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!