Thursday, April 28, 2011

Webb City Sentinel column - 4/29/11

We’re loaded with spring produce at the market. I always find it remarkable that some of our farmers have such early crops when I haven’t even managed to get the market’s Kids Community Garden tilled, much less planted yet. (Don’t give up hope, kids, just as soon as the ground is dry enough, we’ll get started – maybe by July. No, really in the next couple of weeks.)

When we made farm visits two weeks ago, we saw fields full of young spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, boc choy, radishes, and more. There were seedlings of the warm weather crops like eggplant, squash and zucchini sprouting. Many of our farmers raise their own tomato and pepper plants and already had them in the ground. That is always risky because of late frosts and spring deluges. Hopefully, they have survived but I noticed that the farmers had more plants in their greenhouses in case they had to replant.

We found that many of our farmers had considerably expanded their planting fields this year. Several have doubled their fields. Hopefully that will mean more produce at the market. (The Lees have increased their fields by 30% - above, cabbages were well underway at the Lee Farm a couple of weeks ago.) Last year was our first year ever that sales didn’t grow substantially. We think two factors cut our typical 30% – 60% growth – difficulty of parking and lack of produce. If the weather cooperates even a little, we should have the latter problem solved. We continue to work with the parks to solve the traffic and parking issues.

Another expansion we’ve seen this year is in the egg department. Joe Palmer of Fairhaven Gardens keeps a careful eye on what the market needs. Joe has been on our board for several years and really goes the extra mile to make ours a good market. He noticed that we didn’t have a good supply of eggs so went out and bought 200 chicks! When we visited this spring, we found three new chicken houses all crafted by Joe with special features like exterior doors to the nesting boxes so eggs could be collected and nests could be cleaned without disturbing the hens.

We found the hens enjoying the great outdoors – in good weather they always get a couple of hours to range the grassy areas outside their large penned chicken yard. On Joe’s covered front porch is a large pen with chicks hatched right on the farm and a brood hen. That way Joe’s wife Carrole can keep a close eye on them and spoil them rotten.

So for the first time since we opened, we have plenty of eggs at every market.

Today (Friday 4/29) we have two fundraisers. The Freedom Shamrocks football and cheer team will sell English ivy and vinca transplanted to pots from the yard of one of the team grandmothers. How’s that for local and loving? The money raised will help buy equipment and uniforms for the 13 to 18-year-olds involved in the team.

The Viper traveling baseball team will sell chances on a handmade quilt (surprise – it’s made by a team member’s grandmother – what would kids do without their grandparents?). The quilt has a Route 66 theme. Chances are $1 per ticket or 6 tickets for $5. The Vipers are 7, 8 and 9-year-olds.

Lunch today (Friday 4/29)is all-you-can-eat ham and beans, plus cornbread, cake and drink for $6. The Granny Chicks from Neosho play from 11 to 1.

On Tuesday, one of our local PEOs serves Cooking for a Cause. The funds they raise go to college scholarships. Bill Adkins will play from 11 to 1.

Next Friday (and Saturday on our first Saturday of the season) the Carthage Family Literacy Council will sell ferns to support their efforts in teaching adults to read and to speak English.

If you’ve got some extra time on your hands, we’re looking for a few good volunteers. With two of our wonderful volunteers on jury duty for the next two months and me being gone for most of June for the birth of my first grandchild, it would sure be nice to have some extra hands available. Call me at 483-8139 or stop by the market information table if you’re interested. And for those who know our family, the expectant mother is Cora, our oldest daughter. Very exciting!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Friday at the Market

The Webb City Farmers Market is open Friday (April 29) from 11 to 2 under the pavilion in King Jack Park.

The Granny Chicks from Neosho will perform from 11 to 1. Lunch is all-you-can-eat ham and beans, plus corn bread, cake and drink for $6.

Farmers will have spring crops like green onions, radishes, spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, boc choy, Asian mustard greens, pea tops, and asparagus,. We’ll be loaded with baked goods, eggs, sprouts, all-natural pork, beef, lamb, chicken, bison and elk, herb plants, vegetable plants, flower boxes, plus fruit smoothies, milk, jams and jellies.

Two local organizations will have fundraisers at the market Friday: The Freedom Shamrocks football and cheer team will sell English ivy and vinca plants. The team is part of the Southwest Missouri Freelance League and serves 13 to 18-year-olds. The Vipers traveling baseball team will sell chances on a handmade quilt featuring a Route 66 theme. Both will be in the center of the pavilion.

The Webb City Farmers Market is a producer-only market, which means that customers buy produce directly from the grower, meat from the rancher, and bread from the baker. The market is open rain or shine under the pavilion at the Main Street entrance to King Jack Park. Sales and setbacks begin at 11. For information, call 417 483-8139.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Webb City Sentinel column - 4/22/11

The market is open today (Friday, April 22)! We have about 20 farmers and ranchers coming with spinach, lettuce, spring onions, asparagus, radishes, Swiss chard, watercress, all the early spring crops. Our sprouts vendor Roots of Life will have radish, broccoli and red clover sprouts – they are great with the greens.

There will be loads of plants. Urban Gardeners has almost 30 varieties of heirloom tomato plants. Fredrickson Farms has a wide selection of vegetable and herb plants.
Countryside View Greenhouse will bring a trailer-load of flowering baskets and planters, as well as bedding plants. They’re having their open house at the nursery next weekend and won’t be able to come to the market, so today’s the day to have a great selection of flowering plants.

Fairhaven will have their handcrafted planters and yard furniture, as well as about 60 dozen eggs. Broken Wire also has eggs and we have a new egg vendor, Apple Road Farm, with colored eggs.

Other local products at the market today – all-natural pork, beef, bison, chicken, lamb and elk. Freshly roasted coffee, baked goods galore, smoothies and freshly-squeezed lemonade, raw milk, local cheese, jams and jellies and honey, plus frozen blueberries from Double J Blueberry Farm and frozen blackberries from Shoal Creek Garden. Shoal Creek will also have blackberry plants for sale.

We open at 11 when the free hotdog lunch begins - hot dogs with all the fixin’s till we run out (and we’re ready for 400 so there should be plenty). We have free redbud seedlings, one to a customer, also till we run out (we have 300 of those). If we have any left at 1:00, you can have as many as you want.

The Clayton Singers from Stockton make their debut today and sing from 11 to 1. We’ll have a drawing for a copy of Simply in Season, a wonderful cookbook from the Mennonites that we’ll also have for sale. We have their Saving the Seasons book for sale too with tips and recipes for food preservation.

Next Tuesday, the Carl Junction chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star will run Cooking for a Cause. It benefits the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. They’ll be serving freshly grilled hot dogs, smoked sausages and barbecue beef sandwiches. We decided to replace the hamburgers with the BBQ beef because it’s just too hard to grill up 60 hamburgers consistently - and we think folks will really like the barbecue and I know our grill supervisor, volunteer Sharon Nations, will be pleased to not have to clean up after 60 hamburgers.

We’ll start our Saturday morning markets on May 7. It’s going to be a great season.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hmmm - Fresh Salad

Just wanted to share the lovely salad I had from the market today - red and green loose leaf lettuce and spring onions from the Xiong Farm, sprouts from Roots of Life Sprouts Co. and olive bread from Redings Mill. Yummy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Market is Open Friday (April 15)

The Webb City Farmers Market is open Friday (April 15)) from 11 to 2 under the market pavilion &, though the weather may still feel like Winter Market, we’re seeing glimpses of the regular season. Xiong Farms will have spinach, lettuce, green onions, radishes, arugula and cilantro. Fredrickson Farms is bringing plants – tomato, sweet pepper, broccoli, cabbage, sweet marjoram, parsley, fennel, basil, thyme, sage, and dill. Jeremy Moss, our newest grower, will have freshly harvested bean sprouts.

Also at the market: LOMAH Farmers with cheddar curds and Neufchatel (freshly made Wednesday evening), plus. raw Monterey jack, a dry, sharp pasteurized jack, havarti and mild cheddar. Marlee’s Dairy will be at the market with raw milk in pints, half gallons and gallons, Fairhaven with eggs and jams and jellies, Black Forest House with American and European pastries, Redings Mill with artisan breads, Freda Mae’s with cakes, pies, and fruit breads, Small Cottage Coffee with freshly roasted coffee beans, and our ranchers with all-natural pork, beef, chicken, and lamb. Made of Clay will sell handcrafted pottery.

Jimmi’s will serve soup for lunch or take-away: Roasted brisket with bleu cheese soup, Gazpacho soup & New York Deli soup. Weather permitting, the Loose Notes will play.

The market will be open from 11 to 2 under the market pavilion at the Main Street entrance to King Jack Park.

This is the last Winter Market of the season. We open for the regular season on Friday, April 22.

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, but not ice or sleet. Customers wanting last minute information on Friday can call 483-8139 or check the market’s facebook page.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sentinel column - 4/15/11

The Farmers Market is all about celebrating the seasons, and we’re set to celebrate a new season of goodness at the market next Friday. We officially open our 2011 season on Good Friday, April 22. It should be quite a weekend with the market opening, Springtime on Broadway and the children’s egg hunt in the King Jack Park. The market will be open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11 to 2 (note the new closing time) starting next Friday. On May 7, we add our Saturday market every week from 9 to noon.

Opening day will see our usual giveaway of red bud seedlings to the first 300 customers. The Clayton Singers of Stockton will sing from 11 to 1. And, of course, former mayor Glenn Dolence and now-former councilman Don Meredith will grill up hundreds of hotdogs for our guests. Everyone is welcome to a free hotdog lunch – until we run out which usually happens about 1 o’clock.

We’ll have the first of the spring produce (check facebook for last-minute details), lots of plants, our meats, eggs (including colored eggs – how great is that for Easter?), cheese, milk, jams, jellies, honey, roasted coffee beans, and baked goods. If last year is any indication, there will be a rush on the baked goods because of the holiday. You may want to stop by the market today to place an order to make sure you get what you want.

Today (Friday, 4/15) is the last Winter Market. Amazingly, despite the grim weather we had, the Winter Market thrived this year. We only cancelled one market (the snow was too deep to bring cars into the parking area). And, had I known that baker Bert and I would have to sweep snow out of the pavilion, we might have cancelled another time. Yes, we can be pretty crazy sometimes, but luckily we’ve got a lot of loyal customers who come out despite the weather – and when you have two carloads of fresh baked goods ready to sell, you sweep if you must.

If the weather permits, the Loose Notes will play today from 11 to 1. Jimmi’s is serving a choice of soups – roasted brisket with bleu cheese, gazpacho, and New York deli soups. It will be available for eating at the market or for taking home in quart jars.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Farm visits have started - learning continues

This week, we visited three growers & a rancher: Countryside View Greenhouse - wow! they are loaded with plants!
Fairhaven - expanded our egg selection with 200 chickens, all with access to green pastures (& cool exterior doors for collecting eggs),
Pates Orchard - looking good (see the panel to the right), and Sunny Lane Farms - complete with new baby calves.

Tim Green, who is very experienced in growing in high tunnels, went along to advise Lester of Fair Haven who is undertaking his first year of growing tomatoes in a high tunnel.

Nehai Xiong, one of our experienced vegetable growers, is interested in putting in a peach orchard. John Pate of Pate's Orchard invited Nehai to come along on the inspection and John spent 2 hours showing Nehai the orchard and explaining his techniques.

One reason the Webb City Market is special? Our exceptional growers!