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!