Fresh Picks
August 19, 2010 | Visit the Farmers Market online at | Subscribe to Fresh Picks

News for This Saturday, August 21

How Low Can We Go?
Local Food and Local Farms Does anyone have one of those big foam hands you wave around at sports events that has all five fingers extended? If you do, bring it on Saturday because that's where we are in the standings in the closing weeks of America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest -- a lowly fifth. Winning this thing is now a pipe dream, and our more humble desire to hang onto third has also been slapped around a bit, as we now trail four other "boutique" markets in popularity. The only positive thing is that unless Medford Lakes Farmers Market has a serious surge, we have fifth place pretty well sewn up. Go us! We are number five, yeah! We are number five! If you vote now so that our vote count increases and then tell us about it at the Market Manager tent, we'll give you a Market Buck. Yep, people, we'll pay you to vote this week. It's Thursday-to-Saturday morning deal, and it frankly makes us feel a little soiled, so take advantage of it while you can, even if it means creating a new email address for yourself, perhaps (Don't worry: This contest will end soon and we can all go back to loving our Market privately, behind closed doors, which is how we like it. That or dancing in the Market aisles. One or the other. But this online voting stuff isn't for us, clearly.)

RCN = Really Cool News
Earlier this season, we alerted you that Market vendor The Greenwood Kitchen and Lansdowne superduo Minas were both being featured in shows on television. Now it's the Lansdowne Farmers Market's turn! Well, it's not like Oprah or Ryan Seacrest came out and did an on-site behind-the-scenes tell-all story, but RCN is helping us promote some jewels in our community in a series of ads for the Farmers Market, the upcoming Lansdowne Arts Festival, and Celebration Theater. The 30-second spots (linked in the previous sentence) will appear Wednesday to Friday evenings, starting September 1, on the Food Network, HGTV, Lifetime, and ABC Family, but you'll see them only if RCN is your cable provider. As the cherry on top of the sundae, RCN will also be giving away reusable shopping bags (you can always use more!) on Community Day. Thanks, RCN, for being a committed community partner and Lansdowne booster. (Imagine how cool it will be to ask a new face at the FM how they heard about us and have them say, "I saw the Market on TV"!)

Market Stuff
Cupcake Dreams had to cancel late last week due to a bum knee, and we wish Julia a speedy recovery because we need some red velvet in our lives, and soon. She should be back on September 4. This week's alternating vendors are Bone Appetite Barkery, MyHouse Cookies (really pies and quiches), and To You, From Me as the Soap Group representative. A few people asked about Wentworth Dairy, the vendor with the very tasty cheddar cheese, and they've had some other things to do for a few weeks but will also return on September 4. (FYI, we're still working on having another "sometimes" cheese vendor and one or two more occasional specialty vendors. Stay tuned for more on that.)

The really big news is that this could be the Saturday that Honeycrisp apples make their debut (at Schober Orchards' stand) and those glorious grapes come to town (at Fruitwood). Both are maybes, but hoping for it can't hurt, right?

It may seem early to be talking about it, but time flies, doncha know, so here goes: Dog Day is the last Saturday in September, the 25th, and we're working on having several interesting guests and activities as well as the ASPA's adoption van and the super-popular dog parade. Mary Lou at Bone Appetite Barkery now has little costumes you can purchase should you opt to "dress" for that event.

Reviving Recipes
We used to try to always include recipes or links to recipes in this newsletter, but then we got the impression that no one was using the recipes or following the links, so we pretty much knocked that off. However, this is a slow week, so we're going to venture back into that territory with some of the most abundant produce that's at the Market now: zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers. Here are two recipes for using zucchini as a crust for pizza - one from Rachael Ray and one from the Moosewood Cookbook. We've made the latter many times and have three things to say about it: (1) straining the excess moisture from the zucchini is key; (2) no matter how well you oil the pan, it always sticks (hmmm, maybe parchment paper is the answer...); and (3) no matter what you put on top, it's always delicious.

On to tomatoes. Do you ever put sugar on a ripe, chunked-up tomato? We grew up eating them that way and still do from time to time, though we no longer lay on the thick crust of sugar we opted for at age 9. Now it really is just a sprinkle, sometimes with a little sea salt too and occasionally with a spritz of cider vinegar. It's about as quick, simple, and down home as you can get (aside from the mayo slather) and remains the way we most frequently lay waste to our favorite vegetable (that's actually a fruit) when it's in high season. Admittedly, however, that wasn't much of a recipe. So how about this one for Puttanesca Tomato Salad contributed by Lindsay Lidge, wife of the Phillies' reliever Brad Lidge (it came to us via the Food Trust newsletter). If you like olives and can spare a cup of balsamic vinegar, it sounds like a keeper.

Though green and frying peppers are certainly easier to find at the Market, we saw some pretty poblano peppers last week at Harvest Local Foods' stand and passed on them because we weren't sure what to do with them. Wouldn't you know that yesterday's New York Times food section included a recipe for stuffed poblanos that made our mouth water when we read it. The recipe is here, and we think you could substitute regular tequila (or nothing) for the mezcal if preferred.

And as long as we're doing recipes, here's another one from Lansdowne's mayor, Jayne Young, which she humbly described as the best grilled cheese sandwich she ever ate. (She also made it.) Note that all quantities are based on your preferences. Chop up a small peeled tomato, some roasted red peppers, and some green olives stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes (or, green olives and sun-dried tomatoes), and combine well with goat cheese and shredded cheese, preferably fontina. Spread amply between two slices of buttered-on-the-outside bread and cook as for any grilled cheese until browned and melty. Eat, enjoy, and thank the mayor when you see her!

The deadline for Community Day applications is Saturday, but if you don't have yours in already, you're probably out of luck because we were teetering perilously close to full a couple days ago. We have fewer spaces to rent out for August 28 in part because (as indicated above) RCN has acquired a large space and will be giving away reusable shopping bags, and PECO is also bringing a tent so they can comfortably hand out 500 high-efficiency compact fluorescent light bulbs. (Yes, oddly enough, PECO wants us to conserve energy.) In addition to the nifty giveaways, there should be a good variety of other participants with stuff for show and sale at our second Community Day, so don't miss it. Look for the full list next week.

Ripe & Ready shirts will be available for sale this Saturday, but then they're going on vacation for a few weeks. They're very tired from all the in-and-out-of-boxes activity and need a little break. They should be back sometime after Labor Day.

Local Bizzes
Lansdowne's little Cinema 16:9 was in the news this week for the big impression it's making with the Terrible Tuesday features that are screened to the open ridicule of moviegoers every week. Well done, Cinema 16:9! (The article ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer and somehow manages to talk about Lansdowne's rejuvenation without mentioning the Farmers Market. That had to take some work.)

Seems like 2312 Garrett is going to have no-cover live music nearly every Friday starting around 9:00 pm, which, combined with food and brews -- and walking distance -- is hard to beat. This Friday's performers are Natalie and Rich, who play a variety of covers, including the Beatles, Elvis Costello, and Tom Petty. Plus, between 7:00 and 9:00 pm, the pub will be debuting Hometown Pennsylvania Lager on tap, which will be on special for $2.50, and a Hometown rep will be on hand with special giveaways.

Three Weeks . . .
Until the Lansdowne Arts Festival. Stop by the Market Manager tent for a list of inexpensive classes and free workshops that will be offered at the LAF or register online and beat the rush. If you think you'd like first look at all the goods available for sale at the festival, consider attending the Friday evening preview reception from 7:00 to 9:00 pm on September 10th. It's $25 per person, is catered by various Lansdowne food purveyors, and comes with all the champagne you can drink (or water; your choice). It's a hot time in this old town and the evening just flies by.

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: Karen Grasso of Grassroots: Homegrown Handcrafts and Needlework works green, very green. Not only does she make her needleworked products out of scrap and donated yarn so these bits find new uses instead of being thrown out, most of what she produces is also aimed at conserving, such as reusable shopping bags and "shard savers," which hold soap shards so you can get maximum mileage from them. She also makes pouches and purses and dishcloths and other useful little items. Look especially for a couple of shopping bags she's made using LFM Ripe & Ready T-shirts!

Musicians of the Week: John Byrne has a serious website, a new album, a nice voice, and, if we recall correctly, a delicious Irish accent. We eagerly anticipate this appearance.


Upcoming Local Events

Movies at Cinema 16:9
35 N. Lansdowne Avenue

Natalie and Rich at 2312 Garrett
Friday, August 20, 9:00 pm to 1:00 am; Free
2312 Garrett Road, Drexel Hill

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

Dog Day at the Lansdowne Farmers Market
Saturday, September 25, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm; Free
Lansdowne Avenue Parking lot

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

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market photo
No one complains about a
crowd on Market day.
market photo
Tree fruit time at the LFM.

Photos courtesy of John Kelly Green.