Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column - 6=14-17

You know I’ve said before the market leads a charmed life. It didn’t feel very charming last Sunday night when I got an alert from the monitor on our walk-in cooler in the kitchen that the temperature was above 41 degrees. I hurried over and found it continuing to rise. After fitting about half of the perishable items in our reach-in cooler there were still two full racks of product worth hundreds of dollars still at risk. Sunday night at 9:30 I called Mike Wiggins and he came to the rescue. 

Together we hauled it all over to his restaurant, Granny Shaffers, and put it safely away in his walk-in. Mike commented that it wasn’t very lucky to have a cooler go down. My response – I couldn’t be luckier to have a friend who could and would come to my rescue. I think Mike would look just fine in a cape. He was certainly my hero.

Charlie Davis also stepped up in a big way last week. He invited a colleague in the Missouri State House to join him at the market Thursday to learn about what we do. Then we went over to the University of Missouri Research Station in Mount Vernon to learn about their efforts and see our blackberry demonstration plot and finally over to the Year-Round Education Center on the Yang Farm. My goal was for them to understand how important Extension is to the success of the market and to our farmers. 

Charlie said it was an eye-opening experience which was music to my ears. So much of what Extension (both University of Missouri and Lincoln University) does may not be evident to the public at large, but their efforts have been critical for the market’s success and for our farmers, too. 

In fact, just yesterday Robert Balek from MU Extension and David Middleton from LU Extension went with me to visit five farms. I go to inspect and document through photos and notes what they are growing to ensure that they are growing what they are selling at the market. The Extension experts go to advise the farmers and find out what issues are affecting production. Yesterday they addressed all sorts of challenges from aphids to fertility to crop choices to planting schedules. As a special treat we got to examine up close and personally two buggies that Enos Hertzler had just completed. Enos who, with his wife Sarah, brings fried pies to the market on Saturdays, is a professional buggy maker. Each one takes about a month to build. One was for a family with seats in the front and a compartment accessed through the back with a bench on either side for the kids to pile onto. The other was fancier and just had seating in the front. Enos said that was a courtin’ buggy.
Farm inspections are always a treat.

We have treats in store for you this week. Tomorrow the Free Kids Meal, served from 11 to 1, will be spaghetti and meatballs with zucchini/squash medley and milk. Stewart’s Bakery is serving hamburgers, potato salad and baked beans for $6. Ana’s Bananas has fresh cut fruit salad and grilled chicken salad for $5 at every market.

The Sours will play from 11 to 1. The fire department is bringing a truck and some coloring books for the kids.

Our Extension nutrition educators will be passing out samples of blueberry smoothies.

On Saturday, the Red Bridge Trio take the market stage. The Free Kids Meal will be Baked French Toast. 

Stewart’s Bakery is serving Tortilla Soup for eat in or take out. 

Cooking for a Cause will be staffed by volunteers from the Webb Chapter #204 Order of the Eastern Star. They will donate their profits to the Little Blue Bookshelf project which provides free books to children. The Chapter buys gently used books which they take to the United Way for cleaning. The Joplin United Way oversees the project. Once returned to the Chapter, the books are delivered to the Little Blue Bookshelves placed at Carterville Elementary School, Franklin Early Childhood Center, Webb City Heritage Y, the CP Center and the Webb City CARES office. Children visiting one of these places are able to choose a book to take home.

On Tuesday, the Pommerts will play and we’ll have more yummy meals and loads of fresh local produce. We expect each market to be better and better as the summer harvest comes in. Savor the season. We’ll see you at the market.