The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 29, 2012

Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Pittsburg 'garden party' was a real winner

PITTSBURG, Kan. — I had three ulterior motives in mind when I strong-armed my husband and our two sons into going to what was billed as a “garden party” Saturday night.

No. 1: I wanted to check on the status of the Pittsburg Community Garden, a project I had written about at its inception in 2009. Each year since, it has produced thousands of pounds of vegetables for the Wesley House food pantry. But were they able to grow anything this summer with no rain and mere dust for soil?

No. 2: Supper didn’t sound too great in 102-degree heat, but eating samples of nine flavors of homemade ice cream did. A tasting contest was to be the highlight of the garden party, with tickets funding the garden’s main expense: water.

No. 3: I thought it would be a great learning opportunity for the kids. They could experience democracy in action firsthand, since every person’s vote on which ice cream was best would count, and it would give them an up-close look at my favorite motto. “Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.”

Mostly, I just wanted ice cream.

So they begrudgingly agreed to load up and head to First Christian Church, where they weren’t sure if they would know anyone. They also weren’t sure if the flavors of homemade ice cream would be any good, because we make only vanilla. And they were pretty sure it was way too hot to tour a big vegetable garden anyway.

It was a hit.

We bought $12 worth of tickets and began our taste testing with all the seriousness of Olympic judges. We compared notes: blueberry or strawberry almond white chocolate? Mint or peach? Chocolate brownie or s’mores?

And then we voted, the good old-fashioned way: by dividing our arm’s length of tickets among empty pitchers in front of each ice cream.

Turns out they needn’t have worried about a roomful of strangers. In the style of the time-tested ice cream social, we saw plenty of people we knew, including my fifth-grade teacher, Phyllis Scorse. She gave us the best piece of information of the night.

“I read a study that said that ice cream actually lowers your stress, so that outweighs any negative health effects of eating it,” she said.

Turns out it also wasn’t too hot to look at the garden. The kids were impressed enough by the rows and rows of tomatoes, squash, peppers and corn that they forgot about the temperature for a few minutes. They also marveled over the wheelbarrows full of produce by the back door, a visual illustration of what can be picked and donated in just a few hours by dedicated volunteers.

The winners of the ice cream contest were Eric Rosenblad with chocolate brownie (his first-place trophy was a blue ice cream scoop), the Rev. Kevin Arensman with blueberry (red scoop) and Carolyn Allmond with strawberry chocolate almond (white scoop).

On the way home, though, we decided that everyone involved in the project was a winner, from the garden volunteers to the recipients of the produce. And us. We had cool mouths and happy tummies.

Have an idea for a column? Email, or visit Facebook at Andra Bryan Stefanoni, Staff Writer - The Joplin Globe. Visit the Globe’s newest Facebook page at Joplin Globe: Pittsburg, Kan. Follow Andra Stefanoni on Twitter @AndraStefanoni.

Text Only
Local News
  • State audit of Joplin School District begins

    Staff members from the state auditor’s office have begun their audit of the Joplin School District, Superintendent C.J. Huff said Monday. They are expected to be in the district four days per week for the next five to six months, or perhaps longer, until the audit is complete, Huff said.

    July 21, 2014

  • Burglary conviction draws shock prison time

    A Joplin man who received 120 days of shock incarceration time Friday in a drunken-driving case in Jasper County Circuit Court was assessed a concurrent sentence Monday in a burglary case.

    July 21, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Family gatherings mirror circle of life

    The annual family gathering is getting bigger. There tends to be an ebb and a flow to most family gatherings. When you’re a kid, and especially if you’re a kid from a large Catholic family, the gatherings seem to be huge.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its $15,000 in administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • 071714 Jasper Cty Dispatch1_72.jpg Area communities, Jasper County work to improve communications

    The first law enforcement officer to respond to a fatal shooting last November at Northpark Mall was from the Duquesne Police Department — not Joplin. Joplin police Chief Jason Burns said he wasn’t bothered by that. “We dispatch for them, and they had an officer close who could get there faster,” he said. “And getting help to people as quickly as possible is more important than jurisdictions.”

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • New and old TIF districts on agenda for Joplin council

    Another tax increment financing district is being proposed for Joplin, this one along South Main Street. The area is close to the new Mercy Hospital Joplin that is set to open next year. RKS Development is seeking authorization from the Joplin City Council when it meets Monday night to prepare a request to establish a TIF district.

    July 20, 2014

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Family grows by one — a black Lab named Raven

    If you haven’t experienced the feeling of a tiny puppy in your lap at the end of a perfect July Saturday — hammock time, s’mores, leisurely walks, you know the kind — I highly recommend it. It is pure joy.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042017 Jo Ellis_c.jpg Jo Ellis: Car show, sidewalk sale and more scheduled for weekend in Carthage

    All roads leading to Carthage should be packed this weekend as numerous events geared toward entertainment, cultural pursuits and bargain hunting are expected to pull in large crowds.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Hobby Lobby lawyer to speak at watermelon feed

    Josh Hawley, who helped represent Hobby Lobby in arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on contraception requirements in the Affordable Care Act, has been added to the list of speakers for Thursday’s annual watermelon feed sponsored by Newton County Republicans.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read


Do you think Missouri should pass legislation that would allow a prescription drug database to be kept?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter