Fresh Picks
July 15, 2010 | Visit the Farmers Market online at | Subscribe to Fresh Picks

Market News for This Saturday, July 17

Show Up
If you're on the LEDC mailing list (and you are, as evidenced by your getting this e-newsletter), you got a note yesterday about the first show in the Lansdowne Summer Concert Series, a free four-week event that starts tonight. At the risk of being redundant, we need to make a push for you to get to this show simply because missing it would be, well, silly. If you're not working, attending a borough meeting, feeding the homeless (and some of you are, we know), or doing something really important, make time for this because it's a terrific community gathering that requires nothing of you beyond showing up, plopping down, and enjoying the show. Most towns don't have their own little free outdoor concert series but Lansdowne does, and if you live here or nearby, that alone should be reason enough to attend. Then the next time you're at a garden party in Wayne or Philly, you can mention this awesome free concert you just attended in Lansdowne and everyone can say, "Where?" and you can say, "Lansdowne, great little historic town just west of the city, with a happening farmers market, a terrific restaurant, a popular café, a microcinema . . ., " and so forth. You get the idea. Stuff like this is what's moving 'Downe Town up in the ranks of most livable suburbs. Take advantage of it.

We think that all these shows are worth attending regardless of the performer, but given that tonight's show is by a very intriguing group with a highly recognizable name, maybe that will get you over the hump and out the door. Ronstadt Generations is a four-man band "with a rich family blend" (perhaps they're all related, but we're not entirely sure) that seems more than equipped -- with multiple guitars and a cello, of all things -- to fill the lawn at St John's with harmonies rich and varied. They have performed individually with more famous musicians than it would be polite to mention for fear of seeming braggy, and together they play a wide range of traditional and original songs that promises an enjoyable evening that you will want to mention at garden parties. Also, one of them is Linda's brother. So St John's Episcopal Church at Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenues tonight at 7:00 pm. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, bug spray, a snack (remember that Provisions is open till 7:00), perhaps some wine. If it rains (but it won't), the show moves into the Regency Cafe.

Drink Up
Maybe after the concert you'd like to go out for an inexpensive bite to eat and a beer. Not an uncommon scenario but one that's been tough to act on if you live in Lansdowne. People, help has arrived. Not in Lansdowne exactly, but close -- really, really close. Right up on Garrett Road, 2312 Garrett to be exact, a new gastropub has opened and ironed out kitchen issues (like a lack of one), and is now serving very happy diners nightly Tuesday to Sunday from a menu that tops out nowhere even close to $15 and that features salads, burgers, creative hot and cold sandwiches, fabulous fish and chips, and other pub foods, all prepared with primo ingredients and attention to detail by chef Joe Otto, late of the kitchen at the Ritz Carlton in Center City. The beer selection alone is worth the trip, with 10 brews on tap and 40 craft beers in bottles and cans, several of which are local. Wine and fancy mixed drinks like apple martinis are also available. The owners are Lansdowne residents (yes!) Jonathan DeSouza and Albert Watson, and they've transformed the space from kinda scary to contemporary casual. Think the Standard Tap minus the hipper-than-thou attitude. 2312 opens at 4:00 pm, serves dinner till around 10:00, and keeps the liquids flowing until 2:00 am. It might not be in Lansdowne, but we're going to claim it anyway.

Link Up
Meanwhile, back in the borough proper, Sycamore got a nice write-up in The City Paper, but don't follow that link if you're even remotely hungry because the food porn photos in that article will put you in a dither. It's improbable that you've not been to Sycamore yet, especially with its recent expansion into a second room with an inviting bar area for "high dining," but just in case, check out the reviews linked here for some encouragement to go. Or to go back.

Sycamore's across-the-street neighbor, Provisions, got its own little bit of press recently too, with this article in the Delaware County Daily Times. (Nothing will make Marnie happier than if you click to enlarge that photo. Do it.) If you're a Provisions shopper, you probably already knew that Marnie sources locally and wants her shop to be inviting and a place people feel they can stay a while (hence the comfy chair near the register), but it's always nice to see it in ink. Pixels. Whatever.

Ante Up
There's no other way to put this: our showing in that American's Favorite Farmers Market contest is borderline pathetic. Thirty-five days in and all we have is 164 votes, an average of less than 5 votes a day. And that's fine if you really don't care about winning this contest. In truth, we don't need the biggest part of the prize package, which is $1000 worth of free graphic design services, since we already have a professional design service on board for free. (Ever wonder why the website, signs, ads, and handouts look so great for a measly volunteer operation? Hoff's why.) But we'd sure like to know that the LFM is as appreciated by you all as we think it is, and that knowledge is going to come from winning this contest. So if you've been putting off voting because it takes two minutes, we're going to try to make you feel a little guilty about that by telling you that writing this newsletter every week takes at least 4 hours and you'd be doing us a personal favor if you went and voted now. And get a couple friends to vote too. Here are some answers you can copy and paste in to answer why the LFM should win if that helps you to actually go vote. Feel free to add exclamation points.
  • Before the farmers market started, there wasn't much to do on a Saturday morning. Now there's a place to go to see people and shop. The Lansdowne Farmers Market is the hub of the community in the summer.
  • There's live music, great food, local produce and meat, and an artist every week, so the variety is vast for such a small market. Products are always changing, meaning there's something new all the time.
  • It gives me a place to take my kids where I can teach them about making smart choices, let them run around a bit, and know that we're all going to have a good time. I only have to spend what I feel I can afford to.
  • Two words: Coffee. Cupcakes.
  • I just like parking lots.
Market News
Ah, yes, finally getting to the Farmers Market itself. So, did you venture out to the Market last Saturday? We know some of you did because the new pie vendor was wowed by your vacuum-like response to her wares, and Donna Howard, ever-enthusiastic soap purveyor, was pretty pleased with her day too. Still, the typhoonal (should be a word if it's not) weather made for a rough day for most vendors, so please come out this week and throw a little extra support their way. They all work hard to grow, make, or otherwise acquire their goods, and being poured on for 4 solid hours while having diminished sales can be disheartening. Remind them Saturday why the LFM is the most happening farmers market going. (Not just saying that; we believe it.)

Last week was such a washout that most shoppers forgot all about our food collection effort. A few items did come in though, and one generous shopper donated $20, which we combined with the $50 the LFM won for placing third in the 4th of July parade and gave to the community food bank, which was delighted to get it. Nevertheless, we can do better, so we're going to try collecting nonperishable food items again this week. You bring some food to the Manager tent, and we'll give you a Market Buck and a big thank you. (Oral, not written.)

Last week Provisions added made-to-order breakfast burritos to its lineup of fine edibles, meaning now you're going to have to choose between a potato, egg, and cheese burrito -- with chorizo or bacon -- for $6.50 and a crepe with two ($5) or three ($6) toppings, either of which will be made right in front of you, as you monitor and offer "support" (we can't be the only one who does that). And this week, Marnie's really bringing cherry pie. Or else. Also peach and blueberry.

John Wilson of MiniTreats will be at Saturday's market, but then he's out for the next two weeks (ie, he won't be back until August 7!), so please take this opportunity to stock up on his soup and chili, which he says freeze well if you have trouble finishing all you buy quickly. (Fair warning: The folks in the Market Manager tent will tolerate no whining about his absence if you do not heed this advice.)

Cupcake Dreams is back this week with vanilla, chocolate, and new orange Dreamsicle cupcakes, which Julia describes as "yummy orange cake with orange cream cheese icing." A few red velvets may also make the trip. She now also has pound cakes, small ones for $4.50 and bigger ones for $8.00; this week's flavors are chocolate chip and lemon. Are you thinking what we are? That a little lemon pound cake and an orange Dreamsicle cupcake together qualify as a fruit cup, a fine breakfast by (almost) any standard.

Saturday will be Wentworth Dairy's second appearance at the Market with their highly specialized product line of two kinds of Cheddar cheese -- regular aged and cave-aged. There's more to it than that, but Bonnie can elaborate on the details better. Buy both and do a blind taste test to see if you can tell the difference.

It's To You, From Me's turn in the soap group tent and Bone Appetite Barkery's week to anchor the northwestern end of the Market. Stop by and see them both. They missed you.

We discovered this past week that we're in that hot, wet season in which the fresh bread from Metropolitan Bakery that the Regency Café carries and that from Le Bus available at Provisions needs to go into the fridge after a day or two or you risk molding. One of artisan bread's ample charms is its lack of preservatives, which becomes less charming when things start growing on it. Eat what you can quickly then refrigerate or freeze the rest.

Kidcentric Day is coming to the LFM in two weeks, on July 31. There will be games, prizes, birds, beasts, crafts, a kid parade, and an all-round good time. What else you got to do?

Finally, Market volunteer and Lansdowne master thespian Terry Baraldi has contributed the following recipe for Not Just for Pasta Pesto. Because her name ends in a vowel (a compliment, we assure you), she comes by the ability to eyeball measurements naturally and says that all quantities depend on the size of your food processor and your taste buds. You need fresh basil (check Harvest Local Foods, or ask Terry for some of hers), pine nuts, 1 to 2 cloves of coarsely chopped garlic (again Harvest Local or Natural Meadows), salt, pepper, grated lemon zest, and extra virgin olive oil. If using a food processor, combine all the dry ingredients, start the processor, and drizzle in the oil until everything is reduced to a puree. If using a small blender, you can add the oil in with the other ingredients. She says not to worry about measuring anything because it will taste delicious no matter what, and we're inclined to agree. Toss the spread on grilled veggies, brush it onto corn on the cob (Terry's favorite) or onto slabs of toasted bread, or add it to a salad dressing. In a pinch, you can actually even use it on pasta. Leftovers can be frozen in ice cube trays for use in the dark days of winter. Thanks, Terry!

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: Under the nome de gems Type O(-), Grace Caputo has been hawking her handmade jewelry at shows around town for several years now, and she's very grateful that most folks don't yet seem tired of the semiprecious stone and freshwater pearl pieces she makes. But just in case, she's recently branched out into fabricating sterling silver, so if you haven't seen Type O(-) jewelry lately, you've barely seen it at all. She'll be joined by her mother, Norma Bartram, who presses flowers and, yes, weeds, and sets them under glass and on greeting cards for naturally recycled pretties. She also makes bread and butter pickles, green tomato relish, and blackberry jam using old family recipes and perhaps a dash of enchantment based on how devoted their fans are. She will have all three products in very limited supply (single digits) on Saturday.

Musician of the Week: J.D. Little's MySpace page is nearly as neglected as Type O(-)'s Etsy shop. But one of the songs there sounds a lot like Bob Dylan. And Bob Beach signed him up, which as always, is good enough for us.

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
35 N. Lansdowne Avenue

Ronstadt Generations at the Lansdowne Summer Concert Series
Thursday, July 15, 7:00 pm; Free
St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church
Baltimore and Lansdowne Aves

Minas at Picanha Grill
Friday, July 16, 7:00 pm
6501 Castor Avenue, Philadelphia

Caleb Hawley at the Lansdowne Summer Concert Series
Thursday, July 22, 7:00 pm; Free
St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church
Baltimore and Lansdowne Aves

Minas Brazilian Carnival Night at Bryn Mawr Twilight Series
Saturday, July 24, 6:30 pm; $10 per person donation
9 S. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr

Mathew Tembo at Concerts at the Beach House
Sunday, July 25, 5:00 pm; $15, BYOB or 610-626-0012

Moliere's The Miser -- Outdoor Theater
Tuesday, July 27, 7:00 pm ; Free
Lawn of the Twentieth Century Club, 84. S. Lansdowne Ave

Shannon Wurst at the Lansdowne Summer Concert Series
Thursday, July 29, 7:00 pm; Free
St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church
Baltimore and Lansdowne Aves

Minas at Rose Tree Park
Saturday, July 31, 7:30 pm; Free Routes 1 and 252, Media

Anne McCue at the Lansdowne Summer Concert Series
Thursday, August 5, 7:00 pm; Free
St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church
Baltimore and Lansdowne Aves

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

View the complete listing of local events.