Friday, July 1, 2016

Webb City Sentinel column - 7-1-16

We’re moving from the cool weather crops to the full summer season this week with sweet corn coming in by the truckload and the first of the cantaloupe and field tomatoes. This is my favorite time of year for corn. It is so tender that I can nibble on it right at the market without cooking. Just to prove it, try the recipe at the end of the column. I made it for Carol Parker’s Tuesday segment on KSN this week, using raw corn(the original recipe called for cooked corn). After we finished the segment, the first four members of KSN’s crew to come in snarfed it all up. It was very tasty.

Tomorrow’s breakfast benefits Crosslines, our regional food and clothing pantry. The volunteers cooking and serving it are from Central United Methodist Church and you know how those Methodists can cook. It’s sure to be good.

The Granny Chicks will liven up the market with their toe-tappin’ music tomorrow. Music and meal run from 9 to 11, while the market is open from 9 to noon on Saturdays.

The streetcar is running tomorrow!  Old No. 60 is making the rounds from 9 to noon since it’s the first Saturday of the month. And, as always, it’s free.

On the remote chance that you do not know the story of Old No. 60, let me tell you that it was originally part of the Southwest Missouri Electric Railroad Co. system that served most of the mining towns in our area. It was lovingly restored by volunteers some 30 years ago. 

According to the State Historical Society: “Interurban transportation in the Tri-State Mining District began in 1889, when A.H. Rogers organized the Twin City Railway Company, a horse-drawn car line between Webb City and Carterville. It was absorbed in 1892 by the Southwest Missouri Electric Railway Company….The railroad was in operation by 1893, linking the mining camps at Webb City and Joplin. The company continued to expand and at its height operated almost 100 miles of tracks… The railroad was a profitable enterprise for a decade, but it declined as the mineral areas in the Tri-State District began to play out. By 1927 the company was bankrupt and in receivership.”

The company was headquartered in Webb City because the mayor insisted on it if the company wanted to use city streets for their tracks. The company located its office, power house and car barn on Madison Street between Broadway and Daughtery. The whole West End business district followed. If you drive by now you can see the power house has become a skating rink and the employee association’s clubhouse continues now as the Historical Society’s Clubhouse (thank you, Ron Lankford). Many community and family events are held at the Clubhouse now – in fact about 100 events per year. 

The streetcar left a major imprint on Webb City, not the least of which is Main Street. Originally what we now call Broadway was Main Street. Mr. Webb didn’t have high expectations when he platted a two block Main Street for Webb City. When the streetcar system laid tracks on what we now call Main (and then called Allen), the businesses re-oriented to the streetcar track, completely changing how downtown developed. Next time you look at the market mural at Main and Broadway, notice that the mural is framed by an indention in the brickwork. That inset was originally an entry from the old Main Street which were bricked up when the building’s “front” was moved to face the streetcar line.

Don’t forget, the market will be open Tuesday, July 5th. The free kids meal will be a submarine sandwich with corn on the cob (donated by Braker Berry Farm) and cherry tomatoes. It’s served from 4:30 to 6:30. The Pommerts will play and our Market Lady, Carolyn Smith, is sampling white chocolate blackberry lasagna. Carmine’s will bake pizza to order and Stewart’s Bakery will have a couple of tasty choices for supper.

On Thursday, the free kids meal is served from 11 to 1 and the menu is smoked chicken leg, market veggies and a biscuit. Granny Shaffers will serve their fried catfish and potatoes and Thai wraps. Stewart’s Bakery will also serve lunch. Market Lady Carolyn Smith will serve samples of Blackberry Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Intriguing!

You never know what surprise you’ll come across at the market, but friendly vendors, fresh produce and good food and music are a certainty. See you at the market and have a great Fourth of July!

Fresh Corn Salsa
This easy, fat-free summer salsa is great for serving with chips or on top of grilled chicken or fish.
Yield: Makes 6 servings (Serving size: 1/3 cup salsa)
1 cup uncooked tender young corn kernels (about 2 ears)
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1 jalapeño, finely chopped (include seeds for more heat)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and mix together. Cover and let stand about 15 minutes to allow flavors to develop.