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.