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August 20, 2009 | Visit the Farmers Market online at | Subscribe to Fresh Picks

Market News for This Saturday, August 22

Limited Availability
One of the best things about farmers markets is that not only are all the goods fresh and local, some may be practically impossible to find anywhere else — unless you have your own garden, that is. Louise and Dan of Lupine Valley Veggies are basically sharing the bounty of their large home garden, so Lupine is a great place to look for unusual produce. Foremost among their delicacies are squash blossoms, the large but fragile flowers of zucchini and other squash varieties that writers of European travelogues love to go on about. Lupine keeps their blossoms floating in cool water at the Market, and you should plan on preparing them Saturday for best results. This page includes good tips on washing and briefly storing the blossoms as well as several recipes for preparing this most impressive and guest-worthy summer vegetable. Then you can sing their praises in your own localogue.

Last Saturday, Fruitwood finally brought their much-anticipated table grapes to the Market. We rave about these things every year, and this will be no exception as they are lovely to look at and a treat for the tastebuds, or the dynamic duo of "cute and yummy" as one friend put it. Mike promised us the first batch a few weeks ago, but before they could be harvested that time, someone ventured into the vineyards under cover of darkness, clipped the ripe bunches, and took them. No kidding — they were stolen! Even without being pilfered, these grapes don't last long, so keep your fingers crossed they'll be available this week, and grab them if they are. [Aside to Asian pear lovers: if not this week, then probably next.]

Mark will be packing up Natural Meadows Farm's meats, poultry, and cheeses early this Saturday. Sales will end at that booth at 11:45; please adjust your rib-and egg-buying schedule accordingly.

All spaces for Community Day #2 on August 29 have been claimed. The next and final 2009 Community Day is October 24, and those applications will become available October 1.

At this writing, there are still a few spots open in the canning seminar to be held at the Lansdowne Baptist Church on September 5, but they're going fast. If you want to participate, download the application here, write your check for $35, and run it over to the church right away. Even then we can't promise anything. (Incidentally, we misspelled the teacher's name last week, which explains why she was un-Bingable. Her name is actually Lindsay Gilmour. Sorry about the error.)

If you miss out on getting a spot in the canning seminar, don't despair. First, we might try to do it again a bit later (might). And, second, there's definitely something worth seeing at the Farmers Market itself that day, as Sycamore chef and local cooking phenom Meg Votta demos making gazpacho using Market-fresh ingredients. Stay tuned for more details on this, including time.

The final thing related to the Lansdowne Farmers Market that's in relatively limited availability is parking in the Lansdowne/Owen Avenue parking lot. It fills up quickly on Market Saturdays, but spots do turn over regularly so you can usually find one. You should know that parking in this lot is free during Market hours, and we should say that the Market's gratitude for both the loan of the lot and the free parking is boundless. Thanks again, borough!

Well, Schober Orchards didn't hand out more free bags last Saturday in Lansdowne than they had the previous week in Collingswood, but that's okay. The Collingswood Farmers' Market is in its tenth year, is rightfully famous in the region, and just won a nationwide contest in which customers voted for their favorite farmers market. (Though twice the size of the Lansdowne Market, Collingswood still triumphed in the "small" category; guess we'd have to enter as "itsy.") Congratulations, Collingswood! We say that with all sincerity, primarily because Lansdowne didn't enter the competition and also because two of our vendors — Schober Orchards and Fruitwood Farms — have stands over there as well and certainly contributed to that market's popularity and customer loyalty. We hope this victory results in more sales for them and more general awareness and appreciation of local farmers markets.

Honors also recently went to the LFM vendor Wild Flour Bakery, whose sourdough baguette was selected as one of Philly's 50 Must-Eats by Philadelphia Weekly. Well done, Wild Flour! (Bet that sourdough would be great with John's chili.)

And you can be a winner this week (of a Market Buck) if you come by the Market Manager booth and tell us what other Farmers Markets you go to and what you like about them. (We're taking notes so we can enter and win that contest next time!)

Open Invitation
The people of St Paul Lutheran Church would love to meet the Lansdowne community and thank you for being their neighbors. They invite you to join them for food and fun, rain or shine, next Sunday, August 30, from noon to 3:00 pm at their Third Annual Community Block Party at 50 E. Plumstead Avenue, Lansdowne. Bring the family and come for an hour or stay for all three — everything is free, including food, live music, games, and a moonbounce!

Not free but well worth considering nonetheless are two other upcoming events — Mission Burrito's Farewell Dance Party on Friday, August 28, and the Pre-show Reception of the Lansdowne Arts Festival on Friday, September 11. As it sounds, the Farewell Party will herald the closing of Mission Burrito's restaurant, so it's your last chance to enjoy their full menu, though they will continue to attend area events with their Bandito lunch truck. If you miss the Arts Festival preview party, you'll still have two days to take in the happenings at the Twentieth Century Club, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm both Friday and Saturday, September 12 and 13.

Theater Memories
The Historic Lansdowne Theater Corporation is looking for your Lansdowne Theater story. Was there a movie that you saw at the theater that changed your life? Did you work at the theater? Did you patronize or work at one of the businesses that occupied the retail or office spaces? Do you have any old photographs of the theater you'd like to share? Send your memories and photos to the HLTC at, and the best will appear on the soon to be expanded Look for updates on the theater later this fall.

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.
Featured This Week

Artist of the Week: Karen Degrasso of Grassroots uses her needlework skills to help save the planet by making ecofriendly products — reusable grocery bags, soap shard savers, all-cotton dishcloths, etc — just about anything that uses up old scraps and donations instead of throwing them out.

Musician of the Week: A man, a guitar, a good time: J.D. Little.

Blog: Blogger X's take on the Market and on our usual blogger.

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 20 to 27, various times; $5 to $10
Metropolis, Somers Town
Free cartoons, Saturday 10:00 am to noon
35 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Chelsea McBee with The Fox Hunt at Concerts at the Beach House
Sunday, August 23, 4:00 pm; $15 per person
For information: or 610-626-0012

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

3rd Annual Community Block Party at St. Paul Lutheran Church
Sunday, August 30, noon to 3:00 pm; Free
50 E. Plumstead 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.

Do you have an event to announce?
Send your upcoming events to to have them included in this space!

View From Lupine Valley

Squash Blossoms: The Flower of Hope

Forming on large curcubits, such as winter squash and pumpkins, a squash blossom is a giant orange flower that opens itself every morning to pollinators. The female pollinator arrives by 5:00 am to start the fertilization process. The male arrives by afternoon, and then the flower closes, either fertilized to turn into a fruit or unfertilized and doomed to simply turn limp and drop from the vine.

The next morning, the vines send out more flowers, ready to try again.

Besides being inspiring and lovely to look at, squash blossoms can also be eaten. This decadent treat (you are choosing to eat the flower itself rather than wait for the fruit) is best prepared in the morning when the flowers are wide open and hopeful. We have a special "mystery squash" set aside just for blossoms. If you chose to clip blossoms from your fruiting squash, try to choose only male flowers (The stem of the male blossom is thin and trim. The stem of the female blossom is very thick.) You need to leave behind only one male flower to fertilize the females.

Snip a few squash blossoms, retaining the stem. Then mix up garlic, parmesan cheese, parsley, thyme, and basil (cinnamon basil is especially yummy). Carefully open the petals of each blossom and stuff 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the base. Twist the tops of the petals together. Dip the blossoms one at a time into a lightly beaten egg, then coat with flour. Fry in butter or olive oil.

Enjoy. You are eating hope itself.