Thursday, June 27, 2013

Webb City Sentinel market column - 6-28-13

Fasten your seat belt, we’re going into the busiest time of the year for the market. Hopefully it won’t be a “bumpy ride” to misquote Bette Davis (she actually said “it’s going to be a bumpy night” as the character Margo Channing in the 1950 movie All About Eve), but it will be memorable – at least for me.

The week of the Fourth of July is always our biggest of the year, especially if the sweet corn and field tomatoes are in, which I’m not expecting this year. Sadly, all the crops are running a couple of weeks late due to the cool wet spring, so though I have a couple of farms hoping for sweet corn by the Fourth, it won’t be nearly enough, nor will we have enough tomatoes for all the barbecues slated for the Fourth. But we’ll be getting a better supply all the time and maybe by the end of the week we’ll come closer to meeting demand.
Several years ago I was apologizing to a customer about the difficult parking and crowded conditions at the market and said “you should have been here on the day before the Fourth of July, it was a zoo.”  The young woman gave me a high five and said “I was here!  It was awesome!”

So, hold that attitude. It’s going to be awesome next week.

(At left - The Honey Bear is aglow with excitement - the pear and cherry field tomatoes are in season!)

We’ll be open all our usual days – Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, and we’re adding Wednesday, July 3, for our Holiday Market. We’ll be open from 11 to 2 Wednesday. William Adkins will play and Eden Bakery-Café will serve lunch. They specialize in local ingredients and that means much of what they serve comes from our farmers.  Here’s the menu for Wednesday:

Chicken salad sandwich
Chicken salad served on a bed of spring mixed greens (gluten free)
Italian Pasta Salad (vegan)
Each is served with a choice of chips or drink for $6
Cranberry pecan spinach salad - $4

The quality and amount of produce our farmers bring to the market continually amazes me. I often see their plants in the field when they’ve just sprouted. Doesn’t look like much. Then I’ll return two months later and the fields are overflowing with produce. Talk about awesome. You’ve seen the market version of that awesomeness.  Tables loaded with fresh produce – the carrots have been impressive this year  I’ve seen them piled over two feet high on the tables. Talk about abundance.

Folks were really excited about our newest vendor last Friday – Terrell Creek. They make artisan goat cheese. Their display is set up so you can sample each variety before purchase. I guess folks liked what they sampled because Terrell Creek only had three small containers of cheese left at the end of market. Were they pleased?  You bet. Can we talk them into coming on Saturdays too?  We’re working on it.

Gospel Strings plays today and Granny Shaffers serves lunch.

Tomorrow the Red Bridge Trio plays bluegrass and gospel. This high-energy group only plays about three times each year at the market so you won’t want to miss them. They’re based in Ozark.

Heartland Opera Theatre serves breakfast tomorrow. They have two fun events scheduled for their coming season – Paggliacci, one of the world’s favorite operas, to be performed on October 11 and 13 at MSSU’s Taylor and A Most Ingenious Paradox, which showcases favorite songs from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, performed April 25 at MSSU’s Corely. I’m getting tickets for that one as soon as they’re available. It’s a small venue and what’s more fun than music from The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance?  Many years ago I went with my teenage daughters and a friend to a Pirates of Penzance performance at the Foley Theater in Washington DC. My friend, who is much more literate than I am, quietly and joyfully sang along with the performers throughout the performance. The girls were mortified. I thought it was fun and wished I had the wits to do the same. 

The Webb City Athletic Booster Club will be at the market tomorrow. They’re a member-based support organization for the school’s sports program. They’ll be recruiting new members and selling stadium seats, blankets and other sports related items. I have a feeling everything will be red and have a cardinal on it.

Market Lady Trish Reed will demonstrate and give samples of Cucumber Dill Dip. It’s good with pita chips or spread on crackers and also makes a great filling for stuffed cherry tomatoes. (Yes, the cherry and pear tomatoes are in season now.)

Good news for our Saturday shoppers. Sunny Lane Farm, where Nancy Rasmussen raises pastured chicken and all-natural lamb and beef, is returning to the Saturday market. Nancy is a Friday regular and now will be at the Saturday market twice a month. She’s starting tomorrow.

As always, unless you want something that’s in short supply, try coming half an hour or more after the market opens. The parking will be much easier and the lines much shorter – or non-existent. The market will be more relaxed and you can take your time. Better yet, take your  friends and neighbors with you, bring the kids and grandkids. Come make some good memories while you get the fixin’s for some good meals.