Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column - 4-26-17

It’s our first full week of the 2017 regular season and by regular, I mean the three-day a week season.  That means things are getting very busy for us volunteers and for the vendors, especially the farmers.
It is amazing what the farmers are already harvesting for market and of course they are also busy planting literally thousands of seeds and plants.  The slow pace of winter market is over and the farmers are already putting in long hard hours. 
Tomorrow we’ll be open from 11 to 2.  Stewart’s Bakery will have Sloppy Joes with potato salad for lunch.  Scott Eastman plays on the market stage.

On Saturday, the fabulous Granny Chicks play for us.  Cooking for a Cause benefits the Chert Glades Missouri Master Naturalists.  Stewart’s Bakery will have mini-meatloaf with oven browned potatoes for eat-in or take-out.

On Tuesday Jake and Corky play and Linda Stewart hasn’t decided what’s for lunch.  If it’s anything like yesterday’s lunch it will be good.  The lasagna was delicious and the herbed dinner rolls even better.

We’re keeping the sides down for the time being because the forecast continues to be cool and rainy, interspersed with warm and dry.   

It’s a hassle for our vendors to have to haul things in around the walls, but we all appreciate being high and dry and the plants really enjoy being out of the wind.  And do we ever have the plants – beautiful hanging baskets and large tomato plants.  The Palmers are bringing their delightful handcrafted wooden planters filled with flowers tomorrow.  I can’t wait to see them, especially the trains that Carrole has been telling me about.  On Saturday we’ll have even more choices plus a lot of flowering bedding plants.

We’re beginning to sign up folks to help with the Free Kids Summer Meals which begin the last Thursday of May.  If you, or a group you’re part of, or a business or club would like to help, let us know.  We’ll only need about 3 helpers each time.   You can also bring along your little ones to help hand out milk and silverware.  It’s easy work and very satisfying.  Believe me, you will be impressed by the number of children who say thank you and the number who then come up after they’ve eaten to say thank you again.  Manners are still very much in style at the market.

Our first Twilight Tunnel Walk is tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. at the market’s Year-Round Education Center.  It is located on the Yang Farm, 1213 Route U, Rocky Comfort (1.77 miles south of the intersection of State Highway 76 and Route U).

Walk through the Center’s two high tunnels with Extension experts and experienced farmers.  The tunnels are planted right now with tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower and iceberg and romaine lettuce.  

The walk is free and open to growers and the general public.  No reservations are needed and no fee is charged.  Just come spend an hour exploring protected growing.

The Education Center is just one reason we are blessed with a market filled with loads of top quality produce.  

Come buy some! And while you’re here enjoy all the other market offerings too. See you at the market – on Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column - 4-17-17

The weather may be less than perfect, but Saturday will still be a big day for the market.  And we're keeping the sides on for now so it will be warm and dry.

Saturday marks the beginning of the regular season at the market. Next week we will be open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday!  The hours remain the same this year – Tuesday from 4 to 7 pm, Thursday from 11 to 2 and Saturday from 9 to noon.

To celebrate we have again partnered with Mid-Missouri Bank to hand out young trees from the Missouri Department of Conservation. This year we have 

Persimmon and redbud trees plus blackberry plants and witchhazel shrubs. Folks are welcome to take one of each if they have a place to plant them. Details about the plants are at the end of the column.

It was such fun to hear from one of our most loyal customers last week that all three of her dogwoods that she had gotten from the market’s opening days over the year had bloomed this year. “The littlest only had one bloom!” but it’s a good beginning. We have been handing out trees for over a decade and it is so nice to hear our goal of making the area a more beautiful place to live is being reached.

Also on Saturday we begin Cooking For a Cause. The breakfast of biscuits and gravy, sausages, eggs cooked to order and drink is served from 9 to 11. This week it benefits the Carl Junction schools’ archery teams.
Stewart’s Bakery will have beef stew for eat-in or take-away.

Red Bridge Trio will be on the market stage with their high-energy bluegrass and gospel.

The Kids Garden Club meets from 9 to noon. They are planting zinnias for our pollinators – bees and butterflies. The kids can also color a butterfly “kite”.  It's free!

The pavilion should be loaded with hanging baskets and other flower, herb and vegetable plants. Fredrickson Farms is back, as is Way Back Bakery with their fried pies!

 It’s also Earth Day and what better way to celebrate than support your local small farmer who care for the land?

On Tuesday, the Pommerts play and Stewart’s Bakery will serve lasagna and salad for supper, along with a lighter choice.

Now about those little trees:

The persimmon tree is a small to medium tree whose fruit is valuable to people and wildlife. It is among the hardest of North American woods. The male and female flowers are borne on separate plants so several trees should be planted near each other if you want the trees to fruit. Height at maturity is 60-70 ft.

The redbud is a small to medium understory tree with attractive early spring pink flowers. This legume is an attractive addition to wildlife or windbreak plantings. Height at maturity is 30 ft.
The blackberry blooms from April to June and has edible fruit that ripens in July. The stem has thorns. It can grow five feet high with an eight foot spread.

The witchhazel is a large shrub that can be pruned to a tree-like shape. The leaves are sometimes collected for medicinal uses. Height at maturity is 10 ft.

Whether you’re in the market for some little trees, for a hearty breakfast with some great music, for some delicious produce, baked goods or other goodies, you are always welcome at the market where we invite you to “Come for the freshness, stay for the fun!”

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column - 4/12/17

Hurray!  Terrell Creek Artisan Goat Cheese is returning to the market this Saturday.  We always miss them in the winter when Leslie and Barry Million give their goats a bit of a break while the goats are busy making baby goats.  But kidding seson is over and Terrell Creek is back with their award winning cheese.

The Kids Garden Club is also back this Saturday. They are planting marigolds and learning about companion planting. Eric, our lead master gardener in the project, started adding a craft a few sessions back. He said each time the kids came they took home a pot of dirt. And while that dirt would later sprout something interesting, he thought a pot of dirt might leave a poor immediate impression of the market, pots of dirt not being that exciting. So he has jazzed it up with all sorts of crafty things – this week they can make a tissue flower.

Stewart’s Bakery has added some special items this Saturday in honor of Easter – dinner rolls by the dozen and pans of cinnamon rolls. There will also be fruit pies – blueberry, apple, peach and cherry. If you want a special order, give her a call at 417 621-8455.

Linda will have her usual breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuit and gravy, sausage and hash brown casserole. She’ll also have chili with crackers for take-away or eating-in.

The Includers return to the market stage this week with their joyful homespun music.

The Kids Community Garden between the Middle School and Madge T. James, sprung into action this week. Yesterday some 200 kinder-garteners planted potatoes and filled one-third of the garden. Next fall, they will return as first graders to see the fruits (or rather veggies) of their efforts dug up.

In a few weeks, after the last frost date, we’ll invite the middle schoolers to plant the rest of the garden with squash, zucchini, cucumbers and who knows what else. The master gardeners, who manage the garden for us, always have great ideas.

Don’t forget that Saturday afternoon Braker Berry Farm is open for a free tour from 3:16 to 5 pm. They are located at 941 SW 90th Lane, Oronogo. If you’re interested in growing or in where your food comes from, please join us. The Brakers are excellent growers.

A week from Saturday we open for the regular season so you can soon visit the market three times a week!  But until then, come see us on Saturday from 9 to noon.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column - 4-4-17

We expect another beautiful day at the market Saturday. And more of the bounty that our farmers and other vendors brought last week. More tomato plants, more asparagus and other delectable springs crops, more breakfast, more music….

(photo courtesy of Misty Morning Farm)
The Pommerts take the market stage this Saturday. Breakfast is scrambled eggs, biscuit and gravy, sausage and hash brown casserole. Or you could go for the giant cinnamon roll which is big enough for four people if you are inclined to share, which I am not – so don’t ask. Stewart’s Bakery has spicy chicken wings with celery sticks and ranch dressing for take-out or eat-in.

You may have noticed the beautiful trays of wheat grass for sale at the Oakwoods Farm table. And you may know wheat grass is super good for you but wondered how on earth do you consume it?  Find out this Saturday when Market Lady Carolyn Smith makes smoothies to sample. And, no, they won’t be made just of wheat grass!  They will have plenty of other tasty and good-for-you ingredients. You may just want to join Karen and Doug Scott who own Oakwoods in their breakfast smoothie habit every morning. Carolyn will have a sample and a recipe for you.

Another treat tomorrow is the long awaited return of Tami Fredrickson’s grandpa. Jim Oxley, will be in the pavilion selling his dresses. Grandpa makes delightful frilly dresses for little girls, complete with hairbows and decorated socks that are just right for Easter, but it is his sundresses I always stock up on. They are charming, perfect for every day and easy on the wallet. They are also my granddaughter Madeleine’s favorite clothes to wear. Now that she lives in Mongolia instead of sunny Australia Madeleine can only wear them in summer time but you can bet she’ll have one on almost every day then. (That's a photo of Madeleine in her favorite dress.)  Be sure to buy all you’ll need because Grandpa is only making it to the market about twice a year now.

Next Saturday, after market, we’ll have a workshop and field day. The workshop is primarily for vendors (of any market), teaching them how to safely and legally sample their products at the market and how to handle their produce after harvesting so it retains peak quality. As a customer, the workshop itself is probably not of interest, but you will certainly be glad of the results. That workshop begins at 1 in the Webb City Public Library. There is no fee, but please call in a reservation so we have enough handouts – 417 499-4831.

From 3:15 to 5 pm that afternoon (April 15), everyone is invited to tour the Braker Berry Farm, 941 SW 90th Lane, Oronogo. The tour will include the garlic beds which have been the subject of a MSU/MU garlic planting date study this year. You’ll also get to see blackberries growing on the innovative rotating cross arm trellis, blueberries, including recently developed cultivars, and the Braker’s high tunnel production and their hydroponic vegetable house. The tour is free and open to anyone who wants to know more about where their food comes from or wants to learn more about growing food.  No reservation is needed, just come.

And the Saturday after that, April 22, we open for the regular season – Saturdays from 9 to noon, Tuesdays from 4 to 7 pm and Thursdays from 11 to 2 pm. Every season holds treasure at the market and spring is no exception. See you there Saturday!