Has your grill gotten a good workout lately? If not, the summertime is a-wastin'. With some recent nights being cooler than the days (that's how a Philly August rocks it best, you know), just get out there and fire up your charcoal or gas grill. You'll be glad you did.
For Kristy of Livengood Family Farm, her go-to choice for the grill is chicken and her go-to recipe is the simplest of all: salt, pepper, and some grill seasoning (like this). On Saturday, she was challenged by a customer to try something completely different: Jamaican Jerk spice on her grilled chicken. That's a great idea... but, wait, there's more, many more, ways to treat a chicken right. Top-of-mind ideas (which is all we can manage these days, it seems) include lemon, olive oil, and rosemary or thyme; soy sauce/garlic/toasted sesame oil/ginger/rice vinegar (or this); basil or arugula pesto; chili powder and lime juice; Dijon mustard; Caesar or Italian dressing marinade; peanut-based satay sauce; and plain old barbecue sauce. Want more ideas? Check out this variety of grilled chicken recipes that goes on for days...
If you're of the vegetarian persuasion or just want a great side dish that's easy peasy, Todd of Poniton Farm suggests one of his "griller" squashes. They are fat and hefty veggies that take well to a 1/2- to 3/4-inch slicing, a brush of oil and dribbling of balsamic vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper before grilling. For folks who plan ahead (who are you people?), the squashes deliciously soak up a variety of marinades from Italian dressing to soy sauce/garlic powder. They probably would take well to the marinade/sauce ideas in the last paragraph, too. (We'll wait while you review that list.)
Don't stop there though. Pretty much every firm vegetable (leeks, peppers, onions, fennel, etc.) and fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines) from the Market can be grilled, with the help of a little oil (standard olive oil, not the extra virgin kind, is our choice). Corn comes with its own cooking jacket and can be slathered with compound butters before or after (lime-and-chili butter is great).
If you've run out of room on your grill, move to your stove and try our friend Donna's fennel and tomato side dish. Cut cherry tomatoes in half long ways and cut fennel in maybe half-inch cubes. Add olive oil liberally to pan, toss in the tomatoes and fennel, and cook until fennel is tender. If you've never had fennel, you should try it. It was a staple of our Italian Grandmom's Sunday afternoon appetizer tray. It always fooled us because it looks like celery but tastes like licorice. When cooked, it gets mellow and surprisingly sweet. Kristy said she'll have a few for sale this week.
The Icery, the gelato+ shop across from the Market, is now saving you a few steps on these hot summer days. Avril Losacco and her staff will be bringing tasty frozen treats to the Market every week in August (until Bonnie's Wondergardens returns to that space in September) and we couldn't be happier to cool down with unique and delicious selections of water ice, sorbetto, and gelato. You probably have heard the story of how a wine-and-blueberry water ice recipe and a dream to put smiles on people's faces pushed architect Dan Losacco and Avril (herself a marketing/graphic designer) to make their dream of owning their own family-friendly business a reality. They chose Lansdowne because of its tree-lined main street and, we blush to mention, the busy Farmers Market right across the road. You'll find The Icery's umbrella-shaded stand right next to Fruitwood Farms.
We like to think that the Lansdowne Farmers Market catches stars before they are discovered and, when they are, we are sad to see them go but we know we have to share. Looking back a few years, Green Aisle Grocery co-owner Andrew Erace and his staff regularly schlepped meat, veggies, and jarred pickles and sauces from their Passyunk Avenue store in South Philly all the way to Lansdowne. As Andrew and his brother/co-owner, Adam, got busier, they were forced to say goodbye to Lansdowne, but today they can say hello to the nation. They are starring in their own Food Network show, called Great American Food Finds. The brothers travel the roads of this vast land to meet with creators and purveyors of baked goods, candy, pasta, and more. They've completed five episodes, with future shows depending on their viewership; catch them on Monday nights at 9:30 pm to send them on more journeys.
We also heard this week that 1732 Meats are now being sold nationwide and online by DiBruno Brothers. Way to go, Ari!
Weekly: Buy the Dozen Bakery, Frecon Farms, Freeland Market, Fruitwood Farms, Green Zebra Farm, Livengood Family Farm, Poniton Farm, The Avenue Delicatessen, and Wilson's Curiously Good Foods. Nonweekly: Amazing Acres Goat Dairy, Paradocx Vineyards, and Uncle Harold's Snacks.
Our sweet tooth is also pleased as punch that Kia's Cakes will be at the Market each week this month.
In other scheduling news, this Saturday's visiting vendors -- Ridge Valley Farms and the Essential Herbalist -- will be here on Saturday but won't return until October 10 (ie, they're both off in September as of right now).
Ridge Valley, maker of all things maple, will have their oatmeal-, pancake- and waffle-pleasing maple syrups as well as maple-enhanced walnuts and granola, maple sugar and maple candy.
Another once-a-month-or-so vendor is Christine Fierras, the Essential Herbalist, who makes wonderful concoctions with essential oils and herbs. Things like creams, healing salves, soaps, bug bite balm (always a help after you grill in the evening!), and other bath and body products. Connect with her via her Facebook page or her website.
Three times a season, the Market opens up to additional vendors and people who want to promote their businesses or organizations. The next Community Day is August 29 and applications are now available! Take note: The apps are due Saturday, August 15, so be sure to get yours in early if you're serious about joining the Market for that one day. All sorts of questions about Community Day (and other Market-doings) are available on our FAQ page.
Last week we put out the call for volunteers to help set up and take down the tents, tables, chairs, and other stuff at the Market, a job that goes really fast when we have a few extra folks helping out. Kudos to Jane Sanders Miller, Ellen Lustgarten, Terri and Tom Baraldi, Jevon Corpening, Marcus DiSciullo, and Jeannine McKnight for heeding the call for help. You all are our besties! If you want to help out (and be our new BFF [we are so fickle]), show up at 7:45 am or at 1:00 pm and we'll get you workin' to make the Market a delight for the hundreds of shoppers who rely on it for fresh food and fun each Saturday morning.