Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Webb City Sentinel market column - 9/6/17

Don’t forget – no market tomorrow. We have finished the Thursday markets until next spring. I would say that I’ll enjoy the time off but I was taking off regardless – my daughter Emily is expecting her baby daughter tomorrow so I have abandoned the market for the duration and am in Colorado awaiting night duty.

In the meantime, the market will continue to be open on Saturdays from 9 to noon and on Tuesdays from 4 to 7. The Tuesday market will shut down either the end of September or the end of October. It all depends on the produce supply and the customer support. I’m hoping for an October finish because that gives our farmers and other vendors five more market days of income – and we’d end on Halloween which is always fun. We get our share of characters, mostly children but not all, on Halloween.

As I was preparing to leave for Colorado I made a list for the market manager of jobs I usually do for the market. Kitchen work – how to wash the dirty linens and floor mopping schedule – basically I’m the scullery maid, garden work – how to take care of the kids garden and the kids, and market work. I keep the writing tasks while I’m gone since it is so easy to do from a distance. I am in fact at this moment typing (or keyboarding) this into my office computer in Webb City even though I am sitting in Colorado. And writing this column and the press releases gives me some satisfaction that my parents didn’t waste their money on my journalism degree. 

As you may have heard, Phil and I plan to move closer to our children in about 16 months. The move will be strongly influenced by my mother’s situation so our deadline is fluid, but the market board, staff and volunteers are working towards a smooth transition. I was really pleased when I went through my list of duties at the market. 

Basically the only task that I routinely do now is the facebook posting. I’d say we’re pretty close to a smooth transition on that front, especially since some of our volunteers do better facebook postings than I do.

So enjoy those improved postings while I’m off enjoying grandson Wyatt and the new grandgirl.

And enjoy fall which came right on schedule last Saturday. It was like someone flipped a switch, or indeed turned the page on the calendar. Suddenly the market is full of fall flowering plants, pumpkins, winter squash and other fall crops. Green beans are in abundance which is typical of fall. I love green beans but I am sure glad I don’t have to pick them. That is back breaking work. 

Come enjoy the “fruits” of our farmers’ labors. The tables are loaded with your favorite summer and fall crops. 

Saturday Stewart's Bakery will serve chicken tortilla soup for eat-in or take-out, $5 a pint.
The Sassy Salad Gal has Greek salad for $6, berry parfaits and fresh fruit cups for $3 each and fresh fruit juice for $2.

Cooking for a Cause is biscuit and gravy, sausage, tomato slices and coffee or oj for $3.50. Two farm fresh eggs cooked to order are $1. The breakfast benefits The Boys and Girls Club this Saturday.
The Granny Chicks liven up the market stage.

On Tuesday we’ll be open from 4 to 7. Stewart’s Bakery serves catfish, mac and cheese, and Cole slaw for $6, as well as pinto beans with corn bread for $5.  I recommend having the catfish at the market and loading up on the beans for meals through the week.

We welcome Scott Eastman back to the market stage.

It’s fall at the market, full of its own beauty and wonderful choices. The traditional time of harvest, what better time to connect to the good things life has to offer? At the market you connect to that tradition, to your farming neighbors, to healthy choices, both for nutrition and for well-being, to good music and good people. Whether I’m there or not, we, the vendors, the volunteers and staff, and the customers can keep the market a welcoming, happy place for generations to come, starting with our own.

And that sense of welcome doesn’t end at the market. We were delighted to welcome some 200 first graders to the Kids Community Garden last Wednesday. And they were absolutely delighted to discover the seed potatoes they had planted last spring had produced loads of potatoes. Because the potatoes were planted under a heavy mulch of straw many could be found just by pushing aside the straw. Such excitement!

In the afternoon we had 29 middle schoolers come to garden. They were a marvelous group of kids, polite, interested, hard working and attentive to details. We had a wide ranging discussion about gardening, harvested the garden which produced enough for all to take a bag of veggies homes, opened up  a butternut squash to see what was inside and discussed how to bake it. 

Tomorrow we hope they all return to help plant a cover crop where the ground is ready to tuck away for winter. There will be some weeding to do and no doubt some more garden talk. Since the garden was thoroughly harvested last week and the fall plantings are not in full production yet, our farmers have donated vegetables for the children to take home. I love the people I work with. 

Here’s to a great fall season for the students in the garden, which is the best garden we’ve had in the 10 years we’ve operated it, and for everyone else at the market. Happy Fall!