Friday, October 17, 2014

Webb City Sentinel Market column - 10-17-14

OK, repeat after me “The market is open all year, the market is open all year...”  This is my last column of the year, not because the market is closing, but because I’m going to be busy having a good time!  My daughter Emily is getting married on the 25th, my daughter Cora and her family are visiting from Australia and we have our Winter Production Conference coming up in November, so I’m cutting down on other responsibilities – in other words, the column.
 
Granddaughter Madeleine LOVED Suzette!
All of which means that the market is NOT shutting down, or even, for that matter, slowing down. There will still be market news in the Sentinel, but just brief news article without the gossip. 

November 1 we go to Saturdays only (9 to noon) and those Saturdays in November and December will expand the market to include our annual Christkindlmarket. The south end of the pavilion will be filled with handcrafted gifts each Saturday, while the north end will have our usual market vendors, fresh produce, baked goods, jams, jellies, freshly roasted coffee beans, farm fresh eggs. We’ll have much of the usual market fare, but with a festive flair.

If you’d like to sell at one or more of the Christkindlmarkets, stop by the information table at the market for an application or go to webbcityfarmersmarket.com and click on “Applications”. All vendors are juried to make sure they’re a good fit for the market and, of course, the seller must be the maker or grower of the product.

We’re looking for a breakfast vendor for the market who would also sell hot drinks like mulled cider, hot chocolate, coffee and tea.

We also plan holiday cooking demonstrations and sampling, or just sampling if your dish is too complicated or takes too long to actually make during market. If you have a favorite holiday recipe you’d like to share, let us know. You’ll find the demonstrator application on our web site. We’ll buy the ingredients!  Three Saturdays are already taken but that leaves three more, and we might just have more than one demonstration going on at a time because we love holiday foods. If you’re crafty and would like to demonstrate a holiday craft, we’d love that, too. (And I’m still looking for a Santa or Mrs. Santa – we can provide the costume, you provide the smiles for whatever Saturday(s) you are available.  Good News - we have a "professional" Santa flying down to the market from Kansas City on December 20th - so mark your calendars and bring your camera!)

Decorations will start going up in the south end soon but, I promise, the Christmas balls won’t go up until after Thanksgiving. 

Now back to the present. This Saturday, breakfast is pancakes (with a free second serving), grilled ham, eggs to order and coffee or juice. It’s served till 11 and benefits Webb City’s Bright Futures program. The sides are down on the pavilion so if it’s cold, eat inside. If it’s sunny, enjoy breakfast outside.

Mark Barger plays Native American flutes on Saturday. 

It’s a great time to buy mums. Several growers have them on sale and since they’re winter hardy, you can plant them now and enjoy them every fall. Be sure to talk to the grower about the best place to plant them and how to care for them.

The produce continues to be abundant, especially the green beans and other fall crops.

Next Tuesday is our next-to-last Tuesday market. Madewell Pork will be there, as will all of our produce growers. Harmony Hill will have baked goods. Rob Pommert will play and Carmine’s Wood Fire Pizza will have the oven fired up (literally).

Watch for market news in the Sentinel and remember, as the Whos said to Horton, “We are here!  We are here!  We are here!”  See you at the market!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Webb City Sentinel market column - 10/10/14

You may very well see the market in its winter clothes this weekend.  I’m out of town but I asked Parks Director Tom Reeder to make the call.  It’s forecast to be cold and rainy and, if so, we’ll need the sides down and the heat on.  Naturally it’s also forecast to be lovely next week, but once the sides are down, they’re down for the season because the bottoms must be secured with cables all the way around, plus rolling those sides up is no easy task.  I’m kind of glad it’s not my call.

And I’m really glad we have the sidewalls.  We tried winter market at the pavilion a couple of years without them.  One year was fine, only two really cold market days.  The next year was dreadful, only two market days that weren’t absolutely freezing. Now, unless deep snow or slick roads make the pavilion inaccessible, we can have market all winter long without undue suffering!  (and I’m pretty sure that spending five hours outside in below freezing weather is suffering – it’s not that great for the produce either.)


We continue to have a great selection of produce at the market.  The summer crops like zucchini, squash and, yes, even tomatoes are still coming in.  Saturday is our best day for tomatoes when Fredrickson and Green usually have a tableful – for the first half hour anyway.  And all the cool weather crops are available – different kinds of lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard, mustard greens (those last three have incredibly dense nutrients according to the CDC), broccoli, the winter squashsweet potatoes and more.  The tables continue to be loaded!
Music tomorrow will be Tony Bergkoetter. Cooking for a Cause is cooked-to-order eggs, grilled ham and pancakes.  It benefits the Webb City Parks.  Those would be the fine folks who put up the sidewalls that keep us warm and do a myriad of other things that make the market facility better.  
Red Lab Farm has been back at the market a couple of Saturdays after a devastating home fire.  They’ve sent word that, among other choices, they will have apple “pop” tarts tomorrow.  And believe me, these aren’t your regular pop tarts.
Tuesday (and we only have only have three moreTuesdays this year) Rob Pommert will play and Carmine’s Wood Fire Pizza will custom make and bake your pizza.  Madewell Pork is coming on Tuesdays now so that’s a great day to pick up your pork for the week.
There are lots of behind-the-scenes projects going on both at the market and on the farms.  Our high tunnel farmers are tending their late season and winter crops of tomatoes, greens, peppers and other good things to come.  We have six high tunnel farmers now with a total of 11 tunnels plustwo more farmers coming on line soon.  And we’re doing our best to train more.  On November 10 and 11 we’re hosting a regional conference on winter production.  We’re bringing in nationally known presenters from Kentucky and West Virginia as well as regional presenters from Arkansas and Missouri.  They’ll coverbeginner’s high tunnel info, long-term soil management, record-keeping, specific crop production and many other topics.  We’ll also visit a moveable unheated high tunnel near Sarcoxie.  If you’re interested, you can get the full schedule and a link to registration at webbcityfarmersmarket.com or just come by themarket information table for a paper version.
I made my new favorite fall veggie recipe on KSN this week.  It was kind of a funny episode but luckily appeared perfectly normal to the viewers.  This recipe calls for about 20 minutes of cooking in the skillet which obviously does not work for a 3 minute slot so my plan was just to get the first stage going, browning the beef with the tomatoes, onions and peppers.  Well, only one burner works on the stove at the station and apparently that one is giving up the ghost.  We could have gotten the ingredients warming by blowing on them!  But no matter, we just moved on to the other steps.  Their oven works fine so the finished sample was perfect – and delicious.  
Spaghetti Squash Boats
1 medium spaghetti squash (2 to 2.5 pounds)
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 green pepper
2 ripe tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 garlic clove minced
1.5 teaspoons fresh basil cut into slivers
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Cut the squash in half and scoop out seeds.  Place in baking dish with 1/2 inch hot water.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven until tender.  Remove and cool.  Using a fork, scrape flesh into a bowl and set aside, reserving the shells.
In a skillet, cook the beef, onion, green peppers and tomatoes over a medium heat until meat is thoroughly browned.  Add mushrooms, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and cook stirring for 4 minutes.  If you must use canned tomatoes instead of fresh put in the tomatoes for the last 2 minutes.  Continue to cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes until the liquid is evaporated.
Spoon into shells and bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese bake five minutes longer until cheese is melted.
And, of course, alter proportions and ingredients to suit your taste.  You might even want to throw in some extras like zucchini!
Most of the ingredients at available at the market right now, so eat fresh this week.  See you at the market.

Friday, October 3, 2014

WC Sentinel market column - 10-3-14 - Don't forget - We're not open on Fridays!



I was doing the press release for the market this week and, of course, this time of year I’m touting our pumpkins and mums, our decorative squash and Indian corn. And as an aside I included “we also have fresh local produce”. In reading it over I thought, “I wonder if the media really understands that we have LOTS of produce”. So I started listing some of the things I saw at the Tuesday market – tomatoes, onions, eggplant, cucumbers, green beans, chard, spinach, lettuce, butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash, peppers – hot and sweet, potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, garlic, sweet potatoes, cabbage, cantaloupe, broccoli… I stopped there, but there’s more, like kohlrabi, green onions, ginger, more kinds of squash, boc choy and other Asian specialty crops. In other words, as the season changes, some of the crops change but we still have a tremendous amount of produce coming in from our farms. So plan to eat fresh this week – and don’t forget Tuesdays from 4 to 6. Tuesday is a smaller market in terms of some of our specialty vendors – Redings Mill Bread Co., Sunny Lane with beef, chicken and lamb and Cottage Small Coffee Roasters only come on Saturdays - but most of our produce farmers come both days so you can load up two days a week and eat five to six daily servings of super fresh veggies.

Tomorrow at the market Rob Pommert plays.

Cooking for a Cause tomorrow benefits a project near and dear to my heart – CROPwalk. It’s an annual hunger walk (happening October 12) sponsored locally by Catholics, Presbyterians, United Methodists, Missionary Baptists, Lutherans, Macauley High School and Christians (Disciples). Everyone is welcome to walk, churches, businesses, other faiths, schools, individuals. The money raised is split between local organizations that feed those in need – Crosslines, Salvation Army, Lafayette House and Childrens Haven. The remaining funds go around the world to help refugees and fight hunger in areas of chronic poverty. What better way to fight hunger than enjoy a benefit breakfast?  Breakfast is pancakes, grilled ham and eggs cooked to order and served till 11.
Speaking of eggs, we should finally have a good supply of eggs on Saturday. Plan to pick some up, you won’t regret it. Eggs from happy hens that taste great.

Tuesday we welcome Center Creek Bluegrass back to the market stage. We’ll be open from 4 to 6 pm.

It’s been a pretty exciting week for us market folks. We learned we have received two grants. One will build a commercial kitchen at the market. It’s a grant from the US Department of Agriculture and we are so thankful that the city is serving as our administrator on the project. We’ve done lots of state grants, but federal grants have more t’s to cross and the city is very experienced in such matters. The primary purpose of the kitchen is to allow our farmers to process their surplus produce for later sale. Currently if they have more sweet corn than they can sell, they can take it home and freeze it, but they can’t sell home-frozen corn to the public. Once the kitchen is in place, they can freeze and store it in the market kitchen and sell it at the fall and winter market. More income for the farmers, more sweet corn for the consumers! 

The market will also use the kitchen for its meal production and for cooking demonstrations and preparing samples. Hopefully we’ll be able to do training there with Extension – anyone interested in a canning class?  The kitchen will be available for rent by groups using the park such as festivals, reunions or fundraisers. It will also be rented to start-up businesses needing an inspected kitchen for production.

The second grant ties in well with the first because it includes a Better Processing School which will allow farmers to be licensed to can pickles, salsa, relishes and other acidified products. This is a two-day school that takes place every year in Columbia. For the first time, it’s coming to southwest Missouri, to little ol’ Webb City. That will save gas and the expense of a hotel, real cost savers for our local farmers. It will also be open to non-market folks who want to be licensed to can. 

Another component of the second grant is a continuation of our Winter Production Conference. We first held the conference last year. We hoped for 75 attendees. We cut it off at 150! We received a small grant to do it again this year (with different topics and presenters) on November 10 and 11 and now we have funding to do the conference in 2015 and 2016.

If you’d like information on the conference coming up in November, stop by the information table for a flyer or go to webbcityfarmersmarket.com. 

Yes, it’s been a pretty exciting week for us market folks. So let’s celebrate – come by the information table and give us a high five and then buy some fresh veggies!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Webb City Sentinel market column - 9-26-14



Today is our last Friday of the season. After today we’ll be open on Saturdays from 9 to noon and on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 pm.

Tomorrow is our last day for biscuits and gravy as part of breakfast. In October we still have Cooking for a Cause, but it will be pancakes, ham and eggs, all cooked to order. And we have some mighty fine causes coming up in October. On October 4, breakfast benefits CROPwalk which locally includes United Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Missionary Baptist, Lutherans and Christian Disciples)- and of course all others are welcome whether part of a church, mosque, synagogue, business or school. CROPwalk fights hunger – which is everyone’s concern.  One-quarter of the money raised stays local with Crosslines, Salvation Army, Lafayette House and Childrens Haven. The remaining funds go around the world fighting hunger, caring for refugees and providing access to clean water.

On October 11, the breakfast benefits the Webb City Parks system. On October 18, it benefits Webb City’s Bright Futures and on October 25 it benefits the Webb City Schools Foundation. 

What I’m telling you is, yes, there’s a lot going on during October, especially with all the festivals on Saturdays, but start your day off with breakfast at the market. It benefits great causes, it’s delicious AND it would only take an extra 10 minutes to pick of some wonderful things from the vendors while you’re there, thereby benefiting our local farmers. Dine, buy and dash!  If you’re going straight to a festival, just pack a cooler to store your fresh produce in while you play.

With the arrival of October the pavilion will begin to look different. The Park workers plan to put the sidings on soon. The sidings will be rolled up and ready to drop and secure when the weather turns consistently cold. 

We’re also making plans for the Christkindlmarket in November and December. This is a special gift market whose roots originate in parts of German-speaking Europe. It literally means Christ Child Market. The Christkindlmarket will take place during the regular market time (Saturdays from 9 to noon) in the south end of the pavilion which will be decked out in festive lights, garland and ornaments (want to help me decorate?). 

Call me (417 483-8139) if any of the following interests you –

We’d like to have a seller of hot drinks – we can’t do alcohol in the park, but mulled cider, hot chocolate, spiced teas, specialty coffees, all that would be great. Perhaps it could be a nonprofit’s project?
 
We’d like to have Christmas music, mid November through Christmas. Does your church choir or school choir or band want to perform?  We’d love to have them.

We’re looking for wonderful handcrafted gifts. Like the regular market, the seller must be the crafter or artist. Applications can be picked up at the market information table or downloaded on-line at webbcityfarmersmarket.com.  (That's a photo of the work of one of our knitters that is coming this year.)

We’d love to have a Mrs. Clause or Santa Clause for children to visit during the first three Saturdays of December. I might be able to come up with a costume if you would like to give that a try. It’d also be great to have a few elves around.

In other words, let’s be festive and make merry. If you have ideas or want to help, give me a call.

Today, on our last Friday, the Sours are playing traditional music. M & M Bistro will serve pitas filled with chicken or beef and lamb – and lots of good veggies and delicious cucumber sauce.

Tomorrow we have a special treat when the loquacious culinary enthusiast Chuck Lonardo demonstrates Lamb Steaks with Tuscan Herbs. He’ll be grilling them up right at the market and handing out samples. Even if you think you don’t like lamb, you should try this. Chuck has his own special methods and you may be surprised that lamb is very tasty. Especially lamb from Sunny Lane Farm.

The Rebecca Hawkins Project will play. Breakfast benefits the March of Dimes – last Saturday for biscuits and gravy!

This week was the last time for the Kids Community Garden until next spring. What a fall we’ve had with the kids. About 40 children have come to the garden after school once a week.  (photo - master gardener Dale Mermoud talks to some of the kids about tomatillo.) This week they dug their sweet potatoes and they were very nice sweet potatoes indeed, made even better by the 50 pounds of sweet potatoes donated by the market. Every child was able to take home a full sack to share with their family, plus a variety of other veggies donated by the market farmers. They also got to sample kohlrabi, a vegetable that none had seen before and many liked. 

We spent most of our hour talking about plans for next spring. About why we needed to keep a chart of the garden so we know where to plant the tomatoes and potatoes (to avoid virus build up in the soil, you change locations each year). About sequential plantings, cool weather crops in the spring, warm weather crops in May, and more cool weather crops planted the first week of school in the fall.  About what to plant and what we enjoyed eating.

This was probably our most successful year at the garden in terms of the number of children involved – over 250 planted, tended or harvested in the garden this year. We are looking forward to an even better year next spring. In fact, if we’re going to have that many kids in the garden, I think I’d better talk to the school about expanding the garden – again!
 
The Kids Garden may be closed for the season but many of our market farmers are still going strong with fall crops like lettuce, chard, and broccoli coming into season and plenty of winter squash, sweet potatoes and the remaining summer crops like green beans, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. It’s going to be a lovely fall at the market.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Webb City Sentinel market column 9-19-14



I admit it, sometimes it feels like I’m repeating myself. Every week I tell you how wonderful the market is, and sometimes I tell you about our wonderful vendors and customers. But the truth is the truth, so here I go again.

We welcome back a couple of vendors who have been gone for a while from the market. Today and tomorrow Cottage Vanilla (aka Rosemary McCulley) is back at the market. She took a month off while it was so hot. She figured no one in their right mind was baking!  But with the cooler weather her customers are eager to get back to baking and even thinking of their holiday baking and of holiday gifts. Rosemary’s vanilla makes a lovely stocking stuffer. 

The other vendor is Red Lab Farm. Justin Mason and his wife Ashley will be back at the market tomorrow with his French style pastries. Their absence was caused by a serious house fire. Their home will take six months to repair and all their baking equipment was lost, but their real loss was the namesake of their farm, their red lab named Mister Maximoose A Million Fourpaw-Mason (known to his friends and customers as “Moose, CEO of Red Lab Farm”), along with his companions King Charles Spaniels Stew and Olivia. We are so glad Justin and Ashley will be back at their stand. We hope they’re ready for lots of hugs. Tomorrow they’re bringing Croissants - Sourdough, Ham & Cheese and Chocolate.

These vendors are among the reasons that our market is special.

Even our honey bears are happy!
And we think we have some pretty special customers too, for their loyalty, their kind words and their support. Recently a customer made a donation to the market in memory of the late Tom Clark who loved bluegrass music. We’ll think of Tom tomorrow as we listen to Sonny Lau Certified Bluegrass.

We also received a donation to the children’s garden in memory of Ida Gilmore, a long time gardener who lived to be 102. With over 250 children involved in the garden this year, that gift has been very helpful.

And our scarecrows are happy!
The market also has received gifts to its food stamp matching program. Each of the first four food stamp customers who buys food stamp tokens on Tuesdays get an additional $5 in tokens. This increases the amount of fresh produce our low income customers can buy. Yes, we’re starting small – the City Market in Kansas City has a matching program of over $65,000 a year - but it’s a beginning for us.

The program is funded in two ways. The first is through Smile.Amazon.com. That is Amazon’s charity program. If you buy through the smile site, which has the same prices and products as the regular Amazon web site, 5% of your purchase price goes to the charity of your choice. While the market isn’t asking anyone to buy on-line, if you do, we hope you will choose to use the smile site and designate the market. 

The other food stamp funding source was a surprise. My daughter Emily listed the program on her wedding registry and folks are making donations in honor of her upcoming marriage on October 25. She doesn’t need another toaster, instead she and her fiancĂ©, Kit, are happy to know they and their friends and family are helping local low income folks put fresher, better food on their tables.
It’s true. The market is a feel good place but it’s not just because we have good produce and products. It’s also because we have good people - customers, vendors and volunteers - good music and good causes. And we have some very happy scarecrows this fall because Suzette has joined the family. Bring your camera or use your phone to take a photo with Sammy, Suzie and their little addition.  They’ll be at the central entrance.

Today we’ll be feeling extra good because the Granny Chicks are playing!  Accordions and foot tapping are in our future. M & M Bistro will serve pita wraps with chicken or beef and lamb. Hillside will be at the market with their elephant garlic. We’ll have freshly roasted coffee beans by Cottage Small Coffee Roasters (those of you who graduated from Webb City High School may know them as Josh and Genevieve Moore). Friday is when Madewell Pork is at the market. Fanning Egg Farm and Endless Bounty energy bars come on Tuesday and Friday.

Today and tomorrow we expect lots of mums and fall decorations. We’ll have even more on Saturday. Sunny Lane Farm is at the market on Saturdays with beef, lamb, and chicken. Redings Mill Bread Company comes both Friday and Saturday as does Amos Apiaries. Harmony Hill comes to every market with country style baked goods. Of course, we have loads of produce at every market as well.
Today the Independent Living Center will be at the market to talk to customers about food stamps, helping them sign up for the program if they are eligible.

Tomorrow Cooking for a Cause benefits one of our Webb City Girl Scout troops. They’ll be serving from 9 to 11. As mentioned earlier, Sonny Lau Certified Bluegrass plays.

Tuesday Rob Pommert plays and Carmine’s Wood Fire Pizza bakes to order.

Next Friday is our last Friday of the year. In October we go to Tuesday from 4 to 6 and Saturday from 9 to noon.

The seasons, they are a-changing but the market is welcoming no matter what the season. See you at the market!