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.


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


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.