Thursday, August 11, 2016

Webb City Sentinel market column - 8/12/16

It is watermelon season and we are loaded with melons. The hot weather brings at least one delightful result, the melons are delicious. The okra loves the heat too, but it’s not in me to wax rhapsodic about okra.

As it happens National Watermelon Day was last week so I am armed with an abundance of information and recipes related to watermelon. For example, from Consumer Reports (and why they are reporting on watermelon I have no idea)”the nutrient watermelon is most know for is not a vitamin or mineral… but a phytonutrient called lycopene – a powerful antioxidant that gives the fruit’s flesh its characteristic pink hue. ‘Like all phytonutrients, lycopene appears to protect against some cancers, such as prostate cancer and breast cancer’, says Dr. Lisa Sasson, nutrition professor at New York University.’”  She adds that there are many recipes for using watermelon, fresh or cooked, and I’ve included a couple below, but what she says next hits home:  “It’s a short season, so go out and enjoy.”

We’ve been loading the kids plates with fresh cold watermelon at the Free Kids Meal. What could be better on these hot days?  It’s over 90% water, cold and tastes great. Our last Kids Meal of the year is this Tuesday. The menu is hamburgers, watermelon (what a surprise), jellybean tomatoes and milk. I want to take a moment to thank all the volunteers who helped serve the meals this summer. It was a lot of meals – by Tuesday it will be up to over 3,800. Special thanks go to our professional cooks – Syerra Conklin, Josephine (Jo) Provance, and Theresa White, as well as our able assistant KB Hardesty. And to our volunteers who were at the market serving kids almost every week – Braxton Melton, Paul Jackson and Annette Elam. Where would we have been without the amazing Ann Foos who recruited whole crews for us on many days and the wonderful Keller Williams team who filled all the volunteer positions on two of the hottest days of the summer. Or the Brashears boys (above) who took such pleasure in handing out milk to their peers. And to those of you who helped once or several times, we couldn’t have done it without you!
We plan to do the meals next year – and serve even more. We hope that area churches and organizations will follow Keller Williams lead and sign up for two or more days during the summer. If it would be a great project for you, stop by the information table and give us your contact information. We’ll let you know when we start scheduling next year.

We’re looking forward to another lovely Saturday market. Since it was rained out last Saturday, the streetcar will be running from 9 to noon. The rides are free and they leave from the depot west of the market.

Cooking for a Cause benefits the students of Eastmoreland Elementary in Joplin (especially the kids with autism). For less than $5 you get a biscuit and gravy (with one free refill), two sausages, two farm fresh eggs cooked to order, slices of market tomatoes, and coffee or juice. Special bonus – since we are closing down the kids meal and have extra chocolate milk, the first 99 people who want a carton of milk, with or without breakfast can have one for free!
Scott Eastman takes the market stage. Music and meal run from 9 to 11.

Chef JR Amos, the executive chef of Mercy Hospital, will conduct a cooking class at the market Saturday. This is his second class at the market this year. They are organized by Arvest Bank, who pays the chef and the chef then donates his payment to the kids meal. Win-Win for the market!

He’ll be preparing honey mojito fruit salad, sweet street corn salad, mixed summer vegetable, multicolored cheesy potato crisp and lemon herb de provence breast of chicken. Unlike our regular demonstration, we set up benches for folks. Last time he had a couple of ladies who watched it from beginning to end and lots and lots of others who sat in for a recipe or two.

Tuesday Rob Pommert will play and Stewart’s Bakery will serve supper. MU Extension will demo a tasty dish.

Thursday William Adkins plays and Stewart’s Bakery will serve lunch. School may have started but we will still have lots of fresh produce and good things for you to enjoy.

Here are those melon recipes I promised. This Martha Stewart recipe is recommended by Sam Knudtson, a market regular:

Easy Melon Sorbet 

All you need are a few fresh melons and a food processor. First, cube a melon and freeze it in a food-storage bag. When you're ready to make sorbet, place frozen melon in the food processor, and puree. You may need to add water to smooth. Add sugar to taste, and puree again. Serve immediately, or store in the freezer in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

MU Extension made this recipe from their app Seasonal and Simple at the market yesterday. It was tasty and refreshing: 

Melon Salsa

2 cups melon, seeded and chopped
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup onion, red or white, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or mint, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeding and finely chopped
1/4 cup lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar, white or brown

In a medium size bowl, stir together all ingredients. Taste and season with more juice or sugar, if needed. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve with grilled or broiled chicken or fish.