Fresh Picks
August 13, 2009 | Visit the Farmers Market online at | Subscribe to Fresh Picks

Market News for This Saturday, August 15

Half Full
With 12 Saturdays behind us and 12 Saturdays ahead, the Lansdowne Farmers Market is precisely halfway through the 2009 season. This seems like a good time to take stock. Let's see. Since June passed, we've lucked out with the weather (pity the Sunday markets!). We just got a much-wanted meat vendor. We got covered by a blog. Attendance has been better than ever. People are enjoying our new "café" table setup. The special events have been fun and participation has been great. And several longtime vendors have reported their best sales days ever in recent weeks. Not a bad first half!

What's especially inspiring at this point is that we're still seeing new faces and meeting first-timers every Saturday. In the past two weeks, close to 100 people have signed up to receive this newsletter, which is a pretty good indicator of newbies (we hound anyone who pauses at the Market Manager tent for even a moment to sign up, so you can't elude us for long). If this is your first Fresh Picks, welcome! We hope you find it a source of useful information as well as an enjoyable read. If you've been getting this newsletter for a while now, thanks for sticking with it.

For you returning readers, we'll resume our story where we left off last week, with little Timmy trapped at the bottom of a well, Trent about to open the door and catch Liza with Chad, and the bases loaded in the ninth inning, two outs, and a full count. . . . In other words, the second portion of the 2009 Lansdowne Farmers Market season should be at least as compelling as the first, with two Community Days, Dog Day, and the Fall Festival still to come; a canning seminar in the works; grapes, apples, pumpkins, and other new produce on the horizon; and much fun and camaraderie to be had. Stick around!

Schober Orchards is among the vendors reporting record sales lately, and they want to celebrate that and thank their customers by giving away a free reusable bag with each purchase this Saturday. And these are some snazzy bags. They're bright blue and imprinted with the Schober logo, and they collapse into a tidy square that snaps closed so the bag fits easily into a purse or large pocket. Schober gave away close to 1000 at the Collingswood Farmers Market last week, and we'd love to surpass that (not that we're competitive or anything). There's a one bag per family limit, but the "each purchase" clause means there's no minimum dollar requirement, so buy anything and get a bag — peaches, nectarines, cider, tomatoes, corn, beets, squash, fruit spread, whatever! Darlene says they might even have Gingergold apples this week (followed soon by Mollie Delicious), and if they don't, no doubt you'll find something else that's bag-worthy.

Rebecca of Flint Hill Farm (hard not to type "Sunnybrook" there) is now giving out goat cheese samples, knowing that once you've tried it, you'll probably buy it. Stop by for a crackerful (or a spoonful if you have gluten issues). She's also been bringing cream cheeses that are flavored with temptations like apricots or organic herbs, as well as fresh mozzarella "crumbles," which are handy since fresh mozz balls are so hard to slice. Flint Hill's stand doesn't have a flashy display because much of their product is hidden in coolers, so be bold, step into the booth, and start poking around. It'll pay off for sure.

Although the spaces cost $25 each, the applications for Community Day on August 29 are absolutely free. They're available here or at the Market Manager booth and are due in by August 22. More than half the spaces have been claimed already, so don't tarry in applying.

Hey, we got two Happy FM Week cards last week! Check em out. The kind bestowers each got a Market Buck to spend at will. This week, we'll give you a free Market Buck if you show us a ticket stub from Metropolis at Cinema 16:9.

Finally, John Green's photos from the Market are always free to peruse, enjoy, and download. The most recent shots are here.

Can Do
Probably like many of you, we grew up eating vegetables, fruits, jams, and pickles that had been grown, processed, and then canned at home. Even if you're not raising your own peaches or apples, tomatoes or corn, there's plenty to be had at the Market and you can still "put food by," as the art of preparing and preserving foods in jars is also charmingly known. Tackling canning on your own is pretty daunting, however, since it involves both specialized equipment and know-how. We've been hearing a buzz at the Market that people are interested in learning, and fortunately for us, the Lansdowne Baptist Church approached us to offer space, equipment, and expertise (in spades) for just that. On Saturday, September 5, personal chef (and occasional guest on WHYY's "A Chef's Table") Lindsey Gilmore will offer a 3-hour canning seminar in the church kitchen, and all participants will go home with a pickled item, a tomato item, and a fruit item, as well as the recipes and instructions. All canning supplies, including the necessary produce and spices, will be provided. The class will start at 9:00 am, costs $35 per person (a true bargain), and is limited to 12 participants. If you're interested, let us know now, please. (We need to determine in the next two weeks if there's sufficient interest in the class.) This date is the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, which means that you'll have an extra day to go home and practice what you just learned. Plus it gives you a good excuse to turn down the invitation to that cookout you're not so enthusiastic about anyway.

Blog Rolling
Last week we linked to a post at the blog Philly Food Feed, which had covered the Lansdowne Farmers Market in such complimentary terms we just had to share. You dutiful readers followed that link in such numbers that the blogger, Ben Bergman, was blown away by the amount of hits he got. In appreciation (or perhaps in a transparent bid for more coverage and even more hits), Ben has now blogged about this very newsletter here. (We're just kidding about the ulterior motives, Ben!) That post is worth reading not only for the hearty endorsement of Fresh Picks but also for the good info he includes on our newest vendor, Natural Meadows Farm, and about why grass-fed meat is better tasting and better for you. (By the way, Mark of Natural Meadows apologizes for being late last week, especially to those of you who waited but had to leave before he arrived. He underestimated how long it would take to get a new employee rolling at his other market and will try harder to be on time this week. We say, as long as you keep bringing that smoked sausage, Mark, we'll forgive you.)

One of our LFM vendors also has a blog that bears checking out. In hers, Jaynel Hollis of the wheat- and gluten-free Greenwood Kitchen (maker of macaroons, bannocks, and buckwheaties, which would be good names for a trio of Jack Russell terriers) shares recipes for dairy-free ice creams that look just yummy, raw apple cake, pasta salad, and smoothies, among other things. The blog is bright and cheery, just like Jaynel, and if you're vegan, you'll definitely get some ideas there. Even if you're not vegan, you'll still want a dish of that ice cream.

And are you reading the official LFM blog? If you're not, you risk being out of the loop. It's a crazy hybrid of Market recap, personal disclosure, character studies, and interviews that may or may not have actually occurred. That thing is either going to win an award or get us kicked out of Buy Fresh, Buy Local. Please check it out and, by all means, leave a comment (though you have to "register," that's just a formality; you can fake a name if you're shy or especially playful).

Half Empty
We just found out that Bonnie of Wondergardens fame is on a secret mission this week and won't be at the Market on Saturday. Sorry for the late notice. Look for her again the 22nd.

Perhaps you've heard that Mission Burrito is closing the doors to its restaurant in Lansdowne on August 28. Owners Jackie and Javier Bendana are relocating the business to Ocean City, New Jersey, for next summer. They plan to keep bringing the Bandito lunch truck to the Farmers Market for the rest of the season, however, as well as to provide food at the Lansdowne Arts Festival, sell through their online store, and generally lurk in the area for a spell. The storefront will go out in style too, with a Farewell Dance Party on Friday, the 28th. Adios y beuna suerte, MB!

Art Alert
Speaking of the Lansdowne Arts Festival (notice how we quickly change the subject to happy things?), it's time to start planning your weekend there, and a full weekend it will be. The 7th Annual Festival takes place next month, Saturday and Sunday, September 12 and 13, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm both days (these Sunday hours are expanded from previously) at the Twentieth Century Club. Both days are packed with art to view and buy, free musical and spoken word performances, and really cheap kids' art classes. Plus, on Friday night, September 11, there's a special "Preview Event," which, let's face it, is a party. You pay to get in (and must make your reservation well in advance, so get on that link); are served champagne and butlered finger food from local restaurants, caterers, and markets; and, most compellingly, get first dibs on all the goods. The Arts Festival is Lansdowne at its best. Don't miss it.

Attending a local arts festival is definitely one way of supporting the arts. Another way is to send a postcard to your Pennsylvania legislators asking them to preserve cultural funding in the state. Templates are available for both adult's and kid's postcards at that link, so you can make voicing your opinion on the matter a family project.

The Recipe Booth

It's August, it's hot, the humidity is at 1 million percent, the thunder has been coming for the last hour, and tonight we're having beef stew — Summertime Beef Stew, that is, which comes together quickly.

In 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil, sauté until tender:

       2 potatoes diced into ½-inch cubes
       1 small onion, chopped
       4 to 6 carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
       8 oz roughly chopped mushrooms (your favorite variety)

When tender, add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme to the pan. Continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set the vegetable mixture aside in a large bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil to the same pan, and sauté 1 pound of beef tenderloin cut into ¾-inch cubes to desired doneness. Add the beef to the vegetables.

Deglaze the pan with a good splash of white vermouth (be careful, as this may result in a small fire) and whisk in 1 tablespoon each butter and flour until the mixture is smooth. Spoon over the beef and vegetables and serve over your favorite carbohydrate (bread, pasta, rice, grain). Serves you and three friends.
Featured This Week

Artist of the Week: The only thing prettier than the jewelry of Studio 47 West might be the family of women who make and sell it. Their pieces are packed with gemstones and pearls and are fairly described as "dazzling."

Musician of the Week: We've heard a lot of cover songs at the Market this season but always on guitar. Flutist and keyboard player Lore Constantine will end that streak, perhaps with Led Zeppelin or Bob Dylan, as well as perform original compositions. Change is good!

Blog: House painting, oldies, Communists.

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
August 13 to 20, various times; $5 to $10.00
Free cartoons, Saturday 10:00 am to noon
35 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Bust the Sugar Blues at Life More Abundant
Sunday, August 16, 2:00 to 3:00 pm
25 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Vacation Bible School at Lansdowne Bible Chapel
August 17 to 21, 6:00 to 8:30 pm
Greenwood and Wycombe Avenues, Lansdowne

Farewell Dance Party at Mission Burrito
Friday, August 28, 8:00 to 11:00 pm: $10 cover
32 W. Baltimore Avenue, Lansdowne

7th Annual Lansdowne Arts Festival at the Twentieth Century Club
Saturday and Sunday, September 12 and 13, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; Free
84 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Lansdowne Games Day at The Garden Church
Saturday, October 3, 11:15 am to 9:00 pm; Free
82 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Click for a complete listing of upcoming local events.

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MAPThe 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.