Fresh Picks
October 29, 2009 | Visit the Farmers Market online at | Subscribe to Fresh Picks

Market News for This Saturday, October 31

Foul Fall
Really, October? Really? You're going to rain every single Saturday? Is that absolutely necessary? It seems a bit excessive, cold-hearted even, but if that's your plan, the Lansdowne Farmers Market will throw our shoulders back and carry on regardless. However, know that we will write unkind things about you in our newsletter and blog. We will talk about how miserable you were for years to come. We will welcome November warmly and cast you off without regret. You will find no friends in this town, October. You will pass alone. And to think you were once our favorite month . . .

By Popular Demand: One Bonus Market!
Big news, shoppers: This Saturday, October 31, will in fact not be the final Market of the season. We've decided to add one more, the Thanksgiving Market, to be held November 21, the Saturday before Turkey Day (or Tofurkey day, however you roll). After this coming weekend, we're going to skip the next two Saturdays, so go about your business those days doing whatever you do when the Farmers Market is not in season (if you can recall what that is). But then head over to the lot on November 21, when most of the vendors will be back and some will even be offering special holiday menus available by preorder and merchandise geared toward the Thanksgiving table. Remember to order your frozen turkey this week from Mark of Natural Meadows Farm for pickup that day, or your fresh turkey from Farm Fresh Express for pickup right before Thanksgiving. Wild Flour Bakery will have a Thanksgiving menu from which you can preorder now for pickup then as well (2008 sample here). The Thanksgiving Market will be a great chance to stock up on apples for pies, cider for warm drinks, and root veggies for the holidays and the winter, or to place an order for a flower arrangement for your Thanksgiving table. We'll give you more details on what the vendors will have (and on exactly who will be participating) in an upcoming newsletter. For now, just save the date—November 21, the truly final Lansdowne Farmers Market of 2009. (The hours will be the same, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, and since it'll be in nice November not awful October, we're anticipating good weather.)

All Tricked Out
Predicted rain or no, you must come to the Farmers Market this Saturday and you must wear a costume or a cape or a fake moustache or big glasses with eyes on springs or somehow otherwise goof on your appearance to reflect that it is Halloween and we are one Halloween-loving small town, a place that trick or treats on Halloween, no matter what day of the week it is, and when it's dark, no matter how forbidding the dark can be (granted that we also send grownups out with the kids to keep them safe, since we are also a sensible small town). So come to the Market incognito, and kids (under 18ish) should head right to the Manager booth, where we'll have treats and provide a list of vendors who will also be handing out goodies, many of which the kids are unlikely to get in their neighborhoods. (For example, Fruitwood Farms will be giving away little pumpkins while they last, and Schober Orchards plans to hand out individual containers of apple cider.) It's trick-or-treating at the Farmers Market, and it's going to be boatloads of fun! But you must be in some kind of costume to get the goods, like a proper trick-or-treater! Adults, we will even reward your clever and accomplished masquerade efforts with a Market Buck.

But that's not all; there are more special happenings this week. We're having a jack-o-lantern contest that's free and easy to enter. Just carve your pumpkin at home and bring it to the Market Manager booth by 10:00 am. We'll record your entry, and then all day shoppers will vote for their favorite. The pumpkin with the most votes at 12:45 wins $15 in Market Bucks. Plus, if you're willing to part with your winning creation overnight, Sycamore will use it that evening and at Sunday brunch as a decoration in the restaurant. But if you want to just take it home and gaze at it, you can do that too. All entries will be available for pickup when the Market ends.

In honor of upcoming Veteran's Day, as they do every year, Schober Orchards will be recognizing the significant contribution of veterans by giving vets who come to the Market this Saturday a gallon of cider and a half basket of apples. Just go to their stand, tell them you served, and they'll send you off with an armful of fall bounty. The only catch is you must be a vet and you must come to the Market yourself; sending a family member won't do.

We already know that Lupine Valley Veggies will not be joining us for the Thanksgiving Market unfortunately, so this will be your last chance to bid Louise and Dan a happy winter and to offer your best wishes (see "View From Lupine Valley," below right). It will also be your final opportunity to peruse and purchase their eclectic organic offerings — parsley, ground cherries, tomatillos, greens, mint, leeks, sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, and heirloom beans.

Right now, we're expecting a whole slew of musicians on Saturday, including some that didn't make it previously because of bad weather — singer-songwriter Sarah Flynn and Mike Lenert and Dennis Davis from the band Caterpillar. Given the forecast, they may be elusive yet again. However, we can be sure that indispensible Lansdowne neighbors, volunteers, and musicians Bob Beach and Jim Klingler will show up (barring a typhoon) and will play the house down, if we had a house. Bob books all the music for the LFM, making us the envy of every market in the area, a distinction we enjoy. Be sure to stop by and let him know how much you appreciate his efforts. Better yet, say it with a nice offering to the tip basket.

Finally, a word about the apple-shaped Farmers Market signs that so many of you were good enough to display in your yards this year. If you're willing, please just take them in now and store them until the season starts again next year. We'll cue you when to put them out. If you'd prefer to return your sign, bring it to the Market this week or November 21 and we'll take it back. If you miss those opportunities, drop it off with the Main Street Manager at 23 S. Lansdowne Avenue during regular business hours. The thing not to do is to toss it. Those signs were a little pricey, but we thought they were worth it because they're eye-catching and sturdy enough to last for many years. (Whether you store your sign or turn it in, remember to include the metal legs, or next year we'll be in trouble.)

Fall Fest Wrapup
The Market did a pretty good job of ignoring the pesky rain last week, when the dessert contest, the silent auction, the food collection, the pumpkin decorating, the candy guessing, Community Day, and the regular Market goings-on all happened despite the nonsensical weather that plagued the parking lot. "Ignore" might be too strong a word, but certainly everyone tried to make the best of the crummy (but at least not cold) day. The Market thanks all the shoppers who came out on that wetwetwet day, with extra thanks to the folks who participated in Community Day and tried to put on a good face while huddled two to a tent, to Chris Allen for filling in at the last minute as a judge for the dessert contest, to the other judges for showing up and chowing down, to the dessert makers and buyers, to the food donators, to Maura Ciccarelli for helping kids achieve artistic freedom via pumpkin decorating, to Fruitwood Farms for donating the pumpkins, to musician Suzie Brown for playing through the rain, and to the Lansdowne Business Association for loaning us extra tents. It really does take a village.

The Sweet Endings Dessert Contest had eight entries of all varieties, from snack cake to pie to cheesecake bars to cookies to crepes, and all looked fantastic, as the bidding reflected. (As Farmers Market frequenters, we might fancy ourselves healthful eaters, but put something out there that's iced or drizzled or laced with sugar and butter, and the crowd goes wild.) Even with the considerable drawback that the weather presented, the contest entry fees and bids raised $159 in cash for the community food bank. First place in the contest went to Mikia Moore for her Cinnamon Apple Sweet Potato Pie. Careful readers and link followers might recognize Mikia as last year's winner also. Twice she has submitted pies and twice she has walked off with the big prize (except that she actually donated her winnings back to the food bank; wasn't that nice?). Mikia is clearly the one to beat in Sweet Endings. She gets one more victory and then she'll be asked to retire as reigning champ and give us lesser bakers a chance (she can be a judge then).

Two-Point Conversions
First point: Daylight savings time ends this weekend. Turn your clocks back before you go to bed Saturday night and get an extra hour of sleep. Or don't turn your clocks back and be early for everything on Sunday. Your choice.

Second point: Even with the addition of the Thanksgiving Market, this will be the last Fresh Picks you receive this year. Going forward, upcoming events around the borough will be covered in Discover Lansdowne, which comes out every other week rather than weekly. To get the timing right for the Thanksgiving Market, your first Discover Lansdowne will come next Thursday, November 5, with the next on November 19, and then every two weeks thereafter until May 2010, when Fresh Picks kicks in again to focus on the Farmers Market. It's a little confusing, we realize, but we'll keep track of the schedule. You just keep reading and getting out to take part in the many things that are going on around town. If you have an event to announce or are a local business owner who wants to offer a Discover Discount in the December 3 issue (that is, a special available only to readers of the newsletter), send us a note.

Eat Well, Party Down, Do Good
On your way to or from the Market on Saturday, stop at The Garden Church at Lansdowne and Stratford Avenues for a fundraiser breakfast that will fill both your belly and your spirit. Running from 7:30 to 11:00 am, this most important meal of the day will feature plain, pumpkin, and chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, sausage, fruit salad, orange juice, and coffee and tea, so there's no reason to go home even the least bit hungry. But more importantly, the proceeds benefit Epiphany House, one of the most worthy groups in the whole town and one we should be proud and eager to support. Epiphany House is a nonprofit organization dedicated to needy and vulnerable children, meeting their needs through community outreach, adoption, and foster and respite care. If you want to see a large, happy family, look no farther than that of cofounders Kathie and Dexter Lanctot, who have given stability and love to more kids who need it than anyone else you're likely to meet. They are also hosting a Halloween Bash fundraiser that evening starting at 7:00 pm at 322 N. Lansdowne Avenue. Admission is $15 or $10 if you're in costume or under 21. (You can also just stop in and make a donation if you have other plans for breakfast or that evening.)

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: If it pours on Saturday, no one will blame Maura Williams for opting out of her appearance at the Market. Her cards and calendars featuring images of beautiful area scenery and greenery made even more beautiful by her framing photographer's eye are too fine to put in rain-soaked jeopardy. Keep your fingers crossed that she'll make it but in case not, plan on seeking her out at the Second Annual Little Bit of the Arts Holiday Sale right after Thanksgiving.

Musician of the Week: A late-season jackpot of at least two and maybe five performers: Bob Beach and Jim Klingler, Sarah Flynn, and Mike Lenert and Dennis Davis from the band Caterpillar.

Blog: A truly extraordinary entry; Old Man Marlsbury profiled.

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 29 to November 5, various times; $5 to $10
Schlocktoberfest horror films; The Rocky Horror Picture Show, In a Dream
Free cartoons, Saturday 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
35 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Minas at Picanha Brazilian Grill
Friday, October 30, 7:00 pm; $21.99 includes meal
6501 Castor Avenue, Philadelphia

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

Acoustic Eidolon at Concerts at the Beach House
Wednesday, November 11, 7:30 pm; $15, BYOB or 610-626-0012

Minas CD Release Party at World Cafe Live
Monday, November 16, 7:30 pm; $25 to $30
3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia; 215-222-1400

The Angel Band with guest Brian Ashley Jones at the Lansdowne Folk Club
Thursday, November 19, 7:30 pm; $15 to $18
Twentieth Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne or 610-622-7250

Annual Fall Spaghetti Dinner sponsored by Lansdowne Boy Scout Troop 63
Saturday, November 21, 4:00 to 7:00 pm
$5 for children (12 & under); $7 for adults
The First Presbyterian Church, Lansdowne and Greenwood Avenues, Lansdowne

A Bit of the Arts Holiday Sale at the Twentieth Century Club
Friday, November 27, 3:00 to 8:30 pm, and Saturday, November 28, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm; Free
84 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner at the Lansdowne Public Library
Friday, November 13, 7:00 pm; Free; refreshments served
Sponsored by the Lansdowne Human Relations Commission, the Lansdowne No Place for Hate Committee, and the Lansdowne Public Library
55 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Click for a complete listing of upcoming local events.

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Send your upcoming events to to have them included in this space!

View From Lupine Valley

Spring Harvest

Most of the season's planting is done from mid-March to the end of May. Planting of short-season crops then continues to the beginning of September. At that point, we are mostly harvesting, but there are a few crops that can still be planted and overwintered.

Carrots, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts are good left in the ground until the first freeze hits in November. Once the ground thaws, we pick them and enjoy their extra sweet crunchiness.

Alliums, such as leeks and garlic, are left in the ground the whole winter. Many leeks take 100 days or more to reach maturity. If I get a crop started in mid-summer and mulch them, they will be full size by early spring (they grow slower in the cold months). How nice it is to look outside in the winter and see their green stalks protruding from the snow. There will be something to eat in early spring.

Garlic is not planted until October. The goal is to get the roots established before winter then let their tops sally forth in the spring.

As winter comes on, we are looking forward to our spring leeks as well as a harvest of another kind. On May 8, at the height of spring planting, we are expecting our first baby! Like the leeks and garlic, the baby will establish her roots and grow over the long, otherwise dormant, winter months, then spring forth and surprise us with her beauty. Of all the seeds I've planted this year, I'm most looking forward to harvesting this one at planting time.

- Louise Bierig