Friday, January 1, 2021

Webb City Sentinel market column - Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The market is back in action this Saturday, 9 to noon. It will be cold so we hope you will wear a mask.

When it’s below freezing we have to keep the pavilion doors closed and turn on the heaters. Masks and social distancing will keep the market safe and able to operate.

We’re all about food on this first Saturday of 2021. We're expecting:  Farms – Braker’s, Fairhaven, Harmony, and OakWoods, ranchers – Garrett’s and Sunny Lane, bakers – Harmony Hill and Redings Mill, and other specialties like DnD Smoked, Good Golly Tamale, Harvest Hill, Juniper Coffee, and MO Mushrooms. Songbird’s Kitchen will have the giant wok fired up for eggrolls and crab Rangoon, plus fried rice.

The Free Kids Meal is taking a holiday break but we hope to restart soon. We’re looking for a head cook or a cook’s assistant, or both. If you or someone you know is handy in the kitchen and interested in a part time job, let me or manager Rachael Lynch know at 417 483-8139 or The hours are flexible but generally six to eight hours on Thursday and Friday and Saturdays from 7 to noon. We’re open to a tag team if two people want to split up the shifts or work together. If the person or persons we hire do a great job, there will be plenty more hours as we enter the regular market season and provide meals three times a week to 100 or more kids. The menus, recipes, and supervision are provided by our manager, Rachael, who has been responsible for the tasty menus this month.

When I began this column in 2001 I never dreamed that more than700 columns later I would still have something to say. And what I want to say in this, the last market column in print, is thank you, Bob Foos, and Sentinel crew, present and past, for being such supporters of the market. (I’m thinking especially of you, Vicki Groff, Sentinel staff and market volunteer who has served hundreds of free kids meals this year.)  Bob is literally a Champion of the Market, along with such luminaries as Tom Reeder, the Perry Foundation, Extension educators Shon Bishop and Patrick Byers, and market volunteers Marilyn, Karen, Janet, Kharlie, Dan, Duane, and Donna.

This month I’ve celebrated Coonfoot & Vicinity, Lollipop Logic, and Nic Frising in the market column. This last appreciation is for the superb photographs that have graced the Sentinel. I was a photojournalism major for a whole semester as a junior at the University of Missouri journalism school so, while I have little talent as a photographer, I have deep respect for the quality photography that Bob has brought to the Sentinel. His body of work has been remarkable and it has been recognized beyond our community by both the Missouri Press Association and the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame. It was the former that singled out a particularly poignant photograph

Bob took in December of 1982 of the broken front window of the Sentinel backed by flames. Talk about being worth a thousand words.

Like the skilled photojournalist he is, Bob has told the many stories of Webb City in the pages of the Sentinel, from our cooks (he did a story on my excellent cook and husband and paired it with a delightful photo of our two little children looking up adoringly at him as he stood in his apron – naturally I’m a bit partial to that one), to school sports, to the farmers market, to new businesses, and so much more. He didn’t necessarily make us look pretty. Carol Stark, editor of the Globe, once swore she’d never let Bob take another photo of her after he published a close-up of her judging tomatoes, mouth askew sampling a slice. He wasn’t after a pretty picture, he was after the story. And he got it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Webb City Sentinel market column - Wednesday 12-23-2020

I was once blessed with a wonderful pastor who always based his sermons on the trinity. That is to say, each sermon had three parts, and unfortunately by the time he finished the third part, I would usually have forgotten the first two parts. So I want to warn you ahead of time, this column is going to have three parts, but luckily for you, each part can be reviewed as needed if your attention span is as short as mine.

First, our market this week is the Christmas Eve Market! On Thursday, we will be open from 11 to 1 in the pavilion. Plan on a quick frosty holiday shopping trip to pick up what you need for Christmas and for the week. Braker Berry Farm, Fairhaven, Harmony Hill, and OakWoods will be there with fresh local produce. Fairhaven will also have treats for the table and the stocking – fresh picked out pecans, pecan brittle, peanut brittle, and chocolate peanut butter balls. Look for Harmony Hill’s baked goods, Clear Water Shrimp’s fresh shrimp for your holiday table, and MaMa JoJo’s fresh artisan pasta and sauces. Songbird’s Kitchen will have their wonderful egg rolls, crab Rangoon, and fried rice. And 2Ts Soap & Stuff will have what has probably been the most popular Christmas gifts at the market this year – handcrafted soaps, balms, beard oils, and more. Just right for stockings, small gifts for the neighbors, the postman or woman, and the other good people in your life. If you want to get creative, put together a basket full of these Webb City-made products for a larger one-of-a-kind gift.

Remember, the Christmas Eve Market is the last market of the year. Our next market after that will be the first Saturday in 2021!

Which brings us to part two of this column, a review of the year we are not likely to forget - 2020. This was the first full year led by our market manager, Rachael Lynch. Talk about a trial by fire. The year started off with lots of plans and took a sharp left turn. Rachael organized a February celebration of African American heritage using a grant from the Missouri Humanities Council. A Cinco de Mayo celebration complete with dancing and a mariachi band was on the calendar too but that will have to happen next year - we hope.

By late February we had big jugs of hand sanitizer throughout the pavilion and hand washing stations set up. The market sought and received solid guidance from the city and the county health department. I headed to Denver to help my daughter and son-in-law who were trying to work fulltime from home with a 2- and a 4-year-old home fulltime as well. From there I could continue to work on grants and grant opportunities and attend and learn from the weekly CDC on-line presentations. Rachael held the fort down at the market, putting in place protocols, spacing out vendors, setting up an online store, and perhaps the biggest project, ramrodding the Free Kids Meals. Normally, the market can only do themeals when school is out in the summer, but the USDA urged their summer partners to start early to ensure kids were not going hungry in the spring. The Webb City schools took care of breakfast and lunch on weekdays. The market handed out two breakfasts and two lunches each Saturday to take care of the weekends. Our commercial kitchen is the envy of most markets but even it was stretched to capacity by the preparing, packing, storing, and distributing as many as 1,500 meals on Saturdays.

Once summer arrived, the market went back to its meals, packed to-go, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. This fall, the market has provided breakfast and lunch to-go each Saturday.   Typically the market serves less than 4,000 free kids meals during a year. This year, we did over four times that.

We were fortunate this year to receive some critical grants. Expanding the pavilion has been a longtime goal at the market, so when a grant opportunity arose that could make that happen, I wrote the grant application, but needed a match.  I called long-time market supporter Bill Perry and asked if the Perry Foundation would consider providing those matching funds. He said he’d talk to Rebecca, his sister
who is also a long-time market booster, when she got home from a trip at the end of the week. Thirty minutes later Bill called back. He’d called Rebecca and the project was a go. While the grant was not approved, we learned that by eliminating the part of the proposal related to the current pavilion, we could build the 50-foot extension using just the Perry Foundation funding. The Perrys agreed and plans were in place even before we knew how important that extra space would become during a pandemic. We were also exceedingly fortunate that the Missouri Department of Agriculture found some unused grant funds that allowed us to put up another 140 running feet of tents and canopies.  Between the extension and the canopies we were able to increase our covered space by over 50%. That made a huge difference in reducing crowding and keeping the market vendors, customers, staff, and volunteers safe. In fact, once folks better understood how the virus was transmitted, the market felt like one of the safest places around.  And I think our customers felt the same way because despite a poor year for both sweet corn and peaches, two of our biggest crops, market sales increased in 2020.

 Another important grant allowed the market to re-start its SNAP matching program. In 2008 Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit on the east coast, began partnering with markets to provide a match of free produce tokens when SNAP customers purchased food stamp tokens to spend at participating markets. For eight years running, I contacted Wholesome Wave to see if they were taking on new markets.  Each time I got a no, so we just took a step of faith and started our own small matching program. As often happens, the market’s timing was charmed. Only a month later Wholesome Wave was looking for partners for a new federal matching program and because we’d created our own small pilot project, they were eager to include us. Their grant was awarded and we were able to increase our

SNAP customers’ produce purchasing  power. Results were impressive. Over the next three years, SNAP customers received more than $40,000 in extra produce, our farmers sold over $40,000 in extra produce, and customers reported significant health improvements like “I am no longer pre-diebetic!”  Then as that grant was ending we were approached by Fair Food Network, a Michigan nonprofit , who wanted us to join their program. So for another 18 months, we continued the matching program, until last fall funding was exhausted.  I was at a loss as to how we could continue this program that had been so successful and then Galen Foat found the Coover Foundation which is part of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks based in Springfield. I wrote a long-shot grant and, much to my surprise, it was awarded. Since we rolled out the program in May 2020, SNAP customers have received $14,300 in extra produce through the matching program. We expect to exhaust funding in early 2021. Normally that would make me sad, but we were invited last spring to partner with a Kansas City-based nonprofit on another grant application and it was awarded! We’ll start the program back up in late spring and funding is secure for another two and a half years. Did I mention that the market sometimes seems to lead a charmed life?

Our WIC program was started three years ago with $2,500 from Empty Bowls. This year we were ableto provide over $7,000 of extra produce, meat, and eggs to area low income young families participating in WIC. This program is privately funded. Though the market no longer receives any funding from Empty Bowls, others are stepping up – Soroptimists International of Joplin, the Robert Corely Foundation, donations from churches and individuals – including some folks who donated part of their stimulus checks. This winter the market sold used cookbooks, handmade pottery bowls and, with donations from customers, raised $600 for WIC. That will take care of one family shopping once a week for a year and leave another eight weeks for another family. If you’re looking for a way to do good and build the local economy, you won’t find a better program than this one that feeds our youngest neighbors healthy food and supports the sales of local farmers.

Finally, we received the good news that the Missouri Department of Agriculture is funding a multi-year project starting in 2021 at the market that will establish a teaching garden and provide nutrition and gardening instruction at the market for children and adults.

Despite all the problems presented by the pandemic in 2020, the market remained a safe gathering place and embraced its mission as a healthy welcoming community. The outlook for 2021 is bright. We are actively working with the city to improve parking and traffic flow for next year. The market has partnered with the MSSU Lion Coop to provide fresh produce for low income students. With our larger pavilion, teaching garden, accumulated knowledge on safe marketing, and a year’s worth of ideas for making the market even better, we are all looking forward to a 2021 we’ll remember for its celebrations and successes.

Finally, for part three which will be shorter than it should be. A third remembrance of another special part of the Webb City Sentinel, the cartoons of the remarkable Nic Frising. Nic’s cartoons could be biting, but mostly he was a cheerleader for all things good in Webb City. Personally, I have never known any other small town with such a talented, perceptive, and often times hilarious cartoonist. In fact, there are very few papers in the country that can boast its own cartoonist, much less one of such caliber. There is a display of Nic’s cartoons at the Clubhouse that includes the following description written by Bob Foos. I think it tells a lot about Nic and his place in Sentinel history.

Fobby Boos. What’s happening in Webb City this week?”

That’s the routine that began my weekly Wednesday-night phone calls to Nic Frising for 25 years.

As well as Nic had Webb City figured out, many would probably be surprised that he had actually never lived here. I guess he got most of his insight about our culture while he was on the Webb City police force.

The gist of our conversations was me, as the straight man, explaining what was going to be in the newspaper, and him as the funny man, twisting my every word to make us laugh.

Nic’s cartoons were not based on my ideas. The rule was that I didn’t tell him what to draw, I told him what was going on. He’d be the one to determine what to draw.

He was decisive. Often, he’d be drawing while we were still on the phone.

It was not unusual for me to strike out at supplying cartoon material. Luckily, Nic played poker with a group of Webb Citians, self proclaimed as The Macho Club. Regular members included the Mosbaugh twins, Ron and Don, Don Darby, Bud Corner and Chuck Thornberry. They could usually come up with something. If not, Nic would draw them just talking about topics.

And if all else failed, there was always that crazy Missouri weather."

Friday, December 18, 2020

Webb City Sentinel market column - 12/16/2020

This week is the last Saturday market of the year. That’s because next week we will have a Christmas Eve Market, but no Saturday market. Christmas falls on a Friday, so we will be open under the pavilion from 11 to 1 on Thursday, December 24. Then we’ll skip Saturday, December 26, because we do not want our vendors spending Christmas Day preparing for market. So far the Christmas Eve Market is looking like Fresh Food Central. We have lots of produce from our farmers, including Brakers Berry Farm, OakWoods, Harmony Hill, MO Mushrooms, Misty Morning, and Fairhaven Garden coming. Harmony will also have baked goods, so if you want something special, be sure to let Mabel know this Saturday. Fairhaven will also have their jams and jellies, fresh pecans, peanut brittle, pecan brittle, and peanut butter balls. Misty Morning will also have beef.

This Saturday is your last chance to get some of that delicious Methodist chili and fudge. While the previous Saturday sales have benefited the Webb City Christmas basket program, this Saturday’s sales will benefit the market’s WIC program which provides two $5 coupons good for fresh produce, meat or eggs each week to WIC participants. 

Central United Methodist Church has supported this program, which helps low income families provide healthy market food to their young children, since it began. A pint of chili without beans is $7, two pints are $13. A pint of chili with beans is $5.50, two pints are $10. A half pound of fudge is $4. Paul Jackson and his good wife, Janis, will staff the church’s table. Paul has been a dedicated shopper for 21 years now and after year one approached me with the suggestion that the market needed a manager on site and he volunteered to be that manager. He kept us organized for many years before  Eastern Star required his full attention. 

All our crafters will be back this Saturday, plus Alchemist Haven is coming with oils, scrubs, butters, balms, and more. This may also be your last chance to grab stocking stuffers at DnD Smoked and Juniper Coffee.  Songbird’s Kitchen will have Asian specialties like crab Rangoon and egg rolls. We’ll have Clear Water Shrimp, as well as Good Golly Tamale. MaMa JoJo's is back with artisan pasta you can cook at home and market-made sauces. Harmony Hill and Redings Mill will have baked goods. There’ll be popcorn and pork rind snacks from Kings Kettle Corn. And of course, the stars of the show are our ranchers and farmers. We’ll have Garrett’s, Misty Morning, and Sunny Lane selling beef, chicken, lamb, and pork. You can pick up fresh local produce from the tables of Braker Berry Farm, Fairhaven Berries & Produce, Harmony Hill Farm, Misty Morning Farms, and OakWoods Farms. Helm Family Farm will have local raw honey and honey candies and lip balms.

And we’ll be festive because our new garland was hung last week and Drew Pommert will fill the market with holiday songs.

The Free Kids Meal features a breakfast of a Holiday Pancake, fruit, and milk and a lunch of  a chicken, cranberry, almond wrap served with a Shredded Carrot & Pineapple salad, and milk. Kids from 1 through 18 receive both the breakfast and lunch, packed to go, from 9 to 11 on Saturday. If you’re picking up for your kids or grandkids, just show our wonderful volunteers a photo of yourself with the kids so they can get a headcount.

It’s going to be another special market. Don’t miss it.

Now for some old news, another peek into the Sentinel’s past.

For several years, Jan Ladd wrote, or to be more accurate, collected tidbits for a column she dubbed Lollypop Logic. There were many memories shared and preserved in the Sentinel like “Recently three-year-old Alex was discussing the possibility of a new baby brother or sister with his father. ‘I want a baby boy,’ was Alex’s contribution. His father explained that God decided if the baby was a boy or a girl, but that Mommy would carry the baby in her tummy a long time while Alex became used to the idea of a sister or brother. Alex put his hands on his hips, looked up at his father and said ‘Mommy tried that with me, but I fell out.’”

Every family has those hilarious or precious moments, but not every town had a newspaper that celebrated them. Newspapers do more than print the news. They create memories and shape the history of a community. I expect Sentinel clippings are in hundreds of scrapbooks preserving the history of individuals and families, of young people and old, of big events and small.

Thanks for the memories.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Webb City Sentinel market column - 12-9-2020

If all goes well this week, we’ll look different on Saturday. The Parks Department plans to drop the sides on the pavilion. The sides will provide protection from the wind, but it will still be chilly inside so dress warmly. The pavilion doors will remain open so the space is well ventilated and safe.

While we don’t have our official Christkindlmarket this year, we have been able to host some popular gift crafters. They’re all scheduled to return this week – 2Ts Soap and Stuff, Debbie Fedie’s sewn
goods, BDJ Creations with holiday woodcrafts, Jane’s Glass Art, and Nancy’s Doll Closet with loads of hand sewn clothes for 18” dolls. Of course, many of our regular market vendors also sell products that make good gifts. Mo Mushrooms is selling dried mushrooms as well as mushroom powder that would be welcome in a cook’s stocking. Juniper Coffee has locally roasted coffee beans for the coffee drinker and a new product that is receiving rave reviews – Juniper & Cardamom House Syrup. I’m not a coffee drinker but I
was hooked this summer when I tasted their cold brew flavored with their signature syrup. Just right for stockings, kitchen cupboards, and coffee bars at work, this is a gift that will be used and appreciated.

Oakwoods has mild and hot chili seasonings just right for winter. DnD Smoked also has chili seasoning that a certain city manager swears by. My mother always loved getting bags of fresh pecans from Fairhaven in her stocking. They’re great for snacking and for cooking, and while you’re at Fairhaven’s table don’t forget the pecan and peanut brittle and chocolate peanut butter balls.

Market branded gifts include our hats and bags and who wouldn’t want some market tokens in their stocking to spend in 2021?

Grison Dairy and Creamery will have cow’s cheese at the market this Saturday. We’ll also have five farms with fresh produce, three ranches and farms with all-natural meats, Harmony Hill and Redings Mill with baked goods, and Clear Water Shrimp Farm. We’re expecting Songbird’s Kitchen with Asian food.

David Loving is playing at the market’s center stage from 9 to 11.

The Free Kids Meals this week are:  Breakfast – market-made pumpkin oat energy bar served with a cinnamon yogurt dif, fruit, and milk. Lunch – Oven fried rice with market carrots, peas, parsley and egg, a Songbird Kitchen eggroll, and milk.

Confession time. Our pumpkin oat energy bar uses butternut squash instead of pumpkin. Butternut is often used to substitute for pumpkin in soups and pies. Last fall we picked up two huge boxes of butternuts from E & O Produce’s bumper crop. Some we used fresh in the kids meals, but most of which we baked, pureed, and froze. Now it’s a breeze to defrost and incorporate in the meals. Anyone, aged 1 through 18, can pick up a local butternut oat energy bar and other breakfast and lunch delights, packed to go, from 9 to 11 at the market on Saturday. If the kids aren’t there, just show our wonderful volunteers a photo of you with them so they can get a head count.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, this is the last month that the Sentinel will exist in print. Each week I plan to include an appreciation for some part of the Sentinel and the first I’d like to share with you is the long time column called Coonfoot nd Vicinity. This weekly column was written by Louise Ott, a lady I never had the pleasure of knowing but who must have been a very special person. Each column started with a variation of “The Good Lord blessed us with…” rain, or heat, or wind, or some other kind of weather. Louise then proceeded to keep us up to date on all the happenings north of Alba - who had dinner with whom, whose cousin, aunt, brother, or childhood friend had come to town to visit, who had taken shopping trips to the big city (Joplin). The Lamar Free Fair was always fun but the Kentucky Fried Chicken closing in Carthage was criminal. (A new one is open now.)

This “All About Town” type of column has deep roots at the Sentinel. You would have found a daily front page column sharing the same kind of news in the Sentinel in the early 1900s. Even at the turn of the 21st century times seemed more casual. For example, did you know that twenty years ago when Coonfoot was being published one of the Jasper County polling places was Louise’s laundry room and the voting machine sat on her washing machine?   

Coonfoot was the first column that my children looked for when they were in college and was the absolute favorite of their roommates and friends. The arrival of the weekly Sentinel always meant a gathering as Cora or Emily read Coonfoot to everyone. Emily’s friends were especially intrigued with the Sentinel. Both her roommates grew up in New York City and they had never known anyone who was in the local newspaper. They were amazed that Emily knew lots of people in the paper, that her family was in the paper, and her first grade teacher, and her preacher, and…even Emily herself was in the paper occasionally. A few weeks ago when the Sentinel ran a photo of Emily’s new baby, I emailed her a digital copy of the page with a message “Guess what, Emily?  You still know people in the Sentinel!”   

Times change, communication styles change, but let’s remember we are a community and find ways to stay in touch.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Webb City Sentinel market column - 12/2/2020

Can it be December? You'll find the sides still off this Saturday so it will be chilly, and I do mean chilly. Drew Pommert is scheduled to play but though he has braved some pretty cold days I doubt he'll try with the temperature in the 30s. So bundle up and think Winter Wonderland! 

 We won't do the adult meal since its so cold, but the kids meals will be ready for pick up between 9 and 11. Kids, aged 1 through 18, get both breakfast and lunch, packed to go. To quote our manager “we're going bananas for breakfast!” It's a market-made banana chocolate chip granola bar with a banana and milk. Lunch is a grilled cheese hotdog served with applesauce, a kale & carrot salad, and milk. That salad will be delicious. Winter carrots are the best of the year. For some reason, the cold temperature really brings out their sweetness.

Decorations by BDJ

If you were at the market last Saturday you saw that it was decked out for Christmas with tinsel, balls, and bows on the posts. That is, if you notice that sort of thing. I asked my husband Phil how he liked the decorations (they were right in front of him) and he said “What decorations?” Oh well. They are not as spectacular as we had planned. But we couldn't drape the garland and lights with the sides off so we had to stick to what could be put up and taken down for each market. It's a bit disappointing because we were really ready to provide a show this year. Last year about this time I was concerned because I knew I would not be around to decorate the pavilion in the future and the decorations we had were very laborious. We needed to simplify. The board agreed and allocated funding and then I promptly forgot but luckily board member Galen did not. He began researching, which is one of his strong suits, and found festive garland on sale at one of the national craft stores. He contacted me and I checked out the same store that had several locations in the Denver area and between the two of us we bought a truckload of decorations. So that will be one more thing to look forward to next year.

What you can look forward to this Saturday:  fresh local produce, raw honey and honey products, Harmony Hill and Redings Mill baked goods, shrimp, beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, kettle corn and other snacks, mushrooms, tamales, jams and jellies, candies, smoked spices and salts, and freshly ground coffee beans and drinks (and festive post decorations). 

Crafters include 2Ts Soap & Stuff, BDJ Creations with holiday themed woodcrafts, Nancy's Doll Closet with outfits for 18” dolls, and Jane's Glass Art. Jane comes up with a new Christmas ornament every year to add to her collection which includes ornaments featuring shepherds, wise men, and the holy family. This year she added masks. "2020" is on the ornament but I doubt we could forget which year we added a mask to the tree.

Central United Methodist Church will have chili with beans and chili without beans, as well as fudge for sale. All profits go to the community Christmas basket program.

The market will have hand thrown pottery and gently used cookbooks for sale to support the market's WIC program. There are also festive gift cards just right for a Christmas card or stocking for you to use when honoring a friend or family member with a gift to the program. What an apt way to celebrate that family sheltering in a stable by giving a gift that provides food to our youngest families in need.

The parks department plans to put the sides on the pavilion next week, primarily to block the wind which can be chilling. We won't be heating the pavilion this year because the double doors will be open to keep our shoppers and vendors as safe as possible. So come prepared for the weather.

The cold will help us do our shopping quickly and move on. That's the safest way to shop this year. And I've noticed my mask keeps my face nice and warm. During the heat of the summer my mask was warm, too, which wasn't so nice.

The traditional winter markets in Europe are always held in the open air in very cold weather, often at night when it's even colder. Admittedly they may keep warm with Gluhwein, a hot mulled wine. But we have coffee! As we enter what will certainly be a cold and memorable winter, let's fill it with warmth of spirit, the joy of welcome, and with kindness, generosity, and good food!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Webb City Sentinel market column - Wednesday, November 25, 2020

It's official – we are celebrating the holidays at the market.  Our annual Holiday Market, which always we hold the day before Thanksgiving, will be today from 11 to 1 at the pavilion. Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving seems an especially good time to fill our harvest table with local bounty.  Here are the vendors we expect today:

Goat Cheese – Terrell Creek is back so stock up!

Baked goods - Redings Mill Co. and Sunflower Bakery

Meats – Sunny Lane Farm and Clearwater Shrimp

Produce – Braker Berry Farm

Pecans, jams and jellies, and candies – Fair Haven Gardens

Mushrooms – MO Mushrooms

Honey & honey products – Helms Family Farm

Snacks – Kings Kettle Corn 

Meals to go – Ham & Beans with 2 cornbread muffins – 16 oz for $5, Chili with beans – 16 oz for $5.50, Chili without beans – 16 oz for $7, 1/2 pound of fudge for $4.  All are prepared in the market kitchen by volunteers of Central United Methodist Church.  All profits go to the community Christmas basket program.

As you can see from the above list, it’s a relatively small market, but such a good selection.

On Saturday, the market will delve into the holidays even further.  We’ll host five vendors selling handcrafted items just right for gift-giving  – Nancy’s Doll Closet with handmade clothing for 18” dolls, Jane’s Glass Art with lovely jewelry, window hangers and other pretty glass items, Debbie Feddie with sewn kitchen goods, BDG Creations with holiday woodcraft and ornaments, and our regular vendor 2Ts Soap and Stuff with artisan soaps.  And of course, we’ll have most of our regular vendors well.

The Free Kids Meals this Saturday are Breakfast: Maple porridge topped with Fair Haven pecans and with pumpkin seeds, plus a piece of fruit and milk plus Lunch: Lasagna with garlic roasted cauliflower from Harmony Hill Farm and milk.  The Kids Meals are served from 9 to 11 and children, aged 1 through 18, receive both the breakfast and the lunch.

And just a head’s up – we’ll have two Holiday Markets this year.  Since Christmas falls on a Friday, we’ll have a Christmas Eve market on December 24 (a Thursday) and then take Saturday off so our bakers and farmers do not have to work on Christmas Day.

See you at the Holiday Market!


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Webb City Sentinel market column - Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Food is front and center again this Saturday at the market. Our farmers are bringing in lots of fall crops like lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, fresh ginger, winter squash, carrots, radishes and more. There will be all natural meats, honey, jams and jellies, frozen tamales, kettle corn and other flavored popcorn and pork rinds, mushrooms, freshly roasted coffee beans and coffee drinks. Redings Mill, Harmony Hill, and Sunflower will have a wide assortment of baked goods. DnD Smoked will have dozens of kinds of smoked spices and salts, plus mixes for dips and chili. Our honey vendor is selling honey truffles and other chocolate and honey treats. Fair Haven brings handmade peanut and pecan brittle. Central United Methodist has fudge, as well as chili with or without beans. The church's sales benefit the community Christmas basket program.

 MaMa JoJo's will have fresh pasta and made-at-the-market sauces. You can buy the pasta baked and dressed with sauce or buy the pasta to cook at home. Fresh pasta takes about 4 minutes to cook in boiling water and if you've only had dried pasta, you are in for a treat. Fresh makes all the difference, and not just in veggies!

Songbird Kitchen is expected with made-at-the-market egg rolls and other Asian specialties.

From 9 to 11 adults can buy a breakfast of biscuit and gravy, scrambled cheesy eggs or scrambled cheesy eggs loaded with market veggies, and a drink for $5. All profits from the breakfast benefit the market.

The Free Kids Meals are also served from 9 to 11. Breakfast is biscuit and gravy with fruit and milk. Lunch is a ham, cheese, & lettuce wrap, plus apple slaw, and milk. The lettuce is from Braker Berry Farm (though we could have gotten it from any number of other farms – lettuce is in season!) Brakers is our largest lettuce grower and we can pick up several tubs of lettuce from them without running them short at the market. We want the kids to have our wonderful fresh local produce, but we don't want to leave our customers high and dry. The apple slaw includes local apples, carrots from Harmony Hill and honey from Helm's Family Farm.

We've been really pleased with the response to the kids meals. We're serving about 250 meals each Saturday and would be happy, and ready, to serve even more. Because of COVID-19, children do not have to be present to receive a meal. Their adults can pick up for them as long as we see a photo of the adult and kids so we can get a head count. All children receive both breakfast and lunch for free if they are between 1 and 18.

I took on the Free Kids Meals in October which is why you have read so much about it. Now that I'm in Colorado our manager has taken it over and is doing a wonderful job. It takes considerable devotion, planning, and organization to have so many meals ready and to make those meals as locally based as possible. One tricky part of the kids meals is that we serve every child but don't require reservations. So we prepare for the usual number but have back up ingredients to prepare more if needed. For example, on Halloween we prepared 2 meals for 130 children, so a total of 260 meals. We ended up with about 170 children which means that on very short notice (as in 30 minutes) we prepared an extra 80 meals! And we did it with no one having to wait. It's definitely a learned skill, but we have learned it well.

All meals at the market are served to-go due to COVID-19, but we have picnic tables spread out across the north lawns where people can eat if they wish to do so.

Every farmers market is different Some allow lots of arts and crafts, or businesses selling things they didn't actually make, but Webb City's has from the beginning focused on connecting the community with small and mid-sized businesses growing, raising or making local foods.

We also celebrate and support good works which is why we host the current fundraiser for the community Christmas basket program and why we also currently have handmade bowls and cookbooks for sale to raise funds for the market's WIC program.

We do allow a very limited number of crafts and art, especially if they are connected to food, kitchen, garden or health. That's why you will find 2T's Soap and Stuff and Debbie Fedie with sewn goods for the kitchen at the market this Saturday.

Normally we also have a large Christkindlmarket in November and December when we have fewer farmers and extra room. Sadly we will forego our usual Christkindlmarket this year. We feel it is important to keep the vendors spread out to create a safe shopping space so we will not be filling a large section of the pavilion with crafts. But when we have some space, we will feature one or two of our best Christkindlmarket crafts people. This week we are delighted to have Nancy's Doll Closet back again. Nancy makes the most wonderful, and very reasonably priced, clothes for 18” dolls. Honestly I am so taken with her selection – and it's huge – that I'm buying a wardrobe for each of my daughters' families.

Be sure to place your Thanksgiving baked goods order with Sunflower Bakery on Saturday for pick up at the special Holiday Market on November 25th, between 11 and 1 at the pavilion. Sunflower will be our only bakery that day but they are expanding their selection to include breads, rolls, and more in addition to their usual pies and fried pies. If you can't make it Saturday but want to place an order, give them a call at 417 888-2000.

If you're looking for fresh produce for your Thanksgiving table, check with your farmer on Saturday about picking up an order at the Holiday Market. All the vendors generally bring extra, but to be sure of getting what you want, ordering ahead is wise.

It's going to be an unusual holiday for many. My mother often
placed a small gift at each plate as a special part of our Thanksgiving meal. It might be a jar of honey or jam, a container of smoked salts, a $5 token to spend at the market, a small bag of candy, soap, chili mix, or some other local treat. For those gathering together this year, I invite you to start that new tradition. And if your Thanksgiving will be smaller than usual, maybe it's the
perfect time to drop off or mail some small gift like that to brighten the day for those you will not be with. Instead of mourning what we don't have this holiday, let's celebrate what we do have – Friends and family that, even from a distance, fill our lives with kindness, thoughtfulness, and love and appreciation for each other.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Webb City Sentinel market column - Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The market and I have received exciting news. My news first – Monday my daughter Emily presented the family with a little girl, 19 1/2 inches and 7.5 pounds. No name yet, but she’s a cutie. I’m sure she’ll have a name before I gather her in my arms on Saturday.

The market news is also wonderful. We will be able to continue our SNAP match program when our grant from the Coover Foundation ends this spring. The market partnered with the Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City who applied for a GUS NIP grant from the USDA. The grant will, among other things, fund matching programs at 45 farmers markets in eastern Kansas and western Missouri. When I contacted the Council about including Webb City they were hesitant. We were outside their service area but it didn’t take them long to convince them to include us. After all, we’re an amazing market and would strengthen their application. I have no idea if it really did, but they got it!

The SNAP match program is well used by our customers using food stamps. It allows them to purchase food stamp tokens good to purchase eligible products in the market and also receive free tokens for fresh uncut fruits and vegetables. Our current program is funded by the Coover Foundation and we have been so thankful for the funding but it will end in March. Now we will be able to continue the program for another three years. That’s a lot of healthy fruit and vegetables for our neighbors in need and a lot of produce sales for our farmers.

And speaking of produce, it’s lettuce season! The lettuce is pouring into the market which is why the kids meal this week is Taco Salad – lettuce and tomatoes from Braker Farm, ground beef donated by Misty Morning Farms. I really should say it’s green season because there is also broccoli, kohlrabi, and acorn squash just to name a few other green things at the market.

It’s also chilly and chili season. Dress warm because the market will remain open air as long as we can manage. And load up on chili to-go at the market. Central United Methodist Church is selling chili with beans and without and it sure is good. They also have fudge for your sweet tooth. All profits go to buy food for the Webb City Christmas basket program.

We have two other fundraisers at the market (‘tis the season). Next to the information table you will find handcrafted bowls and cookbooks. All sales benefit the market’s WIC program for low income young families.

This Saturday MaMa JoJo’s will have artisan pasta and red sauce to-go, as well as pasta for you to cook at home. Songbird Kitchen will have made-at-the-market egg rolls, crab Rangoon, and fried rice.

The Free Kids Meals are:  Breakfast – breakfast casserole with eggs, sausage, and cheese, plus a banana and milk AND Lunch – Taco Salad with milk. Kids don’t need to be present, but we need to see a photo of yourself with the kids – or grandkids – so we can get a head count. The meals are free to anyone aged 1 through 18.

Breakfast for adults is biscuit and gravy, cheesy scrambled eggs or cheesy scrambled eggs loaded with market veggies, and juice or coffee for $5. The breakfast benefits the market.

All the meals can be eaten on site or taken home. Randy & Phil are on the market stage. The breakfast, kids meals, and music run from 9 to 11.

Make your plans now for the Holiday Market on the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, November 25. We’ll be open from 11 to 1 under the pavilion and bakers are taking orders now!

Talk of bakers reminds me - pastry is coming back to the market! Juniper Coffee Roastery is adding a pastry to their freshly roasted coffee beans and coffee drinks. Their pastry is inspired by rugelach which was brought to the US by eastern European immigrants and is especially popular for Jewish holidays. The Mayfield’s will do their own interpretation using fillings of orange marmalade and dark chocolate. They’ll be made right in the market kitchen.

Also at the market this Saturday – five produce farms, two mushroom growers, Grison Dairy with cow’s cheese, Clear Water Shrimp Farm, DnD Smoked, Helm’s honey, Garrett’s and Sunny Lane with meats, three bakeries, and 2Ts Soap. It’s going to be another wonderful market. See you there!