Thursday, April 21, 2016

Webb City Sentinel market column - 4-22-16

What a treat it has been watching the streetcar moving across the park beyond the sea of grass where the pit once was. Before it was not possible to see the trolley on most of its route because of chat piles. Now it is an enchanting sight. The trolley will be running tomorrow from 9 to noon. Then it will run again May 7 and on every first Saturday during the regular season.

Tomorrow is a double celebration. It’s Let’s Plant a Garden Day when every child (through college) receives a free tomato plant along with instructions and fertilizer. Grown by Tim Green of Green’s Greenhouse and Garden, these are beautiful stocky plants. Master Gardeners will teach the children how to plant and care for them.  (Tim's beautiful tomato plants will also be available for sale tomorrow for $2 each - they are in 4" pots.)

It’s also The Bard Lives at the Market day!  We’re observing the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with readings from his work. Jim and Ann Liles, Rachel Stanley and Todd Manley will perform. Crofter’s Gate will play music from the 1600’s.

Chef JT Amos creates dishes featuring spring produce and chicken from Sunny Lane Farm from 9 to 11. Chef Amos is sponsored by Arvest Bank.

Mid-Missouri Bank will hand out seedlings of a variety of trees and shrubs (as long as they last). One of our customers mentioned this week that the redbud she received at the market five years ago is now over 6 feet tall and blooming for the first time. 

Breakfast benefits the Carl Junction Bright Futures program – biscuits and gravy, sausages, coffee or orange juice, farm fresh eggs made to order served from 9 to 11.

Mabel at Harmony Hills Farm serves Ham and Potato Soup with a roll for $3.50. Next week Mabel will serve ham and beans with cornbread and that will be her last lunch until fall. They are getting very busy on the farm with planting and tending their crops. In fact, they are cutting back on their baked goods as well. They will continue bringing their country breads, cinnamon rolls, sugar free banana bread, healthy oatmeal cookies and biscotti, but no more pies and cakes. But you know what they say – one door closes and another opens. Hazel’s Bakery is back tomorrow with pies, cakes, fruit breads and many other goodies. On Tuesday and Thursday Stewart’s Bakery is stepping up with pies, cookies, dinner rolls and other treats. Oh, I don’t think any of us are going hungry.

Next Tuesday, Stewart’s Bakery will have roast pork loin and dressing with a veggie side for $6 and ham and beans with cornbread for $5. Carmine’s Woodfire Pizza will make artisan pizzas to order. Rob Pommert will play.

On Thursday, Harv’s Barbecue and M & M Bistro are back. Extension will demo a good-for-you-recipe. The Sours will play.

Wednesday we plant tomatoes, peppers and other warm weather crops in the Kids’ Community Garden. We gather at 3:10 between the middle school and kindergarten to work for about an hour. All are welcome.
Speaking of community gardens, Central United Methodist Church is starting a community garden at the corner of First and Pennsylvania. If you’d like to participate, call the church or stop by the garden tomorrow where they will be working beginning at 9.

We received some exciting news this week. You may remember that last year we partnered with Central United Methodist to serve free kids meals at the market on Tuesday evenings when school is out. The program is underwritten by the USDA does the free and reduced meal at schools and realized that kids eat all year, not just when they are in school. The USDA also has a big push to increase the amount of local fresh food kids eat and who would do that better than a farmers market?  This year, we’ve been approved to serve the free kids meal on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 and on Thursdays from 11 to 1. We’ll be using the market kitchen which is equipped to turn out loads of food and we’ve hired Syerra Conklin, who handles catering for Cloud’s Meats. She seems a perfect match for us. She didn’t blink an eye at feeding 150 kids twice a week and immediately started thinking of ways to entice kids to eat fresh, local veggies – how about Taco Tuesday?

Sounds good to us!  This program serves many purposes. While it has no income or residency requirements, we determined last year that at least half the kids eating were from low income families. It gives us a chance to introduce all children to a variety of fruits and vegetables. And it brings LOTS of people to the market. We are really looking forward to May 19 which will be our first Free Kids Meal of the year.