Thursday, December 8, 2016

Webb City Sentinel market column - 12-9-16

It’s finally winter. We are going to be so thankful for our heaters and sidings tomorrow. A nip in the air will put you in a holiday mood and the festivities inside the pavilion will meet your holiday expectations.

Webb City’s favorite Santa will be seated inside by the tree. If you grew up in Webb City in the last forty years, you have sat on our Santa’s knee and waved to him as he rode atop the fire engine in the parade. Mrs. Claus will be on hand as well.

The Pommerts will play Christmas music. Stewart’s Bakery will serve breakfast:  sausage, eggs, biscuit and gravy, and hash brown casserole for $5 or a giant cinnamon roll for $3. Both meals include coffee or juice.

The Polar Bear Express will run 10 minutes and 40 minutes after the hour from 9:10 to 11:40. Most seats are reserved now but we had a lot of no-shows last week so stop by the depot west of the market and see if you can catch a ride. The trolley is all decked out with holiday tinsel and balls. Cathy Hall will read the Polar Express while the trolley makes its 15 minute round through the park. It’s free and we hope it will be a holiday tradition for many years to come.

We’re expecting 11 farms tomorrow with everything from many kinds of lettuce, greens and microgreens, to tomatoes (Owen Detweiler said he would have a LOT of tomatoes), to hot and sweet peppers, to pecans and more. All our bakers are expected including our gluten free bakers. 

Looking for stocking stuffers?  How about locally made jams and jellies, chocolates and brittle, freshly roasted coffee beans, raw food bars, soaps, and jewelry?  We’ll have sewn goods, upcycled knits, all sorts of fine turned wood, glass art. Do you have a gardener in the family – give them a bag of Sprout Faster’s excellent worm castings. You’ll find all that and more in the Christkindlmarket. You find special gifts, both large and small, but only for three more Saturdays. 

Thanks to our excellent farmers, we have summer produce in the winter, but we also have the traditional winter crops like sweet potatoes and acorn squash. Our friend Liz Graznak of Happy Hollow Farm in central Missouri shared a tasty recipe printed below. Liz is an exceptional farmer and one of the presenters at our Midwest Winter Production Conference set for February 13 and 14. In addition, to Liz we have three nationally know winter producers sharing their expertise with us. It’s going to be a master class for experienced winter growers and a top-notch introduction for novices. The conference is one of the reason we have such a bountiful winter market. Our growers have learned from the best for five years now.

They’ll have fresh local produce at the market. Now we just need lots of customers to take it home and enjoy it. Who’s in?

Here’s that recipe:

Stuffed Acorn Winter Squash
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
(each squash makes 2 servings)

Cut in half and remove seeds from as many squash as required. Place cut sides up on a baking sheet or dish. Brush the cut side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20 minutes.

While squash are pre-baking, in a skillet sauté until just brown, 2 heads garlic, 1 large onion, 1/2 lb. bacon (each chopped into small pieces). Add 1 bunch chopped kale or Swiss chard (leaves & stems), 2 cored & chopped apples (leave peals on). Add a generous helping of nuts of your choice (we like walnuts). Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Sauté until apples are barely soft & greens just wilted. Remove squash from oven and place a healthy amount of the sautéed mixture into the cavity of each winter squash. Sprinkle the top of each squash with blue or feta cheese from Terrell Creek Farm. Return to oven and continue baking until squash are soft when poked with a fork. Serve warm in the “shell”.