Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Webb Cty Sentinel market column - 7/5/17

If you didn’t make it to the market last Saturday, you may have been the only one. Well, not really, but we estimate that over 2,000 people did come. Bob Foos was kind enough to take some drone photos overhead and at the moment he captured I can count about 150 customer cars. And there were more beyond the view of the camera. Thank goodness for our improved parking. Hopefully, the traffic wasn’t such a trial Saturday that all those customers will come back after savoring what the market has to offer.  (I've included a few of those photos so you can see what a tremendous crowd we had.  Thanks, Bob!)

 This time of year our regular customers can get a bit grumpy about the crowds at the market. They tend to see all these new customers as interlopers or fair weather customers. And it is true that this time of year we do see folks who only come during the highest part of the high season. In previous years I think the early July traffic has been so terrifying that many wouldn’t make a return trip. Hopefully, that won’t be the case now that the parking is better because we need those extra customers. During July and August our farmers will bring in two and three times as much produce as they might during other months. The crops are pouring in this time of year and we need lots of customers to buy them.

That said, tomorrow will no doubt be an easy day to shop as those sated during the Fourth of July holidays may stay home. Don’t be one of those! Enjoy the sweet corn, tomatoes and other goodies while you can.

The Sours will play tomorrow. Stewart’s Bakery is serving hamburger steak, oven brown potatoes and fried cabbage for $6. The Free Kids Meal is ham and cheese sandwiches and market fruits and veggies. MU Extension is demonstrating and sampling “Salsa for One”, no doubt using some of the fabulous tomatoes that are filling the farmers’ tables. In fact, if you like to make your own salsa, now is a good time to pick up some bulk tomatoes. Braker Farms usually has several 20-lb boxes available and on Saturday there will be several farms with bulk canning tomatoes available. The canning tomatoes are usually seconds, which means they’re not as pretty but they taste just as good and are less expensive.

On Thursday we begin our Feed the Heart project. Feed the Heart is a food pantry in Carterville that twice a month supplies food to many families in need. Thanks to a grant from Empty Bowls, Missy Donham, who helps organize the pantry, will be at the market tomorrow to shop for the pantry.
Fresh produce is hard to come by for both low income folks and for food pantries. Much of the food donated to food pantries is processed foods and much of that is not very healthy. 

You may remember that Empty Bowls is a national fundraiser to address hunger and is sponsored locally by Phoenix Fired Arts in Joplin. Thanks to the recommendation of a loyal customer, the market became one of its beneficiaries this year and has $2,200 for the food pantry project and $2,200 for our pilot WIC program. 

Feed the Heart will pick up their produce on the first and third Thursday each month so it will be fresh from the market for the distribution that night. Because we know our customers are among the most generous in the world, we will also have a cooler at the market those days for those who would like to add to the bounty and for our farmers who want to make a donation. 

Apple Road Farm will be back Saturday with honey
We know the WIC program is making a big difference for low-income moms and kids – not only in improving their diets, but also in knowing that the market and the community care about their families. Last week, one young mom told us “if it wasn’t for this program I would not have any fresh vegetables on our table.”  We hope to make the same difference in our partnership with Feed the Heart.

On Saturday, Richard Hugh Roberts will sing from the Great American Songbook – classic songs from Broadway, the movies and other American standards from the 1920s through the 1950s.

Cooking for a Cause benefits the scholarship program at Cottey College, an independent, liberal arts and sciences college for women in Nevada, Missouri. The college is owned and supported by the PEO Sisterhood, a local chapter of which will be volunteering at the breakfast.

The Free Kids Meal will be breakfast casserole with market fruits and veggies.

On Tuesday, William Adkins plays and Stewart’s Bakery will serve supper. The Free Kids Meal runs from 4:30 to 6:30. Check for the menu on our website –

It’s high season at the market. Savor the season.  And remember - we've got more parking than ever before (although not quite enough for our Fourth of July Saturday).