Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column - 8-30-17

Monday is Labor Day and we will celebrate Saturday with our annual Facebook parade of photos of those who labor at the market. Our volunteer Karen photographs the workers at each booth, as well as the market volunteers,  staff, and musician. 

Of course, we can’t photograph everyone who labors at or for the market in one day. Cooking for a Cause typically involves over 150 volunteers every year and we have many who volunteer with the free kids meal or at the information desk or help with set up or take down. We have over 20 musicians who play. Our master gardeners who run the kids garden club and who help in our Kids Community Garden won’t be there, nor will the Extension specialists and educators who work with our farmers and customers. Or all the city employees and council who include the market in their efforts. So we take this opportunity now to honor their labor and the impact they have on the market. 

Also behind the scenes is volunteer Silas who is developing a software program for the market to help us track all the market details like what vendors will be at the market on what day, how much each vendor sold, and how much they should be reimbursed for the three different tokens and the WIC coupon the market accepts. And the afore-mentioned Karen, plus Janet and Samantha who labor over inputting all that vendor data. Now that’s a job I don’t want!

As you relax on Monday, take a moment to remember the farmers who will be laboring in the fields.

Tomorrow is our last Thursday market. We will continue the Tuesday market through September and possibly October depending on the weather and whether the produce is still pouring in and on the number of customers.

Stewart’s Bakery will serve a choice of hamburger or hot dog with chips for $5, fried chicken salad and fruit salad for $5 each.

The extension nutritionists will show us how to make apple sauce.

Just Jake and Corky are on the market stage.

On Saturday Cooking for a Cause benefits We Care of the Four States food pantry. Stewart’s Bakery will have chicken and noodles with a roll for eat-in or take out, $5/pint. The Sassy Salad Gals will have BLT salad for $6, and fruit cups and berry parfaits for $3 each.

Stop by the southwest corner of the pavilion to sample Terrell Creek’s award-winning goat cheese smothered in Fair Haven’s jalapeno jam.

And you are in for a special musical experience on Saturday. Robert Bruce Scott is stopping by during his annual Midwest tour. He always comes up with something special, one year it was the music of Simon and Garfunkel, another it was all Broadway, and another it was classics from everywhere and every time. It helps that Robert can sing in 34 different languages, including Ewok and Klingon. 

He’s tapping into Sci-Fi this year with his theme – KEYBORG. For those who are not fans of Star Trek the Next Generation, the borg, who thankfully are fictional characters, are part carbon-based, as in human, and part machine. Robert describes his solo performance as being on guitar, mandolin and a small mountain of keyboards. I think the implication is that he will be one with his instruments. I doubt my description is adequate, just come enjoy.

The Kids Community Garden is back in action today. Students are walking two blocks from first grade to see the potatoes dug up. They planted them last spring as kindergarteners. We’re hoping for some impressive spuds but frankly with all the rain we’ve had the potato section looks like a very healthy crop of weeds. We’ll see if there’s treasure under those weeds.  (Yes!  There were potatoes and it was very exciting!)

In the afternoon the middle schoolers will have their first turn at the garden. Their task is to clear the east third of the garden where the potatoes were dug so it can be tilled. Next Wednesday after school they will sow a cover crop there and learn about the benefits of taking care of your soil. There’s lots to be learned in a garden – like discipline, planning, stewardship, and cooperation.

We’re looking forward to a wonderful market week. I hope you will join us.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column 8-23-17

This cool rainy weather should give the fields new life. Usually this time of year everything is burnt up. Hopefully, if the crops don’t wash away, we will have a fabulous fall crop. And, yes, fall is just around the corner. John Pate and I were discussing just today that the seasons, they are changing. Next week may well be the last week for peaches, however the apples are coming in.

But don’t expect either tomorrow as Pates does not come to the Thursday market in August. We should have plenty of other farmers, including our biggest, Braker Berry Farm, Harmony Hill and E & O Produce, as well as at least three other farms. Check the market facebook page for Thursday’s details. We have purposely made Thursday a smaller, quieter market this year so folks didn’t have to fight traffic on at least one day of the week. The choices are still excellent. We usually have most things you’d find on Tuesday, just without the crowd. 

Stewart’s Bakery will serve Stuffed green pepper, potato and veggies for $6, a fruit cup or chef salad for $5 each. The Granny Chicks will entertain.

Saturday is a BIG day at the market. Chuck Lonardo brings his special flair to the Market cooking demonstration table where he will demonstrate “Veggies Three Ways 2.0”. It involves cabbage, squash, zucchini, basil and potatoes, the market barbecue grill and butane burners. Be prepared for a show, an education and a tasty treat.

The Tri-State Iris Society is on tap to have their annual bulb sale at the market Saturday. They will be north of the market, either under pop-ups by our new barn or under the kids’ tent. They will sell bulbs from 9 to 11, then at 11 they will have an auction of the remaining bulbs plus some special bulbs saved especially for the auction.

The Kids Garden Club meets Saturday in the south end of the pavilion. They will be making flower “spinners”, patterned on an old fashioned children’s toy.

Cooking for a Cause benefits the Ozark Gateway Audubon Society. Biscuit and gravy, sausage, farm fresh tomato slices and coffee or orange juice for $3.50. Add two eggs cooked to order for another $1.

Stewart’s Bakery will serve Potato Soup. The Sassy Salad Girls will have Smokehouse Salad, berry parfaits, fruit cups and fresh juice.

And we will be loaded with vendors. E Farms who normally sells on Tuesdays will be there with their exceptional granola. Garden ‘n’ Goats will have handcrafted soaps made with goat’s milk. Marlee’s Creamery will be back with raw local milk. MoBlooms will have beautiful bouquets. And there will be freshly roasted coffee beans, peppers - sweet and hot - roasted right at the market, baked goods of all descriptions, jams and jellies, meats, kettle corn, and loads of local fresh produce.

On Tuesday Stewart’s Bakery is serving chicken fried chicken, mashed potato and green beans for $6, polish sausage on a bun with baked beans for $5 and chef salad and a fruit cup for $5 each.
Rob Pommert will be on the market stage Tuesday.

I hope you’ll join us at the market for good food and a good time.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column - 8-16-17

Don’t you love finishing big projects?  Me too!  I still have the close-out paperwork to do, but this week I finish two big projects.  One was the Free Kids Meal which we concluded yesterday.  Now admittedly, I certainly don’t do the lion’s share of the work on that project.  We had an amazing head cook, Syerra, who devised menus that the kids loved and made cooking for as many as 198 children look easy.  She was ably assisted by Kelly.  They have made such a great team that they will continue at the market as vendors – The Sassy Salad Gals.  Their Greek salad last Saturday was wonderful.

KB handled set up, take down and serving.  His sister Adrienne had her first official job as a server and his little sister Ashlynn was a regular volunteer.  

 Other volunteers, such as the Carl Junction Lions and Leos (above), the Brashear brothers, the Melton kids, Mike and his granddaughters, the Keller-Williams team and others made serving 5,000 meals to kids this summer a fun and happy experience.  Our thanks to all!  Including our growers who supplied hundreds of pounds of fresh produce for the kids.

The other project completed this week was the Missouri Tomato Conference.  This was a project of the market and MU and LU Extension.  We brought in one of the nation’s top tomato experts and one of the top pest experts.  We were hoping for 50 attendees, we ended up with 85.  The program Monday was excellent and as usual Granny Shaffers did a great job with the lunch.  Mike always tells his chef Alice that the menu is “market surprise” when we hold a conference there because I never know until about three days before what produce we’ll want included.  This time our farmers provided melons for dessert, which folks loved, and sweet peppers, tomatoes, sprouts and lettuce for the salad.

On Monday we had presentations all day.  During lunch one of the farmers asked me “how do you convince your customers that tomatoes grown in high tunnels are as good as field tomatoes?”  (Remember a high tunnel is like a Quonset hut covered in plastic with the tomatoes planted in the ground.) I replied “how do you like the tomatoes in your salad?”  “They are excellent.”  “Those are high tunnel tomatoes.  We don’t have to convince our customers because the tomatoes themselves convince them.”

Of course, the conference covered both field tomatoes and tomatoes grown under protection but it was clear that the experts thought the latter was the future of local food.

The farm tours yesterday morning were equally elucidating.  (Photo - Dr. Rick Snyder of Mississippi discusses support systems for tomatoes)  Our host farms, E & O Produce, Misty Morning Farms, and Braker Farm were incredibly generous to take time to get ready for folks to come traipsing through their farms during the busiest time of the year.  And we were rather a sight.  To prevent transmission of any soil born diseases, everyone slipped on blue plastic booties (they look a bit like wearing blue sacks on your feet.) which were replaced for each farm visit.  We also gave gloves to anyone who used tobacco because tobacco mosaic disease is easily transmitted to tomatoes.  This is the kind of thing you learn at a Tomato Conference!
We’re also probably wrapping up a third project this week, though I wish we weren’t.  I have to finalize the numbers yet but I expect we will deplete our funding for our partnership with Feed the Heart, the Carterville food pantry after tomorrow’s pick up of melons and sweet corn for 130 families.  It’s been a great partnership, allowing our farmers to sell surplus top quality produce to the market which we can then provide to those in need.

Meanwhile, the market continues to be a place for everyone to secure that same top quality produce from their local farmers. We have tons of produce – especially tomatoes, melons and sweet corn.
Tomorrow Stewart’s Bakery will serve pinto beans with ham, fried potatoes, & cornbread for $6, and fruit salad or chef salad for $5 each.  The Sours and the Young Geezers play.

On Saturday Stewart's Bakery will have chili with a mini cinnamon roll for $5/pint. Cooking for a Cause on Saturday benefits Eastmorland School children with autism - proceeds used for them to participate in Special Olympics and other activities.  Served from 9 to 11 - biscuits and gravy, sausages, market tomatoes and coffee or oj for $3.50. Two farm fresh eggs cooked to order $1.

Richard Hugh Roberts is on the market stage.

Tuesday there will be supper choices by Stewart’s Bakery and the fabulous Geriatrics take the stage.  
See you at the market!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column - 8-9-17

Last week I told you about our pilot WIC program. How it helped expectant and new moms and their children under 5 buy $10 worth of market fruits and vegetables, milk and eggs once a week. How the moms were tremendously appreciative and how response was so robust that we exhausted our funding from Empty Bowls in just two months. 

Well, the market WIC program is back. Soroptimist International of Joplin gave the market $2,000 yesterday to continue the program. The grant will add $2,000 to our farmers’ sales while improving the diets of young low-income families. 

Since 1937, Soroptimist International of Joplin has focused on improving the lives of women and girls in the community and throughout the world. This group of businesswomen raises funds for their projects by selling nuts and candies in the fall (want to order?  Just come by the information desk, you’ll likely see a Soroptimist member volunteering there) and by hosting a comedy event in the spring. One of their biggest projects is Camp Soroptimist which is a week-long summer camp for Jasper County foster children.

It’s been a funny year for corn. We were buried in it Saturday. So much so that Fredrickson Farm donated some extra to the market. We loaded the Free Kids Meal with fresh corn on the cob yesterday. My friend Edna brought two of her grandchildren visiting from Lee Summit to supper and as they left I asked how they liked it. The older granddaughter responded “I loved it!”  The younger grandson, “I hated it!”  “Oh,” I said, “you don’t like corn on the cob.”  “Yuck,” he responded. Then Edna said, “Good thing you told me. I was just going to buy some to take home.”  The grandson looked stricken. “I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean it!”  Proving once again that orneriness doesn’t also pay.

The melons have also been wonderful. I was at KSN yesterday doing a live cooking segment and also taping one for next week. Both featured melon recipes. One was a simple three melon dish, watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew, with chopped mint and tossed in lime juice. The other, which will air next Tuesday, was fancier – honey dew and watermelon with lemon juice, diced jalapeno and thinly sliced onion, drizzled with a lime and honey dressing and topped with shrimp. 

Carol and I admitted to each other as we set up that we really preferred melon cut and chilled without all the fancy additions, but I have to say both dishes were delicious. And I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be asked back if I tried to do one cooking segment that consisted of just cutting up melons, much less two.
Don’t dally on picking your melons up. While they will still be in season for over a month, the best ones are being harvested now.

Tomorrow, the Free Kids Meal will be beef soft tacos, lunch box pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, a slice of watermelon, and milk.

The Webb City Police Department will hold their last free fingerprinting session of the year from 11 to 1.

Stewart’s Bakery will have barbecued chicken, potato salad and pasta salad for $6. The Pommerts will perform.

Big news for Saturday!  Amos Apiaries will be at the market with honey and SO WILL Marlee's Creamery!  

On Saturday, the Free Kids Meal is biscuit and gravy, market fruit, and milk.

Stewart’s Bakery is taking the day off. The Sassy Salad Gals will have smoked chicken on a green salad and fruit salad for $5 each.

Cooking for a Cause benefits CROPwalk which is a national hunger walk sponsored locally by area churches. One-quarter of the money raised stays local, supporting such organizations as Crosslines, Lafayette House and Children’s Haven. The rest of the funds go around the world to assist refugees and areas suffering chronic poverty. The breakfast is served from 9 to 11. As always, you can eat well while helping others.

Scott Eastman will play from 9 to 11.

Tuesday is the last day for the Free Kids Meal. It will be beef nachos, market fruit and veggies and milk. 

Stewart’s Bakery will serve something tasty. Just Jake & Corky will be on the market stage.

The market will move to its fall schedule in September which means that August 31 will be our last Thursday market. In the meantime, we’ll have tons of good things for you, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. See you at the market!