Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sneaking more goodness into your family's meals

If you're like me, you may have trouble getting those five servings of produce into your daily diet. I stole an idea from my daughter Cora who feasts almost exclusively on fruits and vegetables. She does a version of this without meat that is yummy - it works with meat, too.

(Below - just a sampling of what was fresh & local at the market last week.)

Good-for-you Spaghetti and meat sauce

Use whatever ratios works for you. & whatever veggies are fresh from the market.

On Sunday, this is the combo I made.


sweet pepper
onion or several green onions


clove elephant garlic

Heat in a skillet enough olive oil to cover bottom of pan lightly. Add above ingredients and saute, stirring frequently, until tender.

Brown ground beef in a skillet and drain (Sunny Lane Farms will have their all-natural beef at the Winter Market on the first and third Fridays of each month)

Combine beef and vegetables. Add spaghetti sauce (we like Ragu's Original). Add Italian seasoning to taste.

I do all this the day before serving and refrigerate overnight so the flavors blend. Then about 3 hours before serving, I put it in a crock pot and simmer until thoroughly heated.

Cook spaghetti, drain and top with sauce.

Last Sunday I paired this with an all-market salad - Romaine and loose leaf lettuce, edible pod peas, green onions, and tomatoes.

And did the anti-veggie crowd complain? Not a bit, in fact they took big second helpings!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Last Sentinel column of the season!

Remember last week’s column? I wrote that the weather this weekend could change all our market plans. And, of course it has. With a forecast that predicted our vendors would be in temperatures less than 45 degrees for over five hours both today and tomorrow, we’ve made the decision to move to winter quarters. So today you will find us at the Clubhouse, 115 North Madison. The market will be open today from 11 to 2, but inside in a warm and comfortable setting. Tomorrow we’ll be at the Clubhouse from 9 to noon. (That's eggplant growing at Frederickson Farms. They should have lots at the market today and tomorrow.)

On both days we’ll have lots of produce. We’re expecting at least five farms with such local favorites as hot and sweet peppers, egg plant, beets, green beans, turnips, Romaine lettuce, butternut and acorn squash, and zucchini. That means lots of good choices for you, but it also means our farmers will need lots of customers to purchase these good things. So please pass the word for us that we’re at the Clubhouse to your friends, co-workers and family.

Today Hazel’s Bakery serves Chicken Corn Chowder for lunch. We have tables for eating in or containers for take-out. Hazel’s and Black Forest will have lots of baked goods for sale. Kyle, son of our Endless Bounty raw food bar vendor, will take orders for Boy Scout popcorn. The orders will be delivered in November. To order just look for the young man in a uniform.

At tomorrow’s market we have Lisa Lammey with Studio Five taking fall portraits. Her photo packages run from $4 to $30. We’ll have a setting with pumpkins and mums to lend a fall flavor to the photos.

Tomorrow will be our last Saturday market of the season. Next week we go to our winter schedule, which this year will be every Friday from 11 to 2 at the Clubhouse. The only exception is the week of Thanksgiving when we will not be open on the Friday after Thanksgiving but instead on the Wednesday immediately before Thanksgiving. Our bakers are taking orders now for Thanksgiving celebrations.

This is the last market column for this year. Watch for news about the Winter Market in the Sentinel’s neighborhood news. And we’ll see you at the market every Friday all winter long!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Webb City Sentinel column - 10-19-12

(Some of the gorgeous mums we'll have at the market on Friday)

Sometimes you just have to play it by ear. Yes, I’m fixin’ to tell you that the plan has changed. Center Creek Bluegrass was scheduled to play at the market today – and they are a wonderful and authentic local group – but the forecast is just too cold for music. Now don’t get me wrong, it is definitely not too cold to come down to shop and pick up some delicious lunch, but cooler temperatures are just not good for acoustic instruments like guitars and basses and we sure want Center Creek’s instruments to continue to produce fantastic music. So be prepared for some great recorded music today at the market. Tomorrow which is supposed to be a gorgeous day, we’ll be back to live music.

When you’re the public face of a project like the farmers market you just have to develop a tolerance for being wrong. Not that I would deliberately mislead anyone, but I sure can misspeak. I always had a real sympathy for Dan Quayle and his unfortunate misspeaks – like the time he addressed the United Negro College Fund, whose slogan is “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” and said, “You take the UNCF model that what a waste it is to lose one’s mind…” If anyone cared enough to record what I say and could drum up a national audience, I’d top Mr. Quayle for sure.

Even with my small audience doing cooking demonstrations on television, I’ve managed many omissions and mistakes. I can’t count the number of times I’ve forgotten an ingredient or that the dish should be seasoned to taste or at what temperature to cook it. Salads have often been my downfall. One time I was doing a recipe that required me to mix up the dressing in the salad bowl and then add the greens to be tossed. On live TV I emptied my bag of greens into the salad bowl only to realize that I could not now mix up the dressing in the bowl or get the greens back into the bag. I had to mix the dressing in the only other bowl I had, which was tiny, so small that the whisk I had for mixing wouldn’t even fit in the bowl. And then there was the time that I was enthusiastically tossing the salad and dumped most of it on the counter. Oh my, the stories could go on and on.

But I am not alone – and it’s so nice to have company. I was with a professional horticulturist yesterday who shall remain unnamed. I was commenting on how glorious the chats south of Webb City look with all the scrubby trees and bushes in full Fall foliage. He rolled his eyes and said “yes, it’s one of the prettiest Falls in years and I was on television just last month saying that we’d have no color this year.”
So back to the market plans. It’s hard to plan too far in advance but at least for this weekend, here are the plans. Today, no live music, but we have a very good lunch. Hazel’s Bakery is serving a favorite just right for the cool weather – ham and beans. You’ll have a choice of white beans or brown beans or a mixture of the two. A bowl costs only $4 and there will be take out containers.

Sunny Lane Farm will be back at the market after an absence of almost a month. So come stock up on your all-natural beef, chicken and lamb. We also expect Madewell Pork to be at the market today as well as our bakeries – Black Forest and Hazel’s. We should have a number of farmers as well with Fall produce and Cottage Small Coffee Roasters with freshly roasted coffee beans and Endless Bounty with raw food bars. There should also be mums and pumpkins. We’ll have a painting table set up for kids wanting to paint their pumpkins. The market also has free acorn squash for kids who don’t have their own pumpkins so everyone can paint.

Tomorrow the painting table will be up again, along with the acorn squash. William Adkins will play for us. The breakfast of pancakes, sausage and eggs will benefit the market’s music program. We’ll have several farmers with produce, mums and pumpkins.

Next week we’ll have our last Saturday market and go to Fridays only for the winter. And it will be a special Saturday because the streetcar plans to run from 9 to 11 and local photographer Lisa Lammey will be taking Fall photos. She’ll have several packages available to order. Here are a couple: one 8x10 & 4 wallet photos for $10; 20 stickers for $5.

Just remember on both activities next week, the weather could make a liar of me! Regardless of the weather, come enjoy the Fall produce at the market.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sentinel column 10-12-12

We’re having the Great Pumpkin Silent Auction at the market today and tomorrow. It’s our first one, but hopefully not our last. It all depends on our farmers and their ability to grow a Great Pumpkin. This year John Pate of Pate’s Orchard gave it a try and came up with a pumpkin weighing over 100 pounds. He’s donating it to the market to raise funds for our music program.

(These mini pumpkins come from Frederickson Farms.)

The auction begins at 10:30 am today. There will be a sheet on which folks can write their bid, which must be at least $5 higher than the previous bid. The high bidder at 11:00 am on Saturday will be declared the winner.

In addition to having the biggest pumpkin in town in front of their home or business, the high bidder will be listed as the sponsor of the market’s music in all our publicity in May and June. Fame, glory and a Great Pumpkin, too!

If you can’t make it to the market, call in your bid to 417 483-8139 and we’ll update you on bids and write yours in for you.

I guess there’s something ironic about using a silent auction to support our music, which is, after all, hardly silent. Music is the biggest line item in our annual budget and thee volunteers and vendors think it’s a great investment. We are fortunate that the Missouri Arts Council thinks it’s a good investment, too. Each year the Council has contributed a small but critical grant which underwrites the music. That’s our state tax dollars at work and we think those dollars result in much more than entertainment. It makes our market distinctive. To my knowledge, we’re the only venue in Southwest Missouri that hosts free family-friendly top-quality live music three times a week. We think that brings us more customers and extends our customer base far beyond the city limits - and that makes good economic sense. And it gives our local and regional musicians a place to share their talents and passion for music and that builds a stronger arts community. And, let’s face it, music brings life and good feelings to the market. It makes us a happier place.

So here’s hoping some music fans, market fans and pumpkin fans will bid on our Great Pumpkin.

Yes, we did have a freeze last weekend - way too early for my tastes. But several of our farmers used row cover to protect their plants so we will have produce at the market this weekend. It could be the last weekend for tender produce like zucchini, squash, eggplant, green beans and okra, so come get it while you can. We should have a good supply of the cool weather crops like broccoli, spinach, winter squash, pumpkins and mums for some weeks yet.

Today Hazel’s Bakery is serving Cheesy Potato Soup. She’ll have cupcakes and drinks for fifty cents each, as well as her usual spread of cakes, pies, cookies, quick breads and muffins.

William Adkins from Fayetteville, Arkansas will play.

Tomorrow is a big day at the market. Lisa Sweet, the market’s Queen of Crafts, will demonstrate how to paint a scarecrow face and help others wanting to try their hand at it. The less artistically inclined can take Lisa’s demonstration samples home. I’ll show folks how to make a scarecrow using plastic bags and old clothing. There will be a kids craft table where children can color fall coloring pages or make a scarecrow puppet or create veggie art. You’d be surprised what a great spider pipe cleaners and an acorn squash make.

Drew Pommert will provide the music tomorrow and Magic Moments Riding Therapy will serve Cooking for a Cause. Magic Moments receives all the profits from our breakfast of pancakes, sausage and eggs cooked right at the market. It’s served till 11.

Magic Moments uses trained instructors and volunteers to help the physically and mentally disabled ride horses in a safe setting. Whether a child has autism or other physical or mental challenges, riding a horse teaches the child patience and confidence while improving their flexibility, balance and muscle strength. A student who has always been too “slow” to participate in normal school athletics, as in the case of a student with mental retardation, can demonstrate her abilities through horseback riding.

Magic Moments recently began working with the Wounded Warriors program using horseback riding as therapy for our veterans healing from the traumas of their service.

I hope you will invite your family or friends to come out tomorrow and support this fine group of folks – trainers, volunteers and clients. Rain or shine, it will be a great day at the market.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Webb City Sentinel Column - 10-5-12

Wait a minute – what happened to Fall? Well, regardless of the cold forecast for this weekend, we at the market are just stubborn enough to continue celebrating Fall – because it will be back soon. In fact, we have a banner two days lined up for our customers – so brave the weather and come on out today or tomorrow – or both days!

(at right - Zucchini-Pepper Relish - the recipe is at the bottom of the column)

After all, if the IceMusic Festival in Norway is a big success – held outdoors in January in an amphitheater built of snow in way below freezing weather, I’m pretty such we can handle a little cold. And we can actually drive up to the pavilion. IceMusic Festival patrons have a choice of skiing into the concerts or taking a ski lift and walking 20 minutes.

Today we welcome Hazel’s Bakery back to the Friday lunch slot. Hazel’s will serve Meatball Vegetable Soup for $4. It’s the perfect market food because it includes 12 vegetables – that’s about as good for you as it gets and won’t it be just perfect for a cool day? You can eat it at the market or take it home. Hazel’s will also have drinks and cupcakes available for 50 cents each.

Webb City’s own Gospel Strings plays today from 11 to 1.

Tomorrow we’ll be open from 9 to noon. We have a special treat with Robert Scott Bruce of Indianapolis returning to perform. Robert was at the market last year during his Midwest tour with his Celtic harp. This year he’s partnering with veteran musician Joel Conner to bring us “The Music of Simon and Garfunkel.” Robert sings the parts of Garfunkel. A trained operatic tenor, Robert’s sweet voice should be perfect. Joel will sing the part of Simon and play the guitar, though it will probably be his electric guitar since acoustic guitars don’t do well in cold weather. At least it won’t be an ice guitar like you’d find at the IceMusic where every year they feature several ice instruments. Yes, they’ve had an ice guitar, harp, horn… I bet the concerts give the audience chills. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that.

Breakfast will be served by the local chapter of Crime Stoppers which funnels tips about unsolved crimes to law enforcement using an anonymous reward system to folks who call in the tips. The menu is new – pancakes, eggs, and sausage – all cooked to order so it will be hot regardless of the temperature.

Both the meal and the music run from 9 to 11.

We expect to see lots of produce at the market today – green beans, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, green onions, egg plant, radishes, turnips, Swiss chard and other greens, edible pod peas, sweet potatoes, Asian specialty crops and lots more. We should have a good selection of mums and pumpkins of all sizes, including the minis. Tim Green is bringing his gorgeous green peppers and Broken Wire will have peppers of many colors, sweet and hot. We’re expecting our pork rancher and three bakers.

Tomorrow we’ll have no rancher, but Mohaska Farm House will be at the market with their artisan breads, along with Hazel’s Bakery and Arma Bakery.

On both days we’ll having Fall coloring pages for the kids.

Next week is our monthly Second Saturday so we’ll add artists to the mix and the streetcar will be running unless it’s raining hard. We start our pumpkin crafts for kids next week.

The zucchini should weather the cold over the weekend, so hopefully we’ll continue to have a bountiful supply through October. I made the recipe below this week with Carol Parker on KSN and folks raved about it. It’s a great way to use those really big zucchini which are such a buy at the market. Canned, it would make a great personal Christmas present. We still have free canning recipe booklets, canning labels and coupons off for canning supplies at the market information table.

Zucchini-Pepper Relish

3 lbs. zucchini, seeded if necessary
3 onions
2 sweet red peppers
1/4 cup pickling salt
2 1/2 cups sugar (or substitute 1/2 to 2/3 cup Truvia)
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons cornstarch

In a food processor, finely chop zucchini, pulsing with on/off motion. Put zucchini in large bowl.

Finely chop onions in food processor, pulsing. Add to zucchini.

Remove seeds from peppers and finely chop by hand. Add to zucchini.

Sprinkle with pickling salt and stir to blend. Let stand for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Drain off liquid. Rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Drain, pressing out liquid.

In a large heavy pan, combine sugar (or Truvia)), vinegar, dry mustard, celery seed, pepper and turmeric. Bring to a boil stirring. Add drained zucchini mixture and bring back to a boil, stirring frequently.

Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Combine water and cornstarch, mixing thoroughly. Add to zucchini mixture. Cooking, stirring for 5 minutes.

Refrigerate and serve fresh or seal in sterilized bottles and process according to canning directions.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Webb City Sentinel - 9-29-12

We begin our fall schedule next week with the arrival of October (and fall brings new crops like the edible pod peas in the photo). That means we’ll be open on Fridays from 11 to 2 and Saturdays from 9 to noon. The Tuesday markets are finished for the year. When November, or the first hard freeze, arrives we’ll go to Fridays only until we reopen for the 2013 market season in late April. We plan to stay at the pavilion until truly cold weather sets in. Last year we went to the Clubhouse in November but the winter was so mild we could have stayed at the pavilion. And while we love the Clubhouse – it’s warm and wind-free with lovely bathrooms and kitchen, it’s also tough to fit all our vendors inside and tougher still to redirect our customers there. So it’s the pavilion for us until the weather forces us to move.

Besides dropping Tuesdays, the other major change starting next week involves our market meals. Granny Shaffer’s wraps up their season at the market today. They’ve provided us with tasty meals twice a week May through September, often in oppressive heat, and we’ve really appreciated their dedication and yummy food. Next week, Hazel’s Bakery takes over the Friday lunch and will serve a different soup each week. On Saturdays we continue our benefit breakfast, but the menu changes to pancakes, eggs and sausage.

That said, today Granny Shaffer’s is serving hot roast beef sandwiches for lunch. The Plainsfolk will be playing.

Tomorrow Cooking for a Cause includes biscuits and gravy, sausage, and cooked to order eggs. It’s served from 9 to 11 and all profits go to the Ozark Area CROPwalk. CROPwalk is an interfaith walk held in over 2,000 communities nationwide. Our walk is this Sunday and there will be information on it at the market Saturday in case you would like to participate. The focus of the walk is fighting hunger with 1/4 of the funds raised being split locally among Crosslines, Lafayette House, Children’s Haven and the Salvation Army. The rest goes around the world feeding refugees and increasing economic opportunities in areas of chronic poverty. Locally, United Methodist, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Christians (Disciples), Catholics and Baptists walk together. Other churches, businesses and individuals are welcome.

The Loose Notes will play on Saturday.

Keeping the market going two days in a row is a challenge for our growers, but they’re committed to doing it if the weather will cooperate. It’s my job to make sure we have the customers they need on Saturdays when there are festivals galore drawing the customers out of town. So mark your calendars now. On October 6th we have a special musical treat. Joel Conner and Robert Bruce Scott of Indianapolis will present “The Music of Simon & Garfunkel” in much the same way that Simon & Garfunkel originally presented it when barnstorming the U.S. in the 1960's - one guitar and two voices in intricate harmony. Joel Conner, singing Paul Simon’s part, has performed across the United States for nearly 40 years. Robert Bruce Scott is an operatic tenor who performed at the market last year playing his 32-string Celtic harp. We are really pleased to have these musicians stopping at the market during their Oklahoma/Missouri tour.

On October 13th, we’ll have our scarecrow demonstrations. Lisa Sweet, Webb City’s queen of crafts, will demonstrate how to paint the scarecrow’s face – really the only part of the process that takes talent. And for those of us with no talent, she’ll also be giving away her demonstration pieces. I also hope we’ll be able to share some other materials like the clothing used to create the scarecrows. I’ve gone through my closets (is there anything more satisfying than clearing out closets?) and invite you to do the same. If you have long pants, long-sleeved collared shirts, overalls, denim skirts or dresses, old boots or hats, bring them to the market by the 13th and we’ll pass them on to others making scarecrows. The pants and shirts need to be hard woven fabric like denim or cotton. Stretchy fabrics like knits don’t work well. Also, if you have plastic bags, we can use those to stuff the scarecrows. Wouldn’t it be fun if homes and businesses throughout Webb City were decorated with market mums and pumpkins and original scarecrows? And you can add a couple of market carrot driveway markets to complete the effect for only $2 each. Who knows, maybe this winter we’ll get snow and actually need driveway markers.

In the meantime, come to the market and celebrate the fall. There’s still plenty of produce and other good things to buy, great music to listen to and friends to meet and make. See you at the market!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Webb City Sentinel column - 9/21/12

What a lovely time of year. The weather couldn’t be nicer, the rains have greened things up, the pumpkins and mums have arrived and Sammy and Suzie Scarecrow are back on their park bench at the market.

Sammy and Suzie have been fall fixtures at the market for 11 years now. And though their outfits change, their bodies just get a little more stuffing every year and their faces get a good scrubbing – in the washing machine.

(That's Devereaux Lewis of Oronogo, giving Suzy a hug, while his big brother looks on.)

We’ll have a scarecrow building workshop at the market on a Saturday in October but here’s the basics in case you want to start early. Gather up all those plastic shopping bags and two sets of old clothes – either your own or from a resale shop. (Well, I guess you could raid your spouse’s closet.) Regardless of scarecrow gender, you start with one pair of pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Those form the body. Just pin each leg bottom and wrist opening shut with a safety pin and stuff with the bags. Start with the pants, then do the shirt, then tuck the shirt into the pants, pin them together, and add a little stuffing to fill everything out. I always use old boots and gardening gloves for hands and feet, again pinned to the body. For the head, stuff a plastic bag with more plastic bags, put it inside an old white pillow case. Draw or paint a face on a piece of old white sheet, wrap around the head, tie at the bottom and tuck into the shirt, pinning to keep the head in place. I’ve nnever figured out how to keep the head upright, so I just use a stick along the back to keep the scarecrow’s head from lolling about.

Now you’re ready to dress your scarecrow and top with an old hat. The outer garb will fade in the sun but that’s perfect, because changing the outfit each year is great fun. The inner body will be fine for reuse year after year.

Now all you need to do is give your scarecrow a name, add a few pumpkins and mums and celebrate fall. Don’t forget the festive ornamental corn decorations grown and made by our youngest vendor, 13-year-old Lane Luthi. You’ll find him at his sisters’ mum stand.

The market is open today from 11 to 2 and is loaded with beautiful produce. It is amazing how quickly plants perk up with some rain. You’ll see a wide selection of eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and squash. Today we’ll have the first of the sweet potatoes. And of course we’ll onions, green onions, radishes, Swiss chard, and other greens – basically a ton of local, fresh vegetables. Our pumpkin grower, Webb Citian Heath Reineke, is selling all his pumpkins for $3 each regardless of size. There will be baked goods both today and tomorrow, including Hazel’s Bakery with pies, cakes, muffins, cookies and fruit breads.

Granny Shaffer’s at the Market is serving chicken tetrazzini, green beans, dessert and a beverage for $6 today. Center Creek Bluegrass plays.

Tomorrow we celebrate Market Roots. This Webb City original has been copied across the country and celebrates where our food – and we – originated. The Historical Society will have a world map where everyone can mark their ancestral home. The Genealogical Society’s books will be for sale: Families & Histories of Webb City, Carterville, & Oronogo Vol. I for $65 and Pictorial History of Webb City, Carterville & Oronogo Vol II for $30.

Every vendor will have a sign with their birth place and where their ancestors came from. In the case of our immigrant farmers, we show when and where they became US citizens. There are always several tables full of produce currently in season and where scientists think they originated. Sure hope we have watermelon so we can have Africa represented on the table. The table also has artifacts from around the world just to give the display a little more flavor – after all, you don’t get to taste the display so you’ll have to savor it with your eyes.

The Carl Junction Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star serves breakfast tomorrow and will give their profits to one of the many charities they support like the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Society. The Green Earth Band plays. Be sure and ask them to play “The Market Song” written especially about the Webb City market.

There’s a lot going on in Webb City tomorrow with the market open from 9 to noon, Webbstock all day at the high school and Minerva’s open house downtown in the afternoon. Why not make it a Webb City day and visit them all?

On Tuesday, Granny Shaffer’s at the Market serves hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken salad sandwiches and chef salads. Gospel Strings performs.

It’s a wonderful time of year to visit the market. See you there!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Webb City Sentinel column - 9-14-12

As the long hot summer comes to an end, it’s time to evaluate one season and plan for the next. For the second year in a row, the summer heat devastated some crops like sweet corn, reduced the supplies of others, and left us market volunteers drained at the end of each day. Our farmers showed amazing resilience, as did our customers. Customer attendance remained steady even in 100 plus degree weather and that’s what keeps us volunteers and our vendors going.

If you’ve been at the market lately, you know that our current produce supply is amazing given the heat of August. We have loads of heat-loving crops like egg plant (in many varieties) and okra. We also have good supplies of green beans, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, squash, onions, and lots of other things. We are short on tomatoes but should begin seeing more as the fall crops mature. Tomatoes won’t set their fruit if the temperature doesn’t drop to the low 70’s sometime during the day. So, we have a gap in production as a result of those hot days.

Because we had such a promising start this spring with about twice as much produce through May as ever before, we may still end up with an average season. I sure wish we could have maintained that great beginning. Still, it was a good summer in many ways. Probably the top of my list is the fact that six of my farmers received help from the Governor’s emergency drought fund that has allowed them to put in wells at their farms. These new wells mean we should have good fall crops which we might not have seen otherwise. Even with the recent rains, the subsoil is so dry that we are still considered by the experts to be in drought and that puts fall crops in jeopardy unless they have a consistent, assured source of water.

With drought apparently being the new normal in our area, these farms were looking at eventual failure without wells. A good spring is just not sufficient to carry a farm through a poor summer every year. Now they’ll have a way to sustain much of their production even in drought. These new wells will benefit our farm families and our customers and will make the market stronger, too.

Some of the other good things about this summer –

We were fortunate to have our market intern, Lindsey Rollins. Lindsey, a senior at MSSU in health science, was a God-send, capable, willing, bright and interested. We were also incredibly fortunate in acquiring a new market volunteer, Janet Taylor. Like Lindsey, Janet is a quick-learner and willing to take on anything. Even on the days she works, she’ll often pop over to help with set up and take down which are our most work-intensive times. She also was willing to take on management of the dreaded peach line – capable and brave.

Our cooking demonstrations underwritten by the Missouri Foundation for Health have been a real plus for the market this summer. We made contact with some wonderful resource people like Carolyn Smith and Susan Pittman who relished teaching others how to prepare fresh produce. Many customers made a stop at the demonstration table a part of their market routine. We got to try some very tasty dishes, sometimes with unfamiliar ingredients. I learned from Susan last Saturday that I actually prefer long beans over green beans. They’re similar in taste, but the long bean is firmer with a texture that I like very much. If you’d like to give it a try, you’ll find the recipe on the market’s web site: We also have it at the market. (The photo is of folks crowding around to try the long beans.)

Our canning program was a hit this summer with lots of sample mixes, recipe booklets and coupons. We still have all the freebies available, so if you’re in a canning mood – and with the loads of green beans we have now, how could you not be? – stop by and pick up instructions and discounts.

Now, on to the future. Since we’re expecting bountiful fall crops due to increased irrigation, the market can be open on both Fridays and Saturdays through October. That’s good news for our shoppers who can only shop on Saturdays. We did a survey last Saturday and of the 50 participants, only two shopped more than once a week at the market. That means that the vast majority of responders only come on Saturdays.
Come October, we’ll drop the Tuesday market till next spring. Then at the end of October, we’ll go to our winter market schedule which is every Friday from 11 to 2. The only exception that we anticipate is the annual Thanksgiving Market which is the day before Thanksgiving. Then, unlike every other “shop” in the country, we won’t be open the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Enough of the past and the future! Today, Granny Shaffer’s at the Market is serving stuffed baked potato with a choice of broccoli and cheese or chili and cheese, plus a drink for $5. Drew Pommert will play easy listening favorites. The Tri-State Iris Society will be at the market with more than 100 iris plants for sale.

Tomorrow, the Civil Air Patrol serves Cooking for a Cause breakfast. The Civil Air Patrol is made up of young people planning to join the Air Force. The Granny Chicks will perform so bring your dancing shoes! The first pumpkins will be for sale at the market. We're expecting over 600 to come in this fall.

On Tuesday, Granny Shaffer’s at the Market grills up hot dogs and hamburgers and also serves chicken salad sandwiches and chef salad. Gary Kyger will play classic country hits.

The market lost a good friend this week with the death of Merle Lortz. Merle lent his support to the market through this paper and the Wise Buyer, but when I think of him as a market customer I think of his discovery of fresh broccoli. He’d eaten broccoli before, but he’d never eaten fresh, local broccoli – delicious! Merle, I’m going to miss you and your sweet nature and I’ll think of you every time I see the market broccoli that you found so delightful.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Webb City Sentinel column - 9-7-12

A few years ago a friend scolded me that every time I made a recipe on TV it was something so calorie laden that she couldn’t hope to enjoy it. I have to admit, she was right. If it wasn’t an outright sugar-laden dessert, it was a side or main drenched in butter. I began looking for a few healthy recipes but my heart wasn’t in it. I love desserts and rich foods.

A grant the market received this year from the Missouri Foundation for Health gave me the motivation I needed ($7,000 will do that for you). But my new appreciation for healthy recipes was the exact result both the Foundation and the market were hoping for and it wasn’t based on dollars. It was from tasting the recipes. Week after week, we have had cooking demonstrations of good-for-you recipes, and you know what, they’ve been really good and satisfying.

(Eggplant continues to come in abundance and variety - we have at least 5 kinds in all sizes at the market)

This week provides great examples. Tuesday Carolyn Smith, former teacher at Webb City High School, demonstrated Creole Okra. I was pretty sure that I didn’t like okra unless it was deep-fat fried. Guess what? Creole Okra is tasty, filling and chockfull of veggies. That same day I was on Carol Parker doing a recipe of a dish I had enjoyed while on vacation in Prague. I’m certainly no culinary expert so it was a treat for me to have written down what I guessed to be the recipe and then after returning home to find it on-line almost exactly as I’d guessed. Actually, the dish I prepared at KSN was even better than the one I had in Prague. I think the difference was the amount of grilling I did with the veggies. I’d heard it said, but don’t remember experiencing it before in such profusion. Grilling veggies intensifies their flavor. Grilling a bunch and combining them knocks the flavor out of the park. This dish was so rich that I think it could pass for a main dish. It doesn’t need it for taste, but you could add chicken for protein. I’ve printed the recipe below.

Tomorrow nutritionist Susan Pittman teaches us how to cook with long beans. It’s an Asian specialty crop that several of our Hmong farmers grow. It’s sometimes confused by customers with green beans even though it’s usually 8 to 12 inches long, which would be a very long green bean. Long beans have a softer texture and are more flexible, and less crisp, than green beans. They range in color from light green to almost purple and the color determines how they are best prepared. We’ll have a tip sheet on long beans at the demo table. Who knows? They may become a favorite at your house.

There’s a lot going on today and tomorrow at the market. Today, Granny Shaffer’s at the Market is serving chicken & noodles, potatoes & gravy, apple crisp & drink $6. Chef salad & drink are $6 and a slice of pie is $2. We’ve moved picnic tables under the pavilion so folks can eat high and dry. Jack and Lee Ann Sours will play traditional music.

It’s the first Friday of the month so we’ll have gardening advice from the University of Missouri Extension and Lincoln University Extension in the form of Patrick Byers and Shon Bishop. While both specialize in produce, they can also help with questions regarding trees and lawns.

Today is our last day for canning drawings. We’re concluding our food preservation program with two very large drawings. Each includes 86 packets each for Kosher dill pickles mix and for freezer jam pectin. The winners will also receive a food preservation recipe book and a market shopping bag. The drawings will be held at 1 pm today and the winners do not need to be present.

Tomorrow is the market’s annual Arts in the Park celebration. The Spiva Center for the Arts will run a Veggie Arts table. Children (and children at heart) can make artistic creations. If past experience holds, we’ll see a lot of whimsical zucchini, cucumber and pepper people. The Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center will help children create a paper monarch butterfly. Top off the free fun with a ride on Old No. 60, Webb City’s restored streetcar. It will run from 9 to 11 am.

Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy the dulcet voices of father and son musical team Rob and Drew Pommert from 9 to 10:30. From 10:40 to 11:30 Dyanne Lile, Devri Brock, John Wilkins, and Ross Bruns, with accompanist: Kathy Nenadal perform family-friendly selections from HOT Scandals (HOT stands for Heartland Opera Theatre which hosting HOT Scandals Friday and Saturday nights at the Webb City Route 66 Civic Center.).

Our Cooking for a Cause breakfast will be served by members of the Webb City Park Board and profits will benefit the parks.

Next Tuesday, we welcome back Hazel’s Bakery to our weekday market. The bakery plans to be at every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday through September. In October, the market goes to Fridays only.

Come for lunch and enjoy the market debut of Kelly Cecil, blues and folk musician Tuesday. Carolyn Smith demonstrates our last good-for-you recipe of the year – Cucumber Cups Stuffed with Spicy Crab. Yum.

Speaking of yum, here’s that recipe I promised:

Pasta with Grilled Vegetables
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into quarters
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into quarters
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into quarters
6 baby eggplants, cut lengthwise into quarters (I used Japanese eggplant, quartered for roasting and then cut into bite-sized pieces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 plum (egg or Italian) tomatoes, halved
1 red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh purple basil or fresh green basil
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh spinach tagliatelle pasta
Preheat grill to a high heat.

Place red, yellow and green pepper quarters, skin side up, under grill. Cook for 5-10 minutes until skins are blistered and charred. Place peppers in a plastic food bag and set aside until cool enough to handle. (You can save time and get perfectly roasted peppers right at the market every Friday and many Saturdays at Broken Wire.) Remove skins from peppers. Cut flesh into thick slices.

Brush cut surfaces of eggplant lightly with oil. Grill for 2-3 minutes each side or until tender and golden.

Place tomatoes, skin side down, under grill. Cook for 2 minutes or until soft.
Heat remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until onion is soft and golden. Add red, yellow and green peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, basil and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes.

Cook pasta in boiling water in a large saucepan following packet directions. Drain well. To serve, divide pasta between warm serving bowls. Top with vegetable mixture.
Serving suggestion: This pretty pasta dish is delightful for casual entertaining. A complete meal might start with a mixed green salad and crusty bread (from Mohaska Farmhouse) and finish with a selection of fresh seasonal fruit.

Serves 4

When I had this dish in Prague last month it also had grilled zucchini in it, as well as a little butter on the pasta and rosemary which the Czechs love. For KSN I added the zucchini and switched to a locally available pasta that is enriched with carrot, spinach and tomato providing a full vegetable serving in a 4 oz. serving of pasta.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Webb City Sentinel column - 8/31/12

Okra - learn to Creole it on Tuesday!

I’ve been away for a couple of weeks seeing some of the great cities of central Europe and a lot of its countryside as well. I saw some pretty spectacular things and met some lovely people, but as always, it is good to be home.

Within 12 hours of being home, I was reminded that Webb City is a very good place indeed to live. I was speaking to one of my farmers on the phone Thursday morning when I heard a thump. I abruptly said “Gotta go, bye.” I knew it had to be my mother taking a tumble while she watered plants. Indeed I found her on the floor in the reception room next to my office. She was struggling to sit up, holding her left hand. I’d no sooner helped her into a sitting position when in walked Jackie Clark and two other Webb City firemen, Doug Moore and Scott Pink. My first thought was that they were making their annual inspection of commercial property, but no, they were just driving by and Doug had seen Mother fall inside the office. Now that’s paying attention. Doug, who is a paramedic, gave Mother a quick going-over. Then he and Scott helped her into a chair. Meanwhile Jackie had called the ambulance. Did you know that the ambulance crew will come and evaluate the situation and if they don’t take you anywhere there is no charge?

After an evaluation, the paramedics recommended I take Mother to Urgent Care and have the hand x-rayed just in case there was a fracture.

So three happy things – no fracture was revealed by the x-ray and Mother will be fine, our Webb City firemen are wonderful and if you think you have a health emergency, in Webb City you can call the ambulance service for a professional evaluation without worrying about wasting your money. If you end up spending money taking the ambulance, it was well-spent on a potentially life-threatening emergency.

By the way, another thing Webb City has over central Europe is that our city has not been destroyed by wars over and over again. The palace at Budapest had been destroyed 86 times in the last 1,000 years. That’s about once every two or three generations. Well, OK - I'm math challenged - it's probably more like once in every four or five generations. Still I expect most generations experienced the destruction and/or the reconstruction.

And there’s also language. I was told by a Hungarian that their language was one of the most beautiful languages in the world and that it was a shame only 15 million people spoke it. About a billion people speak English, so we can talk to a lot more people – which is lucky for us because we Americans usually only speak English. Unlike us, about half of those billion people who speak English learned it as a second language.

In addition to your produce, you could pick up some language skills at the market. Many of our Hmong farmers speak not only Hmong and some English, but also Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian and French. In fact, one family speaks primarily in French. When I first visited the farm of the Yang family several years ago, their teenage son served as translator as we went through the fields. It slowly dawned on me that I could understand some of the conversation between mother and son. No, I had not miraculously learned Hmong, they were speaking in French. In fact, the son is French, having been born in France where the family lived prior to coming to the United States. Ma Yang and her husband Tang are very kind to let me practice my high school French on them whenever we’re at the market. I long ago forgot everything I knew about French verb tenses so I must sound atrocious, but they encourage me.

Since I am blessed with a French daughter-in-law I have picked up a few French phrases that Emmanuelle often uses with my granddaughter Madeleine, but I’m not sure how useful “walk, walk!”, “open your mouth” and “don’t spit” are going to be in other settings. The Yangs are helping me expand to “Good day”, “how are you?” and “is that zucchini?”.

It should be a good morning or bon jour today at the market. In previous years, the forecast of rain could mean a very slow market day, but I am confident that our vendors and customers will come out in force and rejoice in the rain. Granny Shaffer’s at the Market is serving ham, scalloped potatoes, a veggie side, peach crisp and a drink for $6. The Loose Notes are playing. Today is the last day for Lady Abigail’s Bakery. Abigail has taken on a full time job elsewhere. Hazel’s Bakery will be adding Tuesdays and Fridays to their Saturday schedule starting September 11th.

Tomorrow, the Webb City Choir Boosters are serving breakfast from 9 to 11. Center Creek Bluegrass is playing.

On Tuesday, Bill Adkins is slated to play, but he’s under the weather, so watch our facebook page in case that changes. Granny Shaffer’s at the Market will have hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken salad sandwiches and chef salad. Tom Rhodes will be our only baker, so if you want baked sweets, load up today and tomorrow. Carolyn Smith will be at our good-for-you cooking demonstration table with Creole Okra.

Next Saturday is our annual Arts in the Park day so we’re pulling out all the stops with three musical groups – at 9 am, Rob and Drew Pommert play, at 10 the Suzuki String Academy plays and at 11 Heartland Opera brings family friendly versions of songs from their Hot Scandals show playing next Friday and Saturday night at the Route 66 Civic Center.

See you at the market!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Webb City Sentinel Column - 8/24/12

I have to admit that right this minute, as I sit on a ship on the Danube listening to a concert of arias, the farmers market could seem remote. But though a long way away, the market’s people and products are not really far from my mind. And, too, food is always of interest to me.

My husband Phil who ramrods the Saturday breakfast emails me that the CP Center volunteers did a fabulous job preparing and serving breakfast last week and that they were wonderfully supported by the community. I hope for the same results tomorrow when the high school band boosters do breakfast. Now that school is back in session, we really need our customers and friends to come out on Saturdays. This becomes even more important as the September festivals approach. No matter what your plans, I bet you can fit in breakfast at the market. Enjoy some lovely music, fresh local produce, new – or old - friends and have a great start to the weekend and create some wonderful memories for your children or grandchildren – and yourself.

A friend told me last month that his granddaughter made her annual visit recently and spotted his cloth shopping bag. Are we going to the market? He had used the bag when he took her to the market last summer. Who says kids don’t enjoy simple pleasures?
Actually we all enjoy such pleasures, regardless of age. I was surprised recently when volunteer Rick Ford shared with me some photos he’d taken at a Saturday market. One showed a view of a crowd of our Saturday shoppers. There were a few seniors like me, as well as teens and children, but most were young and mid-aged adults. When we opened 13 years ago, 80 percent of our customers were older than me. As I’ve aged, the customers have become younger! Now we run the gamut which is wonderful because not only does variety add spice to the market, but it also bodes well for our future. Now we just need to acquire more young farmers.

Sad to say, we are losing one of our younger farmers – Hector Troyer who, with his family, is moving to the Stockton area to run a home for troubled teens. This will be his last season with us for at least two years. He and Lois will be wonderful mentors for the teens but we are sure going to miss them.

Should you know of anyone interested in learning to farm, young or old, stop by the information table. We can hook them up with training or possibly even an internship opportunity.

Granny Shaffer’s at the Market is serving beef and noodles today with potatoes and gravy, drink and dessert for $6. They’ll also have chef salad. Gospel Strings performs.

Tomorrow as I said earlier the band boosters serve breakfast. Red Bridge plays. Trish Reed will demonstrate how to pickle okra.

Tuesday, Granny Shaffer’s will serve hot dogs, hamburgers, chef salad and chicken salad sandwiches. Erik Brown and the Flatlanders perform. Carolyn Smith demonstrates a grain salad chock full of veggies - Southwestern Quinoa Salad.

Here’s a bit of serendipity. My traveling companion Joan Letsinger and I arrived after dark last week into our hotel in Prague. It faced a long narrow central park. Imagine my delight when the next morning we stepped out of the building to find a small open air market right at our front door. A couple of produce stands, a couple of bakers, others selling wine, olives and olive oils, a few crafts. The produce at European markets looks perfect and is beautifully displayed, but you can tell by the variety that it is not all coming from one farm and it’s pretty obvious that the seller hasn’t grown any of it. They just buy it, display it and sell it. They are not producer-only markets like we often have in the US. The big give-away is the smell or rather the lack of smell. At our market, smells fill the pavilion – peaches and melons, especially, but also the herbs and the roasting peppers. So soak up the market this weekend and next Tuesday with all your senses – and enjoy being in Webb City where your food comes straight from the hands that grew it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Webb City Sentinel column - 8-18-12

The cooler weather has been a welcome break for all of us, especially for our farmers. You can imagine the stress of working every day outside in the July heat and the reduced rewards it produced in terms of production and extra work it created in irrigating. Unfortunately, it’s a rare farmer around here that can simply turn on the pump. For most, limited water means watering the crops in sections. At least one of my farmers can only water at night because their residential well cannot keep up with household needs and field needs at the same time so they end up working day and night. And, almost all our farmers have to make choices – like do I keep the blackberry bushes alive or the tomato plants alive, or do I keep the tomatoes alive or the squash alive.

The prospects are looking brighter for several of our market farmers, including the one irrigating off his residential well, because they are drilling new wells funded in part by the Governor’s emergency drought order. At least four of our farmers are drilling wells that will salvage their summer crops and enable them to produce a fall crop. I still have at least four more farmers that also need more reliable water. One of them is watering from her residential well which is located a good quarter mile from her 4 acres of crops. Every time I visit, her van’s cargo space is loaded with gallon milk jugs filled with water that she rations out to her plantings. Imagine trying to keep four acres alive that way. It’s just not possible.

In the 13 years the market has been open, we’ve had one really wonderful season when the temperatures and rainfall were perfect all summer. We’ve had three brutal summers, with the worst being this year and last. If these brutal years are our new normal, improved water sources and improved watering systems are the only way we can hope to have local produce during the summer. My farmers are already well on their way to improved watering systems. None use overhead watering anymore. All have switched to drip irrigation which uses much less water. Now many still need wells or ponds to supply that water and thanks to the governor’s program, we’re four farms closer to securing our supply of local produce. Here’s hoping for the other four farms.

Another positive funding experience we’ve had this year has been our grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health. MFFH was created when Blue Cross/Blue Shield converted from a nonprofit to a for-profit company. They were not allowed to take their “profits” into the new company so they created a foundation that promotes better health in Missouri. Last year Freeman Hospital received a grant from them that helped them start their farmers markets in Joplin and Neosho. This year, we received a small grant that has allowed us to have cooking demonstrations on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The demonstrations have been very well received and, hopefully, have taught folks ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diets. That's one of our demonstrators, nutritionist Susan Pittman, in the photo. We hope, of course, that we get to team with MFFH on many other projects in the future.

I was checking out at a grocery store last week, getting some balsamic vinegar for one of the demonstrations, when the cashier asked “why is it that Webb City’s market has so much going on?” I think there are lots of reasons. Our volunteers are essential for many of the things we do, as are our vendors. Our vendors don’t just set up and sell. They set up, and then help each other or the volunteers. For example, the Lee family who sell at the north end of the pavilion always take down and stow our market umbrellas at the end of market. Seems like a small enough task, but after a long day of working in 100+ degrees, it takes commitment to take on another hot task. Robin Green of Green’s Greenhouse always wipes off our tables and benches before market. And, of course, our farmers are key in our educational efforts, whether it’s the Kids Community Garden or the annual Food Safety workshop. The fact that the media is generous in their coverage and the Sentinel generous in their ads allows us to spread the word about all the activities and what’s in season. And finally, those grants make a huge difference – whether they’re for education like the USDA specialty crops grants that we’ve received three years running (and we’re pretty sure we’re in line for another one this year that will bring a major conference on Winter Produce Production to Webb City), or the Missouri Arts Council grant that has helped fund our music for 10 years or our Ball Jar grant that allows us to introduce folks to food preservation or the MFFH grant will provides our cooking demonstrations. Yes, there’s a lot going on at the market.

Our Webb City folks will be particularly interested in next Tuesday’s cooking demonstration because it is the debut of Carolyn Smith at the market. Carolyn was the Family and Consumer Science instructor at Webb City High School prior to her retirement. She will demonstrate healthy lunches that can be packed for school or work.

Today, Granny Shaffer’s at the Market is frying up catfish right at the market and serving it with fried potatoes and onions, coleslaw, green tomato relish, dessert and drink for $6. Jack and Lee Ann Sours play traditional music.

Tomorrow, we’re in for a treat when one of our area’s premier blue grass groups, No Apparent Reason, plays at the market. Not only will they put on a great show, but they are donating their fee from the market to Cooking for a Cause. The Saturday breakfast will benefit the CP Center here in Webb City. Breakfast, biscuits and gravy, sausage, fried or scrambled eggs, farm fresh tomatoes and drinks are served from 9 to 11.

Nutritionist Theresa Dohm demonstrates a good-for-you recipe tomorrow.

It’s another great weekend at the market. Don’t miss it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Webb City Sentinel column - 8-10-12

It’s National Farmers Market Week but it’s a typical week in Webb City because we celebrate every week. For example, today we have Center Creek Bluegrass playing, plus a bonus - Sadie’s Dollar, a young local group, will play while the Center Creek players take a break for lunch. And they’ll certainly take a break because Granny Shaffer’s at the Market is serving their famous fried chicken, with potato salad, three-bean salad, drink and dessert. And that’s not all folks, because Jon Skinner, urban forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation, will be at the market to diagnosis bug and disease problems and advise you on late summer tree care and fall tree planting. Plus we’ll have our healthy recipes and food preservation table set up as we do at every market loaded with recipes and all sorts of canning goodies like labels, recipe booklets and coupons.

Tomorrow may be even more fun than today because nutritionist Susan Pittman will demonstrate Rigatoni with Grilled Vegetables. (That's Bob Foos demonstrating making Pesto last Tuesday.) Drew Pommert will play his guitar and sing. The streetcar will give free rides from 9 to 11. The Joplin Exchange Club will serve breakfast of biscuits and gravy, sausage, eggs, farm fresh tomatoes. All profits go to Healing the Family Counseling Center, a non-profit that works to build stronger families and prevent child abuse. Other non-profits at the market tomorrow include The Forget-Me-Not team raising funds for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. They’ll have homebaked cookies for sale, as well as cold sodas and water, handcrafted flower clips and hair bows and insulated drink cups which can be personalized with the owner’s name. The A.D.K. Teacher Sorority will sell cardinal door stops to benefit Children’s Haven and the Children’s Center.

So you can see, every market is special – we don’t need a farmers market week for an excuse. However, our market is definitely part of the national celebration. The Farmers Market Coalition, which is the national organization of markets, sends out a press release every day during the national week. Each release centers on a different aspect of markets and is illustrated by the relevant activities of five markets nationwide. On Wednesday, Webb City was recognized for our mentoring program, improving farming skills. On Thursday we were recognized for our gleaning program, specifically all the produce our farmers donated last year that fed hundreds of volunteers working in the tornado fields.

Our mentoring program has garnered national attention several times. We are really fortunate to have both farmers and extension folks dedicated to improving the success of our market’s farmers. For example, on Monday I drove down to a farm in Anderson that needs a well. I had with me a very experienced farmer, plus two Extension consultants. (That's Ed Browning,left, Extension Ag Engineer Specialist, with our farmer.) I was there for transportation, organization and as “cultural attaché”. I don’t speak Hmong but I have worked with our Hmong farmers enough that I’m pretty good at asking the right questions and insisting on answers. (The Hmong are incredibly polite. If they don’t understand something, they’ll rarely indicate that, not wanting to inconvenience you. So I keep asking questions until I’m sure everyone is on the same page.) Two hours later, plans were in place. And in two weeks, the well will be too.

On the gleaning front, my farmers are continuing their tradition of generosity by donating produce at the end of every Tuesday market. And they are not alone, our customers are dropping by items and our bakers also make donations.

So Tuesday, if you’d like to give something to Crosslines, just drop it off at the information desk and we’ll pass it on when the truck arrives at 1.

We also have good-for-you recipes demonstrated on Tuesdays. Last week, Bob Foos demonstrated pesto and then market intern Lindsey Rollins used the pesto to make Grilled Eggplant and Tomato Stacks. Both recipes are easy, tasty and printed below.

Rob Pommert plays for the last time this Tuesday. He’s headed back to teach guitar at OCC. (But never fear, we have other musicians lined up to finish out the Tuesday season which will probably be September 25th.) Granny Shaffer’s at the market will have their chicken salad sandwiches, freshly grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and chef salads. And on every market day we’ll have lots of produce, baked goods, honey and other goodies.

Many of the ingredients of the recipes below are available at the market. These and other good-for-you recipes can be found at the market and at

Bob Foo’s Pesto recipe

Darryl Alton introduced us to Pesto Genovese during the Webb City Farmers Market Pesto Festo! in 2005, I've been growing my own basil and making it every year since. You can make it in a food processor, but I prefer a mortar and pestle. Make several batches, freeze them in an ice cube tray for use throughout the year. I love it just melted in bow tie pasta.

4-6 cloves garlic
16 large leaves of basil
2 sprigs of parsley
6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, walnuts or pecans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 or 2 allspice berries
1/2 cup olive oil

Pound garlic and salt together until thoroughly mashed. Add nuts and allspice berries and pound until smooth. Add basil, parsley and cheese, pounding until smooth. Put in a bowl and slowly add olive oil while stirring constantly. Stir until smooth. Use immediately or store in a jar topped by a thin layer of olive oil placed in the refrigerator.

Grilled Eggplant and Tomato Stacks

You can grill the eggplant rounds up to a day in advance, then assemble the eggplant, tomato and mozzarella “stacks” at the last minute. To make the eggplant and tomato stacks look symmetrical, use eggplant and tomatoes with approximately the same diameter.

Makes 6 servings

2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium eggplant (3/4-1 pound), cut into 6 rounds about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
6 teaspoons prepared pesto
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, each cut into 3 slices about 3/4 inch thick
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 6 thin slices
6 fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat grill to medium-high or place a grill pan over medium-high heat until hot.

Use 2 teaspoons oil to brush both sides of eggplant slices; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Grill the eggplant slices for 5 minutes. Turn; continue grilling until tender and marked with grill lines, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a large platter.

Spread each eggplant slice with 1 teaspoon pesto. Top with a slice of tomato, a slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf.

Drizzle vinegar and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over the towers; sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Webb City Sentinel Column 8-3-12

As we’ve watched our home gardens wither and blow away, I expect many in our area think there is no local produce at the farmers market. But actually we’re still overflowing with a wide variety of produce.

The Kids Community Garden, sponsored by the market on school grounds just east of the middle school, tells us why.

Our honey vendor tilled a large unplanted section of the garden Tuesday after market (in 100+ degree weather) and mentors Tim Green and Dale Mermoud worked with the young gardeners raking out the weeds. There were lots of tilled-up weeds because we’d been using sprinklers which “rain” on the planted and the unplanted ground. Those weed seeds were just laying in the fallow ground waiting for some moisture. We’ve since switched to soaker hoses that only water the crop rows.

It seemed like the kids were ankle-deep in dust as they raked. The soil is so dry. But upon closer inspection of the rest of the garden, we found the crops growing well. The kids picked five quart boxes of tomatoes. The okra and sweet potato plants look great even though they haven’t been watered in a couple of weeks. With a weekly watering the green bean, bell pepper and squash plants look good too. (The rows are mulched with straw to keep the weeds down and to retain moisture.)

We have found the same situation on our farms that have irrigation. Despite the heat and drought the crops continue to produce. Most of our farmers have to pick and choose what to water. Their fields are too big and their water supply too limited to water everything even though they use drip-irrigation which is the most efficient method.

The heat-loving, or should I say, the heat-tolerating plants like okra, peppers, melons and egg plant continue to thrive in this hot weather. Many of the other summer crops continue to produce but not at the quantity that we’d see with normal temperatures and some rain.

While cherry tomatoes do not seem to be affected by the heat, regular tomatoes need the night time temperature to drop to the 70 degrees or below for their fruit to set on well. So far, we continue to have a good supply of tomatoes. They are a bit smaller and not as pretty but they sure taste good. In fact, I think the ones we got at the market last week were the best-tasting we’ve ever had at the Nichols-Richardson table.

The market continues to connect our farmers with the expertise to cope with these conditions. Tim Green, of Green’s Greenhouse, is an expert tomato grower. As the market’s board president, he often goes with me to inspect our farms and I always love to have him along because he readily shares his tricks of the trade – like pinning row cover to the west side of tomato rows to reduce sun scald. Tim is one reason our farmers have so much to bring to market despite the weather.

Tim knows, as do most of our growers, that better farmers make for a better market and a better market is good for everyone who sells and shops there.

So what’s happening at the market besides loads of produce? Today we have homemade chicken and noodles for lunch and the Plainsfolk play traditional music.

Tomorrow, nutritionist Theresa Dohm demonstrates Farmers Market Potato Salad. Pick up the recipe and try a sample at her table by the central entrance. The Chert Glades Master Naturalists serve breakfast from 9 to 11. They are a group of volunteers who promote awareness and preservation of natural resources in our area.
Hawthorne plays traditional music and music from the Civil War era.

On Tuesday, our market intern continues our good-for-you recipe program with demonstrations on making Pesto and Grilled Eggplant and Tomato Stacks. Those are both treats you won’t want to miss! But if you do, all our recipes are posted on

Also on Tuesday Rob Pommert will play and Granny Shaffers serves hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken salad sandwiches and chef salads. And don’t forget the Crosslines truck which comes every Tuesday between 1 and 2 pm. Over the last two Tuesdays our farmers have donated over 400 pounds of fresh produce to feed their neighbors in need and several customers have brought by canned goods. Let’s keep it up!

See you at the market where you can eat well and do good, too.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sentinel column - 7/27/12

(That's a photo of Kay McLaughlin "taking" a cookie from an image of her late husband Bill at the mural celebration. See this week's Sentinel for more photos)

We’ve been doing farm visits the last few weeks and, of course, we’re finding the fields and gardens stressed by the heat and drought. Fortunately for those of us who shop at the market, many of our farmers have irrigation and are able to keep their plants alive and producing even in this brutal weather. If you’ve been at the market lately, you may have noticed that the produce is not as pretty as it was a couple of weeks ago, but the taste is still excellent and the abundance is amazing. In fact, our farmers were bringing in so much from their fields that on Tuesdays, our slow day, they were taking way too much home. So much, in fact that steps had to be taken. Of course, I continue to urge our customers to put the market on their to-do list for Tuesdays. We have all the produce that we have on Fridays, but not nearly the crowds, lines or parking challenges. But even with more customers, we still have surplus produce so I contacted Crosslines, our regional food and clothing pantry. Crosslines is supported by about 60 area churches. It is very effective in serving those in need and has checks in place to prevent those who would take advantage from doing so. Folks who get help at Crosslines truly need the help.

Our surplus comes at an opportune time for Crosslines. Demands on their food pantry have almost doubled in the last two years. Most food donations are canned or processed foods, so when I contacted their director about sending a truck to the market on Tuesdays for fresh produce, the answer was quick – when do we start? Last Tuesday a big box truck with the Crosslines logo splashed across it backed up to the market at 1 pm. Farmers had been advised of the gleaning program last week so they were ready with their donations. Box loads of eggplant, squash, zucchini, cucumbers and especially tomatoes appeared until the entire bed of the truck was covered. Crosslines volunteer Mike Tamburrino was thrilled. He said “it would have been worth coming for one of these big boxes of tomatoes, but this is wonderful.”

The Crosslines truck is scheduled to come to the market every Tuesday between 1 and 2 until the surplus dwindles. And the gleaning program is open to everyone. If you’d like to buy something at the market for Crosslines on a Tuesday or bring something from home, you can leave it at the information desk and we’ll load it when the truck arrives. They always welcome fresh fruits and vegetables, canned food, staples, and other products like toilet paper.

Today at the market, Granny Shaffer’s is serving spaghetti red, drink and dessert for $6. Webb City’s own Gospel Strings is performing from 11 to 1.

Saturday, as always, is packed with activities. Trish Reed, who catered the Friday meals for several years and is an experienced canner, will be demonstrating how to make and can salsa and how to can tomatoes. It’s all part of our healthy-eating program to encourage folks to eat more fruits and veggies.

Mark Barger returns to play his Native American flutes.

MSSU’s Educational Talent Search serves our Cooking for a Cause breakfast. This program identifies qualified students, grade 6 through 12, with the potential for success in college and encourages them to complete high school and pursue higher education. The program is sponsoring an all-community service day on Saturday for the students involved. Some will be at the market, while others will visit residents at Spring River Christian Village, work at the Salvation Army Thrift Store or help build a community garden in Joplin. The money raised at the market provides lunch for the kids Saturday and rewards like school supplies for participating. Most of the kids in the program are members of families with very limited resources so school supplies are a strong encouragement to them.

On Tuesday, Rob Pommert plays, Granny Shaffer’s serves lunch and the Crosslines truck will visit. Our market intern Lindsay Rollins will demonstrate a good-for-you recipe at the market cooking table. She did Greek Salad last Tuesday – delicious, cool, refreshing and full of nutrition.

Greek salad

1 sliced cucumber, seeded
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, dices
Pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 pound feta cheese
1/2 cup calamata olives, pitted


2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine cucumber, peppers, tomatoes and onion in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together all vinaigrette ingredients except olive oil. Whisk in olive oil.

Pour vinaigrette over vegetables, add cheese and olives and toss lightly.

Lots of endearing things happen in and around the market. To introduce one that happened this week, I want to quote a column from 2010:

I started my day off right this morning. My friend Carol Ott called to tell me a “Nickyism”. Her son Nicky is a young man with a huge heart but limited mental abilities. Nicky goes to church with many of the market volunteers and we can always count on an enthusiastic hug whenever we see him.

Carol said she always begins the day by asking Nicky what he’d like to do. Tuesday his immediate response was “I need to go to that market.” Carol wasn’t sure what Nicky meant, so she asked what market. “That friendly market where everyone says hi to me.” Do you mean the farmers market? “Yes, I need to go to the friendly farmers market.”

Nicky has been ringing the opening bell for me on Fridays this year and we received the following message from a customer on the market Facebook page in regard to that:

So I was at the market this morning and the young man who gets to ring the bell ran up to me and gave me a big ol’ bear hug. It took me by surprise, I was not expecting that at all....but I have to say it made my day!!! I didn't even care that we were both sweating bullets. He was so excited to ring the bell and I just wish we could all have that zest for life!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Webb City Sentinel Column 7-20-12

Choices – there’s lots of them at the market. Not only choices in selecting the vendor you patronize and in which type of product you buy, but choices in varieties. It’s cantaloupe season at the market and there are at least three varieties available – the perennial favorite – Athena, and two new melons, Sophie’s Choice and a French melon. I’ve only tried the latter so far, but it was delicious. In fact, my husband Phil said it was as close to a perfect melon as he’d ever tasted.

Choice is one of the market’s strengths because those three melons represent the offerings of just two farms out of several growing melons. Of course, we have even more choices when it comes to tomatoes. I think there were over 20 varieties when I last counted, from cherries to 2 pound giants, and from hybrids to heirlooms. (Love this photo that volunteer Rick Ford took of one of our customers selecting tomatoes)

We’ve been seeing lots of canners – tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini – going out of the market. Last week, Fairhaven offered Brandywine Pinks for canning. Now, that’s a rare opportunity to get an heirloom at bulk rates. I’ve been told that the Pinks make a wonderful juice.

Canners are typically less than perfect produce, what you might call ugly, but perfect in freshness and in taste. And, as one of my farmers said to me in June, the more abundant the harvest, the better the canners get. Currently the harvest is extremely abundant so you can expect some good-looking canners.

All this is a nice change from last year when the harvest was so lean that our farmers didn’t have any surplus, and frankly, pretty much everything was ugly. That made it tough to succeed with our food preservation education program funded by Jarden, the makers of Ball and Kerr. We had the requisite number of canning demonstrations, but nothing for folks to can.

This year, after receiving the grant again, we’ve doubled our demonstrations and the interest created among our customers has resulted in lots of sales for our farmers, as well as a lot of local produce being put up for winter use. My favorite canning story thus far was from a customer who stopped by to say that his mentally challenged son had thoroughly enjoyed putting up pickles this summer after learning how at the market. I expect he’ll enjoy serving and eating them this winter even more.

Tomorrow, Susan Pittman, one of our market nutritionists, will demonstrate peach freezer jam, both regular and sugar-free. It’s super easy and, with local peaches, bound to be delicious, but that you can check for yourself because she will have samples. Our market intern, Lindsay Rollins, will be testing pressure cooker gauges as well so bring your gauge if you would like it checked. The tester will be available at every market through September.

We’ll also have an information table from George Washington Carver National Monument. You may think only of peanuts when you think of Carver, but he was very strong on tomatoes as well, writing many pamphlets exploring a multitude of uses for tomatoes.

In his pamphlet, How to Grow the Tomato and 115 Ways to Prepare it for the Table, Professor Carver not only has the 115 recipes but also detailed instructions on growing and storing tomatoes. I’ve reprinted one of his recipes below. It doesn’t exactly fit our good-for-you recipe category, but I expect you could substitute Splenda for the sugar and reduce the calories considerably. Just remember that Splenda substitutes for sugar by the cup, not by the pound.


7 pounds green tomatoes
4 pounds sugar
1 pound of seeded raisins
3 quarts vinegar
Cinnamon, spice, ginger, and cloves to taste

Cut the tomatoes in 1/2 inch slices, and soak for 24 hours in a water bucket of cold water, in which is 3/4 of a pint of lime; then soak in cold water for two hours or until there is no taste of the lime. Drain thoroughly, add to the vinegar and spices, boil in the syrup two hours, seal in well sterilized glass jars.

Another special activity tomorrow is a demonstration hive from Amos Apiaries. The hive is sealed so there’s no risk of stings but the glass panels allow an intriguing look into the workings of bees.

The ever-popular Granny Chicks perform tomorrow. The breakfast, which is served until 11, benefits NALA, which teaches reading and math skills to adults and English to immigrants.

Today, Granny Shaffer’s at the Market serves chicken enchilada, beans and rice, dessert and drink for $6. It is a very substantial meal. The Sours play traditional music.

Tomorrow night we celebrate the market’s community mural. We begin at 7:30 with a very little bit of speechifying and then enjoy the music of Center Creek Bluegrass and look at those busy bees in the Amos demonstration hive again while we all munch on some market treats. Hazel’s Bakery is bringing cookies in honor of Bill McLaughlin. Bill is the only officially identifiable person in the mural, although it’s easy to spot others who were used as models by the artists.

Bill was the cookie baker at Hazel’s and husband to pie baker Kay. He was known for his ready smile and propensity for giving every child who came by their table a free cookie. That’s what he’s doing in the mural.

So come eat a cookie in Bill’s memory and celebrate the mural and the market. Art and the market go together like tomato and basil.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Webb City Sentinel column - 7-13-12

And the tomato contest winners are –

Best Red Tomato – Fairhaven Berry and Produce, Harwood, Mo

Best Other Color Tomato (in this case, yellow) – Green’s Greenhouse and Gardens, Galena, Ks

Best Small Tomato (the chocolate cherry won for the second year in a row) – Fairhaven again!

Heaviest Tomato, weighing in at 2.35 pounds – Frederickson Farms, Carl Junction
Weirdest Tomato – Fairhaven one more time.

Fairhaven wins Weirdest every year because Carrole Palmer takes her contests very seriously. She always keeps an eye out for a curious tomato with a “face” and decks it out with a little straw hat or some other prop that makes it stand out. The Weirdest Tomato contest is always customers’ choice and this year Carrole’s tomato won every single vote.

Our thanks to judges Mike Wiggins of Granny Shaffer’s, Chef Scott Teal of the Holiday Inn and tomato connoisseur Bill Perry. (that's Bill on the left, Scott on the right.)

Now that Tomato Day and 4th of July are over we can get back to our every day routine at the market. Routines like William Adkins playing and singing easy listening favorites along with his original songs today. Bill has only been playing the guitar for about four years but sounds like he was born with one in his hands. Lunch today is ham and beans with fried potatoes, cornbread, drink and dessert for $6. As always, Granny Shaffer’s will also have chef salad and slices of pie available.

The main event today will be the crowd. We’re expecting a big one with the Globe food feature Wednesday on Lady Abigail’s pies and with a cooking segment on KOAM yesterday featuring peaches. I made John Pate promise to bring me LOADS of peaches this weekend before I was willing to even mention the word “peaches” on air.

So I expect it to be very busy for the first half hour of market today. After that hopefully the parking and the crowds will ease.

Tomorrow has even more going on, beginning with free streetcar rides from 9 to 11. Be sure to say thanks to the driver and conductor. They are volunteers and have put in an enormous amount of effort in bringing this delightful Webb City treasure to life.

Trish Reed, who catered the Friday meals last year, will demonstrate how to make and preserve pickles. She’ll also have samples of that cool summer dish, cucumber and onions. The reason for two dishes is that the food code doesn’t allow us to give samples to the public of privately made pickles. Training at a special school and a canning permit is required. But we could hardly have a cooking demo without samples, so we’ll have a related dish that we can sample legally.

Tomorrow is also our Art Market and the Joplin Business Women will be on hand selling their all metal knives and spatulas. I loaded up on them last time they came. Don’t tell anyone, but all my nieces and nephews are getting knives and spatulas for Christmas this year. How great is that – already done with some of my shopping!

Center Creek Bluegrass will play tomorrow and while they take their break Sadie’s Dollar will make their market debut. This young foursome sings gospel and contemporary pieces. Center Creek is generously providing their sound system along with guidance. It rather mirrors the market’s attitude as a whole.

We encourage mentoring. The market has partnered with our most experienced and successful growers and with Extension for over five years in training our less experienced farmers in best agricultural practices. Last year on farm visits I began to see many farms incorporating the training into their fields. But this year has been even better. Last week our inspection team visited three farms and saw, for the very first time, drip irrigation in action on those farms. Previously they either had no water in the fields or were trying to use small sprinklers. In the summers we’ve been having lately, the former was a disaster and the latter was extremely inefficient and ineffective. An added disadvantage is that getting the plant wet can lead to increased pest problems. It’s far better to water the root zone.

At all three farms, we saw high value crops looking remarkably good despite the drought and high temperatures.

There’s plenty more training to be done and we’re already working on this winter’s program, but it was wonderful to see everyone’s efforts bearing fruit.

Another market project, the mural, is bearing fruit downtown at the intersection of Broadway and Main. The market mural celebration will be Saturday, July 21, at 7:30 pm. Center Creek Bluegrass will play. Refreshments will include cookies like those Bill McLaughlin enjoyed sharing with children when he was at the market. Bill is the only officially recognizable figure in the mural. Kyle McKenzie, our lead artist, actually used photos provided by the family to capture his profile. All the other figures are supposed to be generic, although the bee keeper is a dead give-away and a couple of others are pretty easy to spot.

Kyle has been given a hard time by some because he didn’t include me in the mural. I told him not to, but have since reconsidered. I’m claiming one of the bees as my image because I like to stay busy. Be sure and bring your camera to the celebration and capture your image “in” the market.

Tuesday we’ll have our usual menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken salad sandwiches and chef salads. Rob Pommert will play. Vickie Fuller, culinary arts instructor at Monette, will demonstrate a good-for-you recipe on Tuesday.

If all these things don’t tempt you to come to the market, let me just mention – the melons are in!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Webb City Sentinel column - 7-6-12

Summer always seems to race by, but never so much as this year. In the past we have celebrated tomatoes at the end of July when we are overflowing with them. This year, that would be this week, a full two weeks early. Even the heirlooms, always the last to harvest, are coming in by the basketful.

All of which means that Tomato Day is tomorrow. Entries should be turned in at the information table between 8:30 and 9 am tomorrow. Winners will be announced at 10:30 and displayed until 11:30. Bring 2 tomatoes each to enter the Best Red and Best Other Color categories, and bring four for the Best Small category. Only one tomato is required for each entry in the Largest/Heaviest and the Weirdest tomato categories. Props are allowed in the Weirdest category. Market tokens are awarded as prizes.

Tomatoes will also be the star at the cooking demonstration table. Susan Pittman, diabetes educator, will demonstrate Cucumber, Tomato and Red Onion Salad throughout the morning. Visitors can sample the salad and another dish, Fire & Ice Tomatoes, as well as a few of the tomatoes at the market.

As always, we have many varieties for sale at the market, the perfectly red and round hybrids, the colorful and many-sized heirlooms, and for the first time, a mix of the two. Tim Green of Green’s Greenhouse planted a brand new variety that is purported to have the look and taste of an heirloom Brandywine, but the reliability and productiveness of a hybrid Better Boy. Tim wasn’t too sure about it initially. He loves the perfection of the hybrid and was put off by the shape and look of this new tomato. It’s big and lumpy and a kind of pinkish color. But we did a taste test and it passed with flying colors. Look for it in the contests. I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t place well.

Another reason we moved up Tomato Day is that we don’t know what the future holds. My farmers tell me that the tomatoes are still setting fruit but if the heat continues we may see a substantial drop off in supply by the end of July. In the meantime, we have farmers selling canning tomatoes by the box, especially on Tuesdays when sales are a bit slow compared to Friday or Saturday. Just ask at your favorite stand if they’re selling in bulk. They may have it right then and there or they may take an order for pick-up at a later market.

If you’re looking to do major canning in the fall, see if your farmer won’t plant you a couple of rows of beets, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers or whatever you fancy for fall harvest.

Don’t know how to can? Next Saturday, Trish Reed will be demonstrating pickling at the cooking table. She’ll also have dill mix samples, coupons and recipes to get you started in food preservation.

Tuesday was a challenging but good day. As always, it was a banner day being the day before Independence Day. Lots of people were eating fresh for the Fourth. In fact, well over a thousand. But there were some down moments, like when an obstacle was thrown in front of me that a little cooperation would have eliminated, but that cooperation was not forthcoming. After some gnashing of teeth I called on a friend who is a real problem-solver. Problem solved. Then I noticed that the market’s hose and hose reel had been stolen. Really, we knew it was bound to happen someday and should perhaps be thankful that it stayed in place by the market’s hydrant for more than three years. Guess I’ll have to get a reel that can be rolled into the storage shed after the floor is power-washed.

But for every down moment there always seems to be a high one. Saturday we mistakenly charged someone 20 cents instead of $20 for tokens. I didn’t know the lady, but found her address and dropped her a note. The next market she came by and paid the difference though she was under no legal obligation to do so. She is so much more typical of our community than the person who stole the hose.

We had a young helper at one of our farm stands pass out in the heat a week ago. By the time I got back from the cook shack with ice, cold water and a towel, one of our customers who was clearly a nurse had taken over and stayed with the young woman until she recovered. The nurse left without my even getting a chance to say thank you, so if you’re reading this “Thank you SO much.”

Friday I had a mix-up with scheduling the streetcar for visiting school children. In a panic I called the streetcar volunteers and before the children had even finished their scavenger hunt in the market, Jim Dawson and Lee Englert had the car ready to go.

Tuesday De Hunt, our Friday volunteer cart driver, appeared. He realized that it would be a busy day and perhaps his services would be needed though we don’t usually run the cart on Tuesdays. Forty-two passengers and one dog later, De had also made four trips hauling just produce.

Tuesday, another unexpected volunteer, Janet Taylor, appeared. We are so lucky to have such a competent and cheerful volunteer. She will be running the tomato contests for us on tomorrow. Frankly, I think she could take on any project we throw at her.

And on Tuesday a young man came to the market hoping for some kind of work helping one of the vendors load their trucks. No such work is available, but I talked to a vendor who has quite a few people working for him. He agreed to talk to the young man who left with a smile after their visit. I don’t know whether he had a job or just good advice, but whatever he received, it was apparently what he needed.
I am so fortunate in the people I meet and work with at the market. It confirms my faith in the goodness of people.

Today we have the horticulturists with University of Missouri and Lincoln University at the market to give advice on garden and lawn problems. The Sours will play traditional music.

Granny Shaffers at the Market serves home-style chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, bread, dessert & drink for $6. There is also chef salad and a drink for $6.

Tomorrow, the Green Earth Band plays. Be sure to ask them to play “The Market Song” written especially for our market. It is just one more example of an unexpected lovely gift.

Breakfast benefits the college scholarships that PEO awards.

Next Tuesday, we have our usual hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken salad sandwiches and chef salads. Rob Pommert plays.

We’ll see you at the market.