Volunteers and donors make us eager to get the regular season started

Maybe you’d like to become a Marketeer

Eileen Nichols

Sometimes timing is everything. For example, planting container gardens when it’s cold and windy is poor timing. 

Container garden planting has been rescheduled to Saturdays, April 24, and May 1. 

On the other hand, when I called the contact for the Vista Summer Associate program to get more details about the program after the market was awarded a single position, it sounded so good that I asked if it was possible they might have a second position available. The contact, Juliana, said “actually I have a meeting with my supervisor in 20 minutes to discuss the plan for a couple of positions that were awarded to organizations that decided not to participate.” This morning I learned that there are less than 200 Vista Summer Associate positions nationwide and the Webb City Farmers Market has two of them! What a win-win. Our town has two more summer jobs and the market has two full-time people to help with its activities.

The VISTA program has a much broader mission than in the past due to the pandemic, particularly in tackling hunger and in helping bridge the learning gap many children have experienced with school closures. It fits in perfectly with many of the market’s current plans and partnerships for the summer. 

We hope to serve thousands of meals to kids this summer. We’re already partnering with the Webb City Public Library to host their children’s summer reading program and are encouraging other organizations to host activities at the market to take advantage of our lawns north and northwest of the pavilion. And, of course, we have the commons just across the streetcar tracks that will be great for games and other healthy kid activities. 

Anybody want to teach kids to make and fly kites? The Webb City Police Department just contacted the market about starting up their activities at the market again. 

The Learning to Love growing and eating veggies will have a ton of activities including working in the garden, crafts, tastings, and nutrition and cooking education, all of which the VISTA members can lead.

Yes, timing is everything, but so is relationship building. Yesterday, I was working on a small grant application to AARP. We’d like to get some new benches for the pavilion. The old ones will continue to serve us well but with their bulging legs, they need to be out of the center of the pavilion where they can trip people – in the music area and on the lawns that won’t be a problem. 

We want to replace them with backless benches that people can sit on from either side and with legs that don’t stick out. 

I thought it would strengthen the application to show some community support, so I sent a message to a few folks asking for matching money and in no time had a total of almost $2,500 in commitments that will allow us to buy at least five benches even without the AARP grant. (Thank you, dear friends, you know who you are!) 

It made my day to have such a wonderful response. And it will make the market safer and more comfortable.

Market supporters are such an important part of the market. Some provide financial support, others time, and many support us with kind words and purchases from our vendors. 

Our volunteer Rick has been working for the last month repairing picnic tables and sanding them down. The Lucky Clovers 4-H Club will repaint the tables Saturday afternoon so they’ll be fresh and welcoming when we open for the regular three-days-a-week season on Saturday, April 24.

Speaking of the 24th and of supporters, our manager Rachael is looking for some volunteers to help plant the container gardens on Saturday, April 24. Not only do you get to play in the dirt, but you get to be a Marketeer, Rachael’s name for market volunteers. Marketeers even have their own Facebook group, as well as having a cool name.

But enough about the future, let’s talk about this Saturday!

Drew Pommert is on the market stage.

The Free Kids Meal will be:

  • Breakfast: scratch blueberry muffin, cheese stick, and milk,
  • Lunch: Cheesy Ziti & meatballs, snow peas, applesauce, and milk. 

The to-go meal packs are free to all children aged 1 through 18. Kids don’t have to present but the person picking up the meals should show the servers a photo of themselves with the children so we can get a head count. Meals are served from 9 to 11.

Harmony Hill will have biscuits and gravy and eggs cooked to order. Songbird Kitchen will have Asian specialties cooked right at the market and Pupuseria Jandres will have pupusas cooked to order. Are you noticing a trend here? Yes, very fresh and very local is what we do.

Other vendors we expect include:

FARMERS

  • Braker Berry Farm – produce
  • Fairhaven Berry Farm – jams, jellies, bird houses
  • Helm Family Farm – honey
  • Lee Family Farm – produce
  • MO Mushrooms – fresh mushrooms & dried mushroom products
  • OakWoods Farm – produce
  • Yang Family Farm–produce

RANCHERS

  • Clear Water Shrimp Farm
  • Cummings Cross Farm–eggs
  • Garrett Family Farm
  • Misty Morning Farms
  • Sunny Lane Farm

BAKERS

  • Harmony Hill – plus produce
  • Redings Mill Bread Co.
  • Sunflower Bakery

OTHER DELIGHTS

  • DnD Smoked – salts, spices, mixes
  • Good Golly Tamale
  • Juniper Coffee – coffee beans, coffee drinks, & house syrup
  • Pupuseria Jandres
  • Songbird’s Kitchen
  • 2Ts Soap & Stuff

Come enjoy being part of the market community this Saturday from 9 to noon. See you soon!

Eileen Nichols founded the Webb City Farmers Market in 2000. From a handful of producers, the market has grown to become nationally recognized.

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