Thursday, February 25, 2016

Webb City Sentinel Market column - 2/26/16

It’s going to be another dandy market.  I continue to be amazed at the way the market has blossomed into a year-round market.  Even in the depths of winter we have tables loaded with fresh local produce, baked goods, meats, eggs and other good things and usually a crowd to buy them.  When we began Winter Market (and it was just twice a month then) there was no produce to be seen.  Now some seven years later, after a lot of investment, training and hard work on the part of our farmers, we can feed our community year-round.

Mabel at Harmony Hill will serve her delicious ham and potato soup with roll for $3.50 – eat-in or take-out.  Drew Pommert takes the market stage.  Market Lady Carolyn Smith is sharing Avocado Egg Salad served in a won-ton cup with greens.

We welcome back Center Creek Farm.  Farmer Sam had been off for a couple of months after the birth of her first child, Rowan.  I don’t know if Rowan will grace us with her presence tomorrow, though I have no doubt that this summer she’ll join us as one of the market kids, but Sam will have a table full of her very special naturally grown greens.

Green's Gardens and Greenhouse will be back at the market as well with a table loaded down with acorn and butternut squash.
It’s been a busy week of learning for the market.  Tuesday evening we held our “Taste of Green” class.  Farmer Karen Scott, ably assisted by her son and friends, served up some amazing greens.  Ever had a salad with 17 varieties of lettuce?  We have.  The discovery of the night, all the students agreed, wasn’t green at all.  It was a small white salad radish that Karen grows on her farm, Oakwoods.

Wednesday, the market held its annual Farm Safety: from field to market class - three and a half intensive hours focusing on best practices to ensure that the food you find at the market, as well as at other markets, is safe and free of contamination.  I say “other markets” because typically we have a lot of growers attend who sell at other markets.  This year we had growers from Cedar County and from Neosho.  Their markets required attendance to sell, as do we.  Even though our growers must attend only once every five years (the information doesn’t change much from year to year), we still had 15 growers connected to our market attend.  Many, especially our Hmong farmers, attend every year.  Our thanks to the Jasper County Health Department, University of Missouri Extension and Lincoln University Extension for providing the training.

Today and Monday we have workdays at the WCFM Winter Education Site at the Yang Farm south of Rocky Comfort.  We hope to complete the high tunnels and the seed starting structure in anticipation of our first workshop, Seed-Starting, slated for March 11.  You can find information on that and other workshops on the market website: under the grower training tab.

And finally, we’re having our annual member meeting tomorrow afternoon.  The members will be setting the details for the new season.  I’ll be reporting those details to you next week.
We’ll see you at the market tomorrow. 

We’re open every Saturday from 9 to noon all year, rain or shine, in the pavilion east of the Main Street entrance to King Jack Park. Sales and setbacks begin at opening. The market accepts SNAP (food stamps), debit and credit cards. The market is cancelled only if ice or snow make the roads unsafe for travel.  For information, call 417 483-8139.