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.