Oakwoods Farm in less than ideal conditions.

-18° : High tunnels are being tested this winter

Farmers are protecting their plantings – and kids – for better times ahead

Breaking records can be a thrill, breaking temperature records, not so much. 

OakWoods Farm recorded minus 18 degrees outside Monday night. We might as well be in Mongolia! They are keeping all their high tunnels shut tight for the rest of the week in hopes of saving their plantings. Luckily the tunnels warm up during the day – the remote thermometer showed 60 degrees Tuesday afternoon – so that warms the soil. Hopefully those record low temperatures are not penetrating the multiple layers of row cover on top the plants.

Record low temperatures are never good, but during lambing and kidding season, it can be particularly dangerous. Both OakWoods, who raise goats, and Sunny Lane, who raise sheep, had babies in the house staying warm this week. For photos and videos, go to the Oakwoods website and Sunny Lane’s Facebook page.

OakWoods will not be at market Saturday, but the Brakers are coming and they have loads of lettuce so let’s make this week Salad Week. Sunny Lane will be there as well so pick up some delicious grass fed beef or lamb or pastured chicken to go with that salad. Stew sounds pretty good right now.

We’ll be missing Redings Mill as well. They are busy making plumbing repairs to their bakery after the lines froze. However, Harmony Hill plans to come with their baked goods, plus biscuits and gravy for breakfast. And they’ll be making pupusas.

The Free Kids Meals are served from 9 to 11 and will be: 

  • Breakfast – Apple Oatmeal and milk.
  • Lunch – hot dog, coleslaw, apple sauce, and milk.

The meals are free to anyone from age 1 through 18. Kids don’t have to be present to pick up meals. Just show the server a photo of yourself with the kids so we can get a head count.

There will be more details on Facebook as we get closer and more vendors confirm attendance.

Even though the market was closed last Saturday, there was still plenty going on. The main central heater for the kitchen went down and our wonderful repairman, Jerry, came on a Saturday in subzero weather and repaired it – a broken belt. So far no frozen pipes there! 

And the small business booked for Saturday was able to use the kitchen as planned. I stopped by the kitchen last week after being gone for months and it looked great. Shiny clean, well equipped and stocked. Currently the free kids meals are prepared in the kitchen and 11 small businesses and the Parks Department use it as well. 

We have room for more to take advantage of the commercial equipment in the kitchen so if there are any entrepreneurs out there looking for an inspected kitchen to operate out of, they should check out the market kitchen.

Plans are underway for warmer weather. We have a Prospective Vendor Meeting set for 3 p.m., on Saturday, March 6, at the market. It’s been well over a decade since we had such a meeting but with the expanded pavilion and the soon to be expanded parking lot, we think now may be time to add some vendors, especially weekday vendors.

We’re also teaming with downtown Webb City for a monthly summertime event connected with our Eat Street food truck market on the third Tuesday of each month from May to August. And, of course, plans are underway for the market teaching garden and other growing and cooking education.

Like the farmers, the market is looking beyond this frozen weather and planning for the future. When it takes months for a crop to grow to harvest, seeds have to be ordered when the ground is still frozen. Spring is coming, I promise, and the market and our farmers will be ready. In the meantime, come enjoy the efforts of our vendors who even during these trying times bring you the best of locally grown and made. See you at the market.

The remote thermometer at Oakwoods Farm registered -18° Tuesday morning.