Thursday, August 8, 2013

Webb City Sentinel column - 8-9-13

Well, I’m going to do it – name the fruit which shall not be named – it’s peaches!  And we’re going to have a LOT of them this weekend. 

As I’ve probably told you too many times this summer, everything is running late this year, but it’s finally peach season – almost a month late.  Pate’s Orchard is bringing in two trucks today and hope to bring in two tomorrow.  John thinks he’ll have enough to last the whole market.  I’ll be thrilled if we have peaches for the first two hours because that would mean no need for a long peach line.  Much as I love our peaches – and I do – I’m not a fan of the peach line, especially when it snakes all the way out of the pavilion.  While harvesting is at its peak, I’m hoping that the line stays much shorter or, better yet, that folks will wait until about half an hour after opening to come to market or do their other shopping first so they have no line at all.  

If you need a large quantity of peaches for freezing or jams, you’ll need to pre-order by calling the farm store at 417 276-3297.  And now’s the time to do it while larger quantities are available.

And speaking of quantities, we should have tons of melons this weekend, cantaloupe and watermelon.  We’re expecting the first of the butternut squash as well.  

Walter Brubacker of Harmony Hills, our new farm on the southeast corner of the pavilion, read this column a couple of months ago when I confessed that I would love to have ice cream at the market.  He immediately ordered a soft serve ice cream machine.  It took a while to wade through the state’s permitting procedures but the machine is up and running.  Ice cream by the cup or cone is $1.50.

I guess I need to tell Walter about some of my other wishes – like having my granddaughter a bit closer than Perth, Australia.

I’d also wish for a more consistent supply of some of our favorite produce.  We’ve been shy of sweet corn for a week now.  Three of our farms, Braker, Harmony Hills and Fairhaven, all planted sequentially about 10 days apart and it turns out that the 10 days between plantings on all three are matching.  So don’t give up on us, we should be buried again in sweet corn, hopefully by next week when the three new fields come in.
We’re also having trouble meeting the demand for tomatoes, but that’s because of the weather.  All this rain causes the full-sized tomatoes to swell and split.  The cherry and pear tomatoes are once again proving to be the workhorse of the market.  Last year only the wee tomatoes could set fruit during the extremely high temperatures, this year they are the only ones surviving the rains intact.  So it’s definitely time to come up with some good cherry tomato recipes and I’ve printed one below that Market Lady Susan Pittman shared last week.  

Today at the market we host The Josh Jenson Band.  Granny Shaffers at the Market serves chicken and noodles, chicken salad sandwiches and a fresh fruit plate.

Tomorrow we have lots going on.  Robert Bruce Scott makes his annual appearance during his Midwest tour.  Robert, who lives in Indianapolis, puts on quite a show.  You never know whether he’s going to pull out a song from the ancient Celts, from the 16th century Europe, from modern-day America or from 23rd century Kronos (yes, he sings in 20 languages including Klingon).  In addition to singing, he plays the Celtic harp, the classical guitar, and the mandolin.  Robert is performing a completely different set tomorrow evening at Minevera’s from 7 to 9.

Market Lady Carolyn Smith is demonstrating and giving samples of peach salsa tomorrow.  And we’ll have our annual tomato contest tomorrow.  Winners will be announced at 10.  Our judges this year include Mike Wiggins of Granny Shaffers, Sean Wheaton of Wilders, Jason Miller of Instant Karma and The Eagle Drive-In and Frank Reiter of

Next Tuesday we’ll have our usual bounty of produce and baked goods and fewer customers to wade through.  The Pommerts play for the last time this season and Granny Shaffers at the Market serves freshly grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, chicken salad sandwiches and a fresh fruit plate.

Here’s that recipe I promised.  I like to make it without the pasta to use as a dip or side dish.  Chop the tomatoes into quarters and it’s also great in a taco.  And since it’s even better the next day, add the pasta and enjoy it as an entrée.

Ranch (Greek Yogurt) Salad Dressing
About 2 cups of Fat Free Greek Yogurt
envelope of Ranch dip mix
0.5 cup of milk
Mix all ingredients together in a mason jar and refrigerate.
Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Number of Servings: 16

Summer Black Bean Pasta Salad
1/2 pound favorite small pasta
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups of cherry tomatoes* cut in half
2 ears fresh corn* or 2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 small red bell pepper,* seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion,* chopped
fresh basil* leaves to taste
1 large garlic* clove pressed
½ cup Ranch (Greek Yogurt) Salad Dressing (or dressing of your choice)
Cook pasta al dente.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix well and let salad sit for about 15 minutes before serving so that the flavors meld. Tastes even better the next day. This makes an excellent salad with or without the pasta - you decide.
Serving Size: 12 1-cup
Number of Servings: 12
*in season now at your local farmers market