Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Webb City Sentinel column - 11/25/15

True to our word, our harvest decorations – scarecrows, straw bales, pumpkins and gourds – are in place for today’s Holiday Market because the holiday we’re celebrating is Thanksgiving!  What better time to load the table with food harvested or made by our neighbors?

This Saturday we’re switching gears, and holidays. The Christkindlmarket in the south part of the pavilion will be decked out for Christmas – garlands, lights, ornaments, tinsel – and Ms. Claus is visiting. Bring your camera for a photo with Ms. Claus. I guarantee you’ll not see a prettier smile or merrier eyes than those of our delightful Christmas lady. (She's at right.  photos below show just a peek of what we're looking forward to on Saturday)

The Pommerts will launch into their holiday music on Saturday so the market will look and sound festive. And thanks to our sidewalls and heaters you’ll be comfortable as well.

I was a bit worried about last Saturday’s weather. With a high of less than 40 and strong winds, I thought we were in for a cold morning, but not so. It was coat cool inside the pavilion. In fact, I shed my coat before the market even started and said a word of thanks to that friend of Webb City, the late Chuck Surface. When Chuck was in charge of the city’s economic development he scouted out a grant to pay for the market’s sidewalls. Parks director Tom Reeder took the project over after Chuck’s death. Tom designed and commissioned the sidewalls which have worked beautifully and he did it so economically that he had enough money left over to buy the two portable heaters. Frugal and effective - two of my favorite adjectives. The sidewalls and heat have made all the difference in the market’s ability to expand its winter activities. In a month or so, we’ll have even better climate control. The market received funding to double the size of the heaters and the park is installing flexible ducting in the ceiling which will push the heat throughout the length of the pavilion. Seems like we always have something going on to improve the market.
For example, next week we begin our Winter Production Education Center activities. On December 5, we build the seed starting structure at the center located on the Yang Farm just south of Rocky Comfort. Then on December 9, 10, 17, 18 and 19 we build the first of two high tunnels. This will be the heated tunnel. The unheated tunnel is slated to be built after the first of the year. If either of those projects interests you, or if you can lend a hand on one or more days, please stop and pick up a flyer with details at the information desk. We’re buying lunch! 

This spring we hope to begin seeing the fruits (actually vegetables) of the center as the Yang family start producing early tomatoes and peppers and cool weather crops like broccoli, cauliflower and greens.

Next fall we hope to see even more veggies as the farmers who participate in workshops at the center put their knowledge to work building and managing their own high tunnels, resulting in more produce for us and our customers and more income for our farmers.

Yes, it seems like we always have something going on to improve the market. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to keep up!

We have occasionally been complimented by customers and the organizations we work with on how organized the market is. That’s always lovely to hear because from our viewpoint it sometimes feels like chaos. But our chaos is really only lots and lots of good things happening at the same time.
We hope to see you at the market often this winter. We’ll be open every Saturday except possibly the day after Christmas and any Saturday that the roads are not safe to travel.

It’s a great place, not only to fill your plates with tasty, healthy food, but also pick up gifts. Why not tie a ribbon around a jar of honey or jam and put it at each place for your holiday meal?  Or tuck a bag of freshly roasted coffee beans in someone’s stocking?  And then there’s always bacon!  What a practical gift a cooler filled with frozen meats would be. There are lots of wonderful local gift ideas from our regular vendors and our Christkindlmarket artisans. Gifts that please both the giver and the recipient and bless the hands that made them possible.