Friday, September 2, 2016

Webb City Sentinel column - 9/3/16

Labor Day is on Monday and that means that our wonderful volunteer Karen McGlamery will be doing her annual “workers at the market” facebook post on Saturday. She takes a photo of each vendor and any family helping that day, and of volunteers and musicians and posts the photos with everyone’s names. It is a celebration of those whose labors create and sustain the market. It’s also a great resource for me and others who manage the market so we have a visual and written record of names and faces. Some of our vendors have very large families and I am terrible at remembering names. It took me two years to tell David and Matthew Brubacker apart which is particularly sad since David has blue eyes and Matthew brown. But there are 17 names, including parents, to remember in that family!

I find our vendors, especially our farmers, remarkable people in part because of their labor. (photo - thinning the peaches at Pates Orchard in 2010) Their hours are incredibly long during the summer. They rise before dawn and retire long after dark. Just harvesting and preparing produce for market takes hours, not to mention the time driving to and from market – for many that adds two hours to the day, selling at market, then packing up, and once back on the farm cleaning and putting away bins and other equipment used at the market. I have at least one set of farmers who do most of their harvesting after dark using head lamps. That way the produce is harvested after it has cooled a bit from the heat of the day which means that it will cool down faster in the cool room and be fresher longer for the customer. During the day they cultivate, pulling weeds, running irrigation, planting, scouting for pests. It makes for long days and yet once at the market, they are cheerful and welcoming and act like they have all the time in the world.

Something first noted by Sentinel editor Bob Foos is the remarkable transformation we often see in the farmers from summer to winter. Bob attended one of our organizational meetings one January early in the market’s existence. Later he asked me why one of our regular farmers didn’t attend. “He was there. He just didn’t look like he’d been working 80 hour a week.”  Indeed I had a similar experience the next winter when I visited a farmer and hardly recognized the parents of the family. They’d both put on a little weight and they looked ten years younger. These people work hard. So hats off to them and all the other folks who feed us every day.

The streetcar is running today!  Catch a free ride at the depot west of the market from 9 to 11.

Cooking for a Cause will benefit Camp Quality which hosts summertime experiences for children with cancer. Biscuits and gravy, sausages, eggs cooked to order, coffee or juice for under $5.

The Granny Chicks will take the market stage and I guarantee a good time. Who knew accordions could be such fun?  Music and meal run from 9 to 11. The market is open till noon.

Next week Stewart’s Bakery will have tasty meals – Tuesday is supper, Thursday is lunch. Rob Pommert plays on Tuesday. Bill Adkins on Thursday.

Next Saturday we’ll be hosting a weaving demonstration by the Fiber Folks of Southwest Missouri. Breakfast will benefit the CP Center and No Apparent Reason will play bluegrass and tell some jokes that will make you groan. 

Now don’t forget, even though Monday is a holiday, it won’t be for our farmers and they will be at the market Tuesday starting at 4. I hope you will be too!