Thursday, March 3, 2016

Webb City Sentinel column - 3-4-16

As we near the beginning of the regular market season, we’ll be seeing more produce, more farmers, more vendors and hopefully, more customers.   The regular season starts Tuesday, April 19.   More about that later in the column.

Tomorrow we’re in for a treat as soup-lover Chuck Lonardo prepares Vietnamese Vegetable Soup.   Be sure and stop by his table for a sample.   William Adkins takes the market stage with golden oldies.   Mabel with Harmony Hill Farm serves Pizza Casserole with Italian Cheese Bread.   You can eat-in or take-out for only $3.50 a serving.

We continue to have a wonderful supply of greens – I counted 10 different kinds of lettuce, plus spinach, chard, micro greens and boc choy last week – plus radishes, carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes, winter squash and green onions.   We’ll also have eggs, freshly roasted coffee beans, vanilla, raw food bars, baked goods, frozen tamales, beef, lamb, chicken and goat meat.  Crafters will have goat milk soap, glass and metal art and jewelry, and sewn goods.   It’s sure to be a good day at the market.

Now back to the upcoming season.   The big news is that we are dropping Friday and adding Thursday.  Thursday’s market will be open from 11 to 2 (the first Thursday will be April 21).   The market members made this rather drastic change primarily because it is very difficult for the farmers – and the bakers – to do two days in a row.   Five years ago Friday was our biggest day and Saturday was only half as big.   But now Saturday is by far our largest day in terms of sales and customers.   To have market on both Friday and Saturday meant the farmers.  After returning home about 4 pm on Friday, they must unpack and then do their biggest harvest of the week, clean and pack their harvest and be back at the market by 8 am the next day.

With a day between markets now, we can look forward to more abundant tables on both market days and better rested farmers.   I say “better rested” rather than simply “rested” because our farmers tend to work from before sunup to after sundown during the summer and you know how long the days are then.   Rest will come in  the Fall.

Come April 19, the market will be open on Tuesdays from 4 to 7 pm, on Thursdays from 11 to 2, and on Saturdays from 9 to noon.   We expect it will be hard to remember the new day so we’ll have fridge magnets with the days and hours by the end of March at the information table.   In the meantime, start practicing – supper at the market on Tuesday, lunch at the market on Thursday and breakfast at the market on Saturday.

Speaking of meals, the market has released its Call for Meal Proposals.   Anyone interested in becoming a meal provider at the market can get information on the market’s home page – or just click here.

You can also check out our upcoming grower classes on the web site or by clicking here.   A week from today we offer our first class at the market’s Winter Production Education Site south of Rocky Comfort.   The class will be on seed-starting.   Participants will be able to see a simple inexpensive seed starting structure and learn about equipment and supplies, sanitation, seed sources, and planting and growing techniques.   The cost is $10 per family/farm which includes a tray planted with veggie seeds to take home.   

There is also information on the blackberry growing classes at the market’s blackberry demonstration plot at the MU Research Center in Mount Vernon  (click here).  We’ll have flyers on all the classes at the market information table.   The classes are open to anyone interested.

Tomorrow’s market is just the next in an expansive list of activities come up.   See you at the market!

The Webb City Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 9 to noon in the pavilion just east of the Kneeling Miner statue in King Jack Park at Main and MacArthur.  Come to the information table to swipe your debit, credit or SNAP cards for tokens good at the market.   For information, call 417 483-8139.  Market offerings are posted on Facebook the day before and day of market.