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September 3, 2009 | Visit the Farmers Market online at | Subscribe to Fresh Picks

Market News for This Saturday, September 5

Farewell, Summer!
No one was expecting the nip in the air that we've woken to recently, but it's felt wonderful and has certainly helped reinforce that summer's on its way out. This is Labor Day weekend too, which also presses that point rather emphatically. No matter what you have planned — visiting friends, heading to the shore, a cookout, a picnic, or hours and hours of "Mad Men" on demand — a shopping trip through the Lansdowne Farmers Market Saturday morning will pay off in spades during the three-day weekend and possibly save you a trip to the supermarket. Think flowers from Bonnie's or a pie from Wild Flour if you're going to be someone's guest, peaches and other refreshing "hand fruit" if you're going to the beach, steaks or ribs from Natural Meadows for the grill, tomatoes and baguettes for a picnic, and pretty much anything if you're going to be planted in front of the TV. Plus, school starts next week, so there's that to consider also. Try making lunch sandwiches on Wild Flour's sliced whole wheat or multigrain bread topped with one of the fruit butters from Schober Orchards and maybe a bit of Fruitwood's honey. Remember that the fall is a fresh start, and the Market is all about fresh.

Farm Fresh Express is out again this Saturday, but it's the last time this season, we promise. This is a Lupine Valley Veggies week, however, so lovely organic vegetables, herbs, and greens will still be available, including more of those squash blossoms that caused such a commotion last time.

More Sycamore
While some shoppers are over at the Lansdowne Baptist Church learning how to can this Saturday (that seminar is now full), the rest of us can get a lesson in making gazpacho right in the Market. Chef Meg Votta of Lansdowne's own Sycamore is going to stroll through the Market Saturday morning and see what looks good and then whip up a batch of gazpacho on site. Come watch, learn, and sample. The demo is at 10:30 near the Market Manager tent.

Plus, everyone who signs up for Sycamore's email list that morning at the Market will be entered into a raffle to win a $25 gift certificate to the restaurant. They'll pull the winner not long after the demo, which will be about midway through the Market. Be sure to get there early so you can sign up and have a chance to win.

Cause for a toast (double pun there; keep reading): very soon Sycamore will be offering Sunday brunch! Starting September 20, you'll be able to partake of any of these enticements every Sunday between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. And just as for dinner, you can bring your own favorite alcohol for combining with the house's fresh mixers for an early cocktail. Brunch officially kicks off at Sycamore next weekend, however, when it will be offered both Saturday and Sunday (same time) to give attendees of the Lansdowne Arts Festival an upscale midday meal option. After that, all you have to remember is "Sunday brunch" and all you have to decide is "sweet or savory."

Six Down, Seven Up
The Lansdowne Arts Festival is only two weeks away, which means that everyone's favorite local weekend is right around the corner. If you're new to the area or have somehow managed to miss the previous six festivals, you simply must head over to the Twentieth Century Club on Saturday and Sunday, September 12 and 13, between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm, for all the free music and mostly local art and crafts that could safely be crammed into a two-day span. Except for the Pre-show Reception on Friday night, all the events are free and open to the public, so you'd be silly not to take this opportunity to experience the Arts Festival, now in its lucky 7th year. Cross your fingers that the weather stays just like this!

Wear a t-shirt from any of the first six Arts Festivals to the Farmers Market this week and we'll give you a Market Buck for your promotional assistance. And if you have crafty little ones, stop by the Market Manager tent or go here to sign them up for one of the Creative Kids Art Classes being offered at the Festival for only $5 per child. (How else can they be sure there'll be plenty of local artists for the 20th Lansdowne Arts Festival?)

Counting the Days
Hope all of you found something to interest you last week at Community Day. The participants were great sports, sharing tents we set up at the last minute when it looked like the day might be complicated by rain (instead, the sun came out — go figure) and waiting patiently to meet shoppers that were largely captivated by the youth band and mini fiddlers who performed. It's tough competing with kids! In case you need a bit more information to follow-up with a contact you made there, the lists of participants for both Community Days are linked on this page, by date they appeared.

Our next special event, on September 26, is a favorite — Dog Day! If you have a pooch, it's the only place to be, as we celebrate our canine companions with a visit from Animal Friends of Lansdowne and the ASPCA adoption van, and, of course, the dog parade. Applications for dog licenses and for the beautiful dog park in Clifton Heights will also be available on site. As usual, we're still working out the details, but ink it on your calendar because if you miss Dog Day, you may come home to find that your favorite shoes have been used as chew toys.

Walk on Walls
The Lansdowne Photo Walk print show has been installed at the Regency Cafe for viewing the entire month of September. The show's curator, Bill Patterson, says to come out and enjoy some of the Regency's tasty offerings and see how many of the 35 Lansdowne images you recognize. Then, on Sunday, September 20, more than 200 Lansdowne photographs will be shown at Cinema 16:9 during four 30-minute screenings between 7:30 and 9:30 pm. Admission is free, and many of the contributing photographers will be there to expound on the deeper meaning behind each image.

Get Out the Vote
Lansdowne suddenly has another contender for honors in Fox 29's Hot List competition with the addition of Cinema 16:9 for Best Indie Theater. Be sure to also vote for Farm Fresh Express for Best Gourmet Grocery, the Regency Cafe for Best Coffee Shop, and Mission Burrito for Best Burrito. You can vote from each of your email addresses until September 11, then we find out how our team fared.

Though we try each week to provide a few ideas for what you might want to look for at the Farmers Market and what you might do with what you buy, this e-newsletter does not pretend to be of much use to serious or aspiring foodies. Fortunately, the internet has many good food-related sites, such as Epicurious (plus: in Advanced Search, tell it the ingredients you have on hand and it comes back with recipes; minus: ads, ads, ads), and blogs, including Farm to Philly, which focuses on local purveyors and ingredients (plus: the LFM has gotten some shoutouts there; minus: sometimes "local" means close to Petaluma). We have a new favorite food site though, Culinate, which describes itself as "engaged in an ongoing conversation about eating well," but which isn't nearly as preachy as that may sound. The site is clean, attractive, and easy to navigate, while offering plenty of interesting stuff if you have some time to dig around. The recipe search isn't as good as that at Epicurious, but the thumbnail photos on the main Recipes page can help you narrow in on what literally looks good quickly, so you may not even need to search. Plus, it's smart. If you pick Ratatouille with Polenta from that page, it returns both that recipe and a list of other vegetarian main dishes; pick Iron Maiden Spinach Salad and get suggestions for other salads that might interest you. (You know, maybe I would prefer Greek Spinach Salad tonight.) We love helpful features like the Culinate 8, lists of "easy-to-digest food tips, facts, and insights," such as these ideas for using tomatoes or this list of easy cocktails, and who isn't curious about what a column called Unexplained Bacon has to offer? (Are you surprised to learn that one entry advocates the purchase of a home deep fryer? Probably not.) Add in an area devoted to food-related book reviews and excerpts, a community space for members to post or link to their blogs that's called Fritter (now that's clever), and — once you've signed up for a free membership — the ability to personalize your use, including saving recipes to your recipe box that aren't even from Culinate's site, and you have a place that's mighty inviting, particularly if you enjoy reading about food and cooking almost as much as eating.

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: Erica Delp paints charming things on glasses, vases, plates, and bowls, turning the plain into the pretty. She makes jewelry too, which has the same effect on people, so if you're feeling a little plain, stop by her booth for prettying up.

Musician of the Week: We get a double dose of music again this week with (1) Alexander Uskuraitis, who combines Creole, Cajun, Zydeco, Irish, Tex-Mex, honkytonk, blues, and country, plus plays guitar keyboards, and keyboards (busy guy) and (2) Banjovi, which is four women on, yes, banjos.

Blog: Doing The Dance, avoiding dairy, vibing with earth people.

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
September 3 to 10, various times; $5 to $7.50
Sunshine Cleaning, Sin Nombre
Free cartoons, Saturday 10:00 am to noon
35 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Dust Devils at Concerts at the Beach House
Thursday, September 10, 7:30 pm; $15 or 610-626-0012

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

Pray the Devil Back to Hell at The Garden Church
Sunday, September 20, 1:00 pm; Free-will offering
82 N. Lansdowne Ave, Lansdowne; 610-623-1645

Wissahickon Chicken Shack at the Lansdowne Folk Club
Thursday, September 24, 7:30 pm; $15 to $18 Twentieth Century Club, 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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View From Lupine Valley

Herbal Tea

What could be more refreshing than a cool glass of herbal tea? Skip the oversugared mixes and the packets of dust from the store and opt for the real deal: teas made by you directly from fresh herbs. Sound difficult? It's not. Simply immerse a bundle of herbs in a canister that can withstand heat and fill it with boiling water. Let steep until cool, then put it in the fridge to chill. If you desire a sweetener, add some raw honey. Favorites at Lupine Valley include mint teas: both applemint and peppermint are refreshing. Chocolate mint takes the prize for most unique flavor and is best served with a bowl of fresh raspberries. Another favorite is pineapple sage, with its teasing taste of the tropics. Basils make delightful teas, especially anise basil for a licorice taste. Or try lemon or lime basil for a citrus flavor. As we are hit with the last hot days of summer, enjoy some fresh, healthy herbal tea.