Thursday, June 18, 2015

Webb City Sentinel column - 6/19/15

OK, I admit, I get excited about things at the market, especially the good things. And I had reason to be excited Tuesday night. We, the volunteers and vendors, have been working for years to improve the Tuesday market. It was the slowest market of the week, almost not worth coming for the vendors. We tried to lure you in by saying it was uncrowded, easy parking, no lines….. Not last Tuesday. What a crowd we had. Some came for Supper with Trish – she served 95 meals in 45 minutes. Some came because we now have a food stamp match on Tuesdays so our neighbors in need can get up to $15 per week in extra produce. And some definitely came for a free supper for the kids.
We had hoped to attract 75 kids. We served 94. Despite the crowds and the lines, folks seemed happy and we got lots of thank yous, a few even accompanied by tears of gratitude. Our team of volunteers from Central United Methodist Church worked seamlessly.  (photo, in red volunteers Nancy and Alice, in white state monitor Susan, in blue staffer Pam)

Some of the kids turned their noses up at the sliced cucumbers, while others loved them. (We’re required by the state to put everything on the plate our first year. Next year we can honor a child’s request to not take some part of the meal.)  But even though they might have thought otherwise, everyone got their veggies thanks to Tami Fredrickson and Karen Latimer. Tami is an experienced mom. You’ll often see her kids Kallie and Katie at the market. Karen retired as director of food services at the Webb City school district. Both are advisors on this project and both said, “hide the squash and zucchini in the spaghetti sauce”. So that’s what we did. Every serving of sauce not only was filled with tomatoes and meat, but also minced veggies.

There are certainly some kinks to work out. Because of the rain we had to move the tables inside and serve inside which made for a crowded pavilion and lines covering up vendors tables. The vendors were patient but eager to learn how we would solve the problem next Tuesday. Our hope is to move the Kids Supper north of the pavilion under a tent and if we’re able to secure a big enough tent, we’ll even be able to do it in rainy weather (surely, this rain can’t last much longer). We also need to figure out a way that children can get their meals and parents can buy their supper at the pizza place or with Trish without someone ending up with cold food. Suggestions are welcome.

The state supervisor was at the market to observe it all. Her suggestion?  Raise your goal. So we’re gearing up for 125 kids next Tuesday. We’ll need help. If you want to serve or clear tables, stop by the information table. We’ll sign you up!

The Free Kids’ Supper are scheduled to continue through the third week of August.

Today, we should have a full pavilion with an extra addition. Terrell Creek is coming today and taking tomorrow off. It’s a rare chance for our Friday customers to buy some award-winning goat cheese.
Granny Shaffer’s will be at the market today with catfish and fried potatoes for $3. Lumpy’s Express will have barbecued beef, pulled pork and smoked chicken. The Granny Chicks will liven up the market stage.

Tomorrow Carl Junction Bright Futures runs Cooking for a Cause. They’ll serve biscuits and gravy, sausages, farm fresh eggs cooked to order and juice or coffee. Come out and support the CJ kids. William Adkins will play. Music and breakfast runs from 9 to 11. The market is open on Saturdays from 9 to noon.

On Tuesday, we’ll do a repeat on our token match program and on the Kid’s Free Supper, which will be the same as last week – spaghetti and meat sauce (with lots of veggies hidden inside), sliced cucumber, probably with a few fresh from the farm tomato slices and milk. Trish is taking the week off, so the market is hosting a benefit for Webb City’s Bright Futures program. Ham and beans, with one free refill, cornbread, dessert and drink for $5. Extension will demonstrate Dilled Green Bean Salad. The Pommerts will play.

It’s going to be another fabulous Tuesday market. No, we can’t promise it won’t be crowded, but we can promise it will be community at its best. Come savor the fruits of our farmers’ labor, the pleasure of a child enjoying a nutritious meal, the chance to eat well and support Bright Future, pleasant music and so much more. The Tuesday market has finally arrived!