If you didn't brave the mostly terrific weather last weekend to get out to the Lansdowne Arts Festival, you must have been attending your own wedding or been stuck in a tiger pit somewhere. Otherwise, why miss the free music, super shopping,
yummy food, and perfect opportunity to yack it up with, well, practically everybody? Once again, it was great fun. A big thank you to everyone who came out to support the arts, and an even bigger thanks to the hard-working volunteers who plan and staff
the event and then break down and clean up afterward. (At 10 years old, you'd think the Festival would be mature enough to clean up after itself, but it simply refuses.)
The Arts Festival has also begun to feel like the unofficial start of fall, even though it's sometimes 90 degrees on LAF weekend. But, as if on schedule, in just the past week the air has developed, if not a snap, at least a certain
attitude that we've not felt for a while. And that attitude is one that inspires switching off the AC, considering long sleeves when the sun goes down, and thinking that a cup of hot coffee or tea -- or, heck, some red wine -- might taste good right about now. While the grill may still
be in heavy use, the stove -- perchance even the oven! -- can be brought into service again. It's a heady time every year when the possibility of actually melting from the ambient temperature seems a thing of the past and you don't yet feel like you need to set your socks aflame to defrost your feet. Market-wise, you can get local tomatoes,
sweet corn, apples, and greens all at the same time! Enjoy it while it lasts. It'll be January in no time. Or else go back to 92 degrees with 85% humidity. In either case, the tomatoes and corn will soon have left the building.
A Couple Shades of Green
Are we the only ones who find green leafy vegetables rather overwhelming early in the season, when there are fewer other vegetables besides more leafy greens, but a sight for sore eyes (and probably under-ironed and over-tomatoed bodies) around now,
when there's a better mix of veggie friends to pair them with? (For argument's sake, we'll assume that we are not and proceed with this paragraph accordingly.) But the problem arises: which leafy green to buy? We tend to select between Swiss chard and kale, in part because they are both just so attractive to the eye that the dandelion and collard greens don't stand a chance against them.
is a slideshow of recipes for using Swiss chard
in soups or other dishes, mostly in conjunction with other veggies and in a couple of brilliant instances with mushrooms (Oley Valley will be at the Market this Saturday) or tomatoes.
series of recipes for kale
, from a different site, contains largely similar takes (with tomatoes and pasta, in soup with white beans or lentils), so while the two greens might not be completely interchangeable in every recipe, chances are good that if you have one on hand and
find an enticing recipe that uses the other, you can give it a try, so don't sweat the choice too much unless you already have a preference. But if you want to make
, you should probably stick with, well, kale. (You might be interested in knowing that
kale has twice as many calories as Swiss chard
, but both are so good for a body that it hardly matters.)
Third and Eight
'Tis the third Saturday of September (already, really? Really), which will be bringing the following vendors to our fair borough: Amazing Acres Goat Dairy, Doe Run Farm, John and Kira's Chocolates,
Penns Woods Winery, Spotted Hill Farm, Provisions, Green Aisle Grocery, and in the wild-card spot, Oley Valley Mushrooms. Bonnie and the smiling Wondergardens team should also be back
and brighter-eyed and bushier-tailed than you've seen them in a while, with that two-week rest behind them. They'll have a new shipment of seasonal goods, including mums, kale and cabbages, winter pansies, fall herbs, and lettuces.
All that said, we don't blame you if you look askance at this list, since the Market's recently had a spate of late cancellations
(so late as to verge on veritable no-shows), such that you might not believe a single word we type. Nevertheless, type we must, and that typing is based on schedules determined months ago and posted right
here. It does not take into consideration personal and familial illnesses, unexpected crop blight, or days when the workers just don't show up to pick up the product and convey it to us (all reasons for recent absenteeism). In some ways, the schedule is
a best-case scenario, but prefacing the list with "If all goes well . . ." smacks a bit too much of courting disappointment, so let's just say that list above plus all the regular vendors is who we'll see on Saturday and plan on that. Nonetheless, please feel free
to lay it on thick about how desperately you missed a no-show vendor the next time you see them, since we know what an inconvenience it is when you can't get what you'd planned on. No harm in their knowing also.
Lying Like a Dog
Dog Day is fast approaching, people! It's only two weeks away, on Saturday, September 29 (last week's newsletter said it was on Saturday the 28th, but that newsletter was
fibbing and has thus been dealt with; it won't be seen in these parts again anytime soon). In addition to the Dog Parade, the SPCA adoption van, and an Animal Friends of Lansdowne booth,
there will be nail trimming and grooming, dog treats, and canine challenges. More details will come over the next couple of newsletters (which are being subjected to lie-detector tests before release to prevent spread of further misinformation).
Have a couple hours or 20 bucks (or both) that you could spare each month? For years, a smallish group of Lansdowners has been feeding dinner each third Thursday of the month to the less fortunate at the Life Center under the el tracks at 63rd and Market,
but some fresh blood is needed. It's an easy gig that involves preparing some food at home, making a monetary donation, or actually going to the Life Center to serve the meal (or a combo). If you make a dish to serve, you just need to have it ready Thursday afternoon and someone will pick it up. If you want to make a donation of funds, know
that not a cent is going to administration fees; a volunteer is using it to purchase food or paper goods. If you opt to serve, there's no clean-up and lots of camaraderie and satisfaction to be had. (Your newsletter writer leaves her house at 6:30 and is home by
8:15; it's a cakewalk.) We typically serve over 200 meals consisting of fried chicken, veggies, rice, salad, bread, and dessert, plus sandwiches and fruit to take away. Those third Thursdays, we sign the log as "The People of Lansdowne," so you're getting credit whether
you help or not. But maybe you'd like to do a little more. Could you? Would you? Call or email Marcella Melot if the answer is "yes" or even "probably":
email@example.com or 610-623-6298.