Thursday, June 2, 2016

Webb City Sentinel Column - 6/3/16

 If there’s not something in this column to perk your interest, well, we’d better check your pulse.

First, the streetcar is running tomorrow from 9 to noon. This free ride in Old No. 60 is a treasured experience for those of us claiming Webb City. Board at the depot west of the market kitchen. And if you have a special heart for the streetcar and time to give, talk to the volunteers running it about doing some volunteering yourself. They are planning a training session soon, even teaching how to drive it. I was pretty excited when they let me handle the brake, but to drive?  What a treat. They are hoping to train enough volunteers that they can operate the streetcar more often, perhaps even on a Tuesday or Thursday so some of the hundreds of kids coming for their meal could take a spin around the park.

Second, new faces and new products are just around the corner. Hector Troyer is expected at the market tomorrow. Of course, he’s not a new face, having sold at the market for about seven years, but this will be his first time this year. We’ve been seeing a lot of Hector at the market’s Winter Production Education Center where he is serving as mentor to center manager Fue Yang. Hector has been very generous in sharing his expertise with Fue and also advocating for Fue, making sure others with roles in the project do their part on schedule. (That's Hector on the tractor preparing the beds in one of the Center's high tunnels.)
To see some of the results of the project, stop by Fue’s table in the center of the pavilion and ask him which are the tunnel zucchini?  Those are the first fruits of the project. We’ll have to wait to see the ultimate fruits, or rather vegetables, of the project. That will happen this winter when we have tables loaded with plentiful and high quality produce, in part, because our farmers received training at the center.

Third, brace yourself. Blueberries are due on Tuesday!  Blackberries aren’t far behind and sweet corn and peaches are about two weeks away!

I would remind you that Tuesday and Thursday are still easy days to shop. Parking is close and the pavilion uncrowded. We have most of our same vendors during the week that we have on Saturdays.  (And we have pies from Stewart's Bakery on Tuesday and Thursday!)

Speaking of crowds, now might be an opportune time to explain why we have a rule about no sales or setbacks before the bell rings. It is a matter of safety. If we allowed sales or setting back purchases while we were still setting up, we could have hundreds of people, including little children, crowding the pavilion, walking through parking and in the entry road when we’re bringing in the big trucks, trailers and loaded vans. The traffic can be hairy enough after we open with all the cars in the parking areas, we sure don’t want to add trailers and trucks to the mix. 

And, of course, there are other practicalities, like it being virtually impossible to back some of the trailers into place if the customer parking is already full. And, believe me, if you could buy peaches an hour before we opened, the parking would be full, and the folks who came at our opening time would be disappointed. 

And on the topic of parking, you may have noticed that the market manager’s red truck and my red Prius have been parked on the grass immediately west of the Kids Meal tent on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We park there even if the ground is soft with rain, for safety. We have parking off the entry road west of the tent. If, for some reason, a car should get out of control there, it will have to drive through our vehicles before it can get close to the children. 

The worst accidents at markets in recent years have been from out of control cars. A driver thought he was braking, but his foot was actually on the accelerator. The harder he pushed to brake, the faster he went. In California and in Florida almost a dozen people died as a result that kind of accident. That’s the reason we also block off the pavilion so there is no coming and going of cars pointing the pavilion’s direction.

We also no longer allow cars to park north of the kid’s tent for safety reasons. But that opens up the space for other opportunities. Last week we had many families bring blankets to spread on the grass north of the tent to enjoy a picnic. Thursday we had some kids playing pitch. A couple of little girls only had a rock to throw to each other. I’ll be picking up a bunch of balls and other lawn toys (no darts, of course) to set out for kids to play. If they want a quieter activity, they can borrow a book to read after they eat. The library has given us a whole box of books which we station under the shade of a tree.

Tomorrow the Chert Glades Master Naturalists serve breakfast. The Granny Chicks liven up the stage. Music and meal run from 9 to 11. Don’t forget the trolley is running from 9 to noon.

On Tuesday, Stewart’s Bakery and Carmine’s Pizza serve supper. The Free Kids Meal Tuesday is smoked sausage, new potatoes and green beans, a biscuit and milk. (The plate photo is of the kids meal last Tuesday.) The Pommerts will play.

On Thursday, M & M Bistro and Stewart’s Bakery serve lunch. The kids meal is Frito pie with market veggies and milk. The Granny Chicks return for another round of foot-stomping fun.

Now, if there was nothing in the column that sounded good to you, well, call me and I’ll come check to see if you’re breathing!

Just kidding. Instead, I’ll see you at the market where the living is good.