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October 15, 2009 | Visit the Farmers Market online at | Subscribe to Fresh Picks

Market News for This Saturday, October 17

Three to Go, Hold the Rain
Nothing like a nice wet Northeast autumn. We're looking at a possibility of rain again this Saturday and probably for every Saturday until the season ends, since that's just how the weather has been this year — a bit unsettled, a bit uncooperative, a bit of a pain really. Nonetheless, if you skipped last week because of the precipitation, don't let another week go by since they may all turn out to be wet. There are only three Market's left this year — three! — and we have lots of good stuff planned, so drag yourself out and over or you'll be sorry you missed it come November.

Let's briefly recap what's coming up:
  • This week, October 17: another great regular Saturday Market, possibly on the damp side, with all kinds of fresh produce, fresh baked goods, freshly prepared food, and fresh-faced vendors and customers. See Market Shorts, below, for more details on what this Saturday holds in store.

  • Next Saturday, October 24: Fall Festival and the season's last Community Day (download your application here and get it in by October 17). Fall Fest will feature pumpkin decorating for kids, pumpkin flower arranging for bigger kids and adults, and that candy count guessing game everyone enjoys taking a shot at. The second Sweet Endings Dessert Contest will be judged at noon (application), with prizes for the top three places. Before judging (email us if you want a chance to be a judge), there will be a silent auction (ie, open bidding on paper) to sell the contest entries. If you are the highest bidder on the winning entry, you get it for free, meaning you can win something without even making a dessert! Proceeds from Sweet Endings will be donated to the local community food bank. Complete rules on the contest and the auction are here. (Remember that you need at least two market ingredients for your dessert, so get them now!)

  • Final Market, October 31: It's Halloween, people — wear a wig, wear a funny nose, wear a costume! At the very least, part your hair on the other side and come as a mirror image of yourself. If you're under 18, we invite you to trick-or-treat at the Market Manager booth and at participating vendors. And how about a jack-o-lantern contest? Bring your carved-at-home jack-o-lantern to the Market for display by 10:00 am so shoppers can vote on their favorite! Winner will be announced at 12:45 and gets $15 in Market Bucks, an investment for the 2010 Market.
The fun never stops at the Lansdowne Farmers Market. Well, until November 1 anyway, at which point we're going to fold up the fun, seal it well, and pack it away until Memorial Day weekend of 2010. So don't miss it while it's out there, just laying around for the taking.

Market Shorts
This Saturday is the much-anticipated return of Greenwood Kitchen and owners Jaynel and Kyle to the Lansdowne Farmers Market after far too long away. In addition to their wheat-and gluten-free macaroons, crackers, and baked goods, they'll have those wheatgrass shooters that are so tempting, both for the nutritional shot in the arm they provide and also because you get to stand around and chat after ordering while Kyle labors to hand crank the fresh wheatgrass through the mill, producing a frothy little green shot just for you. It's as far from mass produced as you're going to get and, frankly, a little power trip. Faster, crank faster!

Also back is Lupine Valley Veggies, with beans, herbs, gourds, greens, tomatillos, peppers, and ground cherries. Several times we've heard Dan and Louise explaining to customers what ground cherries are (they resemble small yellow tomatillos) and describing how to use them. This piece nicely encapsulates the various ways the flavor has been described (something between tomato and pineapple) and gives some recipes for how you might use these unusual fruits, but Dan says that his favorite way is to just peel off the husk and pop them in his mouth like candy.

Last week in this e-newsletter, we said that Farm Fresh Express carries beef from Natural Acres. Oops. That would be wrong, since Natural Acres closed its commercial operations a couple months ago. Most of the beef that FFE carries is now from Meadow Run Farm of Lancaster County, whose meat is pasture raised with no subtherapeutic use of antibiotics or hormones. If you're interested in a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving, order by November 4 to get one from Farm Fresh Express, whose pasture-raised turkeys from Shady Acres Farm (also in Lancaster County) will be butchered Thanksgiving week.

Thanks to the seven shoppers who earned themselves Market Bucks last week by sharing their top ten (or so) favorite things about the Lansdowne Farmers Market. Kudos to Mike Riddell, the crossing guard, who gets almost as much love as dogs and tomatoes. Get a Market Buck this week by printing your favorite photo from the Farmers Market this year and writing on the back what you like about it. Drop it off at the Manager booth, where we'll display it for the rest of the season. Thanks again to John Green for all the great pictures he's taken and Market moments he's captured.

Working With a Weird Season
Normally at this time of the year, the Farmers Market is all about the fall produce — apples and squash and parsnips and the like — and those particular items are certainly available, but where's the broccoli? where's the cauliflower? Mike Nelson from Fruitwood Farms says, in a nutshell, that it's been a "weird season." They planted these fall veggies at the usual time but the product is just not ready yet. Mike says that with a couple of sunny days, he'll have broccoli next week for sure, at which time we'll share the Best Broccoli You'll Ever Eat recipe we've been sitting on for months. Meanwhile, he's still picking tomatoes (which were blighted in some areas of the East Coast — go figure) and says he will be for a few more weeks probably.

Guess it's best to just stop whining about the lack of cauliflower (heads as big as a Buick in previous years!), and instead take advantage of the produce that's abundant right now. First up — tomatoes. You may have eaten your fill of fresh tomatoes by now, so consider making some oven-dried tomatoes, which are the homemade version of those pricy sun-dried tomatoes carried at gourmet markets. The idea is to slice and season the tomatoes and then bake them at a very, very low heat (as low as your oven will go), for several hours — basically overnight — removing the moisture from the slices, concentrating the tomato flavor, and producing a dry and chewy disk — sort of a tomato jerky. Some online recipes, all of which vary somewhat in time, temperature, and storage method, can be found here (quickest), here (medium), and here (longest). If you're ambitious, this might be the recipe to use, since it takes the dish to the next level, jarring and preserving the dried tomatoes with garlic and herbs as a confit. Once you've dried the tomatoes, you can eat them plain as a healthful snack, chop and add them to olive oil with some salt and a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar as a luscious dip for bread, or add them to pasta sauce to up the tomato intensity.

Now, squash. Butternut and acorn squash (about a dollar each at the Market) are good sources of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium and are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Their mildly sweet flavor responds well to various preparation methods — baking, roasting, stewing, even frying. This recipe for curried squash stew is adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe, meaning that it's low in fat and provides a lot of nutritious bang for both the buck and the calorie count. It's also very adaptable in terms of spiciness and heat and the vegetables you add, providing a good opportunity to use those leafy greens that are starting to wilt and that red pepper that's going a little soft at one end. Culinate, that Web site we told you about a few weeks ago, has two fine-looking recipes that combine squash and pasta. Like all lasagnas, this one will take a little time to construct but offers the payoff of a familiar dish that's been adapted to the season, that's not the same old same old, and that's fancy enough for guests. This recipe cleverly combines squash with macaroni and cheese — disguises it, you might say — and your kids will be none the wiser. And if your family will eat almost anything as long as it's deep fried, here ya go.

Along the Ave
The Lansdowne Auction Galleries are now open most Saturdays, selling (via price tags, not bids) useful and unusual items from estates, from furniture and linens to taxidermy flying squirrels. And you were wondering where you were going to get one of those — problem solved! 11 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne; 610-622-6836.

A couple of interesting things are happening along Lansdowne Avenue this Sunday afternoon, October 18, that would make a nice outing if the Eagles and Phillies don't much interest you. First, from 2:00 to 3:00 pm at Life More Abundant, local holistic health counselor Alexandra DiFilippo will be dishing the Skinny on Fats: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. This open workshop is about incorporating healthy fats into your diet and avoiding the unhealthy ones. RSVP to save yourself a seat. 25 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne; 610-259-0101

You can go straight from this workshop over to Cinema 16:9 to catch Canyons & Cats: Utah Wanderings, a digital and print screening of photographs from recent travels to Bryce Canyon, Best Friends animal sanctuary in Kanab, and Grafton Ghost Town by L.C. Kelley of Ardenwit Studio. Screenings of the slideshow begin at 3:15, 3:45, and 4:15 pm, and a print portfolio of select images and framed photographs will also be on display. Admission is free, and the concession stand will be open. View invitation here and RSVP to

The Recipe Booth

It's midweek, I've gotten home late, and I'm determined not to spend more than 30 or 40 minutes in the kitchen tonight. What's on the menu is slightly undetermined, but I put some pork chops in brine last night and have plenty of vegetables on hand. (I prefer bone-in rib chops. And, yes, I often have brined pork chops just hanging around in my refrigerator.)

I light the grill and then rummage through the vegetable pile on the counter for tonight's dinner. What I find is Hungarian sweet frying peppers. These long, thin red peppers look hot, but I'd been told by the grower that they are sweet. So I take a leap of faith and bite into one of these knurled vegetables. I'll be darned, that farmer was right — super sweet! Then it hits me that pork chops with peppers and onions will be our dinner.

For the pork chops: Combine in a plastic container ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup kosher salt, juice of one lemon, 2 cloves of smashed garlic, and 1 tsp coarse ground black pepper. Cover this with 2 or 3 inches of water and whisk to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add two bone-in pork rib chops, cover, let stand in the refrigerator at least overnight. When ready to cook, remove chops from the brine and pat dry and a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, oil, and, in this instance, smoked paprika. Grill the chops to your preferred doneness.

Meanwhile for the peppers: Slice ½ quart of sweet Hungarian frying peppers (Italian fryers or a red pepper would stand in fine) and combine in a pan over medium heat with 2 tbs olive oil, a sliced onion, salt, pepper, and 1 tbs of Italian seasoning. Sauté until tender and cooked down (10 to 15 minutes) then add 1 tbs butter and 1 tbs red wine vinegar. Cook until the butter is melted.

Lay down a bed of peppers and onions then top with a pork chop. Yes, this was an entirely improvised meal, and I should hope it is this simple every night of the week.

- Gary Booth

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: Mother/daughter team Marie-Luise Faber and Renate Dietzschold indeed have A Fold for Every Occasion, creating greeting cards and ornaments from material that most of us toss into the recycling bin without a thought. You'll be much more respectful of your electric bill after seeing their art.

Musician of the Week: The Market welcomes half a Caterpillar this Saturday as Mike Lenert and Dennis Davis join us for an acoustic set.

Blog: DIY.

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
October 15 to 22, various times; $5 to $7.50
Anvil: The Story of Anvil
Free cartoons, Saturday 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
35 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Bunnicula: The Musical at Celebration Theater
Fri., Sat., Sun., October 9 to 25; $10 to $15
Twentieth Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne; 610-259-1800

Annual book fair at the Lansdowne Friends School
Thursday, October 15, 3:00 to 6:00 pm
Friday, October 16, 8:00 to 9:00 am and 3:00 to 8:00 pm
Saturday, October 17, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
Indian dinner, Friday, 6:30 to 7:30 pm
110 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne; 610-623-2548

Philadelphia Mandolin and Guitar Ensemble at Regency Café
Thursday, October 15, 7:00 pm; Free
29 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

The Skinny on Fats: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly at Life More Abundant
Sunday, October 18, 2:00 pm; Free
25 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne; 610-259-0101

Canyons & Cats: Utah Wanderings by Ardenwit Studio at Cinema 16:9
Sunday, October 18, 3:00 to 5:00 pm; Free

Zoe Mulford with guest Nik Everett at the Lansdowne Folk Club
Thursday, October 22, 7:30 pm; $15 to $18
Twentieth Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne or 610-622-7250

Lansdowne Games Day at The Garden Church
Saturday, October 24, 11:15 am to 9:00 pm; Free
82 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Annual GLFL Halloween Costume Bash at the Twentieth Century Club
Saturday, October 31, 7:30 pm; $10, BYOB
84 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

St Philomena's happy hour fundraiser at Casey's
Friday, November 6, 5:00 pm; $30
812 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill
Contact Lori Giosa at 610-394-6562

Holiday Bazaar at The Garden Church
Saturday, November 7, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
82 N. Lansdowne Avenue; 610-623-1645,

Fifth Anniversary Gala for Animal Friends of Lansdowne
Saturday, November 7, 6:00 pm; $48 per person
The Restaurant School, 4207 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

Live Art Auction at the First Presbyterian Church of Lansdowne
Saturday, November 7, 7:00 pm; $10
Lansdowne and Greenwood Avenues, Lansdowne
610-259-5526 or 484-463-8338

Autumn Concert of the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
Sunday, November 8, 3:00 pm; $5 to $15
Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, Upper Darby High School

Click for a complete listing of upcoming local events.

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View from Lupine Valley

The Gardener's Holidays

While some people get exited about Christmas, the Super Bowl, or Valentine's Day, my calendar is highlighted with special holidays savored by gardeners. The new year begins for me the first weekend of February when, if I have the money, I attend the PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) Conference at Penn State. There I join a couple thousand sustainable growers — many from Pennsylvania and others from across the country and internationally — to attend workshops and inspiring lectures. Although snow is still falling as I drive back home, I am ready to start the garden.

February 14 marks the day I order my seeds. I pile up about 20 catalogs, find my six favorites, and spend the day in front of the fire, drinking tea and filling out order forms. March 17, when some are parading about in green hats and drinking beer, I am busy planting my first rows of peas. Inside, I am growing leeks, celery, herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and zinnias. Easter, though it falls in varying points in the spring, usually finds me planting spring greens, potatoes, parsnips, alliums, and carrots.

May 10 marks the busiest time of the year. The spring garden is in, and it's time to transplant out tomatoes and herbs, then direct seed cucumbers and beans. Memorial Day signals it's time to plant the heat-loving crops: eggplant, peppers, watermelon, and sweet potatoes. Fourth of July is the best time for me to take a break from the garden. Everything is at least a month planted, and I've had time to weed. Typically the peas, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are already harvested. Labor Day signals my last chance to plant spinach, arugula, and radishes for fall harvest. While some people stop wearing white after Labor Day, I stop planting food crops and switch over to soil-renewing cover crops.

In mid-September, we attend the Pennsylvania Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Festival in Kempton, PA. There we listen to inspiring talks from regional experts and get re-energized for the rest of the harvest season and putting the garden to bed.

The highlight of the year is, of course, Thanksgiving. With a free-range turkey bought from a local farmer, our own butternut squash, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and herbs, we sit down around the table and give thanks to the turkey, the growers who raised the food, and those who raised the farmers. Then we dig in and enjoy the culmination of another gardening year.

-Louise Bierig