Do you know where farm-fresh eggs can be purchased near Belleville? -- Heidi Fournie
No need to put all your eggs in one basket at the supermarket when area farmers offer the freshest cackleberries around.
I have two suggestions for you, although I'm sure this column may bring plenty more:
First, my friend Norm Geolat says you'll likely find such eggs at Belleville's Old Town Market from 7:30 a.m. to noon each Saturday on the first block of West Main Street. In fact, he's trying to recruit local egg vendors for his own Swansea Farmers Market from 2-6 p.m. on Thursdays at Rural King, so you might watch for them there, too, or call 978-8753 for information.
Another good bet would be to call Truman and Bonita Hughes, the friendly owners of Glasswing Ranch at 4195 Mascoutah Ave., between Belleville and Mascoutah.
Three years ago, the Hugheses bought their farm at auction and did an extensive rehab. Now, they're offering grass-fed lamb, goat, pastured pork, veggies -- and eggs from cage-free chickens.
"We do not use hormones, chemicals or steroids," they write at www.localharvest.org/glasswing-ranch-M44675. "We know you will be happy with what we produce because we eat what we sell and sell only what we are willing to eat."
Truman tells me business has been good with lambs, when in season, claimed before they're even born. They've also held the line on egg prices for two years at $2.50 a dozen. Customers are crowing about them.
"The eggs were incredibly fresh and delicious," Sandra Clayborne wrote last year. "I honestly don't recall ever having tomatoes with so much flavor and texture. The goat's milk cheese was so good."
For information and directions, you can call them at 223-3215 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Who said, "We've given you a republic if you can keep it"? Was he having a premonition about what is happening now with taxpayers being billed for worthless airports and paying half the fare for baseball fans to ride the bus? But I suppose this enables them to enjoy the 3-dollar hot dogs and the 5-dollar beer at the games. -- Bud Ridings, of Greenville
Five-dollar beer? Three-dollar wieners? What decade were you last at Busch Stadium? I'll bet fans would love to see those prices return. No wonder we should subsidize the bus trips.
But, seriously, the person you're referring to is none other than the man famous for flying a kite in a rainstorm to study electricity -- Dr. Benjamin Franklin.
As the story goes, Franklin was leaving Independence Hall in Philadelphia at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. A woman he passed asked him, "Well, doctor, what have we got: a republic or a monarchy?" Franklin replied coyly, "A republic -- if you can keep it," according to the notes of Dr. James McHenry, a Maryland delegate at the convention.
For those wondering about my use of "doctor," Franklin reportedly used the title after being awarded an honorary doctorate by Oxford University in 1762 for his scientific achievements.
Acing the 'test: Although Tony Joynt was sweet on Millstadt Creamery ice cream, he remembers his dad always wanting to go to Ruth's Confectionery at 9844 W. Main St. in Belleville for his favorite: Sealtest.
"She even had a couple of signs in the store advertising Sealtest," he said, responding to Barb M.'s recent question about the ice cream brand Ruth Wallace served there. "He liked that bulk ice cream."
Sorry, Barb, those once-popular Pevely and Sealtest brands are gone -- as are Cassin's and Schwarztrauber's drug stores at 8800 and 9601 W. Main St., where Joynt enjoyed vanilla Cokes and cherry phosphates.
"They had good soda fountains," he said. "Milk shakes and malts the way they're supposed to be made because they used hard ice cream."
"No, those are awful."
What city bills itself as the "City of Firsts" -- including the first canned tomato juice, the first push-button car radio and the first aerial bomb with fins?
Answer to Thursday's trivia: Although they are smaller and less hairy than other varieties, a type of spider found around Taranto in southern Italy became the world's first "tarantulas." Originally it was thought these spiders caused a fatal condition known as tarantism, but now researchers think these severe reactions actually were caused by the malmignatte -- or Mediterranean black widow. Despite their frightful appearance, tarantulas are not poisonous although their bites may be painful.
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or email@example.com