Thursday, August 28, 2014

Webb City Sentinel column - 8/29/14

Hard to believe that fall is just around the corner, unless you saw the mums at the market Tuesday. Two farms will have mums today and tomorrow, primarily yellows and reds. September is upon us and the first of September is what our mum growers aim for when they plant. So let’s start thinking fall. And while you’re thinking fall, put Saturday, September 13, on your calendar. We’ll celebrate Arts in the Park that day. We are delighted that WildHeart is returning this year. They are a duo from central Missouri who do original kids songs related to the environment and animals. The market makes this an extra special occasion by booking WildHeart for our Saturday market and for a performance at the kindergarten the day before. The Missouri Arts Council helps with the cost but we’re looking for a few more sponsors, so if you’d like to be a help, stop by the information table at the market. You’d be supporting the special music and the kids art activity tables at the market that Saturday.

You may remember that last week I wrote about the kids garden and tomatillos. Well, here’s the next installment. We had 39 kids this Wednesday. Once again we split them into different projects, harvesting, raking, and tasting. And they were enthusiastic about all of the tasks. In fact, I had to call several times to get them to leave their work in the garden at quitting time.

My station was the cooking table. In groups of about 12, we gathered around a card table. I showed them how to prepare a sweet pepper for eating raw and then of course we ate the pepper slices up. Then we examined the tomatillo. We talked about “tomatillo” being a Spanish word and several kids connected the “ll” being pronounced like a “y” in Spanish to the more familiar  “tortilla”. These are smart kids. We were surprised how tasty the tomatillo was raw. Somehow we had associated it with tomatoes even though the plants are not related. The raw tomatillo almost has an apple taste. Then, I donned gloves and showed them how to prepare a jalapeno, warning them that the seeds and the membranes were the hottest part. Finally, we tasted Salsa Verde, which is made with tomatillos and jalapenos. It was a big hit. Luckily I’d brought plenty of recipes to share. 

Next week, we explore the wonderful world of squash.

Today at the market, M & M Bistro is serving chicken and lamb/beef wraps. The Granny Chicks are playing so bring your dancing shoes. E & O Produce will be at the market but they have to miss tomorrow, so if you want their lovely melons, today’s the day to come.

Tomorrow, JR Sampson and Friends are playing. The Webb City Band Boosters are serving breakfast from 9 to 11 and a few members of the band will perform during our regular band’s breaks. As is the case with all Saturday breakfast, the volunteer group serves the meal from 9 to 11 and keeps the profits.
Oakwood Farm will have the pepper roaster at the market tomorrow. Oakwood grows many varieties of peppers, but if you find what you like at a different stand, they’ll roast those peppers for $2 a pound. They roast their own for free.

This weekend is our last time for the Ball Jar drawings. We’ll draw five names on Friday and five on Saturday. The winners have to be present to win so keep your ears perked for the megaphone announcements.

On both days, we’ll have lots of produce (though the peaches may be done for the season). Cottage Small Coffee Roasters is back after a break. It was just too hot to roast coffee last week. In fact, I think we can all agree, it was just too hot. Too bad we couldn’t hold some of that dreadful winter cold over for these hot days.

In September we’ll continue to be open on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Next Tuesday, we expect Carmine’s Wood Fire Pizza and Dog on a Roll to serve dinner. Rob Pommert will play.

Since the Salsa Verde was such a hit at the garden, I thought I’d share it with you. You can find lots of tomatillos at Fredrickson Farms stand. Hot peppers are at almost every growers table.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Makes about 3 cups

You can cook the tomatillos several ways. I roasted them. Don’t worry about chopping the ingredients finely. You’re going to mince them in the food processor or blender anyway.
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos (don’t know how much a box weighs?  Just come to the information table and weigh them on our scale donated by Cardinal Scales.)

1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 Jalapeno peppers or 2 Serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped (you can use them whole if you want really hot salsa – but WEAR GLOVES!)

Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse the fruit well.

Cook the tomatillos using one of the following methods:

Cut the tomatillos in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5 – 7 minutes until the skin is lightly blackened.


Coat the bottom of a skillet with a little vegetable oil and heat on high heat. Place the tomatillos in the pan and sear on one side, then flip over and brown on the other side. Remove from heat.


Place tomatillos in a saucepan, cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Put the cooked tomatillos and other ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until all the ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season to taste with salt. Cool in the fridge and serve with chips or as a topping or side in Mexican dishes.