Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sentinel column - 4/30/10

Today’s the day – the first day of the regular season and, though not all of our farmers are ready, our customers sure are. I was in Lowe’s at Carthage yesterday and upon checking out the cashier noticed my credit card said Webb City Farmers Market. “Oh, when is the market opening?” Followed by many questions on hours, days and what’s in the fields. The same thing happens everywhere – at Fed Ex, the post office, on the street. We’re excited that you’re excited.

So what will be at the market? Radishes, and pea tops, lettuce (photo is of Nhai Xiong's lettuce in the field) and green onions - both baby and mature - baby spinach and boc choy. At least that’s what we saw last week when we began farm visits. There will probably be more choices by now.

There will be lots of plants. I know of at least 40 varieties of tomato plants, plus other vegetables, herbs, flowers, hanging baskets and perennials.

We’ll have baked goods, raw milk, jams and jellies, honey, frozen blueberries, pork, beef, chicken, lamb, elk, buffalo and eggs.

Jack and Lee Ann Sours play their fiddle and guitar from 11 to 1. The streetcar, weather permitting, runs from 11 to 1. We have free hot dogs and chips beginning at 11 and free redbud seedlings and blackberries starts as well – one to a customer, please, so we can take care of 350 folks.

At 10:45, we have a special presentation, then Tom Reeder will cut the ribbon for the 2010 season. Tom is our Champion of the Year, chosen by the board for the exceptional work he’s done throughout the park system. On Friday you will see the latest improvement completed by his team. The brown barn is gone and the park folks have cleared and leveled the site and laid in gravel for parking. We should be able to park an additional 20 – 30 cars right across from the pavilion and have an extra 10 feet or more for traffic. Hopefully this year, it won’t feel like a demolition derby at opening.

Other improvements you’ll see at the pavilion that were undertaken by the market itself – a new building to the north for storage of the cooking and eating supplies. We’ll be flipping the food to the north end and moving the meat trailers to the south end this year. The pavilion trim has been painted, as well as the ceiling of the south section. As time allows, we’ll get all the ceilings painted. We’ve also painted all the benches and picnic tables. Our wonderful volunteer Rick Ford painted our wagon and the highway sign just this week.

Marilyn and I have been visiting vendors. It’s still early for many, but most have a good start and some took a chance on the weather, planting very early. This year, that paid off and you will see an abundance of spring produce at the Xiong and Lee tables. We were surprised to find two farms way behind in planting and at both farms the reason was the same. An elderly grandmother had been ill and the family was devoting their time to her care. It was endearing to hear Zoua Hang speak of his grandmother’s love of gardening and how she inspired him to be a farmer. It was also endearing to see him walking hand in hand beside the field with his four-old-daughter who was such a pretty child in a bright pink summer dress with perfectly new pink shoes. Suddenly he whisked her into his arms and cried out for my benefit “snake!” as a very large black snake slithered by. Harmless but not something Zoua intended to come close to his daughter or guest.

We’ve done a lot of training this winter and we are seeing the fruits of that on our visits. But that will wait for later. After all, we have 26 weeks of columns coming up.

In the meantime, come to the market today and help us celebrate a new season of abundance and community.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Market is Open Friday (April 30)

What you'll find -

boc choy, lettuce, spinach, Asian mustard greens, green onions, radishes, pea tops and (shhh - there won't be a lot - tomatoes and green beans at Pate's Orchard and asparagus at Shoal Creek Gardens). We'll also have honey, jams, jellies, baked goods, beef, chicken, lamb, pork, buffalo, elk, eggs, raw milk, and frozen blueberries.

10:45 - Presentation of $1,000 from Wal Mart. The unsolicited gift will be used for facility improvements at the market and supplies for the Kids Community Garden. Followed by a ribbon cutting - Parks director Tom Reeder will do the honors. He's our 2010 Market Champion and when you see the new parking and wider entry to the market, you'll know why. Kudos to the park workers for all their efforts.

11 - 3 The market is open
11 - 1 The street car gives free rides (weather permitting)
11 - 1 Free hot dog and chips lunch
11 - 1 Jack and Lee Ann Sours play
11 til we run out - free redbud seedling or blackberry start

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Come to the Fair

The Wildcat Glades and Audubon Center south of Joplin is having an Energy Fair on Saturday in honor of Earth Day. We expect the Lee Family to be there with spring produce (the radishes were bursting from the ground when we inspected their farm today). Sanny Lane will have meats and Redings Mill Bakery will be serving their delicious lunch. The market will have an information table. It runs from 10 to 3. See you there!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's happening down on the farm

We're doing our farm visits this week and next. Haven't been to Sunny Lane Farm yet, but I thought our customers might be interested in their latest news. They do love their animals:

Wish you could have been here for some pictures as one of the ewes had triplets on Saturday, and a precious bull calf was born yesterday. The broiler chicks are growing fast and will soon be leaving the brooder house for the beautiful green pastures.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What's new at the market

Spring Greens! In case you missed market - here's a look at some of the produce at market today. That's Nehia Xiong above bagging up some green onions.

SomeONE new at the market was Logan Troyer on his first day at the market with big brother Lance and his mom and dad.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Things are looking "good" at the market

OK, it's not beautiful, but it will be. The brown shed's almost down (they won't work tomorrow so they don't interfer with market), and look at the room & the view we're going to have!

Cilantro Haters, It's Not Your Fault

This New York Times article makes me feel SO much better about my cilantrophobia: cilantro

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Asparagus on Friday!

Tim Green just called to say that he and Violet would have fresh asparagus at the market Friday. Trust me, it's good. I had some right out of their field last week - so tender I could eat it raw - my favorite way to eat asparagus.

Do come for opening at 11, I'm sure it won't last.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring greens at the market

Just received word that Nhia Xiong will be at the market Friday with spring crops like green onions. Fredrickson Farms will have hanging strawberry baskets complete with strawberries and potted herbs.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kids Garden & Friday's Market

I'd include a photo of our student gardeners and community garden, but with 17 eager gardeners there was no time for photos - just planting! We got a good start planting potatoes, lettuce, turnips, onions and broccoli. Next week - radishes, peas & more potatoes! KSN came by much to the delight of the kids. A story should air on KSN & KODE tonight.

This Friday is market. Fredrickson Farms plans to be there with fresh cut baby lettuce, plus tomato plants. The Urban Gardeners will have tomato plants (35 varieties of heirlooms, 5 hybrids) and cut flowers. & we expect our usual bakers, ranchers, jam & jelly makers and dairy. See you Friday!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Let’s Garden!

The Kids Community Garden begins this Monday right after school (2:50 pm). Students should stop by the school restroom before coming because the garden has no bathroom. This Monday we’ll be planting fingerling potatoes,broccoli, onions, lettuce, peas, radishes and turnips.

Through summer school, gardening time will be right after school on Mondays. We’ll finish at 4 pm.

If it’s raining, the gardening day will be moved to Wednesday. After summer school finishes, we’ll set another time either early morning or evening to beat the heat.

The garden is open to middle school students and older. Younger children may participate if accompanied by a parent or grandparent. Bring a hat & garden gloves if you have them.

Questions? Call Eileen at 417 483-8139. The Kids Community Garden is sponsored by the Webb City Farmers Market and is located east of the Middle School.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I once knew a cat who loved green beans....

Catch your favorite cartoons at:

& catch your favorite farmers at the Webb City Farmers Market!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

High Tunnel Workshop - Monday, April 5

A high tunnel workshop will be held at the farm of Tim and Violet Green, 7757 SE 90th, Galena, KS 66739 on Monday, April 5, from 9 to noon.

The workshop will focus on spring management practices. Topics and times are:

9:00 Farm Tour by Tim Green
9:30 High Tunnel Ventilation
10:15 Tomato Fertility
11:00 Pruning Tomatoes
11:30 Using a Backpack Sprayer

The workshop is sponsored by the University of Missouri Extension and the Webb City Farmers Market with funding from the USDA Specialty Crops Block grant. There is no charge for the workshop. Hmong translation will be provided. For more information, contact Eileen Nichols at 417 673-5866.

To reach the Green’s farm, go west on 7th Street in Joplin through Galena. Turn left on 90th Street about 1 mile west of Galena. Go approximately 1/2 mile south to the Green Farm, which is on the east side of the road. It is near the water tower.

The program is open to anyone interested in high tunnel production.