Friday, October 31, 2014

Christkindlmarket Opens!

The Christkindlemarket opens tomorrow (Saturday) from 9 to noon at the Webb City Farmers Market.  The north end of the pavilion will be packed with the regular market vendors, farmers, bakers, and ranchers.  The south end will be full of artists and crafters where you can expect some old favorites and some new finds.
The market should be overflowing with produce as our farmers clean out their fields in anticipation of a hard freeze tonight. The tables will be piled high with the field tomatoes, egg plant, squash, green beans and other summer crops.   We'll have greens, broccoli, winter squash, sweet potatoes and other cool weather crops as well.  The cool weather crops should recover from the cold, but after this week, we'll be relying mainly on the high tunnels for tomatoes, squash and peppers.

Marshall Mitchell will play his original music with a cowboy flair.  Bring the kids, he especially loves playing for them.  And take them for a ride in the market wagon.  It's still decorated with ribbons and flowers from its stint as a flower girl wagon at Emily Richardson's wedding last week.  (Congratulations Emily and Kit!)

Christkindlmarket vendors include artists working in glass and metal, jewelry, sewn, knitted and felted goods, repurposed fabrics, soaps, woodwork, beaded work, carved walking sticks, and pottery.  Regular market vendors include eight farms, two ranches (with pork, beef, chicken and lamb), three bakers, an egg farm, a coffee bean roaster and a real vanilla extract maker.

The market is open year-round on Saturdays from 9 to noon.  During the winter it is enclosed and heated, but on cold days like this Saturday, dress warmly.  It will be chilly!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Webb City Sentinel Market column - 10-17-14

OK, repeat after me “The market is open all year, the market is open all year...”  This is my last column of the year, not because the market is closing, but because I’m going to be busy having a good time!  My daughter Emily is getting married on the 25th, my daughter Cora and her family are visiting from Australia and we have our Winter Production Conference coming up in November, so I’m cutting down on other responsibilities – in other words, the column.
Granddaughter Madeleine LOVED Suzette!
All of which means that the market is NOT shutting down, or even, for that matter, slowing down. There will still be market news in the Sentinel, but just brief news article without the gossip. 

November 1 we go to Saturdays only (9 to noon) and those Saturdays in November and December will expand the market to include our annual Christkindlmarket. The south end of the pavilion will be filled with handcrafted gifts each Saturday, while the north end will have our usual market vendors, fresh produce, baked goods, jams, jellies, freshly roasted coffee beans, farm fresh eggs. We’ll have much of the usual market fare, but with a festive flair.

If you’d like to sell at one or more of the Christkindlmarkets, stop by the information table at the market for an application or go to and click on “Applications”. All vendors are juried to make sure they’re a good fit for the market and, of course, the seller must be the maker or grower of the product.

We’re looking for a breakfast vendor for the market who would also sell hot drinks like mulled cider, hot chocolate, coffee and tea.

We also plan holiday cooking demonstrations and sampling, or just sampling if your dish is too complicated or takes too long to actually make during market. If you have a favorite holiday recipe you’d like to share, let us know. You’ll find the demonstrator application on our web site. We’ll buy the ingredients!  Three Saturdays are already taken but that leaves three more, and we might just have more than one demonstration going on at a time because we love holiday foods. If you’re crafty and would like to demonstrate a holiday craft, we’d love that, too. (And I’m still looking for a Santa or Mrs. Santa – we can provide the costume, you provide the smiles for whatever Saturday(s) you are available.  Good News - we have a "professional" Santa flying down to the market from Kansas City on December 20th - so mark your calendars and bring your camera!)

Decorations will start going up in the south end soon but, I promise, the Christmas balls won’t go up until after Thanksgiving. 

Now back to the present. This Saturday, breakfast is pancakes (with a free second serving), grilled ham, eggs to order and coffee or juice. It’s served till 11 and benefits Webb City’s Bright Futures program. The sides are down on the pavilion so if it’s cold, eat inside. If it’s sunny, enjoy breakfast outside.

Mark Barger plays Native American flutes on Saturday. 

It’s a great time to buy mums. Several growers have them on sale and since they’re winter hardy, you can plant them now and enjoy them every fall. Be sure to talk to the grower about the best place to plant them and how to care for them.

The produce continues to be abundant, especially the green beans and other fall crops.

Next Tuesday is our next-to-last Tuesday market. Madewell Pork will be there, as will all of our produce growers. Harmony Hill will have baked goods. Rob Pommert will play and Carmine’s Wood Fire Pizza will have the oven fired up (literally).

Watch for market news in the Sentinel and remember, as the Whos said to Horton, “We are here!  We are here!  We are here!”  See you at the market!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Webb City Sentinel market column - 10/10/14

You may very well see the market in its winter clothes this weekend.  I’m out of town but I asked Parks Director Tom Reeder to make the call.  It’s forecast to be cold and rainy and, if so, we’ll need the sides down and the heat on.  Naturally it’s also forecast to be lovely next week, but once the sides are down, they’re down for the season because the bottoms must be secured with cables all the way around, plus rolling those sides up is no easy task.  I’m kind of glad it’s not my call.

And I’m really glad we have the sidewalls.  We tried winter market at the pavilion a couple of years without them.  One year was fine, only two really cold market days.  The next year was dreadful, only two market days that weren’t absolutely freezing. Now, unless deep snow or slick roads make the pavilion inaccessible, we can have market all winter long without undue suffering!  (and I’m pretty sure that spending five hours outside in below freezing weather is suffering – it’s not that great for the produce either.)

We continue to have a great selection of produce at the market.  The summer crops like zucchini, squash and, yes, even tomatoes are still coming in.  Saturday is our best day for tomatoes when Fredrickson and Green usually have a tableful – for the first half hour anyway.  And all the cool weather crops are available – different kinds of lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard, mustard greens (those last three have incredibly dense nutrients according to the CDC), broccoli, the winter squashsweet potatoes and more.  The tables continue to be loaded!
Music tomorrow will be Tony Bergkoetter. Cooking for a Cause is cooked-to-order eggs, grilled ham and pancakes.  It benefits the Webb City Parks.  Those would be the fine folks who put up the sidewalls that keep us warm and do a myriad of other things that make the market facility better.  
Red Lab Farm has been back at the market a couple of Saturdays after a devastating home fire.  They’ve sent word that, among other choices, they will have apple “pop” tarts tomorrow.  And believe me, these aren’t your regular pop tarts.
Tuesday (and we only have only have three moreTuesdays this year) Rob Pommert will play and Carmine’s Wood Fire Pizza will custom make and bake your pizza.  Madewell Pork is coming on Tuesdays now so that’s a great day to pick up your pork for the week.
There are lots of behind-the-scenes projects going on both at the market and on the farms.  Our high tunnel farmers are tending their late season and winter crops of tomatoes, greens, peppers and other good things to come.  We have six high tunnel farmers now with a total of 11 tunnels plustwo more farmers coming on line soon.  And we’re doing our best to train more.  On November 10 and 11 we’re hosting a regional conference on winter production.  We’re bringing in nationally known presenters from Kentucky and West Virginia as well as regional presenters from Arkansas and Missouri.  They’ll coverbeginner’s high tunnel info, long-term soil management, record-keeping, specific crop production and many other topics.  We’ll also visit a moveable unheated high tunnel near Sarcoxie.  If you’re interested, you can get the full schedule and a link to registration at or just come by themarket information table for a paper version.
I made my new favorite fall veggie recipe on KSN this week.  It was kind of a funny episode but luckily appeared perfectly normal to the viewers.  This recipe calls for about 20 minutes of cooking in the skillet which obviously does not work for a 3 minute slot so my plan was just to get the first stage going, browning the beef with the tomatoes, onions and peppers.  Well, only one burner works on the stove at the station and apparently that one is giving up the ghost.  We could have gotten the ingredients warming by blowing on them!  But no matter, we just moved on to the other steps.  Their oven works fine so the finished sample was perfect – and delicious.  
Spaghetti Squash Boats
1 medium spaghetti squash (2 to 2.5 pounds)
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 green pepper
2 ripe tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 garlic clove minced
1.5 teaspoons fresh basil cut into slivers
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Cut the squash in half and scoop out seeds.  Place in baking dish with 1/2 inch hot water.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven until tender.  Remove and cool.  Using a fork, scrape flesh into a bowl and set aside, reserving the shells.
In a skillet, cook the beef, onion, green peppers and tomatoes over a medium heat until meat is thoroughly browned.  Add mushrooms, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and cook stirring for 4 minutes.  If you must use canned tomatoes instead of fresh put in the tomatoes for the last 2 minutes.  Continue to cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes until the liquid is evaporated.
Spoon into shells and bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese bake five minutes longer until cheese is melted.
And, of course, alter proportions and ingredients to suit your taste.  You might even want to throw in some extras like zucchini!
Most of the ingredients at available at the market right now, so eat fresh this week.  See you at the market.

Friday, October 3, 2014

WC Sentinel market column - 10-3-14 - Don't forget - We're not open on Fridays!

I was doing the press release for the market this week and, of course, this time of year I’m touting our pumpkins and mums, our decorative squash and Indian corn. And as an aside I included “we also have fresh local produce”. In reading it over I thought, “I wonder if the media really understands that we have LOTS of produce”. So I started listing some of the things I saw at the Tuesday market – tomatoes, onions, eggplant, cucumbers, green beans, chard, spinach, lettuce, butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash, peppers – hot and sweet, potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, garlic, sweet potatoes, cabbage, cantaloupe, broccoli… I stopped there, but there’s more, like kohlrabi, green onions, ginger, more kinds of squash, boc choy and other Asian specialty crops. In other words, as the season changes, some of the crops change but we still have a tremendous amount of produce coming in from our farms. So plan to eat fresh this week – and don’t forget Tuesdays from 4 to 6. Tuesday is a smaller market in terms of some of our specialty vendors – Redings Mill Bread Co., Sunny Lane with beef, chicken and lamb and Cottage Small Coffee Roasters only come on Saturdays - but most of our produce farmers come both days so you can load up two days a week and eat five to six daily servings of super fresh veggies.

Tomorrow at the market Rob Pommert plays.

Cooking for a Cause tomorrow benefits a project near and dear to my heart – CROPwalk. It’s an annual hunger walk (happening October 12) sponsored locally by Catholics, Presbyterians, United Methodists, Missionary Baptists, Lutherans, Macauley High School and Christians (Disciples). Everyone is welcome to walk, churches, businesses, other faiths, schools, individuals. The money raised is split between local organizations that feed those in need – Crosslines, Salvation Army, Lafayette House and Childrens Haven. The remaining funds go around the world to help refugees and fight hunger in areas of chronic poverty. What better way to fight hunger than enjoy a benefit breakfast?  Breakfast is pancakes, grilled ham and eggs cooked to order and served till 11.
Speaking of eggs, we should finally have a good supply of eggs on Saturday. Plan to pick some up, you won’t regret it. Eggs from happy hens that taste great.

Tuesday we welcome Center Creek Bluegrass back to the market stage. We’ll be open from 4 to 6 pm.

It’s been a pretty exciting week for us market folks. We learned we have received two grants. One will build a commercial kitchen at the market. It’s a grant from the US Department of Agriculture and we are so thankful that the city is serving as our administrator on the project. We’ve done lots of state grants, but federal grants have more t’s to cross and the city is very experienced in such matters. The primary purpose of the kitchen is to allow our farmers to process their surplus produce for later sale. Currently if they have more sweet corn than they can sell, they can take it home and freeze it, but they can’t sell home-frozen corn to the public. Once the kitchen is in place, they can freeze and store it in the market kitchen and sell it at the fall and winter market. More income for the farmers, more sweet corn for the consumers! 

The market will also use the kitchen for its meal production and for cooking demonstrations and preparing samples. Hopefully we’ll be able to do training there with Extension – anyone interested in a canning class?  The kitchen will be available for rent by groups using the park such as festivals, reunions or fundraisers. It will also be rented to start-up businesses needing an inspected kitchen for production.

The second grant ties in well with the first because it includes a Better Processing School which will allow farmers to be licensed to can pickles, salsa, relishes and other acidified products. This is a two-day school that takes place every year in Columbia. For the first time, it’s coming to southwest Missouri, to little ol’ Webb City. That will save gas and the expense of a hotel, real cost savers for our local farmers. It will also be open to non-market folks who want to be licensed to can. 

Another component of the second grant is a continuation of our Winter Production Conference. We first held the conference last year. We hoped for 75 attendees. We cut it off at 150! We received a small grant to do it again this year (with different topics and presenters) on November 10 and 11 and now we have funding to do the conference in 2015 and 2016.

If you’d like information on the conference coming up in November, stop by the information table for a flyer or go to 

Yes, it’s been a pretty exciting week for us market folks. So let’s celebrate – come by the information table and give us a high five and then buy some fresh veggies!