How fortunate we are to be able to buy fresh, locally grown produce – in the winter

Broccoli bought at the market (top) compared to broccoli shipped across the country to a local store.

This week, our market manager, Rachael, posted a photo of two stalks of broccoli on Facebook. One was purchased at the market Saturday, the other was purchased from a local store purporting to specialize in fresh produce. The visual difference was stark. The market stalk was full, green, and beautiful. The store stalk was meager and dried out looking. None of which is to say each stalk did not start out fresh, but traveling a thousand miles rather than 30 miles takes its toll – on freshness and on nutrients.

Here in the Denver area, local fresh produce is very limited. A couple of the area farmers markets are doing online orders and curbside pickup during the winter, but most of what they offer is processed food. There is no broccoli, which is one of my favorite veggies so I l buy mine at a nearby national chain grocery store, which actually calls itself a farmers market, but it isn’t. The broccoli looks OK, but when you pick it up it is limp, LIMP! I shouldn’t complain because I’m glad to get it, but it reminds me once again how fortunate southwest Missouri is to have winter markets with top quality, perfectly fresh local produce. Believe me, folks, it’s a luxury most of the country doesn’t enjoy.,

PRODUCE:

Braker Berry Farm – spinach, sweet potato, cabbage, butternut squash, carrots, lettuce…

Misty Morning Farms – broccoli, winter squash, beef

OakWoods Farm – chili seasonings, microgreens, salad mix, radishes…

RANCHERS:

Garrett Family Farm – pork and chicken

Sunny Lane Farm – grass-fed beef, all-natural chicken, lamb, and pork

Clear Water Shrimp Farm – you guessed it, farm-raised shrimp

Harvest Hill – eggs

BAKERS:

Harmony Hill Farm – breakfast of biscuits and gravy, plus egg cooked-to-order, all to-go, country breads, cinnamon rolls…

Redings Mill Bread Co. – chocolates, artisan breads…

OTHER GREAT FOOD:

Fairhaven Farm – pecans, jelly, jams, sweets

Helm Family Farm – honey and honey products

Juniper Coffee – house syrup, freshly roasted coffee beans, pour-overs and coffee drinks

MO Mushrooms – LionCakes (made from mushrooms but taste like crab cakes!), dried mushrooms, fresh mushrooms

DnD Smoked – smoked spices and seasonings

Good Golly Tamales – frozen tamales from mild to HOT!

Plus 2Ts Soap & Stuff – incense sticks, soaps, lotions…

Drew Pommert will be on the market stage from 9 to 11. The Free Kids Meals are handed out packed to-go from 9 to 11. All kids from age 1 through 18 receive both breakfast and lunch. Breakfast – We’re going Banana! Banana chocolate chip granola bar, banana, and milk. Lunch – Beefy Mexican mushroom bake, baby carrots, chips, and milk. If the kids aren’t with you, just show a photo of yourself with the children so the volunteers serving can get a head count. Let’s not let any of this local bounty go to waste. Remember, if we don’t use it, we could lose it. There was a time that our market was the only successful winter market in southwest Missouri. That is no longer true. If our vendors can’t sell their products at Webb City, there are other places they can go. So make the Webb City Farmers Market your regular Saturday morning stop. And if we’ve sold out of what you came looking for, look again. Try something new. Like my three-year-old granddaughter said after protesting that she didn’t like Brussels sprouts, upon taking her required “thank you bite”, “I LOVE Brussels sprouts!” Let’s send those farmers home with empty trucks!
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