Thursday, August 20, 2015

Webb City Sentinel market column - 8-21-15

This column is about a couple of hidden happenings at the market.  In other words, some of the things that help make the market what it is but are not normally visible to our customers.

The market received a large packet this week, filled with thank you notes written by students at Eugene Field who had toured the market.  They loved the music and all the veggies.  They especially loved the baby goats and chicks that Penn Acres had brought for them to see.  Their cards included lots of colorful pictures and more than a few "you're awesome"s which, of course, we don’t believe.  But there were a couple that really caught my eye.  Alissa wrote "Thank you for letting E.F. tour the market.  You showed us that healthy food is a way to a healthy life."  She then added a drawing of the USDA's My Plate which shows how much fruit and veggies, grain and meat and dairy we should eat each day for a healthy diet.  My, now, there's a third grader who knows more than most of us.

The second card was from Destiny and was directed to me personally "I hope you will keep the farmers market forever, and you could pass it down to family members."  The thing is, Destiny, that is my hope too, but for the market our family is our community of the vendors, volunteers, customers, supporters, the city and parks and many others.  The market is a legal entity recognized by the IRS but its future depends not on my children - which is a very lucky thing indeed - but on the on-going health and vision of our market community.  That future is very much on the minds of our board who are vendors and community members.  Hard to believe it's already time to start making plans for next year but it is, and not only for next year, but also for this fall and the holiday season and ten years down the road.  The board is especially aware of the need for good planning as the kitchen nears completion, as we end this summer's Free Kids Supper and think about expanding it next year, and as we see the clay cap being applied to the large open area just west of the market.  The opportunities opening up in the next few months could be transformational.  It's an exciting time to be part of the market and part of Webb City.

Something else exciting for me was a vendor asking if she could “deep clean” the bathrooms.  Nancy is a professional house cleaner who, with her husband, also gardens and raises chickens and a few hogs.  They sell at the market under the name Harvest Hill.  Naturally my answer was “please do!” and so when you visit the market this weekend you will find the bathrooms deeply cleaned.  I hope you don’t miss those historic cobwebs.

At almost every market I have some kind soul tell me what a wonderful job I have done with the market.  Please, keep those compliments coming because I love a pat on the back, but the reality is that the market benefits from the efforts and support of many, many people.  We may not be a village but we are certainly a community. (Case in point below - our little volunteer guitarist who literally fronted a charmed William Adkins for much of his gig on Saturday)

It’s going to be another good week at the market.  Today The Granny Chicks liven up the market stage.  They are always such fun!  Lumpy’s Express will have their smoked and barbecued meats, plus sides.  Granny Shaffers serves their catfish and fried potatoes for $3.  With the rain and cooler weather we expect to see the fields perking up and loads of good local fruits and vegetables.

Tomorrow, The Rebecca Hawkins Project plays.  Cooking for a Cause benefits Camp Mintahama, our local Girl Scout Camp.  The volunteers serving breakfast rallied around the Camp in 2013 when the regional council decided to close it.  These former girl scouts wanted it to not only remain open but be improved.  It was a important part of their childhood and of their Girl Scout experience and they wanted today’s Girl Scouts to have the same experience. The camp is 180 wooded acres offering hiking, nature activities, service projects, swimming, canoeing, paddle boating; archery with a wide variety of camping options. It’s a big project, but these ladies are pulling it off with style.

On Tuesday we have a benefit supper for Bright Futures featuring the sloppy Joe recipe that has received raved reviews from the Free Kids Supper diners.  Sandwich, two sides, dessert and drink for $5.  All profits go to help our schools help kids in need.  It runs from 5 till sell out.

Carmine’s bakes up artisan pizzas from 4 to sellout.  Rob Pommert will take the market stage.

The market is open from 4 to 7 pm on Tuesdays, from 11 to 2 on Fridays and from 9 to noon on Saturdays.

Yes, we’re looking forward to another good week at the market, both behind the scenes and on the stage.  See you there!