Thursday, May 9, 2013

Webb City Sentinel market column - 5-10-13

Last week reminded me of a Nic Frising cartoon about Missouri weather. Half of the character pictured was dressed in winter clothes, the other half in summer duds. Saturday was the first day ever that I’d looked out from the pavilion during a market and seen snow falling!

Despite the weather, we had a good turnout for the Saturday market. Over 100 children received a free tomato plant grown for us by Green’s Greenhouse and we finished handing out the 400 serviceberry trees that we had ordered from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Hopefully weather is now fading from the conversation and we can talk about other things – like what’s happening at the market this weekend. On both days we’ll be loaded with flowers in pots, planters and baskets. They’re all gorgeous and have been under expert local care from planting to sale.

Be sure to stop by Fairhaven at the south end to admire their handcrafted planters. Filled with colorful flowers, each has its own personality and the prices are quite reasonable. They’re even running a children’s special on Saturday for their smaller planters so kids can buy a gift for Mother’s Day. (But bring a child to make the purchase because the price is only available to children. Life is full of disappointment for us adults. We had several Saturday who would have gladly bought one of the free tomato plants for children but Tim sent them to Frederickson Farms. He was only giving away tomatoes on Saturday. Today his tomato plants will be for sale without regard to age.)

Don’t forget that it’s time to plant your herbs for a summer of culinary delight. Tim Green has some lovely basil plants, while Tami Frederickson and Paul Spangenberg have many, many varieties of herbs. Paul is one of our new vendors, PT Gardens of Nixa. You’ll find him on the south end of the pavilion right across from Fairhaven. They sell their herbs as plants, fresh cut and dried. They also use their herbs in creating a variety of seasoned salts and sugars.

Today, Jon Skinner, the urban forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation, will be at the market. If you have a sickly shrub or tree, bring a sample showing the symptoms (like damaged leaves or insects in a plastic bag) or a photo for him to look at. He can also talk to you about the best trees and shrubs to plant in your yard for the purposes you’re seeking. Want something to attract birds or bees? Jon can help you out. Maybe you want a tree with great fall foliage or one that is very low maintenance or one to plant near utility lines. Come to the market today and get advice that will benefit you for decades. Jon will be in the center of the pavilion on the east side.

Granny Shaffer’s is offering several choices on Fridays. The choices in May include last year’s favorites: homemade chicken and noodles and mashed potatoes for $5 (you can also take home a 3/4 pint of chicken and noodles for $), chicken salad sandwich with a choice of chips or drink for $5, and a strawberry/pecan spinach and feta cheese salad for $6.
The Granny Chicks will play today.

Tomorrow, we’ll be an even better place to get those Mother’s Day gifts because we’ll have all the wonderful plants and planters, plus our artists and seamstresses.

The Carl Junction chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star will serve breakfast until 11. And while you enjoy your biscuits and gravy and farm fresh eggs your pleasure will be doubled by the music of the Green Earth Band.

We are bringing The Market Lady project to the market every Saturday this summer but the market lady will have multiple personalities. We are really pleased that we have four professionals to demonstrate good-for-you seasonal recipes this year: nutritionists Theresa Dohm and Susan Pittman, former Webb City High School family and consumer sciences teacher Carolyn Smith (we used to call that home ec), and caterer Trish Reed.

This Saturday, Theresa Dohm starts us off. She’ll be in the center of the pavilion. Stop by for a sample and a recipe.

On Tuesday, Rob Pommert returns to the market with his gentle singing. Granny Shaffer’s serves lunch. Next Friday, Shon Bishop of Lincoln University Extension and Patrick Byers of University of Missouri Extension will be on hand to answer gardening and growing questions. And next Saturday we have a special treat when Currykorn appears at the market. We can’t normally afford this excellent family group from Columbia that specializes in bluegrass and gospel but we caught them as they return from a concert in Oklahoma.

And, of course, we will have more and more local produce coming in with each market. The lettuce has been fantastic and will be gone once the weather gets hot so load up on it now.

OK, I admit it, I’m still talking about the weather. I guess you just can’t work with farmers without the weather being forefront in the conversation. So here’s to better weather this year. We sure deserve it.