Colorful beans that are actually pea pods. (RACHAEL LYNCH PHOTOS)
Opening bell is still magic – even after four years of them
The opening bell is about to ring in a few minutes; this is one of my favorite moments of the market. The early birds are perched on the green benches chirping their weekly news and discussing recipes they’ll try with this week’s fresh produce. The children of the market are running through our garden giggling and heading back toward the sidewalk chalk while their parents or grandparents organize the tables. Then comes the moment the musician plucks a few notes as a soundcheck.
I have worked here at Webb City Farmers Market for four years but moments like this haven’t lost their magic.
It’s been a good year for sweet corn. We are going into our sixth week of having a great enough amount to supply the first two hours of customers, if not the entire time the market is open.
The local street corn businessman, known as Dazed & Cornfused, has also been enjoying the good corn quality. He often pulls his red truck up after market to purchase directly from our farms. Only in communities with farmers markets can you find this type of cooperation between businesses, making local economies that much stronger.
Sweet corn isn’t the only produce soaking up the sun. I would like to shine the spotlight on the purple hull bean, something I was so tickled to become acquainted with during the summer of 2019.
I like to try the “new things” that pop up. It was while I was making my weekly purchase of jade green beans from Lee Family Farm when I saw them.
The Lees have been farming and selling at our market for 16 years now. They have three acres in vegetable production this season. Something I noticed upon my first visit to Lee Farm was the variety of houseplants Mrs. Lee cultivates and then repots for sale. I am sure many of you have stopped to look at her aloe, prickly pears, mother of millions, or inchplants.
However, I was talking about food, so let’s not get too sidetracked; back to the things I spotted while shopping for green beans.
On the table sat long pods, ombré dark purple and green. Well, I bought them and promptly took them home just to fail miserably at cooking them, and I’ll tell you why. I didn’t understand what I had bought. I fixed them up like a green bean when they are in fact a pea! That’s right, if you peel open that pretty pods they reveal light green peas with “black eyes.” They are a cousin to the black eye pea. These peas are so buttery and delicious, and the best news is they’re in season now. I highly recommend everyone trying them.
Shelling peas makes a calming pastime to enjoy on your back deck with a glass of iced cucumber water or while your watching TV. The reward of a fresh pea is worth it, they are nothing like a dried or canned product. Today’s culture is so busy, it is important for our health to slow down and find some connection to the food we eat. Food isn’t a lifeless thing handed thru a to-go window. Food is something to be shared on every level. To grow it, prepare it, and then eat it.
There is plenty to enjoy this week at Webb City Farmers Market.
There’s a count down on when we’ll have our last Thursday market of the season. The farmers will decide when to stop coming to market on Thursdays.
Every year as summer wanes the produce slows and eventually can only be supplying two markets. At that point, Tuesday’s evening market and Saturday’s morning market will continue, but Thursday market will close until May 2022. So come while you can on Thursdays (4 – 7 p.m.) because the produce is piled just as high, but there is no crowd to fight.
On this Thursday, Kids Gardening Club will be watering, weeding. For a treat at the Tasting Table the kiddos can blindfold themselves, if they want to, and see if they can taste the difference between an orange watermelon and a red watermelon. The free meal will be available between 11-1 p.m. and is free to any children ages 1-18.
Saturday will be rocking like usual with some familiar faces in the kitchen Cooking for a Cause. Phil and Terry will be here with others from Central United Methodist Church to raise money that will be donated to CROP Hunger Walk, a communitywide event meant to raise funds to help neighbors near and far get the meals they need for today and sustainable food security for tomorrow.
Max Barnett plays between 9-11 a.m. The Free Kids Meal is served from 9-11 a.m. If you need gluten-free options, you can ask the volunteers to alert our chef and she will see about adjusting your child’s meal.
That brings us around to Tuesday the 17th, which couldn’t be any cooler since the children of our area starting up school again. We’re calling it Kids Celebration Day, featuring a few special appearances by two local artists who’ll be marching back to high school soon, plus a family of determined siblings who’ve developed a homemade dog biscuit.
We’re still lining up the musicians for Kids Celebration Day, so if you know a kido who would like a small time slot to entertain during the evening do have them reach out to me at (417) 438-5833. The fire department is going to bring one of its trucks to display, and I’ve requested a special guest from Neverland stop by to greet the children. We hope to see you Tuesday. Or Thursday. Or even Saturday, really.
Have a great week folks.