Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Webb City Sentinel Column - 6-18-10

The streetcar gives free rides today (Friday) from 11:30 to 1. Lunch today is chicken salad sandwich, potato salad, cole slaw, cheesecake & drink for $6. Webb City’s own Gospel Strings perform.
Tomorrow, Carl Junction Order of the Eastern Star serves breakfast from 9 to 11. Drywood Bluegrass plays from 9:30 to 11:30.

On Tuesday, Children’s Haven serves lunch from 11 to 1 and Rob Pommert plays.

We hear from our customers in many ways, by phone, in person, by email and Facebook. All are important sources of information for us and we appreciate the feedback.

For example, a customer suggested a few weeks ago that we needed more ways to carry purchases than just our market wagon. So we now have Shop & Roll baskets. You’ll find them at each end of the pavilion and at the information table. They can hold up to 55 pounds when used as a rolling basket and 33 pounds when carried by the handle. Though not sturdy enough to roll on the gravel, they seem to be working well on the concrete floor of the pavilion. Of course, if you need help taking your purchases to your car, just look for the golf cart or go to the information table and we’ll lend a hand.

Our Facebook page has also been a great source of information from customers. We’ve had a recent discussion regarding corn – and corn worms. That has allowed us to let folks know that the market board adopted a new corn policy this winter. Now when a load of corn pulls in, one of the market managers selects six ears at random, shucks them and displays them just as they are in a clear plastic bag at that stand so folks can see a representative selection. With the shuck on, it’s impossible to tell if there are worms or worm damage or if the corn is well-filled or skimpy or even if it is yellow or bi-color. Now when you buy corn, you can look over the display bag at each stand and choose the corn you want.

In discussing corn, a customer also brought up the practice of farming without chemicals. There is a common misconception that all farmers market are organic. Some are, some are not. Webb City’s is not. In fact, we have no certified organic growers. Our meat producers tell us they use no chemicals, hormones or antibiotics, but they are not regulated by the market or the government (although we have never seen any evidence of chemicals, etc., when we inspect their farms). We also have several growers, like the Agees, Organic Way and the Urban Gardeners who tell us they use no chemicals. Other growers use chemicals on a very limited basis and some are conventional growers and use chemicals as one of their management tools. All of which means that if you are interested in limited or no chemicals, just talk to the farmer. That is the one of the advantages of buying directly from the farmer at the market. They should be able to tell you all about their growing techniques.

Green beans came into their own this week. We should have bushels and bushels of them today and tomorrow – and for the next few weeks as well. Fredrickson Farm, as part of their mentoring program, had their students trying green bean recipes this week. They have been kind enough to share a new one, which I have printed below. They’ll have others at the market at their stand. So load up on green beans and stop by Frederickson’s in the pavilion center for recipes – or buy new potatoes too and just savor the season.

Fried Green Beans
recipe courtesy of The Neely’s

Peanut oil for frying
2 cups beer or milk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 tsp ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 lb green beans, ends trimmed
Preheat oil to 375 degrees F

Whisk the beer or milk, flour, salt and pepper until smooth and until the batter would coat the back of a spoon.

Dip green beans into batter to coat, letting excess drip off. Fry in the peanut oil in batches, until they are golden and crisp. Remove from oil with a spider strainer to a paper towel lined sheet tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I think that I actually like these better than onion rings. We made both using the same batter recipe. We also used ranch dressing as a dip for the fried green beans and onions. Enjoy!!! Tami Fredrickson