Thursday, September 15, 2016

Webb City Sentinel market column - 9-16-16

I hear we’ve been getting some chilly nights and the leaves are beginning to turn in Southwest Missouri (they’re turning here in Mongolia too). So I expect many are thinking of pumpkins and mums. Give us a couple of more weeks. Your market farmers will be bringing them by the truckload soon, but not so soon that they’ll play out before fall is over. We’re experiencing a fall version of spring when the market farmers are under pressure to start bringing plants way too early to put in the ground. Folks get eager to put in their garden, but the market growers try to hold off till your plants won’t freeze in the spring and your pumpkins won’t go soft before Halloween. And they plant accordingly. So bide your time another ten days or so and you’ll find just what you want at the market at just the right time.  (they're worth the wait - photo is mums from last fall.  If you just can't wait, there are a few mums and pumpkins already at the market - the photo below was taken a couple of weeks ago!)

I was sure missing the market today. There is a “super market” very near where Cora, my daughter, lives here in Ulaan Baatar. Pretty much all the grocery stores here are named “something market” using the English word market in the store name – only written in the Cyrillic alphabet. Apparently the concept of a grocery store has British roots here and the alphabet reflects Mongolia being controlled by the Soviet Union for decades. Originally Mongolian didn’t have an alphabet but used a character based system like Chinese does. The name of this particular store – in Cyrillic – appears to be CheapMarket. It’s not. 

Anyway, while shopping today I missed our own market because I bought some particularly sad boc choy. I really thought in Asia they would do boc choy better, but I not found that to be the case. Makes me long for the beautiful greens at the market

The rest of the market’s produce is what I’d called typical grocery store quality. The carrots are a bit of a surprise. Regardless of the size of the market, and I have been in a couple of quite large ones comparable to our own, the carrots are sold covered in dirt. If they are loose there is one disposable glove that everyone is to use to bag their carrots, but if the carrots are pre-bagged – in a printed commercial bag – they are still covered in dirt. I’m not quite sure what the significance is. Perhaps that’s their version of saying “local produce” or maybe it’s just traditional.  (That's the bagged carrots and the same carrots unbagged)

As is traditional at our market, you can expect a lovely day tomorrow. Cooking for a Cause benefits the Webb City High School Band Boosters. William Adkins is performing. Music and meal run from 9 to 11 while market continues till noon.

On Tuesday, the Pommerts will play and on Thursday we have Jack and Lee Ann Sours on stage. Stewart’s Bakery will have some tasty meals available both days.

Next Thursday is the September Twilight Tunnel Walk. The Walk begins at 6 pm at the market’s Winter Production Education Center, 1213 Route U, Rocky Comfort (1.77 miles south of the intersection of State Highway 76 and Route U).

The Walk through the Center’s two high tunnels is led by Extension experts and experienced farmers. This month the topics to be discussed include heating and trapping heat via sidewalls and row cover, transplanting, soil and fertility, anticipated growth and harvest schedules and an up-date from site manager Fue Yang.
This was to be our last walk for the year but the walks have been so well received that we plan to continue them at least one or two more months. 

The walks are free and open to the public. Come if you’re thinking of putting a tunnel up or if you’re just interested in where your food comes from. All are welcome.

And all are welcome at the market as well. Remember, Saturdays are great, but you need to eat all week and the weekday markets are super easy – no lines, easy parking, same great produce. (And I bet the boc choy is wonderful. Steam it and eat as a side – mild lovely flavor and super nutritious.)

Just so you don't feel too sorry for my boc choy sadness - this is the view from our living room window.