Thursday, May 26, 2011

Webb City Sentinel column - 5/27/11

We are trying to bring some normalcy to the community by continuing to hold the market at its regular times. The produce is bountiful though we are all suffering losses. I will share one that has deeply saddened us at the market.

Donna Krudwig is one of our volunteer managers. If you eat lunch at the market on Tuesdays, you likely have seen her supervising the lunch volunteers. Her daughter, Bethany, lived in the path of the tornado. Bethany and her husband, Don, only had time to grab some pillows to cover themselves before climbing into the bathtub. Don lay on top of Bethany, shielding her with his body. The pillows, of course, were torn away, along with most of the house.

The winds finally ceased, only to be followed by heavy hail. Bethany, dazed, crawled out of the tub to seek shelter, thinking that Don would be right behind her. She crawled into the neighbor’s fireplace, the only shelter remaining, and then realized that Don was still in the bathtub. He was gravely injured but she couldn’t lift him out of the tub, much less get him to the hospital with no means of transportation. So she ran to 20th street and flagged down a vehicle. She found a policeman at Rangeline but all he could do was call in the injury. She knew Don was too seriously hurt to wait, so she ran out into Rangeline and flagged down a truck. They fought their way through downed trees and power lines, getting within a block of what remained of their home. But she found Don had already died, one of their dogs lying protectively beside him.

Don died a hero, saving his young wife’s life by shielding her with his own body. Bethany is a living hero, overcoming stunning horror to seek help for her young husband.

We all feel so helpless. Today we went through the six garbage sacks of items salvaged from the house by Bethany’s friends – all soaking wet, mostly ruined - but her friends had to do something even if it was to gather a stuffed bear, a soaked high school annual, a ruined book of lyrics. Bethany’s few salvaged pieces of clothing have been lovingly washed at other homes and returned neatly folded to her.
Bethany is surrounded by friends and family but she has lost her husband and virtually everything she owned.

Don was a machinist so the last few years have been hard as business slowed to a snail’s pace. Money was already tight, too tight for life insurance so Bethany also faces starting over with the debt of funeral expenses. A fund has been set up to help her and we will have a donation jar at the market today for our market friends who would like to help. If you can’t make it to the market but would like to help Bethany, go to: facebook

We will also have donation jars for many of the agencies that are working toward recovery – United Way, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Children’s Haven and the Animal Adoption and Resource Center. There will be jars for Band Together, the effort organized by the Webb City High School band for the Joplin High School Band, for the Missouri Southern Foundation assisting affected students and faculty, for the Missouri Press Association helping affected newspaper employees and for the Missouri Hospital Association helping affected hospital employees.

We’re doing this because there is a great need among us to help. Our vendors donated such a mass of produce and baked goods Tuesday that the Salvation Army was hard pressed to find storage space for all of it. Fresh produce is not normally accepted in emergencies but we have found the Salvation Army knows how to handle it – and they were delighted to receive it though I’m pretty sure they don’t need any additional deliveries for a while so we will focus on collecting money.

Today’s lunch is spaghetti with meat sauce, side salad, garlic bread, cake and drink for $6. There will be a luncheon salad for $4. The Plainsfolk will perform.

On Saturday breakfast will be served from 9 to 11 and will benefit Healing the Family counseling center. This Joplin non-profit works to prevent child abuse. The Joplin Exchange Club provides the volunteers Saturday.

Music will be by Robert Bruce Scott, an operatic tenor from Indianapolis. He sings songs in over 20 languages and that span 2000 years. He plays a variety of instruments including Celtic harp and classical guitar. We were able to book Robert because he has concerts in Tulsa and St. Louis and loves farmers markets. He should feel right at home with us.

Tuesday’s Cooking for a Cause benefits the Kids Community Garden.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Webb City Sentinel column - 5-20-11

The market is so fortunate to be in such a wonderful community. We’ve been wanting a hard surface in the handicapped parking to the north of the pavilion. The concrete floor under the pavilion is great, but getting to it from the parking can be a trial for folks in wheelchairs and walkers. The park board approved the idea if the market could secure the funding.

Parks director Tom Reeder and Streets Supervisor Rick Roth were at the market Friday measuring the space. They had a quote for me on Tuesday for four spaces and a sidewalk. Two minutes later I was talking to Bill Perry who OK’ed the funding on behalf of the Perry Foundation. Tom just called to say the asphalt is poured and the sidewalk goes in next week. It all rather takes my breath away. Wouldn’t it be great if all problems could be so quickly and painlessly solved?

You may have seen the Live Smart billboards in the area urging five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. I find that a real challenge during the winter, but it’s a snap now that the harvest season is here. For example yesterday, I had a slice of Sunny Lane’s smoked chicken for lunch. Normally, I’d just grab some chips to add crunch, but I had a bag of Der Lor’s edible pod peas in the fridge so I thought I’d give them a try. Delicious, crunchy and crisp, so good that I went back for seconds. There were two servings down. Then I finished up with a bowl of strawberries – yes, it’s strawberry season! Third serving for the day. For dinner I had new potatoes from Lucy Moua. They were so tender. I added some chicken salad and a big green salad and voila – five easy servings in one day. And no sacrifice in taste. In fact, the taste was wonderful.

We’ll have samples of edible pod peas at the market Friday and Saturday for you to try. They’re great as a snack, alone or with dip, in a tossed salad or in stir fry. And they’ll only be in season for a month or so, so enjoy them while you can.

The same is true of strawberries. In fact, it may be a short season because of our cool damp spring. Strawberries are a risky crop in our area. Late freezes can decimate the crop and a wet cool spring can damage the berries. That’s why local berries are so much more expensive than the store-bought kind. Our farmers often have to discard as much as 50% of the crop that isn’t good enough to bring to market. But there’s no flavor like a local strawberry. If they’re as packed with nutrition as they are with flavor, they’re still a great value.

Despite last weekend’s cold weather folks still turned out in droves to enjoy the Saturday breakfast, the Art Market and the streetcar. The latter two will be happening every second Saturday through September. Mark your calendar. Second Saturday at the market will be a great time for a family outing or to invite friends to join you at the market.

Not to say that today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) aren’t also great days for an outing to the market. Lunch today is barbecued beef sandwich, potato salad, oriental Cole slaw (which is really good – which was a surprise to me because I didn’t think I liked Cole slaw), brownie and drink for $6. There will also be a luncheon salad. I won’t say it’s for the light eaters because it’s huge. Center Creek Bluegrass plays from 11 to 1.

Currently the Urban Garden, Small Cottage Coffee Roasters, Broken Wire Farm and all our ranchers only come on Friday.

Stella Dolce with smoothies and lemonade will only be at the market on Saturday this week. Both days we’ll have loads of fresh produce and baked goods.

Crime Stoppers serve the Saturday breakfast – market eggs to order, biscuits and gravy, sausage, and fresh tomatoes.

Crime Stoppers is a national organization with local chapters that work to prevent and solve crimes. Our local chapter was formed last year and offers cash rewards of up to $1,000 to persons providing anonymous information that leads to the felony arrest of criminals and fugitives. Tips have already born fruit in our area.

Nationally, Crime Stopper tips have led to over 500,000 arrests clearing over 900,000 cases since it was formed in 1972.

The Loose Notes will play gospel, bluegrass and cowboy from 9:30 to 11:30 on Saturday.

On Tuesday Beta Sigma Phi runs Cooking for a Cause. The money raised will go to help the children identified by the R-7 school district as needing financial assistance. It might be a jacket, some socks, a decent pair of jeans or school supplies. Kudos to Beta Sigma Phi for supporting this cause and to the school for looking out for our kids.

Did I mention what a great community we live in?

See you at the market.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Webb City Farmers Market

Tuesday is a great day to come to the Webb City Farmers Market for fresh produce. We expect 15 farms to be at the market with a wide-variety of fresh-picked spring produce, including two farms with high tunnel local tomatoes. The market is open Tuesday (May 17) from 11 to 2 under the pavilion in King Jack Park.

Cooking for a Cause will benefit Childrens’ Haven. The menu includes freshly grilled hotdogs, chili dogs, and smoked sausages, as well as frito chili pie and barbecue beef sandwiches.

Children’s Haven provides a safe temporary home to children ages birth through 17 years whose families are experiencing a crisis such as hospitalization, lack of food, shelter or utilities or other emergency that leaves the parents unable to care for their children. More information is available at

Rob Pommert performs from 11 to 1.

In addition to fresh spring produce, market vendors will have baked goods, jams, jellies, vegetable and herb plants, and eggs for sale tomorrow.

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, May 12, 2011

Webb City Sentinel column - 5-13-11

There’s so much to share today I’m really going to have to discipline myself to fit it all in.

Today (Friday) we have Jon Skinner, urban forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation, with us. He will diagnose trees and shrubs that are failing to thrive or are showing signs of pests or disease. Just bring a specimen or photos of the problem. Jon will be back again in August so we’ll have two chances to use his expertise.

Many state agencies are trying to find ways to serve the public more efficiently. Gathering places like the market is one venue that connects the agency and the public well. In fact, Extension was by last week in preparation for a new outreach – providing recipes and how-to’s through a display at the market this summer. All this is a great fit for the market’s mission which includes improving the quality of life for our community.

Speaking of outreach, the market is one of 50 markets nationwide chosen for a grant from the manufacturers of Kerr and Ball jars. DiscoverYouCan will be in full swing next month, but for now, stop by the display table to sign up for discounts and get a recipe booklet and discount coupon. You’ll also find details about our canning classes coming up at the end of the month.

Be sure to stop by Marlee’s Creamery today to sign up for the drawing for a fitness package from Lab 3 Wellness and try a sample of their fresh raw milk.
Lunch today is oven-fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, cookie and drink for $6. A vegetarian luncheon salad is also available. Webb City’s Gospel Strings plays from 11to 1.

Friday is always our biggest day of the week, both in customers and vendors. Vendors who will be here today but not tomorrow are: Urban Garden with cut flowers, Small Cottage Roasters with freshly roasted coffee beans, LOMAH Farms with cheese (if demand warrants they are also going to be at the market on Saturdays but have other commitments tomorrow), and Countryside View Greenhouse with bedding plants and flowering baskets. Our ranchers are currently only coming on Friday with Flintrock only coming on the first and third Friday. We are looking for additional all-natural ranchers for our other days of the week, so if you know of any, ask them to call us.

Tomorrow (Saturday) Old No. 60, Webb City’s antique streetcar, is making the rounds from 9 to 11. It’s free, it’s fun and it stops just west of the market about every 20minutes.

Tomorrow is also our monthly Art Market when local artists display and sell their work.

Hawthorn will play from 9:30 to 11:30. Formed for this year’s 140th observance of the Civil War, these local musicians will entertain with music of the era, as well as gospel and bluegrass.

Stone’s Throw Theater will serve breakfast from 9 to 11. Last week was our first Saturday breakfast of the year and it was a big hit with the addition of farm fresh eggs and slices of local tomatoes. Even Phil Richardson, who with Chuck Thornberry ramrods the breakfast, became a believer in eggs fresh from the farm after customers kept commenting on how good the eggs were. He didn’t think they’d be worth the extra cost – they are. Just as important as the taste to me, is the way the chickens are treated. No horror stories here. On the farms I see chickens with lots of room, access to fresh fields, and frankly some that are spoiled rotten. When we visited Apple Road Farm who sells colored eggs on Saturdays one plump chicken kept tapping on the owner’s shoes. “Oh, she wants to be picked up and held,” which the owner proceeded to do.

Next Tuesday Children’s Haven serves lunch and Rob Pommert makes his first appearance at the market. Rob will be our regular Tuesday entertainment through the summer with contemporary classics, jazz and classical guitar.

New produce just keeps arriving at the market. This week we have broccoli, Napa cabbage, edible pod peas, new potatoes, radishes, leeks, green garlic, onions, green onions, Swiss chard, lettuce, kohlrabi, asparagus, boc choy, turnips, turnip greens, Asian mustard greens, spinach, high tunnel tomatoes (grown in the ground under plastic so they’re ready REALLY early), and the first of the strawberries. Yes, it’s a great time for fresh, local produce.

We had a great response for our call for volunteers in June. We’re also looking for volunteers at the Kids Community Garden especially for someone who could monitor the drinks and snacks. Middle schoolers tend to overindulge when it comes to snacks and paper cups so we need someone to keep that in order. It’s a sit down job from 2:50 to 3:30 on either Monday or Wednesday. We’ve had such a good turnout that we’re splitting the gardeners into two groups. Of course, if you’d like to help supervise in the garden, that’d be great too. The sweet potatoes are planted. Tomatoes and cucumbers are going in next week!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Webb City Sentinel column - 5/6/11 - plus bonus recipe!

Before I ramble off on all the activities this week, let me just tell you that we have some of the prettiest loose leaf lettuce at the market that you could hope to find. Lettuce is a cool weather crop, so don’t miss it. Come hot weather in a month or so it will be gone until fall.

We open our Saturday market tomorrow and have special activities both today and tomorrow. Today (Friday) our First Friday Grower Advice booth opens. Sarah Becker, horticulture specialist with Lincoln University extension, will be at the market every first Friday of the month to consult with growers and gardeners. Today, she’ll also have Patrick Byers, horticulturist with University of Missouri, at the market. Together they are pretty much our region’s top plant experts and I hope our growers and gardeners will take advantage of their advice. If you have a plant problem like fruit or leaf damage or failure to thrive, take a photo and bring it to the market for analysis. You can also bring part of the damaged plant as long as it’s completely sealed in a clear plastic bag (we don’t want to spread any plant diseases around the market). Sarah and Patrick will be in the center of the pavilion.

The center is also where you will find The Market Lady today (that's a photo of one of the recipes that she's demonstrating today). “The Market Lady” is what Robin Green always calls me when I call her family at Shoal Creek Gardens and I stole the name for a major project the market has undertaken this summer. We received USDA grant funding to do consumer education on television, in print and on the web. Our Market Lady is Lane McConnell who is a huge fan of local foods and edits Ozark Farm and Neighbor. I first ran into her when she handled the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s relations with the state’s farmers markets.

Lane, aka The Market Lady, will film segments at about 20 area markets which will air every weekday through the market season on KSN in Joplin and KY3 in Springfield. She will demonstrate fresh produce recipes, how to shop at the market, interviews with farmers and consumers. She’ll also produce recipes that any newspapers and other print media may use and, of course, she’s blogging, tweeting, facebooking and all that jazz. You can find more details at

Since the Webb City market created The Market Lady, we get the honor of her first appearance. Lane will demonstrate Baby’s Asparagus Medley at 11:30 today and Bok Choy Sidekick and Ozarks Breakfast Casserole at 1.

She’ll also be filming throughout the market, so if she approaches you I hope you’ll have good things to say about your market!

Fundraisers going on both today and tomorrow include The Vipers traveling baseball team selling chances on their quilt and Keller Williams selling tickets to Grilling for a Cause (sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?). Grilling for a Cause will benefit our own Cerebral Palsy of the Tri-County as part of the national Keller Williams “give where you live” day. The event will be on Thursday, May 12, at the Keller Williams office in Joplin and costs $5 for a hot dog, chips, cookie and drink. They’ll deliver orders of 10 or more.

Lunch today is meatloaf, au gratin potatoes, green beans, cheese cake and a drink for $6. Jack and Lee Ann Sours play traditional music from 11 to 1.

Saturday is Let’s Plant a Garden Day. Every child (through college) receives a free tomato plant and instructions from our most experienced tomato grower, Tim Green. Tim and his wife Violet grew all the tomato plants we’ll be giving away.

And, of course, Saturday also means breakfast, which tomorrow will benefit the Southwest Missouri Walk Now for Autism Speaks. It’s biscuits and gravy, sausages, and eggs to order. We’re making the breakfast even better this year by using farm fresh eggs from Fair Haven and a slice of local tomato for each plate (as long as the tomatoes last). Should be yummy.

Our music on Saturday is Drycreek Bluegrass. They play from 9:30 to 11:30. Breakfast starts at 9 and ends at 11. The market will be open from 9 to noon on Saturdays.

Tuesday we’ll have Bill Adkins playing from 11 to 1 and Cooking for a Cause benefits Christians’ Haven. You can get the full story on their web site, but in a nutshell it is a Christian ministry based here in Webb City that takes abandoned and orphaned children off the streets of the Philippines, heals and nurtures them in safe group homes with the goal of eventually sending them back out into their communities as agents of change. I hope you’ll take time to have lunch with us Tuesday to learn more about this Webb City organization.

Bonus recipe (the rest of The Market Lady recipes will be at the market):

Ozarks Breakfast Casserole

2 tsp. olive oil
6 oz. spinach leaves, washed and dried
9 eggs, beaten
2 small leeks, chopped
½ cup market milk
1 tsp. ground mustard powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. hot sauce
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese, drained or farm cheese curds
3 oz. soft local goat cheese, crumbled or substitute for Feta cheese

Measure 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese, put in a fine strainer to drain. Clean leeks and cut into fourths lengthwise and slice into thin pieces. Heat oil over medium and add leeks, sautéing for 4 minutes. Add spinach and sauté an additional 3 minutes. While cooking vegetables, add eggs in small bowl and beat, while adding seasonings and milk.

In the bottom of an 8" x 8" casserole dish that has been greased, spread spinach/leek mixture in the bottom of the dish, then layer on cottage cheese and goat cheese. Pour egg mixture over, then use a fork to gently stir so the veggies and cheese are evenly distributed in the eggs. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until eggs are set and lightly browned. The casserole will puff up slightly as it bakes, but will settle down when it cools for a few minutes. Cut into pieces and serve hot with a spoonful of sour cream.