So, what did you do over the two-week break since the Halloween Market? We went to thrift stores the first Saturday, and then, out of force of habit, sought out another farmers market last week -- the one in Swarthmore. Interestingly, despite having produce, cheese, baked goods, wine, and prepared foods -- just like us -- that market didn't seem to have a single vendor in common with the LFM, or didn't on that particular Saturday anyway. It was a friendly and very serviceable collection of vendors, complete with a couple people playing guitars and singing, and, not surprisingly, it had a very farmers market-y vibe: People came, they bought things, they moved on.
This made us think about the LFM's vibe, which many vendors have singled out over the years for praise, as in, "This place has a good vibe." The music helps with that, as do the tables in the café and the prepared foods that are available, all of which encourage shoppers to sit a spell before they head off to their day. But mostly it's a product of how central the Market feels to the community, of how it gives us a place to gather, and, at the root of that, of how much we enjoy seeing one another and are given to taking the opportunity to catch up a little, even as we're thinking (and often saying), "I really have to get out of here. I have things to do." The LFM is more than a place to buy local, artisan, small-batch foods and other products; it's a place to connect and reconnect. It's our own tiny, weekly Harmonic Convergence.
Lynn from Amazing Acres will be selling two different 2016 calendars featuring her goat photos -- one with goats, cheese tips, and recipes, and the other featuring only goats, but both have Lyn's hilarious captions for the photos. (Are you following Amazing Acres on Facebook? You really must.) These would make delightful gifts. Unfortunately, Neil's Sharpening Service has opted out of this Market, so if you didn't take advantage of that vendor at any of his several previous appearances, you may have to saw your turkey apart with your sad, dull knives next week.
We'll be using the extra third row to accommodate everyone, so some of the alternating vendors won't be in their usual spots. (Parking will also be in short supply, so consider the Highland Avenue lot.) Allow yourself time to wander and browse, and you should be able to find who and what you're looking for.
The 2-hour Winter Markets will be the third Saturday of every month through April, starting December 19, and the best way of knowing whether your favorite vendors plan to attend is to ask them this week. (This newsletter will also include a list of who to expect each month when we get to that point.) In the meantime, stock up on whatever you can store or freeze till then!
Times for Thanksgiving Help
Some folks make or are asked to make the same few dishes or complete menu every Thanksgiving. Some people like to switch it up. We stick with Martha Stewart's Turkey 101 recipe, which has never failed to produce a beautiful, moist bird, and her gravy too, but we're always open to new sides and desserts, as long as there's one no-nonsense pumpkin pie on the sideboard (helloooo, MyHouse!). The New York Times has been firing off collections of helpful ideas this year, from 101 dishes you can make ahead (always helpful when the oven or stovetop is in high demand), to this consideration of everything you need to know about stuffing, to these favorite seasonal pie suggestions, to a menu planner that takes into consideration your level of cooking experience and whether guests have dietary restrictions, to this tip sheet on planning Thanksgiving, which has many great suggestions whether you're an experienced host or a novice. Click around and you'll find some things you may not have thought of before (like maybe don't put out salted pecans as a snack if you're serving pecan pie later).
Small Business Saturday is Big Business Locally
We're baffled by people who claim not to like Thanksgiving. In our book, it's simply the best holiday: it requires no gifts, it involves little or no decorating (or, worse, undecorating), and it's centered on food, and we all gotta eat. There are great smells to enjoy, 5Ks to run, football games and sappy movies to watch, and a back bedroom somewhere if you just have to get away from the crowd for a little while. If you're very lucky, you have a young child nearby who is making a hand turkey or dressing as a Pilgrim or a Native American as part of his or her school coverage of the original Thanksgiving. There is some work involved -- shopping, cooking, and maybe cleaning if you're host of the get-together -- but the opportunity the holiday affords to spend time with family and friends (or sometimes, people you don't know all that well but might like!) -- should make that labor tolerable if not joyous.
Not the least of Thanksgiving's charms, however, is that it always falls on a Thursday and presents most of us with a 4-day weekend. If you chose to spend much of that time in a mall or big box store chasing bargains, good luck to you, friend. If you chose to take it easy -- rest up, read a book, catch a movie, whatever -- that's great too. But if you're interested in making a dent in your Christmas list or getting a little something for yourself, Lansdowne will provide several "small box" or "nonbox" shopping opportunities that weekend, particularly on November 28, which is Small Business Saturday.
In addition to local small businesses like Vinyl Revival, Bonnie's Wondergardens, and a ton of food markets and eateries, that Saturday offers two one-off shopping chances. First, A Bit of the Arts is an annual holiday art sale that's from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturday at the Twentieth Century Club (as well as 6:00 to 9:00 pm Friday), featuring dozens of artisans and their one-of-a-kind handmade items. Second, and brand new this year, is the LEDC's Pop-Up Store in the former Thrift Shoppe of DCMH on Lansdowne Avenue, which will bring that storefront back to life for one day with a variety of vendors of both manufactured products and handmade items. You can find holiday wreaths, candles, handmade cards and wrapping paper, pet toys, soaps, baskets, leather items and much more. It'll surely be worth stopping by between noon and 6:00 pm that Saturday to see what's on offer.
Finally, the Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation will be sponsoring a Scavenger Hunt that day (still talking about November 28). Clues for items found at these events will be posted on the LEDC Twitter and Instagram accounts, and maps can be found at A Bit of the Arts holiday sale. Take the required pictures then upload your completed photo entry to the LEDC Twitter (@LansdowneEcoDev) or Instagram (ledc19050) by 8:00 pm to be put into a drawing for a prize basket, which includes a $50 American Express gift card. All in all, it's going to be a great day to stick around the borough.