Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column - 7-19-17

OK, folks, it’s that time of year when we need you to bring your friends and neighbors to the market, especially to the weekday markets. We actually sent a bushel of peaches home yesterday!

On the bright side, we had enough cantaloupe left over yesterday to supply all 150 families expected at Feed the Heart food pantry distribution tomorrow night. It’s all stored in our walk-in produce cooler at the market for the pantry to pick up.

What wonderful results we have had from our collaboration with the pantry and with the annual fundraiser Empty Bowls. Thanks to the generosity of many the potters who made the bowls, the restaurants who filled them with soup and the donors who bought them, we were able to add $600 to our farmers’ sales yesterday (even with them selling to us at wholesale bulk prices so you know that adds up to a LOT of food) and to add cantaloupe, zucchini, cucumbers, potatoes and tomatoes to the diets of our neighbors in need. We will add blackberries from the market’s research plot in Mt. Vernon so it will be quite a feast for folks who rarely get to enjoy fresh produce.

So next November when Phoenix Fired Arts holds Empty Bowls again, we hope you will consider buying one of the beautiful bowls. Just this week, the potters began making the first of the 1,000 bowls planned for the event.

Tomorrow, William Adkins plays on the market stage. The MU Extension educators will serve samples of Watermelon, Cucumber and Tomato Salad (yes, watermelon - Owen brought in the first of the watermelon yesterday!).

The Free Kids Meal will be soft beef tacos, cherry tomatoes, sweet pepper strips, cantaloupe and blackberries. It is served from 11 to 1 on Thursdays. MU Extension will lead water games for the kids just north of the tent.

Stewart’s Bakery is serving chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes and a vegetable for $6.
On Saturday Cooking for a Cause benefits Inch at a Time, which a community project to improve the athletic facilities of the Sarcoxie schools. There will be biscuits and gravy, sausages, eggs cooked to order, farm fresh tomato slices and coffee or orange juice.

Stewart's Bakery will have burrito bake for $5 to eat-in or take out.

The Free Kids Meal will be egg casserole and market fruit and veggies and milk. The Webb City Police Department will do free fingerprinting at the kids tent from 9 to 11. The parents receive their children’s finger print cards.

Red Bridge Trio will keep the market hopping with their high energy bluegrass and gospel.

On Tuesday – remember we’re open on weekdays! – we’ll have the free kids meal and a couple of meal choices from Stewart’s Bakery. I will have the menu posted on the market’s website,, and on the market’s facebook page on Sunday.

The fabulous Geriatrics will play on Tuesday. That alone is worth coming to the market.
If you are a gardener or a grower be sure and check out the grower training page on the market’s web site.

We have two trainings coming up. On Wednesday, July 26, from 1 to 4, we have a blackberry workshop at the Mt Vernon Research Center, 14548 State Rd H. Patrick Byers, MU Extension, will share information about transitioning primocanes to the rotating cross arm trellis and blackberry insect and disease management. You will get to see our research plot which is producing hundreds of pounds of berries right now. The registration fee of $10 may be paid at the door.

On Monday and Tuesday, August 14 and 15, the market is hosting the first ever Missouri Tomato Conference, in collaboration with University of Missouri Extension and Lincoln University Co-operative Extension. We expect it to be exceptional. Our presenters are nationally-known experts in their fields. The conference will be held at the Continental Banquet Center, just behind Granny Shaffers, from 8:45 am to 5 pm on the Monday and there will be farm tours with in-the-field education from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm on the Tuesday. The cost is only $30 per person. Details and a registration form are on the market’s web site.

We are able to bring this together because the Missouri Department of Agriculture allowed us to use funding left over from our Winter Production Conferences. We always try to get the biggest bang from any funding we receive whether it’s from a grant or from our farmers’ fees and we have gotten such a bang from our conferences that now we can embark on a completely different area of learning. We love our winter produce and love that the supply is increasing both in quality and quantity in the winter, but who among us doesn’t love tomatoes too?  Tomatoes are the top selling vegetable in Missouri but they can be very challenging to grow. After August we hope farmers from across the state – and in nearby states – are better equipped to grow and sell the best tomatoes ever. Because we love our tomatoes – and our farmers. And we want the best for our customers, too.

Now back to my first point –Tomorrow would be a great day to see you at the market!