Friday, January 27, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column - 1/27/17

This column is dedicated to Frank Reiter, our region’s biggest booster of local foods. Frank was also a great supporter of the market and he would tell me now – talk about the market first. So I will.

Tomorrow we are expecting ten farms at the market and four ranchers. That’s an abundance you wouldn’t normally expect at the end of January but what is even more surprising is that many tables will be overflowing with produce. Oakwoods Farm in particular has a high bursting at the seams with beautiful greens and other good things.

We start our Kids Garden Club tomorrow. In the pavilion center children can paint a face on a clay pot, then add soil and wheat grass seeds. At home in a sunny window, the seeds will sprout into “hair” to complete the look. It’s free. We expect to have garden activities for kids twice a month through March. 

Stewart’s Bakery will serve breakfast. They will have pinto beans and ham and cornbread for eating in or taking out. Linda is also introducing a new product – fresh salsa. One pint costs $5.
Scott Eastman will take the market stage.

OK, Frank, that’s what’s happening.

Frank first came to my attention when he discovered garlic scapes at the market. I didn’t know what they were. He did and was delighted to find them. He proceeded to write about his discovery in his blog, Frank About Food. A foodie friendship was born. I asked permission to steal his blog story, to which he agreed. He also agreed to do the first of many cooking demonstrations at the market. He educated me and others on how to use the scapes and, perhaps more importantly, he taught me how and when they should be harvested which I then shared with my growers. The abundance of high quality scapes in the spring is entirely due to Frank. The customers are happy and the farmers have a new product of value. (A garlic scape is the green part that grows above the soil. It is cut off by the farmer so the garlic concentrates its energy on the bulb. Until Frank, most of our farmers just threw the scapes in the compost pile.)  That's Frank on the first day we made acquaintance at the market.

He has introduced us to many new ways to enjoy fresh produce and local meats with his cooking demonstrations at the market. He often gave us shout outs either on his facebook page or on the blog. He was a good friend to the market and a good friend to me personally. 

First Frank was known as a "Friend of the Ladies" in a nod to our Market Lady demonstration project.  Then he became a "Market Gent" and finally "The Market Dude".  That name was a perfect fit. 
He was also a good friend to the area restaurants who use local foods and a friend to our farmers and ranchers. And he died Tuesday night at the age of 42.

Frank had a genetic disease which caused parts of his body to randomly swell. It might be his face, or hands, or intestines, or as was the case this week, his throat. 

Frank’s service will be at Mason Woodard at 3 pm on Sunday, visitation begins at 1:30 pm. We will have a sympathy card at the market if you would like to sign it. There is a gofundme set up to help his wife Carey and two young sons Daniel and Ezra -

Frank was one-of-a-kind, generous, passionate, loving, fun-loving, and community-minded.  He was a full-time parent to his two boys. 

Frank will be missed.