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.