Thursday, July 21, 2011

Webb City Sentinel column - 7-22-11

It’s been over a year since we had a meat vendor serving Saturdays, but tomorrow we’re expecting Green Elm Farm of McCune, Kansas, with lamb. It’s their first day at our market – or any market. So we hope you’ll give them a hearty welcome. They raise pastured lambs that are processed at Golden City Meat. Like our Friday meat vendors, their cuts of lamb will be sold frozen.

Green Elm, which may not be their final choice of farm names, they’re still thinking about it, is owned by Daniel and Kayla Devereaux. Kayla hails from Southeast Kansas, but Daniel will be expanding our international flavor. He grew up near Oxford, England, and came to the United States about nine years ago to train as a ferrier in Lamar, Missouri. He married a local girl and the rest is history - from Oxford to the Webb City Farmers Market. When he was superintendent, Dr. Lankford was fond of saying about our school system “you can go anywhere from here.” Apparently you can also come from anywhere to here!

Another new, but very familiar, vendor at the market this week is Hector Troyer. Hector, whose farm is located near Fairview, is only selling field tomatoes this year and since the spring was cold and wet (ah, we miss the good old days…) the tomatoes have been late ripening. He arrived Tuesday with over 300 pounds and I’m expecting even larger loads from him today and tomorrow.

In fact, it is tomato season at the market. Many, if not most, of our produce growers have truckloads of them. And that means two things – time to can and time for the annual tomato contests.

We’ve got all sorts of help if you want to can, freeze or dry tomatoes. First, talk to your favorite grower. Often they will sell you a large quantity of tomatoes if they have surplus. You might also ask about buying seconds if you’re making salsa or sauce. Looks don’t affect the finished product and the cost would probably be lower.
Stop by the Canning Table just south of the pavilion center for discount coupons for jars and canning starter kits and for free stickers, sample mixes and recipe booklets. You can enter a drawing that we hold weekly for Saving the Seasons, a wonderful book on food preservation from the Mennonite Press. We also sell the book for $25 at the information table. You can bring your pressure gauge to the information table to be checked for accuracy.

We have all these good things because our market was one of 50 nationwide to receive a grant from the Ball jar company. In addition to all the free and discounted things on the canning table, the market can supply a door prize for anyone holding a canning party. Just stop by the information table for details.

Next Tuesday, Tammy Roberts, nutritionist with University of Missouri Extension will give salsa demonstrations at 11:30 and 12:30. She’s also a great source for information on food preservation, whether canning, freezing or drying.

Our annual tomato contests are next week on Saturday, July 30th. There’ll be prizes for the biggest/heaviest, the ugliest and the smallest tomatoes. Those are our fun categories. Our quality categories are rated first by taste, then by texture and finally by appearance. Quality categories are Best Red, Best Other Color and Best Cherry/Grape Tomato.

Entries are free and can be submitted between 8:15 and 8:45 on the morning of the 30th. We need two tomatoes for each entry in the Best Red and Best Other Color. Six tomatoes for each entry in Best Cherry/Grape. And one tomato for each entry in the fun categories.

First prize in each of the contests in the quality category is $25 in market tokens. First prize in the fun category contests is $10 in market tokens. Plus all the fame and glory of winning.

Today we welcome back the Plainsfolk who will play traditional music during lunch, 11 to 1. Lunch is ham or tuna salad sandwich, oriental Cole slaw, chips, cookies and drink for $6. A vegetarian luncheon salad is $4.

Tomorrow, breakfast is served from 9 to 11 and benefits Big Brothers, Big Sisters. The Green Earth Band makes their market debut from 9:30 to 11:30.
On Tuesday, lunch benefits Crime Stoppers and Rob Pommert plays.