Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sentinel column - 9/20/13

Do you get excited about the changing seasons?  I sure do. I am so ready for fall foliage and crisp weather, just as I was so ready last March for brilliantly green grass and the soft gentle breezes of a spring day. I guess I’m in the right line of “work” because seasons are a big part of the farmers market.

We’re beginning to see hints of fall at the market. There are big beautiful locally-grown mums for sale. They’re winter-hardy so you can plant them if you want and enjoy them year after year or you can be like me and just enjoy them for a season. Honestly there are only so many mums my courtyard can hold.

The pumpkins are coming in too which is lucky because I have orders from my daughter Emily for a carload. When I visit her in Indianapolis next week I’m to bring two large mums, four large misshapen pumpkins and 10 pie pumpkins. “Misshapen”?  Yes, I asked too. They are to be the bodies of spiders crawling down the hill in front of her house. Apparently Emily wants creepy spiders.

Emily loves decorating for the holidays (I think Jeanne and Stan Newby are her inspiration!). She sure landed in the right neighborhood to enjoy Halloween. Irvington, where she lives, is celebrating its 67th annual Halloween Festival Week this year. The festival culminates with a street fair and costume parade that draws over 12,000 people. Emily became a homeowner and Irvington resident last year and she decorated in a big way for Halloween. It paid off. She won fame and glory as Irvington’s “Rookie of the Year” during the festival. This year she’s not a rookie so she’s going to have to try harder. Maybe I’d better take more pumpkins.

September brings the market’s annual Arts in the Park celebration and do we ever have a good one planned this year. It takes place tomorrow from 9 to noon under the pavilion. Breakfast benefits the Webb City Parks. 

The Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center will host a leaf rubbing table. The trees may still be green but I’m sure we’ll find some very colorful leaf rubbings at that table.
Spiva Center for the Arts is hosting the ever-popular Veggie Art tables. The kids love turning veggies into aliens, bugs, cars and other objects. And if you’re not a kid, play with us anyway. There’s no age limit at the art tables – and there’s no charge either.

Our market artists will also be there with glass work and jewelry.

The highlight of the day will be our music. We were fortunate to receive a small grant from the Missouri Art
Council and from Bob and Frances Nichols (yes, they would be my biggest boosters – and my parents) so we could bring in WildHeart. Also known as Jan and George Syrigos from central Missouri, WildHeart will take kids on a musical adventure through nature at 9, 10 and 11 o’clock. It’s not often we have Emmy award winners at the market so don’t miss them. 

On the half-hour, we have bluegrass from the Missouri Millstone Trio. The Trio includes Randy Corbin who has played often at the market and who ramrods the bluegrass at the Carl Junction Bluegrass Festival. The CJ event is a week from tomorrow and will have lots of great groups playing. 

Thanks to support from MAC and my folks, the market was able to partner with Madge T. James School to bring a performance by WildHeart to our kindergarteners today. They’ll hear some great music and learn about nature from two professional naturalists.

Speaking of school partnerships, you should have seen the kids digging sweet potatoes at the Kids Garden Wednesday. It’s always a fun “treasure” hunt, as well as a challenge to convince them not to dig the whole crop at once. Last year I made the mistake of letting them do that. We had so many potatoes that they couldn’t carry them home!

Today at the market the Plainsfolk play traditional music and Granny Shaffer’s at the Market serves lunch.
Next Tuesday is our last Tuesday market of the year. William Adkins will play and Granny Shaffer’s will serve lunch.

We’re planning ahead for the changing seasons at the market. In October, we go to Friday and Saturday only. The Friday meal becomes a Cooking for a Cause. My husband, Phil Richardson, will prepare the meal in the inspected kitchen of Central United Methodist Church. He’ll do all-you-can-eat ham and beans one week and chili the next. It will be served by volunteers and the profits will go to non-profits chosen by the volunteers. Our first Friday Cooking for a Cause lunch will benefit Webb City’s Bright Futures on October 4th.

Another change coming up in October will be the Saturday breakfast which will be pancakes, ham and eggs to order. And it’s a Bright Futures weekend because the October 5th breakfast will benefit Bright Futures too. Want to volunteer at either meal?  Just give me a call at 483-8139.

We’re also looking for artists and artisans for our Christkindlmarket in November and December. More on that later, but if you or a friend makes high quality art or crafts, give me a call.

Last but not least, we still have loads of produce at the market. There are plenty of tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini and more, plus the cool weather crops like lettuce, sweet potatoes and winter squash. Fair Haven just made a batch of apple butter and will have it at the market today. Now doesn’t that sound like fall?  It’s coming!