Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sentinel column - 8-16-13

I’m calling it a weekend of peaches and peppers at the market. Peaches because we’re loaded with them. Ripe, run-down-your-chin juicy peaches. So many that a few boxes of peaches have actually gone back to the orchard a couple of market days. Now, folks, we can’t have that!  Avoid the peach line and buy a half hour after opening or if this last week holds true, buy two hours after opening. There are unprecedented quantities of peaches at the market so be sure to stock up for winter. Pre-order 1/2 bushels from Pate’s Orchard by calling 417 276-3297.

But it’s not just peaches you’ll want because Broken Wire will be at the market Friday and, for the first time this season, on Saturday with their specialty peppers and pepper roaster. We want you to know how good those smoky roasted peppers are, so our Market Lady Carolyn Smith will be demonstrating and sampling a dish tomorrow featuring them, Spicy White Bean and Roasted Pepper Dip.

As the ad on late night TV says “but wait, there’s more!”  The sweet corn is back. After a lull of more than a week, at least two of our farmers, Fair Haven and Brakers, are harvesting corn and Harmony Hills shouldn’t be too far behind. And there’s melon, both seedless and seeded watermelon and several varieties of cantaloupe, including French melons. And we seem to be getting a better supply of tomatoes which, if the rain holds off for a while, should increase next week as well.

Other tidbits of information –

Harmony Hill has added soft serve ice cream to their offerings, but the price is $1.75, not $1.50 as I previously noted. Paul Jackson, who is one of the most careful shoppers I know, declared it worth the price both for flavor and the generous quantity. Give it a try.

The Webb City Police Department came through for the market – again. Someone left their smart phone at the market Saturday. The owner called the WCPD hoping it had been turned in. Tiffany Landes who took the call at the department had seen our facebook posting about a lost smart phone and directed the owner to us. The smart phone was back in the right hands just 24 hours after it was lost.

Winners of the Tomato Contest:  A hybrid tomato with the lyrical name of "BHN964" grown by Fredrickson Farms was judged the Best Red Tomato; an heirloom called Brandywine Pink grown by Fair Haven Gardens won Best Other Color Tomato; the Heaviest tomato - weighing 1.4 pounds – was an heirloom called Ponderosa Pink grown by Fair Haven; and the Weirdest was a tomato with "dred locks" grown by Barb Pate of Pate's Orchard.

Our thanks to Mike Wiggins of Granny Shaffers, Sean Flanagan of Wilder’s Steakhouse, Jason Miller of Instant Karma Restaurant and the Eagle Drive-In and Frank Reiter of Joplin, local foodie and blogger of “Frank About Food” for judging the tomatoes.

Another contest was going on last weekend at the State Fair. Our goat cheese makers, Leslie and Doug Million of Terrell Creek, missed last Friday’s market so they could enter their cheeses in the state fair contests. Pretty good call on their part. Every cheese they entered won a blue ribbon and their Feta won “Best in Show”. That means it was judged the best of the entire dairy category, better than any cheese, butter, milk or ice cream entered. Even Leslie was surprised that they beat ice cream!  Leslie will be at the market today with their prize-winning cheese. Don’t miss it.  (photo - some of the kids - taken during a farm inspection at Terrell Creek this week)

School started this week and typically that dramatically reduces the number of customers at the market.
At the market today, Granny Shaffers at the Market serves lunch including home-style chicken and noodles, chicken salad sandwiches and a fruit plate. The Granny Chicks perform.

Tomorrow The Green Earth Band performs. Breakfast benefits The Make a Wish Foundation. The Webb Chapter #204 Order of the Eastern Star provides volunteers to prepare and serve the breakfast of biscuits and gravy, sausage and farm fresh eggs.

Tuesday will be the true test of our customers. Will they come out in force even though school is back in session or will be have bins of left-over produce. Our farmers are always willing to share with those in need, and in fact, donate left-over produce every Tuesday afternoon to Crosslines, our regional food pantry, but let’s make sure they sell enough to stay in the farming business. Bring a friend, tell your neighbors, announce it at church. The market is still open!  See you there. Tuesday and Friday from 11 to 2 and Saturday from 9 to noon.