Thursday, August 4, 2016

Webb City Sentinel market column - 8-5-16

The market tomorrow is not to be missed!  It’s National Farmers Market Week so we have a drawing to celebrate. The winner wins a fun farmers market-themed crate given to us by a kind customer and $25 in market tokens to fill the crate up. 

 Pate’s Orchard is bringing in another double load of peaches, even more than last Saturday. The streetcar is giving free rides - All aboard at the depot west of the market!  Robertson Family Farm is bringing honey!  Oakwoods Farm will have their pepper roaster at the market for the first time this year. And the Granny Chicks are playing!

It’s hard to beat that line up, especially when you add that Cooking for a Cause benefits the Friends of the Webb City Library. Breakfast and music run from 9 to 11. The market and streetcar run from 9 to noon. The drawing is at 11:30 and you don’t have to be present to win.

I think it’s pretty common knowledge that roasted vegetables are wonderfully flavorful. Unfortunately at the very time we have the most vegetables, it’s way too hot to be using the oven. Starting tomorrow and into the fall, you can get that roasting done at the market, at least for peppers. Oakwoods is happy to roast any of the hot and sweet peppers they grow for you. They will even, for a small fee, roast peppers bought from other vendors at the market or peppers from your garden. And don’t think they’re going to bake in one of the market ovens. The pepper roaster is a wire cage turned over a row of propane-fueled flames. It’s quick and the result is scrumptious flavor with a hint of smoke. Delicious – and the peppers freeze well so you can enjoy them all year.

Now is the time of year to enjoy the wide variety of peppers at the market. It’s also a great time to load up on okra which loves hot weather. I’ve seen hundreds of okra plants on farm inspections this year, but nowhere more than on Roffmann Farm. I teased Pete Roffmann Tuesday that he is the market’s okra king, just as I call Owen Detweiler our melon king. Of course, Amish modesty forbids him acknowledging any title like king but he sure admits to loving to grow melons. It’s his favorite crop – watermelon, cantaloupe, canary melon. He’s had some trouble with his watermelon this year and is toying with growing them in an enormous high tunnel next year. The rains hampered his planting schedule   as well as the harvest schedule and he wants more control. On the other hand his cantaloupe crop this year has been amazingly abundant – and delicious. We have several other farmers that do a lot of excellent melons – especially Harmony Hill, plus Fairhaven and Brakers to name just a few, but no one at the market loves growing melons like Owen.

The streetcar will run again on Tuesday from 4 to 6:30 in honor of us expecting lots of kids for supper. The Free Kids Meal runs from 4:30 to 6:30 and will be a hot dog, market fruit and veggies and milk. Stewart’s Bakery will have a couple of good choices for folks over 18 to enjoy. Rob Pommert will play.

On Thursday the kids meal is from 11 to 1 and will be a submarine sandwich, market veggies and fruit and milk. Scott Eastman will play and Extension will do a cooking demo. 

A week from Thursday, August 18, at 1 pm at the market kitchen, we have a special class scheduled – 101 Ways to Enjoy Squash!  Our vendor Mende Staggs of Apple Road Farms will teach delicious ways to enjoy both summer and winter squash, as well as storage techniques for winter squash. (Did you know the winter squash is already at the market – check out the selection at Fairhaven and Green’s Greenhouse.)  The class will be 1.5 hours and the cost is $10. Participants should bring at least 3 to 4 medium summer squash – zucchini, patty pan or yellow, as well as some plastic
containers in which to take their creations home, plus a knife and cutting board. The cost is $10. The class is limited to 20 people and reservations can be made at the information table at the market or by calling 417 483-8139.

Now I have a confession to make. Though tomorrow is a market not to be missed, I will miss it. I am in Denver visiting my little grandson Wyatt. I try to see him at least once a month and this was my last chance until October. (Yes, he is precious. At seven months he continues to be the smilingest baby I’ve ever met.)  You may note that I am missing my September visit. That’s because in two weeks I leave for over a month to help my daughter Cora and her family move from Australia to (wait for it) Mongolia. That should be an adventure. But believe it or not, even when I’m enjoying the rare and real pleasure of being with my children and grandchildren I still miss the market. There’s just something about the congeniality, the bustle, the music, the beauty of the produce that I miss. I wonder if you feel the same?  Share your thoughts on the topic. Please send me via facebook message or email – – your own thoughts about the market. Why you come. Memorable moments. What you value. Your hopes for the market’s future?  I will use your comments, insights and stories to create the market columns for September before I leave. When I spent time in Australia I just wrote from there using a laptop to connect with my office computer just as I’m doing right now from Denver. But I’m not going to count on being able to do that in Mongolia. I’ll let you know in October whether I underestimated the Mongolian internet capacities.

Enjoy the market for me while I’m gone.