August 13, 2009 | Visit the Farmers Market online at LansdowneFarmersMarket.com | Subscribe to Fresh Picks
Market News for This Saturday, August 15
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.
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.
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
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Fresh Picks is an initiative of the Lansdowne Main Street Program,