Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column - 5-3-17

Oh, how we loved our side panels last Saturday! Despite a downpour most of the morning, we were warm and dry inside the pavilion and a good number of us showed up despite the rain. It was a remarkably good day for our vendors given the weather.

Later that day I saw a video of the Columbia Farmers Market which is a wonderful market but set up under pop-up tents. The video showed a deluge of rain, one sodden customer and 40 tents filled with products in the process of being ruined. I posted a photo to it of our dry pavilion filled with customers, not to brag but to encourage their efforts to raise funds to build a pavilion which they kick off next week.  To see it, go to:

Other markets often ask me how we are so fortunate to have the strong support of the city, a pavilion with winter protection, a commercial kitchen, paved parking and so much more than most markets have. I say we lead a charmed life, but actually it is the support of the city, generous individuals, Extension and others that have brought such benefits to the market. 

The sidings on the pavilion came about completely unbidden and even unthought of on our part. Chuck Surface, the late economic development director for the city, simply showed up one day with someone from USDA Rural Development. Together they devised the plan and the funding and, after Chuck’s death, Park’s director Tom Reeder designed and implemented the project, adding the portable heaters. It has been a godsend.

We started the winter market nine years ago during a mild winter which was followed by a brutal one. We knew we couldn’t handle another one of those so moved to the Clubhouse for the winter season. That served admirably well, and I have to admit we loved the indoor bathrooms and little kitchen there. But we had been busy training our farmers to grow under protection and our winter produce and winter producers were set to dramatically expand. We could not hope to fit into the Clubhouse the following winter. And the sidewalls became a reality!  Maybe we do lead a charmed life.
Some of the charming things happening this week at the market:

Thursday we’re open from 11 to 2. Stewart’s Bakery is serving spaghetti and meat balls with garlic bread for $5.05. 

The Sours take the market stage for the first time this year. Be ready for some rollicking good traditional music.

It’s First Thursday which means Extension specialists will be on hand to answer your gardening and landscaping questions. They will be joined by members of the Fresh Ground Seed Library. They will be handing out free seeds and spreading the word about their library. 

Continuing with the growing theme, and what could be more natural for a market, we celebrate Let’s Plant a Garden Day on Saturday. We’ll be open from 9 to noon and Master Gardeners will give each child attending a free tomato plant, along with fertilizer and instructions. These are big beautiful plants, including heirlooms, grown by Tim Green of Green’s Greenhouse and Gardens.

The Kids Garden Club will meet from 9 to noon.  We will be planting rainbow coleus and playing Earthworms are Amazing - True or False.

The Seed Library returns to hand out free seeds to anyone, regardless of age. You’ll want to check out their upcoming workshops, too. Some are for adults, others for children.

And there will be yet more garden enthusiasts at the market Saturday because the Tri-State Iris Society will be on hand to sell iris blooms from their garden. Unless, of course, our extreme weather has destroyed them first. Here’s hoping for milder weather.

Cooking for a Cause supports Carl Junction schools’ Bright Futures program. William Adkins performs on the market stage. Stewart’s Bakery will have potato soup and a roll for eat-in or take-away.

On Tuesday we’re open from 4 to 7 pm and Stewart’s Bakery will have a couple of tasty supper choices. The Pommert’s will be playing. Our Extension nutrition educators have been at the Tuesday markets. So far they have done carrot pancakes and stir fry. The recipe for the stir fry is on our Market Lady facebook page. The cooks/educators started with a basic recipe and shopped the market for veggies to add. It was delicious. 

Let’s review some of the words that describe the market – charmed, supported, grow and delicious. Yes, those fit the market just fine.

Come enjoy a charmed life with us. See you at the market!