Thursday, September 22, 2011

Webb City Sentinel column - 9-23-11

Every season has its pleasures and fall is no exception. Fair Haven Gardens brought their first load of decorative gourds this week. We’re expecting mums today. The butternut squash and sweet potatoes have arrived, as well as many of the cool weather greens. And, of course, we still have most of the summer crops like eggplant, okra, peppers, cucumbers, green beans and summer squash. (Squash recipe in photo printed below)

We are between tomato crops. The summer heat did in the field tomatoes earlier this month and the high tunnel tomatoes will ripen in about two weeks. Yes, we’ll have tomatoes this fall. Tim Green of Shoal Gardens expects to have tomatoes through December out of his high tunnels, as well as cucumbers, green beans and bell peppers. Finally we’ll have a winter market with actual produce!

Winter market will be the first and third Friday of each month, November through April. During October we’ll be open Fridays and Saturdays and, of course, we’ll have our annual Holiday Market the day before Thanksgiving at the Clubhouse, 115 North Madison. That’s always a banner day, especially for our bakers. You can place your orders at the market now to be sure you get just the pies, cakes, pastries or breads that you want on your Thanksgiving table.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, the recent rains have turned my thoughts to thankfulness. My list is long – I’m thankful for the weather finally turning cool and rainy. I’m thankful that our farmers managed to grow produce in the terrible summer heat and that the market continued to have a remarkably good supply while many markets in Oklahoma closed midseason for lack of produce.

I’m thankful for the friends, family, volunteers and vendors who allowed me to abandon the market for most of the high season to take care of my little granddaughter. And I’m thankful that my little Australian family is visiting this month and that I’m able to experience again that incredibly sweet warm feeling of holding a sleeping grandbaby.

And that’s just the beginning of the list. I think being mindful of the good things in our lives is important. It would be so easy to overlook the good and just dwell on our frustrations and difficulties, but even in trying times there are things to be thankful for. So I encourage you to sit down and make a list. I think you may be surprised at how long it is. And I encourage you to post that list on the market’s facebook page or send it to the Sentinel – especially those thanks that deserve to be public – like the thank you I have for Chuck Surface, the city’s economic development director. Chuck showed up at the market Tuesday with someone who may have a funding source to pave the market’s parking and erect handicapped accessible bathrooms. It may be hard funding to find in today’s economic climate, but how well that speaks of Chuck and the city that he saw a need and is pursuing it. And, of course, we wish him every success!

Jack and Lee Ann Sours play traditional music today from 11 am to 1 pm. Lunch is lasagna, side salad, garlic bread, brownies and drink for $6.

Tomorrow breakfast benefits a cause near and dear to our market’s heart – the Don Lansaw Memorial Scholarship fund at MSSU. Don, our volunteer manager Donna Krudwig’s son-in-law, died during the May 22 tornado protecting his wife, Bethany, from the storm. Because Bethany is an MSSU employee, the university established a scholarship in Don’s memory. We’re supporting it tomorrow and we hope you will too. Breakfast will be served from 9 to 11. The Loose Notes will play from 9:30 to 11:30.

Next Tuesday is our last Tuesday market of the season. Bill Adkins will play and the Friends of the Webb City Library will serve lunch.

This recipe from Whole Foods is simple but packed with nutrition. According to Whole Foods, butternut squash delivers healthy carbohydrates, vitamins A and C, plus potassium. This squash dish can be eaten as a side, or used in soups, tacos, enchiladas, pasta or salad.

Baked Butternut Squash

1 medium butternut squash, peeled (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve the squash lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard seeds.

Cut the squash into 1-cubes. Transfer to a large, rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil, salt and pepper and spread out in a single layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until just tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Yum – the taste of Fall is here.