Thursday, March 24, 2016

Webb City Sentinel - 3/25/16

If you think Missouri’s weather is wild, come with me to the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado. I’m making one of my last off-season visits to my daughter Emily who lives near Denver – let’s face it, the real attraction is her little Wyatt who turned three months this week. On Monday, the weather was beautiful, sunny and warm. The same on Tuesday. On Wednesday we woke up to over a foot of snow and blizzard conditions. I was sure glad I ran my errands on Tuesday and that I could delay my return to Missouri until the roads cleared.

In Missouri we have had our own fair share of weather swings this spring. The swing I watch for most carefully if it gets below 28 degrees for more than four hours. That dooms the peach crop once it has bloomed out. So far, so good. 

Until this year, the market board allowed our primary peach vendor to bring in peaches if the crop was lost. That’s happened twice since the market opened and, while the peaches brought in have been good, sometimes very good, they can’t match a local peach which can be so good that superlatives are not adequate. However, the board has decided from here on out, there will be no re-selling of peaches when the crop fails. We are a producer-only market and we will no longer bend the rule for any crop.  When the sweet corn crop and the tomato crop fails, as each has done at least once, we do not allow those to be brought in from other areas. The same will apply to all crops no, even our beloved peaches. So we are certainly hoping for a good year for all crops and between me and you, I think this will be an exceptionally good year, for which we are long overdue.
Our growers are prepared, trained, equipped and committed to bringing you the best of what they grow. And the weather looks promising. If all holds as it has, we’ll have peaches ten day early this year, and asparagus two weeks early. And, yes, that means we’ll see asparagus very soon!

We still have an abundance of eggs. The longer daylight hours and milder weather puts them in an egg-laying mood. And we have loads of beautiful greens, and in smaller supply watercress, radishes, green onions, beets,  carrots and more.

Mabel with Harmony Hill Farm is getting us ready for Cooking for a Cause which begins on April 23 by fixing us breakfast for the next four Saturdays. She’ll have a biscuit and gravy for $2.50. A cooked-to-order farm fresh egg is an additional 50 cents.

Drew Pommert graces the market stage tomorrow with his soft popular tunes and classical guitar.
Master Gardeners Debbie Fedie and Eric Osen will help each child plant a large peat pot with either green bean or sunflower seeds. After the seeds sprout and grow for about six weeks by a sunny window, pot and all can be planted outside in the garden. This is free for all children.  (photo - from last week's activity - planting fingerling potatoes)

The market board, main volunteers and manager meet tomorrow afternoon to do the first long-term strategizing in the history of the market. We want to set goals for the market for five and ten years out, what should it look like, why, and how do we get there?  It’s an ambitious agenda and we don’t presume that it’s more than a beginning. We’ve gotten where we are by planning year to year, sometimes month-to-month. In year 16, it is time to acknowledge the market is here to stay. If you have thoughts on the subject, share them with us at the information table at the market or on Facebook.

We’ll see you at the market tomorrow!