May 21, 2009 | Visit the Farmers Market online at LansdowneFarmersMarket.com | Subscribe to Fresh Picks
Market News for This Saturday, May 23
There's so much to say about the 2009 season at the Lansdowne Farmers Market that we don't even know where to start. In fact, it might be easier to talk about what you won't see at the Market than what you will — the list is shorter.
For starters, you won't see bananas, this Saturday or ever. We're by no means anti-banana, but bananas grow on trees far, far away and come to this country via lengthy journeys on boats. All the produce you'll find at the Lansdowne Farmers Market is local, grown in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, and nearly all of it is fresh, meaning it ripened and was cut or picked or dug within days if not hours of showing up in the parking lot (the exceptions to this are things like overwintered potatoes or onions). This is an important concept because it means that the only fruits and vegetables available at the Market are actually in season, so we're going to cycle through a lot of produce becoming available and then going away over the next 24 weeks. Things start rather slowly, but patience pays off, and in just a few weeks the farmers' tables will be groaning under the weight of the produce they've, uh, produced. And in this case, starting slowly isn't a bad thing, for the fruits and vegetables and herbs that are coming to the Market this Saturday are nothing to sneeze at. To wit:
Something else that you'll definitely see at the Market is our pretty new (repurposed actually) chalkboard. It's a black A-frame sign with bright green trim that we plan to position in the middle of the Market to promote upcoming events and whatnot. We've put a bit of cork on both sides so you can stick up yard sale announcements and that kind of thing, which we'll discard at the end of each Market Day so don't put anything too important there. The reason we're so excited about this sign is that you'll be able to rent one side of it for your own personal message for a donation to the Farmers Market of $20. It's a unique way to wish someone you love a happy birthday, congratulate them on graduating or a getting new job, tell them you've missed them, even propose (!) — whatever positive message you want to convey — while also embarrassing your loved one just a little bit at the same time, which is always fun. On the date you specify, we'll write your message on one side of the sign using our very best handwriting and colored chalk for display the entire Market day (9:00 am to 1:00 pm) and we'll take a photo of it that can be accessed through the website, all for $20. But we can only display one message each week, and it's a first-come basis, so reserve your date soon. Think of it as Lansdowne's own Jumbotron.
Who wants to train to be a crossing guard? You get to wear a bright orange vest! With the Regency Café and Cinema 16:9 and Doyle's Deli and a parking lot all on the far side of Lansdowne Avenue, we need help getting people across the street safely. We're looking for some volunteers to train and then help out on Saturdays. Either email us now or stop by the Market Manager tent to sign up.
We've gotten into the happy habit of kicking off the Farmers Market season by inviting Animal Friends of Lansdowne to the Market to hold a sort of public coming-out party for some adorable but basically homeless cats and kittens. The guests of honor this year will be Pebbles and Kara and her k-k-k-kittens, Katie, Karlo, and Kevin. Pebbles is a young, beautiful, sweet and affectionate tabby who needs to be the only cat, as she prefers the company of humans to that of other felines. Kara is a calm and gorgeous calico who is a great mom and a baby herself at less than one year old. Her kittens are all beautiful, sweet, and well socialized with big personalities. Tempting, no?
Also on hand will be some bright (that may go without saying) physics students from Penn Wood High School to promote the Global Warming Conference that they're holding next Saturday, May 30, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, and to talk about their plan to take their classroom off the grid. Apparently, it doesn't get enough electricity and the best way to remedy that is to generate it themselves. Interesting, huh? We thought you'd want to hear more about this and so invited them to come talk about it. They promised to keep it simple for us layfolks.
Finally, though it's not actually occurring in the parking lot, Cinema 16:9 is definitely getting into the Farmers Market spirit by offering a half-price family matinee of Babe Saturday during the Market. (Babe, forgive us for saying we hoped that farmer's little piggies grow up fast.)
Ready, Set, Go Get a Market Buck
Memorial Day is especially early this year, so we hope you started your training in plenty of time to be ready for Monday's dash around the borough if you're into the "race" part of the Lansdowne Memorial Day 5K Run/Walk Race. Follow that link for more information, and show up at the Lansdowne Avenue parking lot well before the 8:30 am start time Monday, May 25, if you're going to register at the race. If you've run, walked, or volunteered at this event before and wear your T-shirt to the Farmers Market on opening day, we'll give you a Market Buck at the Manager Booth to spend anywhere, any time at the Lansdowne Farmers Market.
I Remember Dog Day
This e-newsletter is getting dangerously long, but we'd be remiss not to squeeze in a link to Maura Ciccarelli's delightful video of last year's Dog Day Parade at the Farmers Market. Not a whole lot happens in the video except dogs being dogs and mostly refusing to stand on the little stage we built, but that's enough to make it completely entertaining. Go watch now! Thanks, Maura!
The Recipe Booth
"The Recipe Booth" will feature ideas for using Farmers Market products at home contributed by Gary Booth, Farmers Market committee member and fine cook.
Here at the break of spring I think we are all a little overanxious to dig into the season's bounty of local produce, berries, lettuces, greens, and one of my favorites, asparagus. Said to first have been cultivated in 200 B.C. by the Romans to be eaten raw and preserved for the off-season, I don't prefer raw asparagus but have been known to keep a jar of pickled asparagus in my refrigerator, which, along with a sip of good whiskey, makes a great predinner snack.
I find asparagus can be fibrous and watery if cooked in the traditional French technique of steaming/boiling, not that steaming doesn't have its merits (I will admit to this later). I prefer to sauté these tender beacons of a long overdue springtime, bought fresh right here at the Lansdowne Farmers Market.
In my cooking method, asparagus is tossed in a pan with 2 tablespoons each of olive oil and butter along with any residual water from rinsing the vegetables and of course the old staples salt and pepper. Now for the secret: over medium low heat, cover the pan and let it go for 5 minutes. Covering the pan is key here along with the addition of butter; both help to steam and soften the tough fibers. Then remove the lid and increase the heat while turning the asparagus for the next 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes slightly brown. Mix in some garlic, red pepper flakes, pine nuts — whatever you think sounds good. Now you're good to go to the plate, and see why these modest green "sticks," as my partner calls them, are one of my seasonal favorites.
Featured This Week
Artist of the Week: Maria Antanacio of To You, From Me Soaps has a line of body products — body butters, lip balms, ointments and salves, and bath salts and scrubs — that are made by hand of the best ingredients she can find and that are lovely to behold, smell, and touch. She also used the proper punctuation in her business name, and we give her bonus point for that.
Musician of the Week: That hair, that beard, that voice, that fingerstyle guitar playing — it could only be David Falcone, who puts the "zing" in "opening day" (c'mon, it's almost in there).
Blog: Posting begins Saturday after the Market, with new entries coming all season.
Check out what’s coming in the weeks ahead, music- and art-wise, by visiting our continually updated on-line schedule.
Upcoming Local Events
Movies at Cinema 16:9
View from Lupine Valley
Seedlings: What They Need Is Love
By Louise Bierig
Seed starting begins in March. My supplies include pots, soil-compost mix, water, grow lights, and heat mats to assist with germination. All of this is important to ensure the seedlings get a good start in life, but what they really need, and what cannot be bought in any store or catalog, is love. Every morning I wake with delight and rush upstairs to great my seedlings, bravely poking their vulnerable, yellow heads from the soil. "Good morning, my little darlings," I greet them, checking on their individual progress. I transplant a few that are growing too close together, reassuring them that they are being moved to a pot all of their own so they can flourish. I greet the plants on the windowsill and tell them of the garden below, which is just beginning to awake with spring grasses and meadow flowers. "Soon you will be outside, in the sunshine and the rain," I tell them. "You're so beautiful." Some days, I may sing them a song. Then, when they're all watered, I make my goodbyes. "See you again tonight, my lovelies."
The Lansdowne Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm in the parking lot next to 28 North Lansdowne Avenue, rain or shine.
Visit our sister market, the Oakmont Farmers Market, Wednesday afternoons in Havertown for more local produce, bread, meat, and other products.
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