Thursday, May 28, 2015

Webb City Sentinel Market Column - 5-29-15

This may be remembered as the year of the meal at the market. For the first time, the market added a second meal provider on Fridays. Lumpy's Express serves out of their food truck every Friday and the restaurant under the pavilion switches between Granny Shaffers (and their popular catfish and fried potatoes and a chicken salad sandwiches) and M & M Bistro with Mediterranean specialties. With more choices, we're seeing more than triple the number of folks eating at the market on Fridays than last year, proving that change can be a good thing.

Saturdays have seen growth too. Until the market kitchen is finished, we have continued to use the kitchen of Central United Methodist Church to prepare the breakfast. The church recently purchased two commercial convection ovens that make baking the biscuits quick and easy, so much so that we've been able to increase the number of meals available for sale. Our participating nonprofits have seen a significant increase in profits and more of our customers can enjoy a fresh and tasty breakfast. When the market kitchen is completed, we'll be able to do even more (we'll have SIX convection ovens right at the market).

Another excellent meal decision was made for Tuesdays when we asked former market caterer Trish Reed to do a weekly meal for us. She and her husband Jim prepare a delicious meal every Tuesday using as many market veggies as practical. Again, giving customers a choice has proven popular. Folks can choose Supper with Trish or an artisan pizza from Carmine's Wood Fired Pizza, which far from suffering from competition is selling more pizzas this year than last.

And we have more exciting meal news on the horizon. The market has partnered with the Methodist church to start a weekly free summer meal program for children under the age of 18. Funded by the USDA who also funds the free breakfast and lunch program at school, a free meal will be served to any child from 5 to 7 pm at the Tuesday market beginning in mid- to late-June. The church will take care of the paperwork, provide the kitchen until the market kitchen is finished and secure volunteers. Non-Methodist volunteers are welcome. If you have a heart for kids or love to cook, let us know!  The market will host the supper. The parks department is bringing over more picnic tables because we hope to have about 75 kids joining us for supper on Tuesdays. Trish Reed has agreed to be the head cook for the project so the kids can expect freshly prepared food featuring lots of local fresh produce.

Food, food, food. We have it in abundance. The farmers' tables are loaded and the number of farmers is on the increase. We don't have space to add new farmers to the market, but we do our best to find space for farmers who have sold with us before. This year we welcome back the Troyers who have been away for several years and the Agees who had, for the most part, fruit crop failures last year. Both will make the market even better. And we hear the parks department is exploring ways to add customer parking and more pavilion space to the market. Now, wouldn't that be nice?
Today, we have Lumpy’s Express and M & M Bistro serving lunch. The Loose Notes are playing.
Tomorrow, Tony Bergkoetter graces the market stage. Cooking for a Cause benefits the General Mills Relay for Life team. Breakfast and music run from 9 to 11. The market is open till noon on Saturdays.
On Tuesday Supper with Trish (which begins at 5) is meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, side salad, chocolate chip cookies and drink for $5. Carmine’s Wood Fired Pizza will bake from 4 to 7, our regular Tuesday hours. Rob Pommert will play.

Good food, good music, good company – be a part of it at the market this week.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sentinel column - 5/22/15

It’s that delightful time of year at the market when you always find something new popping up. Many of the warmer weather crops are beginning to make an appearance, like zucchini and squash, green beans and new potatoes, peas and carrots. There are more choices at every market. But remember some of this abundance is fleeting. Strawberries are everywhere at the market this week, but in a few weeks will probably only be a sweet memory so be sure to enjoy them now.

We were delighted to welcome back a familiar face on Tuesday. Hector Troyer is back
after a three-year absence. He and his wife Lois began at the market when they were just kids in their early twenties and the market was only about five years old. Then they left to manage a farm for troubled boys sponsored by their church near Stockton. But they’re back. Hector and two of his sons, Logan and Lance, had a table full of squash and zucchini (and smiles) at the market and plan to be back next Tuesday.

It’s a special weekend for us. Poppies will be popping up everywhere – at Maria Vang’s table where the fresh poppy bouquets are festive and bright and in the middle aisle just south of the center where the American Legion Post 322 Auxiliary will give away paper poppies in honor of the men and women who served and died for our country in all wars. Donations go to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. Poppies will be available at both the Friday and Saturday market and we hope to see them everywhere, at the stands and on our volunteers and customers in honor of Memorial Day.

Today we’re open from 11 to 2. M & M Bistro will serve chicken pita wraps, gyros, hummus and tabbouleh plates and baklava. Lumpy’s Express will have barbecue. The Sours will play traditional music. Weather permitting, KSN is doing a live remote at the market from noon to 12:30. Terrell Creek, our goat cheese dairy, is mixing it up a bit by coming today rather than tomorrow and Kenney’s Farm will bring a boatload of strawberries. Add that to the other four or five farms with strawberries and we should be seeing lots of red today – in a good way.

Tomorrow we’re open from 9 to noon. Cooking for a Cause benefits the Carl Junction High School Archery Team (bet you didn’t even know there was a Carl Junction archery team, but guess what?  There’s a high school team and a junior high team. Our own Katie Fredrickson of Fredrickson Farms went to nationals this month with the junior high team. We thought she did amazingly well. She started archery this year and placed 50th out of hundreds of kids. Way to go, Katie!). The Rebecca Hawkins Project plays tomorrow. Both the meal and the music runs from 9 to 11 on Saturdays.

Tuesday we’ll have wood fired pizza and Supper with Trish. The Pommerts are playing and Extension is demonstrating and sampling Honey Glazed Carrots.

It’s going to be another great week at the market, we hope you can make it by – once, twice or three times because you just never know what delightful surprise is waiting for you!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sentinel column - 5/15/15

Granny Shaffers is bringing their $3 Catfish and Fried Potatoes to the market today and they’re bringing twice as much as last time so there should be plenty for everyone!  And they’ll also have those coupons for catfish in the restaurant that we’d promised last week. Better late than never, right. So Granny Shaffer’s is offering the deal of the week at the market this week or should I say one of the deals, because there are plenty of other reasons to come to the market. Did I hear someone say “strawberries”?  Or green beans and new potatoes?  Or sugar snap peas?  Oh yes, it’s that delightful time of year when new produce seems to come in every week, like green garlic and garlic scapes which made their first appearance Tuesday. Don’t know what to do with garlic scapes?  Go to the Market Lady Facebook page where we’ve pinned a post featuring our favorite food blogger, Frank Reiter with his recipe for garlic scape pesto.

Today we’ll enjoy the golden oldies sung by William Adkins. Lumpy’s Express is serving barbecue. We’ll have a ton of fresh produce both days and plants of the hanging basket, vegetable, flowering and herb variety. On Fridays we also have Madewell Pork with a wide array of nitrate and chemical free pork, as well as Penn Acres with pastured chicken, grass fed beef and goat meat. Cottage Small Coffee Roasters is usually at the market on the weekends, but they are waiting on a part for their roaster so it may be a while.

Tomorrow we’ll have many of the same vendors, especially growers, but we’ll also have Oakwoods Farm and Center Creek Farm which do a lot of specialty produce, as well as E & O Produce (aka Owen Detweiler) with his gorgeous hanging baskets.

Cooking for a Cause tomorrow benefits the Ronald McDonald House, home away from home for families with children at the Joplin Hospitals. Volunteers will serve farm fresh eggs to order, biscuits and gravy, sausage and coffee or orange juice for $4.50. You can have it without the eggs for $3.50. 

The Radley’s are playing for the first time at the market. They’re a well-known eclectic folk group that includes many of our favorite market musicians, just in a different configuration. It should be lots of fun.

Music and breakfast run from 9 to 11. The market is open until noon on Saturdays.

On Tuesday when we’re open from 4 to 7, you may need to enter the park on Garrison Street off of Hall Street. The city is laying the sewer line to the kitchen and, while they hope to have the road open by Tuesday, they may not. There will be plenty of parking on the south end of the pavilion. And it will be worth coming. Supper with Trish (which begins at 5 pm) is pork loin chops, au gratin potato, market fresh salad (and when I say market fresh, I mean it. Trish comes by the market about an hour before we open to pick up the fixings from the growers), chocolate cake, and a drink for $5.

Carmine’s Wood Fired Pizza will be baking from 4 to 7. The Pommerts will play and Extension will demonstrate a quick, easy, budget-friendly recipe. Tuesdays are a great day to pick up your mid-week veggies, meats (we have Luman Farm with some of the best “hillbilly” bacon around, as well as other pork cuts and chicken, as well as Penn Acres with beef, goat and chicken), and other tasty offerings.
To market, to market, twice a week to keep your family’s diet full of fresh and local.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sentinel column - 5-8-15

Things are really hopping at the market these days. Today should be especially lively because, weather permitting, we are expecting 190 students from Eugene Field Elementary (two or three classes at a time) to visit the market, followed by 115 kindergarteners from Bess Truman. To add a little interest, Penn Farms is bringing a baby goat for them to meet. It’s one of triplets. They’re hoping mamma goat is so busy with two that she won’t notice the third being gone for a while. 

And, of course, we’re expecting a lot of customers, too - and vendors. In other words, the market will be operating at full force today. The farms are beginning to harvest their field crops so we’re seeing lots of cool weather crops like beets, radishes, kohlrabi, green onions, lettuces and other greens. And the spring plantings in the high tunnels are also producing. We even had zucchini on Tuesday, as well as tomatoes and lots of strawberries. In fact, we should have 10 farms at the market today with produce. We’ll have another three with vegetable and herb plants, flowering baskets and planters. 

We’ll have pork, beef, chicken and goat meat, lots of eggs, jams and jellies, raw milk, baked goods and more.

Today M & M Bistro will have a hummus plate and a tabouleh plate, as well as gyros and chicken pita wraps and baklava. Lumpy’s Express will have barbecue and smoked meats. 

The Plainsfolks will play traditional Irish music and will stay longer than usual so all the students get to spend time with them. 

Tomorrow will be a grand day as well. We’re welcoming Owen Detweiler of Lamar back to the market. Owen started selling at the market last year and was very popular. He’s expanded his operation by adding a high tunnel this year and will be loaded with hanging baskets on Saturday.
Saturday we’re also hosting Jon Skinner, the urban forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation. Jon will answer your tree questions. If you have a sick tree, bring a sample in a plastic bag for him to examine. 

We are blessed with two musicians tomorrow. Mark Barger, who plays Native American flutes, plays from 9 to 10:30. Then Rob Pommert takes over from 10:30 to noon, playing soft rock, jazz and classical guitar.

Cooking for a Cause benefits The Webb City High School Band Boosters. Enjoy farm fresh eggs cooked to order, biscuits and gravy, sausage, slices of market tomatoes, and coffee or orange juice while benefiting a great local cause.

Tomorrow, we’ll also have beef, lamb, and chicken from Sunny Lane and goat cheese from Terrell Creek. 

Probably the star of the weekend (besides the baby goat) will be the flowers. The hanging baskets are huge and loaded with bloom. Fairhaven’s handcrafted planters are filled with flowers and creativity. The market is definitely the place to shop for Mother’s Day if she’s a lover of flowers.

And don’t worry about the weather, we’ll be high and dry even if it rains and all our farmers bring their produce and plants in covered trucks and vans.

Our Tuesday market has really taken off, especially about 5 pm when Trish Reed starts serving her $5 supper. This Tuesday Supper with Trish features barbecued brisket sandwiches, spinach side salad, chips, chocolate chip cookies and a drink and, yes, it’s only $5. 

The Pommert’s will play on Tuesday and Extension will demonstrate and sample another easy recipe using market produce.

Don’t forget to check the market’s facebook page on the day of market. We try our best to post a complete list of vendors at the market within 30 minutes of opening along with a lot of photos so you can get a good feel for what’s on offer (that’s an Australian phrase I picked up from my daughter Cora). Regardless, you can always expect a big welcome to be on offer because the market only works because of our customers. We’re always glad to see you!