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August 12, 2010 | Visit the Farmers Market online at | Subscribe to Fresh Picks

News for This Saturday, August 14

This Saturday is the end of the first half of the Lansdowne Farmers Market season, meaning we're at the point where you're either on board or you're not: there's a Market every Saturday, rain or shine, from 9:00 to 1:00 in the big parking lot on Lansdowne Avenue with all manner of fabuloso stuff to eat, buy, admire, listen to, and so forth. It's a once-a-week opportunity to pick up produce, cheese, breads, and other items that you won't find all in one place anywhere nearby, that are good for you, and that put money back into the local (and localish) economy. It's also the best place to yack it up with friends and neighbors and to meet new people from Lansdowne and neighboring communities since people seem willing to travel a few miles to get to the LFM. (Think about it: once the Market closes, how often do you see 10 or 20 people you want to catch up with in the same day? Not very often.) It's not really a "for us or agin us" situation, but by now you either make room in your busy weekend schedule to stop by the Farmers Market or you don't, and it's okay if you don't, but understand that you're running out of time if it's something you've been intending to do and just haven't gotten around to yet. We'll be there regardless, buying beautiful produce, eating crepes, enjoying the music, probably talking about you . . .

Best Guest
A very special guest will be at the Market this Saturday: the folks behind Lansdowne's Sycamore restaurant are coming to celebrate being named Best New Restaurant (burbs division) by Philadelphia Magazine. They'll have menus to tempt you, as well as a sign-up sheet so you can opt-in to weekly email updates on what's going on (like the recent news that the Wednesday/Sunday casual prix fixe dinner is now "many" courses, up from three). They'll also be having a raffle to give away five $25 gift certificates, which would make an officially delicious meal a sweet deal too. (You can see a video of Sycamore being feted on its "Best of" win here, starting at about the 1:08 mark.)

Market News
We found out too late last week to let you know in the newsletter that John Wilson of MiniTreats and, more importantly, of the beloved mushroom soup and chili, wasn't going to make it on Saturday. At the time of this writing, he should -- should -- be at the Market this week, and you'll be able to get your fix, er, fill. It's possible, however, that he'll have to cancel again on Thursday night or Friday, so don't be too disappointed if his space remains empty this week. Instead, make up your mind to be happily surprised if he is in fact present.

Although the members of the Soap Group are in theory supposed to take turns, you've been seeing a lot of Spotted Hill Farm the past several weeks. In addition to her regularly scheduled weeks, Donna came on Kidcentric Day to bring her baby goats (now christened Wendy and Flannel thanks to Market shoppers), and she filled in last week when To You, From Me Soaps had to cancel late in the game. In short, she's been doing us favors. This week is one of Spotted Hill's "real' weeks, however, and Donna is bringing a brand new product that sounds both clever and useful -- felted soaps. A bar of Donna's soap is wrapped in wool roving from Karakul sheep, and then the roving is felted, or shrunk until it's tightly bound together, so the result is effectively a washcloth (the wool) with built-in soap. As the soap gets smaller, so does the felt (assuming you bath in warm to hot water). These nifty low-tech gadgets are $7.50 each. (By the way, we are never going to mention our favorite soaps here again. As soon as we did that before, that scent sold out and has been out of stock ever since. You people are vultures!)

Our little organic vendor, Turning Roots Farm, will be at the Market this week, and advance word is that they have organically grown tomatoes out the wazoo, whatever a wazoo is. They also typically have a great selection of greens and squash and other veggies. And whatever they don't have, Harvest Local Foods probably will. Man, the stuff they have been showing up with lately! Big, shiny heads of leaf lettuce in the dead of summer, mushrooms, garlic scapes, teeny little one-serving watermelons -- for starters -- not to mention the dairy and pantry items and meat. It's a picture-perfect spread over there. Shady too.

Our nonorganic produce purveyors are no slouches in the variety and abundance department either. It's high season for most everything -- tomatoes, peaches, zucchini, nectarines, corn, melons, peppers -- whatever anyone interested in eating in-season produce should be interested in eating. Apples are starting to come in too, and the varieties change almost weekly once that happens. (We've been looking for those glorious grapes we adore to no avail. When is glorious grape season anyway??)

Bonnie's Wondergardens is laying off the plants for a while and sending only cut flowers to the Market. This week, she'll have sunflowers (of course), glads, maybe some more of those gorgeous hydrangeas, the ever-popular $5 bouquets, fun and inexpensive arrangements, and whatever else looks good. Add a bit of color to your life with something from her always eye-catching stall. Plus you just look so cosmopolitan walking around the Market carrying a bunch of flowers. Tres chic!

We're always talking about our favorite Market finds here. Now it's your turn. Let us know what you've found that you think deserves special mention (easy on the cider, people; we've already established that the cider is much appreciated). Maybe it's a particular product from one of the Soap Group or a kind of soda or a cupcake flavor or one of the butters or honeys or jams. Whatever item you think is worthy of note, send it in and we'll start running reader recommendations.

More Market News
(An entirely pointless break, but that section was getting overlong.)

See John Green's latest Market photos here.

Community Day #2 is coming right up, on August 28, and applications are available here and at the Market. We should warn you that several double spots have already been claimed, meaning the number of available spaces is even smaller than usual. Seriously, don't dally. If you want to be a Community Day participant, act now -- send the application and check to the address on the form toot sweet! (Yeah, that's spelled wrong, but it's less pretentious that way.)

We've sold a lot of Ripe & Ready T-shirts. A lot. But not enough that when it comes time to pack them up each Saturday the volunteers don't all groan and gnash their teeth and curse the very idea of FM T-shirts. Not really, but we still have boxes and boxes of them, which translates to stacks and stacks on table after table, so you may have to spend a little time looking through to find the one that's just right for you. We have 3XL all the way down to newborn, so don't assume you're out of luck size-wise, cuz you're probably not. We gotcha covered, literally and figuratively. Come dig. We'll help. And we'll give you a Market Buck this week if you show up in a Ripe & Ready T, especially if you bring along a friend who you encourage to find a T of their very own.

Then there's this. Many thanks if you stopped last week and sat down and voted for the LFM right there at the Market. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, most of the votes we collected at the Market seem not to have registered. We've sent concerned emails to America's Farmland Trust demanding an explanation, but chances are that they'll say tough luck and nothing will come of it. Assume that if you voted at the Market and did not get a confirming email at the address you entered, your vote did not register. Please try again. It only takes two minutes (and no donation is required at the end; just exit). At this point in the contest, without a door-to-door campaign, it's unlikely that we'll catch up to the (obviously cheating and possibly somehow siphoning off our votes) King George Market, but hanging onto third is a worthwhile goal, and that sneaky Jim Thorpe Market (practically a neighbor!) is creeping up on us like a thug in a dark alley. We must fight back, so look for another 'puter or two at the Market Manager stand this week for more on-site (and possibly pointless) voting. (Please know that we don't really think King George is cheating or that Jim Thorpe is sneaky or thuggish. It's just fun to pretend they are. Slander -- always a good time until you get caught.)

I'll Have the Food and Music Combo
Local band Minas has scheduled a couple more gigs at nearby eateries so you can do two things at once -- have dinner and be entertained. Tomorrow night, August 13, at 7:00, they'll be back at Picanha Brazilian Grill at 6501 Castor Avenue in Northeast Philly. There's no cover, but you'll need to buy a meal. Here's a review of the food from a few years ago, since the place's website seems to have vanished. Reservations are recommended: 215-743-4647. Then, a week from tonight, on Thursday, August 19, you can find them over in Jersey at Giumarello's at 329 Haddon Avenue in Westmont, also at 7:00 pm. There, Orlando and Patricia will be performing as a trio with Tony Salicandro, and again there's no cover charge, just the cost of your dinner. Make reservations by calling 856-858-9400. Hey, it's good to get out of the state from time to time!

But if you're a slug like we are, there's also music to be found close to home. Tomorrow night, Friday, August 13, you can see the Griz Band play a variety of covers and original songs just up the way at 2312 Garrett (we have established that this is both an address and a pub, right? Like Robbins 8th and Walnut). Don't be surprised if Danny the bartender hurdles the bar and joins Chris Grizwold for a few numbers. Music is from 9:30 to 1:30 and there's no cover, but you better eat and drink something if you're going to be taking up space.

Less Than One Month . . .
Till the Lansdowne Arts Festival, two of the best days on the local calendar. Clear your schedule for Saturday and Sunday, September 11 and 12, or miss a terrific time, major music, and awesome art.

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 of Around the House, Around the Town has a little bit of everything in her Etsy shop, from vintage colored glass bowls and candlesticks she's found to crystal earrings and pearl necklaces she's made, but our favorites are her pretty and feminine fabric flower pieces. She also paints glasses and bowls in fun designs. Look for a variety of unusual things in her stall on Saturday.

Musicians of the Week: If the Farmers Market had doors, the Mansfield Brass would blow them off this Saturday. The roughly half dozen members of the brass are roughly local and always a good time. You'll hear em before you see em.


Upcoming Local Events

Movies at Cinema 16:9
35 N. Lansdowne Avenue

American Red Cross Blood Drive at the Twentieth Century Club
Tuesday, August 31, 1:00 to 7:00 pm; Free
84. S. Lansdowne Avenue; 215-451-4285 or register online

Eighth Annual Lansdowne Arts Festival
Preview: Friday, September 10, 7:00 to 9:00 pm; $25
Show and sale: Saturday and Sunday, September 11 and 12, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; Free
Twentieth Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue

The Burns Sisters with special guest Greg Klyma at the Lansdowne Folk Club
Thursday, September 23; 7:30 pm; $15 in advance, $18 at door
84 S. Lansdowne Avenue; 610-622-7250

Park Day
Saturday, September 25; Free
Hoffman Park, Scottdale Road

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View the complete listing of local events.

market photo
A notorious local couple pause for a pic before making a hasty getaway.
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One cool customer.
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Harvest Local Foods sure sets a pretty table.

Photos courtesy of John Kelly Green.