Thursday, June 25, 2015

Webb City Sentinel column - 6/25/15

Got Books?  The Friends of the Library are collecting gently used books for their traveling library project. Twice a year, the Friends take collections of books to area nursing homes and retirement centers for residents to enjoy. The market will be collecting books for the project today, tomorrow and Tuesday. Bring your books to the information table and we’ll see they go to eager readers.

Those summer crops are beginning to arrive at the market, but, except for the tomatoes, in small quantities. So I won’t start a food fight by naming names. Hint, hint - the good stuff is coming!

We have a good supply of tomatoes and with this heat they are coming on fast and fabulous. You know they taste good and that all veggies are good for you, but did you know that several research studies show that a tomato a day will help keep cardiovascular disease away?  In fact, one study showed that individuals who consumed more than seven servings a week (with a serving being a cup of chopped tomatoes which equals about one tomato) reduced their risk of that disease by 30%. One more reason to feast on the season.

So come for the tomatoes, but don’t forget the cornucopia of other fruits and vegetables. (Oops, did I say fruit?  Yes, I did.)  Here’s a recipe from the Minnesota Food Association. I’ve placed an asterisk next to what you can buy at the market right now:

Refrigerator Dilly Beans

1 Jalapeno*, seeded and finely diced
2 cups of green beans*
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
2 cloves of garlic*, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
1/2 medium onion*, sliced thinly
2 sprigs of fresh dill*
1/2 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
1/4 to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want them)

Make the brine by combining water, vinegar, salt, sugar and garlic in a saucepan and bringing to a boil. Take off heat and cool down to room temperature.

Trim the beans (you can leave the pointy end if you like).

Bring a saucepan of water to a full boil, dump in the beans and boil for thirty second. Drain and dunk them in ice water. That will stop the cooking and fix the bright color. Drain and set aside.

Add onions, dill, red pepper flakes and peppercorns to your jars (which should be glass with a lid. Since this is a refrigerated product, the lids do not have to be suitable for canning. You can actually reuse jars and lids for this.).

Add beans to jars. If you want to put them in upright, lay the jar horizontally to load them in.

Pour in the cooled brine. Fill the jar to 1/2 inch below the top of the jar, completely covering the beans. 

Leave the jar(s) in the fridge for at least two days before eating. They’ll keep in the fridge for up to six months but I bet they’ll be long gone before that.

Today, we enjoy the traditional music of the Sours. Lumpy’s Express will have ribs, barbecued beef, pulled pork and smoked chicken. M & M Bistro will have market fresh gyros, chicken pita wraps, hummus and tabouleh plates. 

Tomorrow, the Mayfields are playing bluegrass and gospel. Breakfast benefits the Friends of the Webb City Public Library. Biscuits and gravy, sausages, sliced market tomatoes, coffee or orange juice for $3.50. Add two farm fresh eggs cooked to order for $1.

If you come early tomorrow, you’ll probably see a fellow in a University of Missouri Extension shirt getting produce before the bell rings. No need for outrage. That’s Patrick Byers, weighing and recording for a research project he’s conducting. All that produce is going right back to the farmer for sale. Patrick is conducting the project at Webb City (his version of a small market) and Farmers Market of the Ozarks in Springfield (his version of a large market) to gather information on how prices are set. I’m guessing they’re less in Webb City, but we’ll have to wait for the report which should be out this winter since this is the second year of a two-year project. In Webb City, the management (that would be us volunteers) are careful to avoid price fixing. Every farmer and vendor sets their own price. Even when asked, what’s the going rate? by a new farmer, we say “you’ll have to check that out for yourselves.”  We give absolutely no price advice except you need to price your product at a fairly, one that will allow you to make the profit you need to stay in business and one that allows your customers to afford it.

Tuesdays are thriving. We may rename it Family Night. Over 90 kids ate with us again last week.
The Free Kids Supper is from 5 to 6:30. Carmine’s Wood Fired Pizza is served from 4 until sell out. Trish with Supper begins at 5. 

The Pommerts are playing (they’ve added kids songs to the playlist). Joplin Little Theatre is sending over their cast from Forever Plaid to tempt us with some of their wonderful close harmonies from 5 to 5:20.

It’s going to be another wonderful week of markets. Don’t miss them. And get ready – we’ll be open Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4. It’s always our biggest weekend of the year!