Blackberries from Agee’s Herb & Produce. (RACHAEL LYNCH PHOTOS)

With legacy and more hard work, market’s future is bright

Trying to get a consistent spot in the pavilion for Agee’s Herb & Produce

Rachael Lynch

I would like to take a moment to take my hat off to Eileen Nichols, the founder of this farmers market. It was truly an incredible production, the founding of Webb City Farmers Market. This lady did so much paperwork, cleaning, training, and directing. The Market has such a good future ahead of us, and it is due to the hard work of Eileen and her ground crew of volunteers, including her husband, Phil Richardson, and a drove of other beautiful souls.

I mean, I open up the barn first thing before each market, walk in, and there all around me are things that Eileen has gathered for us. Fans, chairs, tables, signs. All of them are here because of her thoughtfulness. We are blessed. 

So many people have come together to make our market available to everyone that we will have a legacy of locally grown foods for generations. Thank you.

We’re keeping the legacy up with all the help of our current volunteer staff. Rick, Janet, Chad, Karen, Shelley, Hannah and Nick. Thank you also to our slew of event volunteers, who have helped with kid’s activities and meals. Eric, Zac, Brittany, Kim, Ann, Kathy, Nancy, Steve, Cherie, Sam, Stephen, Kim, Deb, Oma, and the Trolley Guys. Y’all rocked the socks off our summer.

Now I need to stop gushing about how wonderful our community is. We definitely have our oddities and ugly sides, but all in all… “We Love It Here.”

As for market news, I am heading out Thursday to Agee’s Herb & Produce, where a grape orchard and stand of blackberry canes are putting on large and sweet berries in September. Blackberries are more of a May-July crop. As a seasonal eater, I am tickled to see something as luxurious as a juicy blackberry in September. Earlier this year, Jim Agee grew red raspberry, black raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and a variety of vegetables, such as jalapenos. This time of year, he and his wife, Dee, grow pawpaws, tomatoes, in addition to the grapes and blackberries, and infuse vinegar containing berry juice.

Jim and Dee have been farming for 13 years near the small town of Fairview, Mo. Prior to farming, Jim had a career as an astro science engineer. His handy work is a part of many pieces of equipment, with projects for the space shuttles and the space station. He retired in 2007 and decided to pursue a lifelong dream, farming.

I’ve had to apologize to Jim because this season has provided such inconsistent placement of vendors in the pavilion. He’s usually on the south end next to Misty Morning, but the other day I only had room on the north end by Redings Mill. The following market he was back to the south end, however, that didn’t last either. I had him in Lee Family Farms spot this last Saturday since the Lees had a family get-together. 

Consequently, his farm stand is like the Where’s Waldo of the market because we are so full I squeeze him in anywhere I can. I appreciate Jim being more than patient with me.

So come try to find where I put Agee’s Herb & Produce this Saturday. Should be fun.

 

Jake Johnson and Corky Down are playing monthly at the market.

Also fun, and also this Saturday, are goats. Our volunteer, Eric Osen is bringing in his dynamic duo, Tini and Julip. They were bottle-fed making them super friendly and 100% lovable. Kiddos, and adults, can head to the north end of the pavilion under the green breakfast canopy to say hi.

This means if there are goats under the green canopy, then there sure isn’t breakfast. That’s right. Cooking for a Cause has ended for the most part.

We had a nice run of organizations operating the breakfast this summer. It’s something our market likes to offer to non-profits or community programs because fundraising is hard.

Cooking for a Cause is the summer fundraising breakfast. I gather the food but a new group every weekend comes to cook and serve the meal. Proceeds of the breakfast are sent home with the group at the close of the day. The Webb City Redettes’ weekend was rained out so they will be back for the official, final Cooking for a Cause on Sept. 18. Mark your calendars and come hungry.

Honestly, come hungry to every market. We have great food vendors and live music most of the time. This Saturday, long-time favorites Jake & Corky play from 9 – 11 a.m. And Tuesday, we’ll host Rich Roberts. Streetcar No. 60 will also run this Saturday and Ghetto Taco is back to set up their sauce stand at the north entrance.

If you’re interested in pictures of my farm visit out in Fairview watch for a post on Facebook.

Have a wonderful week and we’ll see you around the market!

Saturday: 9 a.m. – noon

Tuesday: 4 – 7 p.m.

Rachael Lynch for author

Rachael Lynch

Rachael Lynch is the manager of the Webb City Farmers Market.  For more current updates, visit the market’s Facebook page.

 
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