Thursday, July 17, 2014

Webb City Sentinel column - 7-18-14

This time of year I worry about fitting all the vendors in the pavilion.   So much so that I slight our nutritional education program – we often have every square inch of side space and much of the middle taken up by vendors.   That was the case this weekend, until I got a couple of calls (Cottage Small had a piece break on their roaster and will gone while they get a replacement part and Robertson Family Farm called to say the blueberry harvest was over and we’d see them in the fall with pumpkins).   While I was sorry to get the news from both, it does mean we can have education tables both today and Saturday.   Today, Mary Ann Pennington with University of Missouri Extension will demonstrate and sample a good-for-you recipe using tomatoes and eggplant.   We have lots of both right now.   

Tomorrow Market Lady Trish Reed will demonstrate vacuum sealing for freezing summer bounty for winter use.   She’ll be doing a mix of fresh vegetables that can be frozen together and then thawed and cooked in stews and soups.

But that may be the end of our weekend recipe demonstrations for a while as we are expecting Broken Wire with their pepper roaster next weekend and vendor space will be super tight again.   It’s a good problem to have.   More choices for the customers, more opportunities for local farmers and small business people.

We’ve had a few new small businesses join us this week.   M & M Bistro, based at their restaurant on Main Street in Joplin, was very pleased with their Saturday sales of pita wraps and baklava.   They’ll be back this Saturday, as will our other new Saturday vendor, Red Lab Farms with their French pastries.   They sold out of pastries last week, so I’m expecting them to bring a larger supply tomorrow.

Our new Tuesday vendor, Carmine’s Pizza, was also pleased with their first day at the market.   In fact, they ran out of pizza dough.  They’ll be back on Tuesday.

Seriously, folks, the market is on a roll!  I don’t think we’ve ever had so much sweet corn and of such good quality.   With literally tons of it going out at every market, I know of only a few dozen ears that were 
unsatisfactory.   That’s pretty amazing and I know there has to have been more because you just can’t do that kind of volume without some mistakes slipping through.   If you’ve bought a market product that was over or under ripe or that was damaged, please let us know.   None of our vendors would intentionally sell a poor product and we want to make it right if it happens.   You can speak directly to the vendor or you can come to the information table and we’ll make sure you receive a refund or a replacement.

That being said, please be sure that you give your produce the same care your farmer does.   Sweet corn is best eaten within a day or two of purchase and it should be refrigerated.   Tomatoes should never be refrigerated until they are cut.   Peppers should be stored in the refrigerator and used within about four days.   Cantaloupe can be stored uncut at room temperature until it’s ripe, then should be stored in the refrigerator.   Eggplant can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.   All cut produce should be stored in the refrigerator.   For more tips on storing and serving fresh produce, go to   This useful app and web site was developed by University of Missouri Extension.   It has tips for all sorts of fresh produce and recipes, too.   You can get more information about it from Mary Ann today.

So what’s happening today in addition to the cooking demo?  William Adkins is playing hits from the 60’s and 70’s.   Granny Shaffers at the Market is serving home style chicken and noodles and chicken salad sandwiches.   We’re expecting Terrell Creek with goat cheese and Marlee’s with raw milk.   Hillside Farm will have elephant garlic and Endless Bounty will have energy bars.   Of course, we’ll have loads of fresh produce, plus baked goods, jams and jellies and honey on both days.

Tomorrow, The Granny Chicks are playing.   Cooking for a Cause benefits NALA (Neighborhood Adult Literacy Action) whose volunteers teach adults to read and immigrants better English skills.   The benefit breakfast of biscuits and gravy, sausage, and eggs to order is served from 9 to 11.

JJ’s Woodfired Pizza will be at the market talking about how they use local fresh produce in their restaurant.   They are one of several restaurants that shop regularly at the market.   You’ll want to stop by their table near the center entrance because they’ll have samples!

Saturday will be the day for cantaloupe and watermelon because E & O Produce will be here.   They are usually here on Tuesday and Saturday and are the first ones in the market with a big supply of melons.
We’ll have a new crafter at the market Saturday, Dorothy Cliff, who is a weaver of rag rugs, table runners, mug rugs and handbags all out of recycled materials.   She also does zipper art and woven bowls.   
Tuesday we’ll be open from 4 to 6 with all the usual offerings.  

Friend our facebook page for all the latest information.   We post a list of all vendors on site within 30 minutes of each market opening, as well as photos so you can see a sample before you come.  See you soon!