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

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.


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:

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:

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


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