Fresh Picks
October 28, 2010 | Visit the Farmers Market online at | Subscribe to Fresh Picks

News for This Saturday, October 30

Best of the Fest
Turnout was excellent for last week's Fall Festival and Community Day, with nine entries in the Sweet Endings dessert contest, dozens of decorated pumpkins finding good homes, and around $165 raised for the community food bank. Thanks to everyone who participated -- contestants, silent auction bidders, contest judges, Fruitwood Farms for donating the little pumpkins, Community Day vendors, shoppers who lined up to color a silk scarf themselves (the artist admitted he had been wrong to have low expectations for the day; dude, it's Lansdowne!), etc, etc. It was a lovely day and a great time. Let's do it again next year, k?

The dessert contest was highly competitive, but a few very different efforts rose to the top. Third place went to Kimberly Evans for Kim's Mile-High Apple Pie, second place to the LFM committee's Magda Byrne for her White Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding, and top honors to Alicia Carr for her Country Apple Cake with Tangy Lemon Sauce, an old family recipe she spruced up a bit. Congratulations to all, and special thanks to Alicia for donating her winnings back to the food bank!

Although their wins came at somewhat less effort than for the dessert contest, the winners of the candy and dog treat guessing games must be acknowledged. There were 513 pieces of candy in that jar (lots of M&Ms!), and little Delaney Chan, who is maybe 8 years old, came the closest with her guess of 513. Congrats, Delaney (you may want to share that prize). Highest bragging rights go to Julia Erlichman of Cupcake Dreams whose guess of 67 dog treats was exactly correct. Wonder if she's started just eyeballing her ingredient measurements . . .

End-of-Market Add-ons
The Lansdowne Farmers Market is out of the ordinary in many ways -- the music, the artists, the focus on very local businesses -- but we may be topping ourselves in oddness this week as we introduce two brand new vendors at the next-to-last Market of the season. Rather unexpected, no? Well, we like to keep the surprises coming, so tug on a hat and an overcoat (the temperature is supposed to drop) and head over to the lot to meet and greet the new folks.

Sue and Jim Myers are the hardworking couple behind Ridge Valley Farm, which produces maple syrup in Montgomery County. The syrup comes in half pints, pints, quarts, and half gallons, so you need buy only as much as you need or plan to give away. (Want to make someone's day? Give them a big jug of local maple syrup. Possibly the most unexpected but ultimately appreciated gift we ever got.) Ridge Valley also carries "maple value-added products," such as maple-coated walnuts and pecans, maple granola, and, if we are exceptionally lucky, maple fudge. They'll be back for the November 20th Market if they have any product left, but Jim says he could sell it all at the markets they do this week if they wanted to, so do not put off until November what you can do Saturday.

The other new vendor also aims to satisfy your sweet tooth. It's Better Together, or B.T., Baking, helmed by Todd and Kestra Kelly, and it specializes in brownies. Ah, yes, that magic word: brownies. They'll have four varieties -- chocolate, cookie, peanut butter, and pumpkin -- and they're sort of testing us out this week and the 20th to see if they want to come back next year. You know what to do, people. B.T. uses fair trade chocolate, mostly organic ingredients, and stuff sourced locally where possible (this is all on the website), and its products are carried at places like Whole Foods, Capogiro, Pumpkin Market, and lots of other classy joints. One of the really compelling things about B.T. Baking is that within the next few weeks the business is moving to Lansdowne to occupy the space vacated by Before Our Time Antiques on Marshall Road. The Kellys live in Havertown and are happy to relocate the bakery closer to home from its current Exton location, and we're sure happy they picked here. Shows good taste.

Candy Is Still Dandy
Last year Halloween was on a Saturday, and we made a huge deal of it at the Market. This year it's not until Sunday, so we're making somewhat less of a deal of it, but if you are a kid who comes in costume, we'll still have candy for you at the Market Manager tent and John Green will undoubtedly take your picture. It's only natural, though the candy will not be. (By the way, John took a jillion great photos over the past few weeks; go look and maybe even buy a couple, since he splits the proceeds with the Market!)

Market News
We will admit right now that we were more wrong than right last week about when you'd see certain alternating vendors again. We said Wentworth Dairies would be back November 20th, but in fact they are done for the season, so that's it for their cheese and butter. Sorry. We also said that Turning Roots was done until the pre-Thanksgiving Market, which gets the big nasty buzzer also; they'll in fact be on site this week and the 20th. We were correct that Spotted Hill was on the schedule last week, but Donna's husband has been ill so she had to cancel on Friday. Our fingers are crossed that she'll make it this week, along with Heather Busovsky of Welcome Baby, who tells us that she may have some new products this Saturday. The last alternator is MyHouse Cookies, which has seasonal pies and quiches (the caramelized onion and butternut squash was fantastic even after hiding behind something for a week in the fridge) and which will probably take pie orders for delivery at the bonus Market if you asked them.

Speaking of orders (and pies), Marnie of Provisions Market would be happy to take your order for a Thanksgiving pie (pumpkin, pecan, apple, and maybe another flavor; $12) or cheesecake ($20) for pickup Wednesday the 24th or earlier that week. (Order soon if you want to get it closest to turkey day.) She also has frozen pie crust for only $2 per, uh, glob that you can keep frozen until closer to the holidays and then use to save yourself a lot of time. Organic pumpkin pies are also available at Harvest Local Foods, now and probably also later. Suffice it to say that if all your pie needs are not met at the Lansdowne Farmers Market, you have a worse pie habit than ours, and that's a little scary.

Schober Orchards is having a customer appreciation event this Saturday by offering a buy-one-get-one-free deal on apple quarts, any variety, which is indeed much appreciate by us customers. (While you're there, grab a fruit butter or two. In a moment of inspiration, we added the plum butter to chicken salad and it was just the deep, rich flavor and color the rather drab mixture needed.) At the other end of the Market, Fruitwood Farms still has pumpkins large and small for jack-o-lanterns and seasonal decor, plus tree fruit and veggies galore. Stop at Bonnie's for more lovely cut flowers and some of those arrangements made inside pumpkins, which are just irresistible for some reason. The Regency Cafe stand always has great coffee and fabulous baked goods, plus Metropolitan bakery breads, and you're sure to run into someone you know while waiting in line. Greenwood Kitchen has been changing up its wares almost weekly, so it's always worth stopping by there to see what healthful but tasty dehydrated snack or decadent vegan treat they have. Harvest Local Foods will have a particularly nice cheese spread this week, including some new cheeses -- havarti, sharp cheddar, Paulin, and fresh-made South Philly ricotta as well as fresh mozzarella. Natural Meadows has loads of meat that you may need to tide you over until the next Market, plus those gorgeous eggs that you'd have to go all the way into the Reading Terminal Market to get if you miss them here. Provisions is not making crepes this Saturday but instead will be cooking up veggie pancakes (think potato pancakes only with veggies). They'll be available as savory (topped with egg or bacon) or sweet (piled with sauteed apples), and will be a perfect homage to this year's bounty! With the end of the season coming, fans of John's mushroom soup and chili are getting nervous, and the lines are forming earlier and earlier, meaning those who sleep in are showing up to empty pots. We're just sayin'.

Remember that there's no Market for the next two Saturdays, and then just one after that -- on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, November 20 -- so now is not the time to hold back. This newsletter will also be taking a break for a few weeks and coming back November 18. Be sure to check the left column for events that will be taking place over that span (plays! music! bazaars!), since Fresh Picks won't be coming to your inbox every week to remind you. You're on your own till mid-November.

Around Town
Don't miss the twofer show tonight at the Lansdowne Folk Club, The Small Ponds with special guest Jon Shain at the Twentieth Century Club. The show, which is $18 at the door if you don't already have tickets, starts at 7:30, but you can come as early as 6:30 to get a good seat and enjoy the Provisions lasagna that's being sold on site and the bottle of red you bring.

The Regency Cafe storefront will be closing at 4:00 pm on Saturday to host a private event. This is a new and exciting endeavor for Regency staff and owners, and they encourage you to think of the cafe when looking for a venue for parties or meetings. It's right there, with loads of parking across the street, and you know how good the food is. Why not?!

Cinema 16:9 is having its annual Halloween weekend celebration of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Friday through Sunday. If you've seen this 35-year-old gem before, you know that certain props are required to fully experience the film, so they've put together an audience participation kit filled with invaluable stuff to throw, wear, or otherwise manipulate that can be purchased together with a ticket for $20. Call 484-461-7676 now to reserve your tickets, and be on time or you'll miss the preshow floorshow of the Picture Show.

This week's Face of The Lansdowne is feeling the Halloween vibe too. If you went to see Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell at Cinema 16:9 a few weeks ago, you should recognize creepy puppet Happy Goldsplatt and somehow even creepier puppeteer Nick Pawlow, who can't find the words to express how much the old theater means to them.

Nothing to Be Afraid Of
Don't be all dressed up with no place to go. Put on a costume and mosey over to one of the best charitable events all season, the 4th Annual Epiphany House Halloween Bash, Saturday evening, 6:00 pm till you're done, at 322 N. Lansdowne Avenue. Admission is $10 for those under 21, $15 for adults in advance, or $20 for you grownups who wait to pay at the door. Anyone who goes to the party or makes a donation to this terrific organization -- which finds homes for hard-to-place children (who have issues such as autism, cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, septo-optic dysplasia, and hypoplastic left heart syndrome) -- will be entered in a 50/50 raffle (though you will be tempted to donate your winnings back since it's such a good cause). Call 610-626-3744 or visit the website for more information or to purchase tickets.

MAP The 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: This week's artist is a group of 10 women from the Drexel Hill United Methodist Church that call themselves The Purls of Caring. They started by knitting prayer shawls for homebound church members, lap robes (including ones sized for wheelchairs), and baby afghans for children who are baptized. But to fund redecorating and repair of the church parlor, they have expanded to knitting and selling cotton baby bibs and burp pads, washcloths, dishcloths, and hand towels, and wool scarves and hats. If you knit or crochet yourself, bring along any unwanted yarn to donate to them; they'll put it to good use.

Musicians of the Week: Mooch's Basement is a group of men of a certain age who've banded together after having played separately in various other musical projects around Philadelphia. We're expecting a raucous good time from these fellas.


Upcoming Local Events

Movies at Cinema 16:9
Winnebago Man, Malevolent Ascent, Metropolis, Shaun of the Dead, Rocky Horror Picture Show
Call or go online for times and tickets
35 N. Lansdowne Avenue; 484-461-7676

The Small Ponds featuring Caitlin Cary Thursday, October 28, 7:30 pm, $18
Lansdowne Folk Club at the Twentieth Century Club
84 S. Lansdowne Avenue

Vegetarian cooking class
at Life More Abundant
Thursday, October 28, 7:00 pm; Free
25 N. Lansdowne Avenue
Reservations: 610-259-0101 or

Minas at Picanha Brazilian Grill
Friday, October 29, 7:00 pm
6501 Castor Avenue, Philadelphia
Reservations: 215-743-4647

BettySoo at Concerts at the Beach House
Thursday, November 4, 7:00 pm; $15 per person, BYOB
Info and reservations: 610-626-0012 or

Jim Avett at Concerts at the Beach House
Friday, November 5, 7:00 pm; $15 per person, BYOB
Info and reservations: 610-626-0012 or

Three Bs Concert by the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
Sunday, November 7, 3:00 pm
Upper Darby Performing Arts Center
601 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill

The Ransom of Red Chief presented by Celebration Theater
Friday to Sunday, November 5-7, 12-14, and 19-21, 7:00 pm
$10 per person; $39 for 5 tickets
Twentieth Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue

Holiday Bazaar at the Garden Church
Saturday, November 13, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm; Free
82 N. Lansdowne Ave

Spaghetti Dinner served by Lansdowne Boy Scout Troop 63
Saturday, November 20, 4:00 to 7:00 pm
$5 for 12 and under, $8 for adults
First Presbyterian Church, Lansdowne and Greenwood Avenues

A Bit of the Arts Holiday Art Sale
Friday, November 26, 3:00 to 8:00 pm
Saturday, November 27, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm; Free
Twentieth Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue

View the complete listing of local events.

The winning baker, dessert, and silent auction bidder -- Alicia, apple cake, and Heather, respectively.
Dan Onorato meets Elijah, a future voter.
Upper Darby's George Blum makes a scarf.

Photos courtesy of John Kelly Green.