salsas without peeling. More mature chayotes are best peeled and cooked. Like zucchini, it’s very mild and best paired with stronger flavors and spices. Raw, it can be livened up by marinating in lemon or lime juice which results in a lovely fresh taste.

I recently combined a small chayote, diced, with bac choy, ham, fresh pineapple and Asian mustard for a tasty dish. Since I didn’t have a wok, I just used a hot skillet with a little peanut oil, stirring and then covering to wilt the greens down. Asian mustard is not as strong as the American variety, but if you don’t enjoy a tang of bitterness, buy it young and tender. My Hmong growers also recommend boiling chayote with pork and mustard greens and perhaps a few hot peppers. And, of course, you can never go wrong with some onion, garlic, or bacon!

You’ll recognize chayote at the market by its light green color and pear shape. It has large puckers or wrinkles and is firm to the touch. Our growers don’t usually bring them to market, but the chayote tubers, shoots and leaves are also edible. All parts of the plant are a good source of amino acids and vitamin C.

I was feeling adventurous during farm visits on Tuesday – a little too adventurous. Zoua Hang Yang showed me a pepper that she grows for her own use. It was a new variety to me and shaped literally like a bell. I took a tiny bite. Hmmm, tasty and not hot at all. Another tentative bite convinced me this was a lovely sweet pepper. Then, I took a big bite filled with the seeds. My mouth exploded with heat. Ten hours later there was still a hint of the burn in my mouth. I’ve been told that hot peppers are good for you and I will admit that after my mouth cooled down I felt great, but I think it was just jubilation that I was going to survive.

Then at Mai Ker Lor and Der Lor’s gardens I decided I would like to try the chayotes I’d seen growing in the Hmong gardens and also the Asian mustard greens. I asked for a small sample. (That's Der)

When I left the Lors the trunk of my car was completely full of produce – huge mustard greens, bac choy, Napa cabbage and other Asian greens, as well as the chayotes.
I should have known better on both counts. Never eat pepper seeds unless you know for sure it’s a sweet pepper and never ask for a gift from a Hmong grower unless you’re ready for an avalanche of gifts. They are big on gifts.

The first year that Mr. Lee sold at our market, we had a vendor lose a relative to death. I took the sympathy card around for all the vendors to sign and I was successful in explaining to Mr. Lee that there had been a death. He gave me $5. I explained that I just needed his signature, not money and gave him the money back. He signed the card, took both my hands and placed the $5 back in them, explaining to me very slowly and clearly why I needed to accept the money. His accent was heavy, I was listening closely, and then I realized that he was speaking very slowly and very carefully to me in – Hmong!

Mr. Lee speaks a goodly amount of English, but my Hmong is nonexistent. I took the $5. The vendor I went to next, who was born in Seneca, said “I saw Mr. Lee gave you $5. Here’s my $5.” And so Mr. Lee’s generosity spread throughout the market.

The market is loaded right now with both familiar produce and the unusual, but all grown right here in the area. Freshness will soon be a thing of the past, so I’d suggest indulging yourself.

We’ll have a new vendor at the market today – Jimmi’s from Lockwood. They specialize in soups which they prepare in their restaurant and can in jars. It sounds like just the thing for the cold nights we’ll soon have.

Lunch today is chicken and noodles, corn, a roll, cookies and a drink for $6. Bailed Green and Wired Tight play.

Lunch and music is from 11 to 1. The market closes at 2.

Next Friday is our annual pumpkin painting day. You supply the pumpkin which you can buy at the market or bring from home; we’ll supply the painting supplies and place to paint.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Webb City Sentinel column - 10-17-10

His name’s not Peter, but Tom picked a peck of peppers for market yesterday – actually he picked two or three pecks of peppers. Tom Lewis of Broken Wire Ranch sent me word that his peppers are thriving and he’ll have lots of pretty peppers – big and colorful. He grows a wide variety of sweet and hot peppers and, if you like them roasted, he can roast them right at the market.

We’re also loaded with green beans, eggplant, spinach, lettuce, potatoes, green onions, cucumbers,... well, you get the picture. The fall season has a bounty of local produce to offer. (No, that's not Tom or a fresh local veg - it's our own Bob Foos - more about him below.)

We’ll have the pleasure of hearing SwingGrass at the market today. This trio – sometimes quartet – always draws an appreciative crowd with its lighthearted, playful music. They’ll play from 11 to 1 during lunch. Lunch is Spaghetti Red, side salad, garlic bread, brownies and drink for $6.

So, to summarize – there’s lots of fantastic local produce at the market today, wonderful music and a satisfying lunch. We have all sorts of special baked goods, jams, jellies, lamb, pork, chicken, beef, elk, buffalo, raw milk, plants, pumpkins, decorative gourds and gorgeous mums. And we have a terrific sense of community, which brings up the topic that I really want you to know about today.

On Monday, the Historical Society celebrates one hundred years of the Clubhouse serving the community.

The building was constructed in 1910 as the clubhouse for the employees of the Southwest Missouri Railroad Company. Employees took breaks, naps, read, played cards and pool during breaks in their long shifts on the streetcars. After the demise of the streetcar system, the building was given to the county for use as a health department. Many Webb Citians remember getting their vaccinations and flu shots there. In 1997, the health department moved to Carthage and the building reverted to the heirs of Harry and Geneva Easley who had made the original gift. The heirs, H. Michael Easley, Ginger Eckerman and Sara McKibben, in turn, gave the building to the Historical Society.

Structurally sound, but in need of a new roof and many cosmetic changes, the building breathed life into the Society which had been dormant for many years. Dedicated volunteers repaired and re-painted, funds were raised for a new roof and other major renovations.

The 100th Anniversary Celebration begins Monday at 5:30 pm, just west of the Clubhouse at 115 North Madison. The building’s newly completed landscaping will be dedicated as the William H. and Marion E. Perry Memorial Garden. The Perry Foundation underwrote the expense of the garden and Bill and Rebecca Perry did most of the design work. The Foundation was established by WH and Marion Perry and we are fortunate that their children continue to take a strong interest in Webb City’s welfare.

Immediately after the dedication, the celebration moves inside for the opening of the Bob Foos/Webb City Sentinel Photography Exhibit and for a reception in Bob’s honor. Bob will be inducted into the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame on Thursday in Washington, Missouri. This is quite an honor for a photojournalist and confirms what many of us have said for years – Webb City is amazingly fortunate to have a newspaper the caliber of the Sentinel.

(Bob photographs the Egg Hunt at King Jack Park in April, 2010)









Since Bob is notoriously humble and probably won’t give himself more than a line of copy in his own newspaper, here’s the introduction to the exhibit:

Bob Foos has been taking pictures in Webb City for the Sentinel since 1979.

It was in 1972 that Bob first became acquainted with Webb City, when he came to this area for his first job in journalism, which was at Channel 16, then known as KTVJ-TV. Bob’s wife, Ann, started teaching first grade for Webb City in 1973. They had met at Emporia State University and graduated from Wichita State University. Bob was originally from Healy, in western Kansas, and Ann grew up on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.

After a couple of years in TV, Bob decided to switch to newspaper and got his start as a full-time photographer at the Carthage Press. He achieved his goal of working for a larger daily in 1977 at the Joliet (Ill.) Heral News. What he learned, though, was that his heart was in community journalism. He went back to school and earned his journalism degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

While they were away, Bob and Ann wished that they could come back to Webb City. In 1979, Bill Myers agreed to sell the Webb City Sentinel and Wise Buyer to Bob and his original partners, Marti and Gerard Attoun. They revived the Sentinel, formerly a daily, which had dwindled to a paid circulation of less than 100. Merle Lortz, who had worked for the Sentinel practically since starting as a carrier in his childhood, became Bob’s partner in 1983.

Today the Sentinel’s paid circulation is nearly 2,000, and 9,000 Wise Buyers continue to be distributed.

Merle and Bob are both proud to have been named Distinguished Citizen by Webb City R-y Schools Foundation. Ann, a Cardinal Teacher, retired after more than 30 years of teaching first grade in Webb City.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Webb City Sentinel column - 10/8/10

This is our first week of Friday-only markets. That means we'll have the abundance of three markets packed into one.

It’s a bit of a shock going from three markets a week to one a week and next year we’re planning to ease that transition a bit by staying open two markets a week in October – weather permitting.

Weather is the major challenge in making long-term plans for the market. In the market’s early years, we had a hard freeze in the very first week of October. Back then we had no meats or baked goods, that left the market pretty sparse and we shut down within a week.

Now we would remain open regardless of the temperature, but most of the farmers would still be out of business so I always hope for a mild fall. One year the fields were still in production in December. That would be wonderful for Shoal Creek Gardens and for Fairview Gardens. They both have big beautiful green tomatoes on the vine. If the freeze can just hold off long enough for them to ripen, we should have tomatoes at the market again. And wouldn’t that be a treat after such a long dry spell, tomato-wise?(photo - Nhao Hang prepares her table at last week's market.)

As we had feared, the excessively hot temperatures this summer stopped most tomato production in early August, even though several of our farmers had planted heat tolerant varieties. Loss of their tomato crop is a major financial blow for the growers and it also affects every other vendor because tomatoes are a primary reason for coming to the market. Without tomatoes, we lose about 25% of our customers.

With the increase in markets in the area, I’m often asked if there are enough customers for all the markets to prosper. I’m convinced there are plenty of customers, it’s produce that we can be short on. Last year we had a good supply of the big three – tomatoes, green beans and sweet corn. This year the weather and some changes in growers left us short of all three during parts of the growing season. We’re back in clover on the green beans, but the sweet corn is done for the season and the tomatoes are iffy.

The other newer markets like Joplin and Neosho have had the same problems, only multiplied because they do not have the strong vendor base that Webb City has. Give them time. We started out with only four vendors, two growers, a honey man and a baker (yes, I’m talking about you, Jeanne).

People will come out if you have quality local produce. That’s why our market does so much training. We don’t have space to add many more farmers, so we work to make the farmers we have more productive. You can bet we’ll be looking at ways to beat hot weather next year. Then we’ll probably have a cool wet summer like last year when the tomato plants just sat in the cold damp ground and refused to grow. One thing I learned from my farmers early – and adopted – is that you can always complain about the weather!

So enough whining, because the weather we’re enjoying now if fabulous and there’s plenty of good produce at the market today – eggplant, peppers, lettuce, greens, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, radishes, green beans, Swiss chard, boc choy, green onions, baby spinach, green tomatoes – that’s just what I remember. Add the meats, jams and jellies, milk, freshly ground coffee, baked goods, beautiful mums, pumpkins, lunch and music and there are surely plenty of reasons to come to the market today.

Lunch is barbecued chicken, scalloped potatoes, green beans, cake and drink for $6. A luncheon salad is also available. Webb City’s own Gospel Strings play.

Next Friday Webb City native Bill Gosch returns to the market with SwingGrass and lunch is spaghetti red, side salad, garlic bread, brownies & drink – and maybe those tomatoes will finally be ripe!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Webb City Sentinel Column - 10/1/10

It’s Mum Day at the market today, chrysanthemums that is. We should have hundreds of mums in a wide variety of colors and sizes. It will probably be our only market with three large mum vendors: Troyer Farms, Heidi Stoller and Countryside View Greenhouse.

I guess we should call today Mums and More. Fairview Gardens has their decorative gourds and squash, as well as their broom corn which could be called ubercornstalks, tall and beautiful. JKL Pumpkins has a wonderful selection of decorative pumpkins, from big to little, green to orange, some straight out of fairytales like Cinderella.
John Pate tells me that he’s bringing some tomatoes today – they’ll go fast. He’ll have the last of this year’s peaches, plus apples. We have a good supply of green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, green onions, sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers and greens, as well as radishes, winter squash, potatoes, beets, herbs, and ginger.

In October, we’re open on Fridays from 11 to 2. We’ll be revisiting our fall schedule as we plan for 2011. We’d like to stay open on Saturdays in October because most of our Saturday customers cannot come during the work week, but it is hard for our growers to harvest enough produce for two days in a row this late in the growing season. Giving up Friday for Saturday is a little scary because we have twice as many customers on Friday. So, Friday customers – would you be willing to go to a Tuesday/Saturday schedule in October next year?

The Kids Community Garden on Aylor Street is “finished” for the year. Last week we dug the sweet potatoes and that was probably the best garden fun of the year. It was like a treasure hunt!

We decided to leave the garden in place until frost because there are still loads of flowers blooming. The children invite you to stop by and pick a bouquet anytime. While there you’ll notice a couple of patches of newly-planted turnips. That’s part of our cover crop, also known as green manure. The turnips will be turned under later this fall to improve the soil. The first cover crop planting, buckwheat, was tilled in last week. Good soil is essential for a good garden. That’s an important lesson for any grower, whether middle school or middle-aged.

On the topic of lessons, the market is planning its winter training sessions. We have a Food Safety: from field to market workshop set for December 4 in Springfield. All growers selling edible produce at the Webb City market must have attended a food safety workshop within three years.

You might ask, why Springfield? We’ve held the workshop in Webb City, Mt Vernon and Joplin and trained over 200 farmers. Obviously most of those farmers don’t sell at our market, but we think food safety is so important that we want all area growers to be trained. After all, a food contamination issue at a Springfield market will adversely affect all the markets in southwest Missouri. So we move the training around the area to try to catch everyone.

We’re also involved in a grant writing workshop for farmers and ranchers in Mount Vernon on October 12 and a high tunnel workshop near Monett on October 26. So even though the growing season is slowing down, the behind the scenes work for the market and farmers is picking up.

As we savor these beautiful fall days, don’t forget to savor the fresh produce. There are still lots of wonderful crops thriving. In a few months, fresh produce will be hard to come by, so enjoy it now.

Lunch today is lasagna, side salad, garlic bread, cookies and drink for $6. There’s also a luncheon salad for $4. The Sours will play traditional music. Suzie & Sammy Scarecrow will be at the market to pose for photos with the kids and grownups.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Webb City Sentinel 9-24-10

The down side of appearing on early morning shows is that it’s really EARLY (and those who know me, know that I don’t do early well). The up side is that it’s a great way to tell folks about the market and gives me an excuse to experiment with real cooking.

The fact is that my husband Phil is the real cook of the family. Nine times out of ten, he prepares the meals at our house. He likes a substantial meal while, during the growing season, I’m happy as a clam snacking on fresh produce. However, when it’s time for me to cook on TV I break out the recipes and I found some real winners this time.

I did four recipes on KOAM Tuesday, two live and two taped. The latter will show in October so I had to consider what produce might be at the market for the next six weeks. That means either the summer produce that kept setting in the heat of August or the fall crops.

Unfortunately, that lets out anything tomato. The market has really been hurt by the lack of tomatoes for the last month. The high night temperatures in August caused the flowers on the tomatoes to drop without setting fruit. And with little or no tomatoes, we lose a lot of customers. Nationwide, tomatoes are the top sellers and top draw to farmers markets. Without them, we’ve seen a dramatic drop in attendance.

But I’m here to tell you that there is still gold at the market. And the recipes I prepared this week prove it.

All four recipes are at the information table at the market and they are delicious: Roasted Pepper Roll-ups and Mozzarella Pepper Wraps are super easy and tasty appetizers, Thai Chicken Soup uses Maria Vang’s fresh ginger and the Lee’s lemon grass (it was so good that Phil and my dad had two bowls-full Tuesday night) and Roasted Pepper and Eggplant Soup. I didn’t make it home with that, the TV staff devoured it, and for good reason. It tastes very much like French onion soup, but with the nutritional punch of high fiber eggplant and high vitamin C peppers.

The market is loaded with gorgeous egg plant right now and Broken Wire makes roasted peppers easy. Tom has a good supply of sweet roasting peppers that can be roasted right at the market in a few minutes.

Some folks just wash the charred skin and seeds off with water. I like to maintain the smoky flavor, so I slice the pepper open and use the flat edge of a knife to scrape off the skin and seeds. They can be used immediately or stored. You can refrigerate them for up to two weeks, placing them in a small container and covering with olive oil. You can also freeze them for several months by layering them between sheets of wax paper in a plastic, tight-fitting container. The wax paper makes it easy to take out the amount you need.

And while we’re thinking about the winter ahead, stock up on ginger as well. Fresh ginger is easy to freeze as whole pieces, grated or sliced into coins about 1/8 thick.

You can also freeze lemon grass. Most of the baked goods at the market freeze beautifully as well. And while you’re stocking up, stop by Amos Apiaries stand. Tuesday will be Resa’s last day at the market until the Winter Market.

Lunch today is all-you-can-eat ham and beans, plus cornbread, cake and drink for $6. Amy Schroer, Mike Snow and Justin Cauble perform.

Tomorrow, breakfast benefits Healing the Family, a counseling service working to prevent child abuse in our area. Red Bridge Bluegrass (formerly the Missouri Mountain Gang) performs. Tomorrow is the last Saturday market of the season and next Tuesday, the last Tuesday market. In October we will be open on Fridays only, from 11 to 2. See you at the market!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Webb City Sentinel Column - 9/17/10


Fall is coming to the market this weekend. Today Heidi Stoller will be back with her lovely mums. Fair Haven will have decorative gourds. Tomorrow we’ll have a big load of pumpkins from JKL Pumpkins in Diamond. They’ll have all shapes, sizes and colors. The three young men who comprise JKL have done a great job of growing, especially considering it’s their first year. That’s not too surprising since they were mentored by our very experienced and generous pumpkin vendors, Fredrickson Farms.

New fall produce we’re glad to see coming in includes loads of lovely fresh, tender green beans.

Pate’s Orchard expects to have a big load of peaches and apples both today and Saturday. John says the Parade variety he’s bringing is the biggest peach this year.
Today’s menu is oven-fried chicken, corn, mashed potatoes, sugar cookies and drink for $6. I’d say we’re talking down home comfort food. The Reeds, our Friday meal vendors, always have a luncheon salad available too for the light eaters and vegetarians.

The Plainsfolk perform from 11 to 1. Actually, they’ll probably play a little later because we have our annual field trip from Eugene Field today. The third-graders walk down to the market between noon and 2. They meet in small groups with the Mayor (their vocabulary word for the week is “community”), then meet with me to learn about local food and farming.

Each class does a scavenger hunt looking for different kinds of food, finding out where the vendors come from and why the customers shop at the market. They spend a little time with the musicians and finish up with a cookie from Black Forest.

Tomorrow we also have a special day. It’s our first-ever Get Fit Day. Our usual market vendors will be present, but we’ll have all sorts of health-oriented booths, too. Tom Reeder, director of the city Parks and Recreation Department will be there, as will the Dogwood Trailblazers, a local walking club. Two of our local health food stores will have booths. Nature’s Path will have samples and information on gluten-free diets. Natural Health Center will have aromatherapy information. Breatheasy will do blood pressure checks. The Clean Air Project will have information on their smoke-free proposal, St. John’s on body fat measurement, Freeman Women’s Health on mammograms and bone density and LiveSmart on fat and sugar content.

Vickie Fuller, the culinary arts instructor at the Southwest Career Center in Monett, will do a cooking demonstration. And in honor of our “Get Fit” theme, breakfast is adding a fresh local apple to our menu selection.

Webb City High School Project Graduation will serve breakfast from 9 to 11 and, in addition to the apple, choices include biscuits and gravy, sausage and eggs to order. Center Creek Bluegrass will play from 9:30 to 11:30.

We’re looking forward to another wonderful Saturday. Last Saturday, we felt so fortunate to be filled with the arts and artists. Special thanks to local artists John Biggs, John Fitzgibbon, Kyle McKenzie, Heather Grills and Jessie McCormick for sharing their talents. The Audubon Society, Lafayette House, Spiva Center for the Arts, and Skinner Pottery gave the children a chance to be artists themselves. The entertainment was great. As always, the young violinists really blew us away.

The event was possible because of many volunteers and the financial support of MSSU, Cardinal Scale and the Missouri Arts Council.

Arts in the Park is sponsored by the Friends of the Webb City Parks. If you’d like to be a member (it costs $5 and you get a $5-off coupon for Chatters), stop by the market information table.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Webb City Sentinel column 9-10-10

Arts in the Park is tomorrow (Saturday) from 9 am to 2 pm. The market pavilion will be packed with the market and with the arts. We’ll have music, drama, and artists at work. John Fitzgibbon will demonstrate watercolor, John Biggs will sketch, two plein air artists, Jessie McCormick and Heather Grills, will paint scenes as they happen tomorrow. Resa Amos of Amos Apiaries will spin and weave while Christina Lorenzen of Made of Clay will throw pots.

Kyle McKenzie, a Webb City native who teaches art at MSSU, PSU and the global campus of the University of Arkansas, will be on hand until 11 with some of his work to visit with folks about art. Another Webb City native, Ryan McCoy, will sell his photographs. Market volunteer Rick Ford will have photos from the market for sale and April Davis, Carthage artist, will sell affordable reproductions of her market paintings. We’ll also have our jewelers and glass artists who sell on at the Second Saturday Art Market during the summer.

At 9:30 Southern Theatre from MSSU will perform highlights of their upcoming production, The Rogue’s Trial.

The musical lineup includes Rob Pommert on classical guitar and the Southwest Missouri Suzuki Strings. Singers with the Heartland Opera will showcase highlights from HOT Scandals, playing now in Joplin. Some cool jazz follows with A Sure Thing featuring Rebecca Lueber on vocals. We’ll finish up with the wonderful bluegrass group Brightwater Junction. They last played in Webb City during Mining Days several years ago.

(In the small world category, you may notice that Arts in the Park is held in the pavilion built by Mining Days and happens on the same weekend. I guess we just can’t keep from partying in September.)

There’ll be lots of free activities for kids – and adults are also welcome to try their hand at clay play, veggie art, beach in a bottle and making a monarch butterfly window cling. The activities have different start and end times but they should all be going from 10 to noon.

Arts in the Park is sponsored by the Friends of the Webb City Park, which operates as a subcommittee of the Park Board. For $5 in annual dues, members get a free drink at Arts in the Park and newsletters about park doings four times a year. Friends of the Park also organizes the Polar Bear Express, tentatively set for the first two Saturdays in December, and helps with the Spring Egg Hunt in King Jack Park. Folks can join the Friends or renew their membership at Arts in the Park.

Volunteers will staff breakfast and lunch tomorrow. Folks making a purchase at the food booth can enter the One Good Meal Deserves Another drawing for meals from the Webb City Domino’s Pizza and Culvers.

Arts in the Park is made possible by grants from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, by MSSU and by Cardinal Scale. No park board funds are used to stage the event and all funds raised go to the Park Board.

Tomorrow should be a terrific day, but today will have its charms, too – and peaches. The Pates won’t be at the market tomorrow. I guess it being their 50th anniversary is a pretty good excuse. Lunch Friday is ham steak, scalloped potatoes, peas, cake and drink for $6. Gospel Strings plays.

Next week the Exchange Club runs Cooking for a Cause and gives the profits to Healing the Family.

Next Friday the third graders from Eugene Field make their annual field trip to the market.

A week from tomorrow is the market’s first Live Fit Day. Local hospitals, health stores and organizations will be doing everything from blood pressure checks to body fat measurements, plus providing lots of information. The Parks and Recreation Department will be there to tell you about opportunities for active living in the parks and the Dogwood Trailblazers will have walking information. Vickie Fuller, culinary arts instructor at the Southwest Missouri Area Career Center, will demonstrate a healthy pasta dish using market chicken and vegetables.

September is the last month of the market’s regular season, but as you can tell, we’re not exactly winding down. There is still lots to buy and do at the market. See you soon!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Arts in the Park this Saturday

Red & White Onions by April Davis (those are market onions!)

Webb City celebrates the arts this Saturday (September 11) with Arts in the Park under the market pavilion at the Main Street entrance to King Jack Park from 9 am to 2 pm. Music, drama, and the visual arts take center stage.

Music:

9 – Rob Pommert – classical guitar
10:00 – Southwest Missouri Suzuki Strings – from classics to country
11:00 - Heartland Opera Theatre – Broadway & Opera
Noon – A Sure Thing - Jazz
1:00 - Brightwater Junction - Bluegrass

Drama:

9:30 – Southern Theatre highlights of The Rogues’ Trial

The Visual & Creative Arts:

9 – 2: Webb City mayor and nationally-known artist John Biggs sketches
9 – 1: Art Talk – visit with Kyle McKenzie, artist/art instructor teaches at Missouri Southern State University, Pittsburg State University, and University of Arkansas Global Campus.
10 – 1: John Fitzgibbon demonstrates watercolor
9 - 2: Spinning demonstrations by Resa Amos of Amos Apiaries

Children’s Actitivites:

9 – 2: Veggie Arts by Spiva Center for the Arts
9 – Noon: Beach in a Bottle by Lafayette House
9 – 1: Play clay by Skinner Pottery
10 – 1: Art is Natural by the Master Naturalists

The Webb City Farmers Market extends its Saturday hours until 2 (celebrating the art of fine eating with loads of fresh produce and locally made breads, jams, jelly and honey).

All the meals on Saturday benefit the Friends of the Webb City Parks organization. Breakfast, served from 9 to 11, is biscuits, gravy, sausage and a drink for $3.50. Two eggs, fried or scrambled, are $1. From 11 to 1, freshly grilled hamburgers, smoked sausages and hot dogs will be on sale, together with drinks. Folks making a purchase at the food booth can enter the One Good Meal Deserves Another drawing for meals courtesy of local restaurants.

Arts in the Park is sponsored by the Friends and by the Webb City Parks and Recreation Department. For annual dues of $5, members of the Friends received a free drink during the event and quarterly updates by email on park activities. (The Friends also organize the Polar Bear Express in December.)

Arts in the Park is generously supported by grants from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, Missouri Southern State University, and Cardinal Scale.

For more information, call 417 483-8139.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A toon from Arctic captures us perfectly!

Because we have eggs from happy hens, lambs, cattle and bison roaming rich fields of grass, piggies enjoying the great outdoors - the fields on days like this, the woods in the heat of summer. & our growers are beautiful people. Life is good for all of us!

All we need is the cheese and we're harassing Marlee's Creamery (whose dairy cattle lead charmed lives) to start making us cheese.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Webb City Sentinel column 9-3-10

Like a bride, we’re going to “wear”, musically speaking, something new and something old this weekend – there will even be some blue (as in bluegrass). The old, that is to say familiar, are Jack and Lee Ann Sours, long-time performers at the market. In fact, it is in large part due to Jack and Lee Ann, as well as the late and sorely missed Millie Hansen, that we have music at the market. Millie and the Sours were our first musicians. Millie played hammer dulcimer - that's her in the photo. The Sours play guitar, fiddle, a variety of other instruments, and sing on occasion too. With our tiny budget (about $200 a year!), we could only afford music for very special occasions in those early days.

Then we discovered the Missouri Arts Council and applied for a mini-grant. With their help, we began to have music every Friday. The vendors thought the music added so much to the market that they voted to expand (and fund) the music on Tuesdays as well. By the time we added the Saturday market music was a given. It is a vital part of the market.

Our music budget is now around $4,500. Usually less than half of that is underwritten by the Arts Council. Vendor fees pay for the rest. Considering that pays for about 70 performances, you can see it’s a real value for the market and the community.

The fact is that we don’t pay much, but we do try to pay our musicians something. Artists so often are expected to just give away their art as if it had no value. We know their art is valuable – it has brightened our days over and over, and frankly, it has brought us customers from far and wide. We saw a big jump in sales when we started having a meal and music at every market. We don’t think that’s a coincidence. We think the investment made by the Arts Council and the vendors in music has resulted in a better market, in a good venue for local musicians, and in increased market sales in the thousands of dollars.

Music is a real attraction and it gives our market a personality that can be found in very few other places. Good music, freely accessible in a place suitable for families can be hard to come by – but not in Webb City. It happens here three times a week.

So when you’re enjoying the music at the market, give a nod of thanks to each other because you make it possible – it’s your tax dollars that support the Missouri Arts Council and your purchases at the market that result in the vendor fees.

Have I rambled on long enough for you to have completely forgotten about the “new” music at the market? This year we have been fortunate in finding some new (and young) groups to play and one is making their market debut tomorrow. Erik Brown and Josh Mullen will each play a set accompanied by Tom Smith on trumpet. Should be lots of fun. Enjoy breakfast at the same time. The breakfast benefits CrimeStoppers, which organized locally this year. In cooperation with local law enforcement, they run an anonymous hot line for tips about crimes. Tips resulting in convictions can reap a reward of up to $10,000. I have no idea how they get the reward to an anonymous tipster, but they have a system and it works. One alleged criminal is already off the local streets.

Today lunch is meatloaf, au gratin potatoes, green beans, brownies and a drink for $6. A luncheon salad is $4. As I said earlier, the Sours are playing.

At the risk of sounding like I’m from Coonfoot (which is a great place to be from) – wasn’t that rain on Wednesday grand? With cooler wetter days, the fields and gardens are reviving. So look for more and better produce as we move into fall. We've started our fall hours, which means the market is open from 11 to 2 on Tuesdays and Fridays and from 9 to noon on Saturdays.

Don’t forget that next Saturday is Arts in the Park. It should be a boatload of fun.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sentinel column - 8-27-10

There’s a lot going on this weekend and it’s just the harbinger of the future because September has a bunch of special events as well. But let’s begin with the present.

Today’s lunch is ham or tuna salad sandwich, potato salad, spinach salad, cheesecake and drink for $6. I love Trish’s spinach salad. She fills all her salads with good things from the market. My co-manager Marilyn is a fan of the huge luncheon salad that Trish sells for $4. It’s been perfect for the hot weather this summer. Jack and Lee Ann Sours play traditional music today.

The biggest news today is that Hazel’s Bakery’s famous carrot cake is back. When Kay and Bill McLaughlin announced their retirement, Black Forest baker Bert Ott asked Kay for the recipe because so many customers were anticipating major carrot cake withdrawal. Kay brought Bert the recipe last Friday, so the cake makes its re-debut today at Black Forest Bakery.

The Urban Gardeners tell me they will have loads of Damson plums today. Don’t miss them, it’s a very short season. Our coffee bean roaster will be at the market today.
Tomorrow we celebrate our Market Roots. We’ll have a couple of tables loaded with produce labeled as to where it originated in the mists of time - peaches from China, watermelon from Africa, corn from Peru, squash from the US. All our vendors and volunteers will have signs indicating their own roots – where they were born and where their ancestors came from. In the case of our immigrant vendors, we’ll also have when and where they became US citizens. And not to leave you out, there will be a map for our customers to mark their ancestral roots.

Breakfast on Saturday benefits CROPwalk. It’s an annual walk that raises awareness about and funds to fight hunger. One-quarter of the money raised stays local to help our neighbors in need through Crosslines, Lafayette House and Salvation Army. The rest goes around the world to assist disaster refugees and those living in chronic poverty. Central United Methodist and Sacred Heart Catholic churches in Webb City are long-time walkers. In Joplin, United Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, Christians and Lutherans participate in CROPwalk, as well as students from two schools. There will be information on the walk at the breakfast. Individuals, churches, organizations, businesses and schools are welcome to walk in the CROPwalk on September 19th.

The Anderson Brothers will play on Saturday.

As to September events, Arts in the Park will be Saturday, September 11. We’ve got a great line up of music and drama. We still have room for a couple of painters or sculptors. The event is sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of the Webb City Parks – and I am looking for a few more friends to staff the information and food tables. If you can help, call me at 483-8139 or stop by the market.

On Saturday, September 18th, the market will host its first Live Fit day. We hope to have lots of health-related booths providing information on active and healthy living, including healthy eating.

We’re looking forward to fall, as I expect everyone is after the grueling heat this summer. As expected we have a shortage of tomatoes right now. There are plenty of cherry and grape tomatoes, but it may be several weeks before we have a good supply of large tomatoes again.

In the meantime, we have loads of okra, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, peaches, peppers and other produce. The first of the fall lettuce is coming in. There’s still plenty to feast on, especially when you add the bakers and meat ranchers. So come enjoy the bounty!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

CROPwalk breakfast

Saturday, CROPwalk will receive the profits from the benefit breakfast. It's served from 9 - 11 - biscuits, sausage, gravy, eggs to order.

CROPwalk is an interfaith international walk that raises awareness and funds for hunger issues. One-quarter of the money raised stays local and goes to Crosslines, Lafayette House and Salvation Army. The rest goes to areas of chronic poverty and to refugee work. Locally folks from the United Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Christian, and Baptist churches walk, plus several schools.

The walk will be Sunday, September 19, starting at 2:30 at 6th & Pearl in Joplin.

For more information, call Eileen at 483-8139.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Webb City Sentinel market column - 8/20/10

I’m expecting a first today – peaches with no need for a peach line. If you’re a market regular, you know that folks often start lining up for peaches an hour before we open. In past years, there’s been a good reason for that. Pates Orchard often ran out of peaches before we ran out of customers wanting peaches. But this year John and Barb have been bringing extra large loads. In fact they took quite a few peaches home when they left Tuesday at 2. (They usually leave an hour early on weekdays because of the long drive ahead of them to Stockton.) And if we want them to continue bringing a big supply, we don’t want that happening too often!

Today they are bringing a double load and that should mean plenty of peaches for everyone. No need to come early, no need to stand in line. By 11:30 there should be no peach line at all with plenty of peaches still to be had. So today, take your time, shop the market, listen to the music and pick up your peaches at your leisure. What a refreshing change! (At right, crates of peaches just picked from the trees at Pates Orchard. Photographed last week on a farm inspection by market managers.)

While we’re on the topic of trees, as in peach trees, Jon Skinner will be at the market today from 11 to 2. Jon is the urban forester for the Missouri Department of Conservation. If you have a sickly tree or shrub, bring a sample of the problem and Jon will diagnose it and recommend a treatment. He can also make suggestions as to the best trees for you to plant.

We’ll have two vendors new to Friday today. Chris Sharpsteen with Rocky Horse Ranch will have garlic at the market, giving our Friday customers a choice of garlic at Rocky Horse and elephant garlic at Hillside Farms. The latter is actually a leek and is a milder – and much larger – version of the true garlic.

Joshua Moore of Cottage Small Coffee Roasters will make his Friday market debut. I’m not a coffee drinker, but my husband Phil who is says Joshua’s freshly roasted beans are excellent. And Phil should know. He grinds his coffee beans every night before putting them in his brewer, a practice he started when we were fortunate enough to visit Costa Rico where he acquired some very good coffee beans.

Our music today is provided by Webb City’s own Gospel Strings. Lunch is chicken perlu’, mixed veggies, roll, cookies and a drink for $6. As always, there will be a luncheon salad for the light eaters and vegetarians for $4.

On Saturday, breakfast will be served by Greyhound Pets of America. The ever-popular Ninth Hour will sing from 9:30 to 11:30.

Plans are underway for the Friends of the Park’s annual Arts in the Park. It will be Saturday, September 11, from 9 to 2 and will feature a full line of music from classical to bluegrass to opera to Broadway to jazz. There will be children’s activities, food, artists, and, of course, the farmers market.

If you’re not a member of the Friends, you can join at Arts in the Park or by sending $5 with your contact information to PO Box 1 in Webb City. You can also download the latest Friends information from the blog at wcparks.wordpress.com

As you know, I’m always trolling for volunteers – we’ll need folks to staff the information table and the meal table. If you’d like to help, give me a call at 483-8139. Any businesses that would like to donate a door prize or some other motivation for the event that we’ll use to lure folks into joining the Friends would be very welcome.

With so many good things happening in the parks, who wouldn’t want to be a Friend?
I recently tried a new version of bruschetta that I adapted from Sunday’s Parade magazine. I used the black cherry tomato that can be found at the Agee and the Xiong farms.

Bruschetta

About 2 pounds of heirloom tomato, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
2 cloves, true garlic, or 1 clove, elephant garlic, minced
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgion olive oil
1/2 cup packed basil leaves, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
Redings Mill asiago cheese bread

Combine first six ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to meld flavors or refrigerate if using later.

Quarter or halve slices of bread, rub top with garlic (I find the large cloves of elephant garlic perfect for this). Brush with olive oil and toast. Top with bruschetta. This recipe holds well in the refrigerator for several days – if you keep it hidden. Drain off excess liquid as necessary.

See you at the market!

Tree Clinic This Friday

The weather – and the bugs - have been hard on landscaping this year. Folks who have a tree or shrub showing distress or disease can have the plant diagnosed at the Webb City Farmers Market Friday. Jon Skinner, urban forester with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, will be on hand from 11 to 2 to diagnose and make recommendations. Bring a sample – leaves or small branch showing the problem – to the market. If it shows signs of pest infestation, please bag it to prevent spread.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Market friends in the News

Check out these recent Globe stories

on the McLaughlins (Hazel's Bakery): Kay & Bill

and on the Eichers who we've missed this year after they opened their own store near Carthage: Circle E Country Store

What's Happening Down on the Farm

We've been making our midseason farm visits and thought you'd like to see some pics.

Mouchou Pao, near Diamond, has loads of flowers. Mouchou also grows vegetables but can't sell them at Webb City until she takes the food safety course. We'll offer that again in early spring. Mouchou is a Friday only vendor.

Broken Wire Ranch is our king of peppers. Located near Stockton, they have 500 foot long rows loaded with all kinds of peppers.

It's hard to tell from this photo because the plants are so lush, but the Lee Family is one of the market's great training success stories. Working with Extension and with market growers serving as mentors, the Lees have gone from growing tomatoes on the ground without staking four years ago - losing as much as 70% of the produce - to beautifully staked and woven tomato plants that still look good even in the terrific heat we've been fighting. Hurray for the Lees, the growers who worked with them and for Extension!

This field of corn was about 4 days away from harvest at Fairhaven Gardens when we visited. Joe has planted 8 fields that should keep them in corn through September.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Webb City Sentinel - 8/13/10

We have some fun things at the market this week. Today Mary Ann Pennington with University of Missouri Extension will test pressure gauges for free from 11 to 2. If you have a gauge, be sure to bring it. An inaccurate gauge turns canning from good-for-you to dangerous for both the canner and the consumer.

Lynette Rector, our Saturday baker, is trying her hand at the Friday market today. Lynette ran Freda Mae’s Restaurant in Pierce City when she started baking for our Saturday market. She’s done so well that she’s closed the restaurant and is concentrating on her market sales. She plans to have fruit pies on Fridays, along with cakes, and fruit breads. On Saturdays, she’ll have cream pies and breakfast goodies.

Lunch today is Salisbury steak, scalloped potatoes, peas, banana pudding and drink for $6 or a garden salad for $4. The Granny Chicks play from 11 to 1.

Tomorrow, breakfast is served by volunteers from Webb City Lodge 512, Webb Chapter 204 Order of the Eastern Star, and Praying Hands Court 15 Amaranth. They are donating all the profits to the Tri-State CP Center. Our music will be provided by Southwest Missouri Suzuki Strings. These kids wowed us during Arts in the Park last year. They’ll play from 9:30 to 11:30.

We’ll also host a special fundraiser for the local chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation. They will be selling new stuffed animals donated by Precious Moments. It should be a great chance to stock up on Christmas presents and support a good cause. The Make a Wish Foundation works to grant wishes to children with terminal illnesses. It is heart-warming work. You can get more information on the market’s blog: webbcityfarmersmarket.blogspot.com

Update on the Kids Community Garden: Who knew that Japanese beetles in our garden could help create an industry in Kenya? Like almost all gardens and farms in the area, the Kids Garden was hit hard by Japanese beetles – and stinkbugs - this year. It is a rare tomato, pepper or egg plant that we harvest without signs of bugs feasting before us, leaving us nothing to sell and little to send home with the children. Luckily, we devoted about half of the garden this year to cutting flowers so the children have been able to sell bouquets at the market even when produce was not available.

We have a no-spray policy at the garden but we were faced with losing pretty much all the produce so I consulted our market grower Tim Green who normally is all-natural but in dire circumstances will use the most benign sprays available. He recommended Pyrethrin, an organic based biodegradable spray that kills bugs on contact. And this is where Kenya comes in.

Pyrethrin comes from the seed cases of the perennial plant Chrysanthemum chinerariefolium, which has been grown commercially since the late 1920’s in Kenya and the highlands of Eastern Africa. In Kenya, which produces about 70% of the world’s supply, Pyrethrin is in large part grown by small-scale farmers and is a major source of export income for Kenya. So that’s how Japanese beetles in Webb City, Missouri, create thousands of jobs in Kenya.

Just because a spray is organic and biodegradable doesn’t mean it is harmless. Used improperly it can cause headaches and allergic type reactions in the person applying it. It has a one-day post harvest period. In other words, within one day it biodegrades so there is no residue on the produce.

Bearing all that in mind, I sprayed the garden last Saturday evening just before dark, after the pollinators - butterflies, moths, and bees - had become inactive and left the garden. The garden was not harvested until Tuesday morning, plenty of time for the spray to biodegrade, ensuring that the garden is safe for the children to work and the produce safe to eat.

Now, we just have to figure out how to keep the bunnies from feasting on the sweet potato vines! And, sadly, how to keep people from stealing the kids’ produce.
I had urged the little gardeners to be patient. The melons weren’t ripe yet. Well, they were about 5 days from ready last Friday when someone stole them. Our neighbors across the street are wonderful about keeping an eye on the garden but apparently the melon thieves slipped by them. This was not one of the lessons we wanted the kids to learn, but we’ll use it to create problem-solving skills.

In the next couple of weeks, we’ll sit down with the kids and some seed catalogs and choose next year’s plantings. With the stolen melons fresh on their minds, I’m sure melons will not be on the list. It’s a shame because melons are so satisfying to grow. But the cutting garden has proven to be a steady source of market income for the children and we can improve on that. The root crops are undisturbed by marauding visitors. We’ll, no doubt, plant tomatoes again because that is something the children will likely grow as adults but we may cut down on tomato space in order to expand the cutting garden. We’ll talk about sequential planting as well as green manures (we’re putting in buckwheat as a green manure soon and will also plant turnips to turn under before fall to improve the soil). Planning ahead, now that’s a useful life skill.

See you at the market.

Special Saturday Fundraiser

This Saturday, the local chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation will be selling new stuffed animals donated by Precious Moments. Make a Wish works to grant wishes for terminally ill children. You can get more information on it at: www.wish.org

Here's how it all started: The Make-A-Wish Foundation® traces its beginning to one boy’s wish. In 1980, 7-year-old Chris Greicius was being treated for leukemia. Every day, he dreamed of becoming a police officer.

U.S. Customs Officer Tommy Austin had befriended Chris and his mother, Linda Bergendahl-Pauling. He also promised Chris a ride in a police helicopter. When Chris’ health worsened, Austin contacted Ron Cox, an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer, and planned a day that would lift Chris’ spirits.

On April 29, 1980, Austin and a caring group of DPS personnel started Chris’ day with a tour of the city in a department helicopter, which also flew him to headquarters. Three cruisers and a motorcycle officer greeted him before his meeting with the DPS command staff. There, Chris was sworn in as the first honorary DPS patrolman in state history.


But his experience didn’t stop there. Cox contacted John’s Uniforms, which agreed to make a custom-tailored DPS uniform for Chris. The store owner and two seamstresses worked through the night to finish it. The officers presented the official uniform to Chris on May 1 and arranged a motorcycle proficiency test so he could earn wings to pin on his uniform. Needless to say, Chris passed the test with flying colors on his battery-operated motorcycle.

On May 2, Chris was back in the hospital. He asked to arrange the room so he could always see his uniform, his motorcycle helmet and his “Smokey Bear”-style campaign hat. DPS motor officer Frank Shankwitz presented Chris with his motorcycle wings. He accepted them with a smile that lit up the room.

The following day, Chris passed away, but not before seeing his dream come true and experiencing the hope, strength and joy that came from receiving his wish.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

THIS WEEKEND AT THE MARKET

There are special activities on both Friday and Saturday this weekend at the Webb City Farmers Market. The market is loaded with peppers, tomatoes, okra and lots of other local produce. There will also be honey, baked goods, jams, jellies, made to order smoothies and other goodies.

On Friday, Freda Mae’s of Pierce City brings her luscious cakes and fruit pies to the Friday market. Mary Ann Pennington, Nutrition Program Assistant with University of Missouri Extension, will test pressure gauges from 11 to 2. Folks can ensure that their gauge is accurate and safe for canning. Lunch is Salisbury steak, scalloped potatoes, peas, banana pudding and a drink for $6. For light eaters and vegetarians, there’s a luncheon salad for $4. The Granny Chicks play from 11 to 1.

On Saturday, Breakfast is served from 9 to 11 – biscuits and gravy, sausage and eggs to order. All profits benefit the Tri-State CP Center. Volunteer meal workers are provided by Webb City Lodge 512, Webb Chapter 204 Order of the Eastern Star, and Praying Hands Court 15 Amaranth. The Southwest Missouri Suzuki Strings will perform from 9:30 to 11:30. The local chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation will hold a fundraiser, selling new stuffed animals donated by Precious Moments.

The Webb City Farmers Market is a producer only market open from 11 to 3 on Tuesdays and Friday and from 9 to noon on Saturdays. Selection and sales begin when the bell rings at opening. The market is located at the Main Street entrance to King Jack Park under the market pavilion. It’s open rain or shine. For information, call 417 483-8139.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Webb City Sentinel column - 8/7/10

We have a special occasion today (Friday) from 11 to 1 – the retirement reception for Bill and Kay McLaughlin of Hazel’s Bakery. Kay and Bill have sold at the market for a decade. At one time they were baking for both Tuesday and Friday and preparing and serving the Friday meal. During Kay’s first years she usually baked through the night prior to market, going some 33 hours without much rest. Over time, she and Bill became more efficient at baking a vanload of pies, cakes, cookies and breads and getting a little sleep too. For the last couple of years, they sold only on Fridays.

We are certainly going to miss their goodies. Kay was well known for her pies and cakes, and Bill for his fruit breads and cookies. They don’t plan to abandon the market entirely. Bill helps his son, Bill, Jr., sell corn on Fridays and Kay plans to continue as a market customer and hopes to volunteer some at the market.

As famous as Kay is for her baked goods, I am equally famous for grabbing volunteers. I think it was two whole days after Kay told me she wanted to volunteer that I put her to work. A Globe reporter called needing a source for a story on relish. I called Kay and told her that her first volunteer job was to be featured on the Globe food page. We’ll have the article at today’s reception, along with photos of Kay and Bill from past markets, cookies from Trish Reed who took over the Friday meals, and a card for customers to sign (or better yet – bring your own card).

Today (Friday) is special for a couple of other reasons. Marlee’s Creamery is back with their raw milk after an absence of several weeks. They will be at the market on Tuesdays and Fridays and hope to eventually get back to Saturdays, too.

Also the market will conduct a “dot survey” today. It’s quick, easy, and – dare I say it? – fun. There are only four questions, each with several answers to choose from. We had 210 customers participate in the survey on Saturday and their responses told us that a majority (65%) of our Saturday customers travel 10 miles or less to the market, a quarter of our Saturday customers come to the market at least once a week while 33% of them come two or three times a month (19% were at the market for the very first time), most of our Saturday customers learned about the market through word of mouth, and most customers planned to spend $10 or more at the market.

This information will provide a baseline for a grant project that the market submitted to the USDA’s specialty crop program. If we get the grant, and we think we will, the market will organize a publicity program for about 25 markets in south Missouri. It will provide a daily cooking show featuring one of the markets and a crop in season and will be aired on a Joplin television station and a Springfield television station. There will also be a major internet presence as part of the project.

Webb City is providing the baseline information for the Joplin viewing area. I was at Fair Grove Wednesday doing the survey at their market to provide the baseline for the Springfield area.

If we get the grant, we’ll conduct the surveys again next year at the two markets. A successful project will show increases in numbers of customers, in the amount spent by customers and in customers identifying television and the internet as their introduction to the markets. Grantors are big on hard data and this survey will give us a firm foundation on which to build our data, so I hope you will take three minutes today to participate.

Also, happening today – lunch is spaghetti, salad, garlic bread, chocolate cake and drink for $6. Bailed Green & Wired Tight play from 11 to 1.

Tomorrow (Saturday), breakfast is served from 9 to 11 by volunteers from Lafayette House, our regional domestic violence shelter. The Missouri Mountain Gang livens up the market from 9:30 to 11:30 with their joyous bluegrass. There will be free streetcar rides from 10 to noon.

On Tuesday, Cooking for a Cause is served by the Webb City High School Choir Boosters.

I want to end with a thank you. With the incredible heat we’ve been experiencing, I half expected our customers to stay home in air-conditioning. I have to admit, had I the choice, I might have stayed in. But we had over 700 customers at the market Tuesday, even though our thermometer read 104 degrees. NALA had a profitable day serving lunch and the growers sold a good amount of produce. That kind of customer loyalty makes all the difference to our vendors who work hard to grow and gather produce regardless of the weather. So three cheers for our wonderful customers. Thank you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Are you a champion pie baker?

Peaches, blackberries, apples, blueberries, strawberries and rhubarb, oh my! There’s never a bad time to bake a pie. And if you need an extra incentive, Missouri First Lady Georganne Nixon’s pie contest is just around the corner.

Amateur bakers across Missouri are digging up their favorite recipes to bake some memories at the First Lady’s Pie Contest, Aug. 19 at the Missouri State Fair. And you can bake some memories too!

The First Lady’s Pie Contest is open to all amateur bakers and will be held Thursday, Aug. 19 at the Home Economics Building on the Missouri State Fairgrounds. You can enter by submitting your recipe and official Missouri State Fair entry form no later than Aug. 12. Pies in two categories, soft pies (custard/cream) and fruit pies, will be awarded cash prizes of up to $150. The Best of Show will receive $150.

For details on baking & submission requirements and to obtain an official entry form, visit First Lady's Pie Contest

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Weird & Wonderful

Gardening can produce the wonderful - and sometimes the weird. Jim Hefley from south of Joplin discovered a gigantic cucumber hiding in his garden this week. He doesn't know the variety - a neighbor gave him the seeds - but it's sure the biggest cucumber that I've ever seen.

BTW, his tomato plants are big too - in a deliciously edible way.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Webb City Sentinel column - 7-30-10

We welcome back old friends today (Friday). Long-time growers, Doris Sweeton and Sandy Qualls from Columbus, Kansas, will be at the market for the first time this year. They’ll have green beans and sweet corn – and they always have beautiful produce. You’ll find them on the west side near the south end. (That's John Pate admiring the green beans of Doris and Sandy a couple of seasons ago.)

Doris said she was amazed they had corn. That’s because Sandy, her brother, has had quite a time getting a corn crop in. Four years ago, Sandy planted a beautiful field of corn and decided to go all natural, using placing corn oil on the tassels, which is supposed to prevent worms. Well, we’ll never know about the worms because he didn’t harvest a single ear. Apparently, the oil tasted just like butter to the deer and they took a bite out of every ear.

The next year Sandy put up a very high fence around the entire field, but a very sad sight met our eyes when we made our spring inspection. We could see the rows that had been planted, a few sparse plants and lots and lots of bird tracks. The crows had eaten 90% of the planted seed.

So you can appreciated Doris’ surprise that Sandy finally has a successful crop. After all that work and waiting, I am looking forward to trying it.

Another familiar face today is Frank Runyon who specializes in watermelon and cantaloupes. We’ve been short on both so Frank’s truckload of melons will be very welcome. You’ll find Frank in the center of the pavilion on the west side.

We also have a new face today in the form of a local non-profit – MDA (the Muscular Dystrophy Association). They have a bake sale next to the information table.
You may say – but that the space that belongs to Hazel’s Bakery! And up until today, that was true, but we’re sad to say that Kay and Bill McLaughlin of Hazel’s Bakery have retired as of last week. We’re going to miss them for many reasons, not only for their pies, cakes, fruit breads and cookies, but also for their kindness, generosity and sound advice. Kay first started selling at the market some ten years ago, initially selling mainly plants and a few baked goods. It wasn’t long before customer demand turned her into a professional baker and she put in a certified kitchen becoming one of our most popular vendors.

Next Friday, August 6, we’ve asked Bill and Kay to return to the market between 11 and 1 to say goodbye. Please plan to stop by. I’m sure cards would be especially appreciated. Kay said she plans to put together all the pictures and news articles about her market experience in a scrapbook and cards from customers would be a great addition.

We know that we can’t fill the gap left by Hazel’s Bakery, but we plan to host bake sales on Fridays, possibly until next season. Any nonprofits that would like to participate (& have high quality safe products) can all me at 483-8139 to schedule. This winter, we’ll look for a new professional Friday baker, operating out of a kitchen inspected by the health department. As with all our bakers, we’ll hold “auditions” to find the one that is just right for our market customers.

So what’s happening today? Bill Adkins is playing. Lunch is all-you-can-eat chili with the fixin’s, a fresh fruit cup and drink for $6. The last time the Reeds served the fresh fruit cup several of us ate way more than our fair share, especially Katie Fredrickson, of Fredrickson Farms. Katie ate so many of the fruit cups that Trish Reeds is just bringing a tub of fruit for Katey today. Katey is a living breathing testimony for eating fresh. That child loves her veggies and fruits and can often be seen eating pretty much any kind of produce the market has to offer raw.

Tomorrow breakfast is served by the Friends of the Library until 11 and the Red Bridge Trio returns to the market for two hours of dynamite bluegrass.

Saturday is also our annual Tomato Day. We’ve added smallest ripe tomato back to our Fun category due to popular demand. So if you have a tiny ripe tomato, bring it to the market between 8:30 and 9 tomorrow – but make sure it’s really small. Last year’s winner was about the size of a little fingernail. (At right, the large and the small winners from our first contest many years ago.)

Other Fun categories are heaviest tomato and weirdest tomato. Props are allowed for the latter. Last year Fairhaven won with a tomato that looked like a face – enhanced with a little straw hat.

The Quality categories require two tomatoes for the Best Red and the Other Color contests and six tomatoes in the Best Small (cherry or grape) contest. Our judges this year are Mike Wiggins of Granny Shaffers, Chef Scott Teal of the Holiday Inn and Gwen Hunt, a longtime market customer with flawless taste (I get brownie points for that, right, Gwen? - even though it is absolutely true.)

For those of us who are tasters, not gardeners, there will be samples of a variety of tomatoes from our growers as well as samples of a new bruschetta recipe. Recipes of that and several other tomato dishes are at the market, but if you’d like a head start:

Balsamic Vinegar Bruschetta

1 garlic clove, chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup Roma tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
grated Parmesan cheese
Redings Mill artisan bread
olive oil
garlic

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Mix together and then refrigerate for about two hours.
Slice the bread into wedges, rub with garlic and brush with olive oil. Toast until slightly brown.

Top the slices with the tomato and balsamic mixture. Sprinkle a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Tuesday, NALA (Neighborhood Adult Literacy Action) will serve Cooking for a Cause and receive all the profits. They are a wonderful organization that trains volunteers and organizes tutoring for adults learning to read and for immigrants learning English.

There’s always something new and tasty showing up at the market, so come check out what’s in season.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tomato Contests

The annual Tomato Contests are Saturday, July 31.

The categories are: Best Quality Red Tomato, Best Quality Other Color Tomato and Best Quality Small (cherry or pear) Tomato. In the fun category, there will be a prize for the heaviest tomato and the weirdest tomato.

Winners of the quality categories receive $25 in market tokens. Fun categories win $15 in tokens. Our thanks to Granny Shaffers for underwriting the prizes again this year. The winners will be on display at the market from 10:30 to 11:30 on the 31st.

For details:

contest details

contest entry form

Webb City Sentinel Column - 7-23-10

Who knew some 800 people would brave the fierce heat on Tuesday for their fresh fruits and veggies? And we’re glad they, or should I write you, did because our farmers have sure been braving the heat to harvest. So far the heat hasn’t affected production, though if it continues long we may see a reduction in some crops. Tomatoes, for example, will not set in high heat conditions. That means, they’ll flower but not produce fruit. All of which means that we need to have our Tomato Day pronto just in case the weather doesn’t break.

Our annual Tomato Day will be a week from tomorrow, July 31. We’ll have sampling of a variety of tomatoes and several tomato contests. Contest entry forms are available at the information table and can be downloaded off the market’s blog – webbcityfarmersmarket.blogspot.com. The categories are: Best Quality Red Tomato, Best Quality Other Color Tomato and Best Quality Small (cherry or pear) Tomato. In the fun category, there will be a prize for the heaviest tomato and the weirdest tomato. Winners of the quality categories receive $25 in market tokens. Fun categories win $15 in tokens. Our thanks to Granny Shaffers for underwriting the prizes again this year. The winners will be on display at the market from 10:30 to 11:30 on the 31st.

Tomorrow’s market is loaded with fun. The streetcar is up and running again and will give free rides from 9:30 to 11. The Ninth Hour Quartet will perform between 9:30 and 11:30 and during their intermission, Joplin Little Theater will present highlights from their upcoming musical show High Society. The Webb City Police Explorers Club will serve breakfast from 9 to 11.

You may be noticing a trend here – that we schedule special events on Saturdays during high season. The reason is simple. With so many vendors, so much produce and so many customers at the Friday market, we’re full! Plus, we like to schedule the extra fun when everybody can come, including folks who work 9 to 5 on weekdays and families. Not that our Friday customers are going wanting. Today lunch will be a BLT sandwich, spinach salad, cake and a drink for $6. Webb City’s own Gospel Strings will play. And there will be loads of produce. Friday is still our biggest day in terms of numbers of vendors and amount of produce.

I got to inaugurate the new KSN-TV studio kitchen Thursday. You may remember that the station was destroyed by their broadcast tower a year ago during the inland hurricane in May. They’ve rebuilt better and bigger and I’m honored to join Carol Parker for her first segment in the new kitchen set.

Tami Fredrickson put together a special recipe for me to demonstrate on air that uses many of the vegetables in season right now. This recipe can top chicken while baking, be a side salad or be combined with pasta for a main dish.

Tomato Cucumber and Onion Salad

1 large cucumber
1 small onion
1 large tomato
1 medium bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Zesty Italian dressing

Dice cucumber, tomato, onion and bell pepper. Add zesty Italian dressing with a splash of wine vinegar to coat the vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste.
If combined with spiral pasta, this recipe can be made the night before and refrigerated, but do not cut and add the tomato until right before serving to preserve the tomato’s flavor and texture. Tomatoes are chill-sensitive. Many of our growers have a cold room or shed to keep their produce in top shape between harvest and sale. We always check the temperature when we visit to make sure tomatoes are stored at a temperature above 54 degrees so they reach the market at their best. So if you want great tomatoes – keep them out of the fridge. Once they’re cut, of course, they’ll have to be refrigerated. With the market buried in tomatoes, why not use the whole tomato and start over with a new one for the next meal?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cool summer recipe

Pasta with a taste of summer (add any veggies you enjoy raw)

1 lb rotini pasta
2 lbs plum tomatoes or roma tomatoes, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
fresh basil leaf, chopped,to taste (I use about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh is best)

Mix together the tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and basil. Refrigerate 2 hours. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, and rinse under cold water; drain.

Mix pasta with tomato mixture until well-combined. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Crosslines

The week of the Fourth of the July, the market dedicated its Tuesday and Saturday benefit meals to Crosslines, our regional food and clothing pantry. With the help of volunteers from Central United Methodist Church in Webb City and many kind customers we raised $750 for Crosslines.

I thought you would be interested to know a few facts about the organization. In April, May and June, Crosslines provided food to 1,949 families and clothing to 2,589 families. They assisted with utilities for 81 families and rent for 14 families. In June, Crosslines received 22,788 pounds of donated food from community partners like Sams, Panera and the growers of the market.

Items they are currently in need of:

back-to-school items - Kleenex, hand sanitizer, school supplies from the Joplin or Webb City school list

Kitchen items such as gently used plates, mugs, bowls, glasses, hand operated can openers, toasters, pots, pans, crock pots, electric skillets, fans and microwaves.

Gently used clothing.

If you'd like to donate to or volunteer at Crosslines, contact them at 782-8183. Or you can bring items for donation to the market, and we'll be sure they get to the right place.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Webb City Sentinel column - 7/16/10

Note to bloggers - Hazel's Bakery will not be at the market on Friday - Bill is still under the weather - but we expect our other bakers - including Black Forest (photo on right)

What could be nicer on a hot Missouri day than an icy fruit smoothie? Bethany Lewis’ Stella Dolce is back at the market after a two year absence. Bethany took time off to start a family – and refine her product. She returned Tuesday to rave reviews with six fruit-filled flavors. Each smoothie is 100% fruit and fruit juice and made to order. And each has at least five grams of fiber and a full day’s requirement for fruit. The choices are strawberry fields forever, banana berry, fusion frenzy (you’d never guess from the taste but this one has a full serving of veggies), mango, island blend and tropical berry.

Stella Dolce will be at the market on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Look for Bethany on the northwest side of the pavilion.

With our excellent supply of blackberries right now, you may want to try making a smoothie at home. Here’s a simple recipe from Southern Living magazine:

1 cup fat-free milk
1 pint low-fat frozen vanilla yogurt, softened
1 medium banana, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh blackberries

Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Serve immediately. Makes four cups.

Speaking of drinks, we expect Marlee’s Creamery to back on their every market schedule next Tuesday. Family concerns (the death of Lisa’s father, Marvin VanGilder, noted newsman and historian) kept them away from the market this week.

I am still away as I write and so can’t give you the menu for today’s meal, but I’m sure it will be lovely. The music today is by the Granny Chicks who always put on a great show.

Tomorrow the Neato Brothers play and the Master Naturalists host breakfast – sausage, biscuits and gravy, and eggs to order served until 11. Speaking of breakfast, you may have noticed the quality of our sausage has improved since last year. That is thanks to Mike Wiggins at Granny Shaffers. I asked him this spring for a good sausage source because, after all, Granny Shaffers is famous for their breakfast. And he offered to sell sausage at his cost to us. Now how many “competitors” would do that? Mike has been extremely generous to the market. He also recommended Wordens Meat several years ago when we were looking for a hamburger supplier for Cooking for a Cause and he sponsors our annual tomato contests. Mike supports many worthy local causes, but his fondness of tomatoes gives us a natural connection.

On the topic of tomatoes – we’re loaded with hybrids and the first heirlooms are coming in. Our annual tomato contest will be announced next week after I consult with our growers as to the best date. We’ll have best red, best other color, biggest and weirdest categories, so start babying those tomatoes (as if you weren’t already doing that!).

You might keep an eye out for the streetcar tomorrow. Lee Englert & son are installing a needed part in the morning and, if all goes well, they’ll take it for a spin a few times, with passengers welcome.

I should be back at the market on Tuesday. My friend and college roommate, Susan Warfield Brennan, died Sunday, one hand held by her husband John, the other held by me. I am so thankful for the privilege her family extended by letting me care for her in her last days and so thankful to the friends and family in Webb City who filled in for me, allowing me to be away. My wish is that each of you is blessed with such friendships. Friends can be found world-wide, but I have found Webb City to be an especially fertile field for friendships.