Thursday, August 27, 2015

Webb City Sentinel market column - 8-28-15

The seasons are changing at the market. The apples, sweet potatoes and winter squash have arrived and the fall greens won’t be far behind. It’s that happy time when the seasons over lap and we get the best of both so there are still melons galore this weekend and lots of other summer produce, as well as much of the fall produce.

What a fun day we had at the Kids Community Garden this week. Last spring about 200 kids from the kindergarten planted potatoes in the garden (photo below). This week the same children, plus a few new to the district, walked from their first grade class in Webster to watch those potatoes being harvested. It would be hard to have a garden better located for working with students. It is within easy walking distance of the kindergarten, the first and second grade and the middle school.

The children were so excited and we were too. You just never know what you’ll find when you start digging potatoes. Did they grow, did they spoil, how many will there be? Well, they grew and there were a lot and only a few spoiled. We had four excellent master gardeners there to talk about the process, reminding them that in the spring they planted just a small piece of potato, talking about how potatoes are root crops because the crop grows underground and telling them about some other root crops. The children settled onto the big tarp we’d laid since the garden was still damp from the weekend rains and the master gardeners unearthed the treasure. When all nine classes had visited the garden, the potatoes were donated to Watered Gardens, a homeless shelter in Joplin.

The middle schoolers will be invited to help put the garden to bed after school on the next two Wednesdays. The master gardeners will sow a cover crop and the garden will then wait for the next batch of kindergarteners in the spring.

Another wonderful thing that happened this week was during the downpour on Saturday. It rained buckets from beginning of market till a half hour before closing and yet, hundreds of customers came. Of course, many thought they’d be able to park close because who goes out in such weather and many were soaked getting from their car to the pavilion (bring an umbrella!). The pavilion and the concrete floor are a godsend in such weather, and at other times too when otherwise we might be melting in the sun. We are so fortunate and the envy of many other markets forced to shut down in such weather. So thank you Parks Department and Perry Foundation who provided the facility and improvements and thank you customers who braved the weather and made Saturday a profitable day for our farmers and other vendors and a good day for our Cooking for a Cause cause - Camp Mintahama.

Saturday was also the perfect day to wonder why on earth we always block off the best parking right next to the pavilion. It’s for your safety and ours. There have been numerous accidents at farmers market caused by drivers plowing through the market. The worst was in 2006 when a man plowed through a California market, killing 10 and injuring 70. Since 2006 only vendors and volunteers park against the pavilion because they will not be moving during market.

Today Lumpy’s Express and M & M Bistro serve lunch. The Sours are playing.

Tomorrow we have Red Bridge Trio taking the market stage. Cooking for a Cause benefit’s the Inch at a Time campaign at Sarcoxie High School. Supporters began the campaign in September 2012 and have raised $230,000 of the $500,000 needed to resurface the football field and track. The track is in such bad repair now that the team must practice out of town. You may ask why we would support their cause. Because they are our neighbors and we are inspired by our Little League team newly returned from the World Championship where they received the Best Sportmanship Award. Sure, Sarcoxie is not “our” school, but those kids need a good place to play and if we can help, we should. So here’s to wanting the best for everyone, not just our team, and here’s to the kids who gain skills during their time in high school sports that will benefit them and the community for a lifetime, skills like good sportsmanship.

Tuesday the market is open from 4 to 7. Carmine’s will bake artisan pizzas to order. Supper by Trish will feature a full meal for $5. Extension is giving samples of Herbed Baby Eggplant.

The world can be such a wonderful place, come taste it at the market!