MARKET NEWS for this Saturday, August 10
Friends, we are halfway. It's week 12 of our 24-week regular season. Probably fittingly, produce is at its absolute height right now. In fact, if yield were measured as people, the last week of May would be Shirley Temple, the third week of June would be Jimmy Stewart, and the second week of August would be Wilt Chamberlain. Before long we'll be back down to Cher and then Sammy Davis, Jr., until things finally trickle off with that kid from Jerry Maguire. The trucks the farmers drive are packed to the brim; the tables they stock are overflowing. And the variety is boggling. Although strawberries are over and broccoli's not here yet, you can get several kinds of other berries, melons, plums, peaches, apples, greens, beans, squash, peas, onions, potatoes, corn, and tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. The bounty is simply dazzling. Wilt Chamberlain is a great time to be a farmers market shopper.
It's Okay to Call These Ladies Dames
Les Dames d'Escoffier Philadelphia is an association of women "committed to the advancement of education and philanthropy in food, beverage, and hospitality for the good of the global community." Not surprisingly, many are chefs. The Philadelphia branch is one of 27 chapters across the United States and Canada that provide grants, scholarships, mentoring, and community service programs. This Saturday, members of Les Dames will be giving a cooking demo at 10:00 am using food purchased at Market, and they will also hold a "mini flea," featuring cookbooks, flea market cookware, and the like. (Proceeds will be shared with the LFM.) We expect (at least) chef Kathy Gold of The Cooking Company and In The Kitchen Cooking School as well as president of Les Dames, and writer Lari Robling, contributor to the radio show A Chef's Table and author of Endangered Recipes: Too Good to Be Forgotten. Lansdowne Table is off this week, so look for Les Dames in the space between Great Harvest and MyHouse and engage these interesting ladies in some bavardage.
Second Saturdays bring us Amazing Acres Goat Dairy, Basic Batters, Cupcakeology, Naughty Nutty Love, Paradocx Vineyards, Vera Pasta, 1732 Meats, and Ridge Valley Farm. They typically also bring Lansdowne Table, but, as mentioned above, Steven and company are off this week.
If you miss 1732 Meats at the Market, you can now buy all four kinds of their bacon and their pancetta at the Fair Food Farmstand in the Reading Terminal Market, or ask for one of their bacons when ordering your burger from Lucky Old Souls food truck, which frequents Head House Square and the Eakins Oval. (1732 is currently in the final weeks of a campaign to raise money to expand their wholesale business, so if you feel like helping with that, here's where you can.)
The weather has cooled off a trifle, and Bonnie says this is a great time to perk up your flower beds and planters with some fresh stuff. Among other things, this week the Wondergardens will have some new hardy begonias that will last into fall and ornamental grasses, plus cool weather vegetable plants, such as lettuce. The $10 centerpieces she brought last week were so popular that she'll have more this week. What a nice and easy way to treat a friend or yourself to something a little special.
Everyone's a Winner!
Fortunately, it's early in the month, so you folks who don't subscribe to the New York Times still might have several free accesses left. So head over and play with the Farmers Market Recipe Generator, a clever three-column application that has you pick a routine farmers market main ingredient, a cooking method, and an herb, and then it spits out a recipe. For example, pick the trio Tomato/Stove Top/Thyme and it produces Fresh Tomato Borscht, which sounds just delicious. (The selections are rather limited, but it's still interesting to mess with.) For even more fun, hit the Randomize button and it makes the choices for you. (North African-Style Eggplant for the win!) It's like a slot machine in a casino except that it's free, it pays off with a little something every time, and the people watching is not quite as good. (While you're there, be sure to read the comment left by farmer Walter from Ferndale, WA. He explains some of the realities of farmers market pricing.)
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Community Day #2 is coming up on August 31, and here's the application. You have until the 24th to get the app in, but only those who like to live dangerously wait until the last minute because that's risky. Spaces are claimed on a first-come basis, with priority given to applicants who were not already at the first Community Day. For answers to common questions about Community Day, see the Market FAQs, which cover it pretty thoroughly.
John Green is back from his interminable sojourn to the Midwest and has finally caught up on uploading photos from the past few weeks of the Market, including Kidcentric Day, to his pretty new website. (But isn't every Market Kidcentric Day for John when you get right down to it?) Take a look and maybe buy Nana and Pop a print since they can never have enough popsicle pictures. (Sounds like we're being cheeky, but we're serious. Wouldn't school pictures be so much better for all involved if students up to age 10 were given popsicles right before? It's a million dollar idea.)
Lend a Hand with Tree Pruning
Join the Lansdowne Shade Tree Commission and Lansdowne Tree Tenders next Wednesday evening, August 14, for a primer on pruning and an opportunity to help prune some trees and shrubs along Lansdowne Avenue. To participate, meet at Borough Hall at 7:00 pm. No expertise or tools needed -- but if you have a favorite pair of gardening gloves, bring them!
FEATURED THIS WEEK
Artist of the Week
Manasee Mahajan comes to the Artist tent for the first time this week (she was scheduled for late last year, but she had a baby instead -- go figure). Manasee is an expert at paper quilling, or curling long, narrow strips of paper to make jewelry, cards, pictures, or even freestanding forms. Her regularly updated blog, Paper Precious, not only shows her work, it also gives tutorials on making some pieces. It's an uncommon art and her work is uncommonly nice.
Musicians of the Week
If you asked us, Boulevard Express is not the best name for the talented group of bluegrass musicians that constitute the group so designated. It's five accomplished musicians on guitar, banjo, fiddle, and the like, and no one is likely to be in a hurry to get anywhere when they're playing. Instead, take the scenic route and enjoy the ride.
UPCOMING LOCAL EVENTS
Small Business Seminar: Meet the Lenders
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Visit our sister market, the Oakmont Farmers Market, Wednesday afternoons in Havertown for more local produce, bread, meat, and other products.
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