Previously on Lansdowne Farmers Market...
The tenth season got off to a sizzling start last week with 26 of our roughly 32 vendors present and accounted for. (No doubt the 90-something, humid weather contributed to that sizzle. Oy, it was steamy.) We hope you were able to get everything you came for and then some, since the supersized first Market is all about stocking or filling up on what's known while also sampling what's new.
There may have been more debut items at the Market last week than at any other single Market, including Asian dumplings, African foods, and infused olive oils. New vendors were also putting a fresh spin on pickles, sweet wines, and salsas. Our personal favorite was the array of glass-bottled dairy products nestled in an ice bath, which took us back to our childhood and the family's weekly run to our local ChesCo dairy barn. (We're just a little too young to remember milkmen.)
Several vendors sold out of all their goods well before Market close, which is a common problem early in the season as everyone learns what to expect in Lansdowne. But we know it can be disappointing to shoppers who come later in the day. Rest assured that vendors are encouraged to bring more than enough merchandise for all 4 hours of the Market and that Saturday was a learning experience -- an uncomfortably warm one -- for those who were sold out by 11:30 but still had to wait until 1:00 to pack up and leave.
One last thing: Apparently there was no water for sale at the Market last week, which was a painful oversight given the temperature. Kia's Cakes, the first vendor off Lansdowne Avenue, will be carrying bottled water from now on.
Alternatively, if you need to know when to look for your favorite nonweekly vendor, you can go to the Vendors page of the website; the appearance frequency is found right under the name.
This week's soap vendor, Kiss My Soul Naturals, is new to the regular season and wasn't there last week, so be sure to visit with Lansdowner Sara Burns. You may recognize her from the good work she does with Animal Friends of Lansdowne or, more to the point, from the Winter Markets. Expect to see her the first Saturday each month.
Taste of Puebla says they expect to have hot tamales at all their 1/3 appearances starting this week. That's pork, chicken, or vegetable tamales straight out of that giant pot, ready to be doused with complimentary pico, salsa verde, or guac and consumed on site. Ask for it naked, and Chris will peel the corn husk off before he puts in the takeaway container.
The LFM is extremely happy to welcome Big Sky Bread as our new bread and roll and delicious-breakfast-pastry-thingy vendor. In addition to having a really wide variety of baked goods on offer, Big Sky sent a whole lot of bread to the Market, so those of you who were shopping after 12 noon weren't forced to chose between a bent baguette, a pumpernickel loaf the size of your car, and a high-density health loaf, as has happened in years past. Some of the offerings are gluten-free too. Chris will be right next to the Market Manager tent.
The Market's new fermented grape vendor, Mitchell & Mitchell Wines, was founded in 2012 by Kenya and Frank Mitchell in response to a growing demand for full-bodied craft or niche sweet wines. They describe themselves as a "lean start-up winery" with a production plant located in Chester and a vision of uniting the people of the whole world over a glass of wine. Look for Frank the first and third Saturdays beside the Artist tent.
Also carrying delicious liquids in glass bottles is Mediterra, importer, infuser, and purveyor of high-quality olive oils and vinegars. Ali was very pleased with shoppers' response to his products last week, and said he plans to work with other vendors at our Market to supply herbs and the like with which to infuse his oils. We love when our vendors team up! Look for Mediterra near the soap space.
We were shocked -- shocked we tell you -- to see that Mitch at Green Zebra Farm had tomatoes last week, the earliest ever at the LFM. Though he told us what kind they were, that information flew away, but they were grown in heated hoop houses (say that five times fast), which are a sort of portable greenhouse that can be erected in a field over in-ground plantings. Warming up the air inside allows us to have tomatoes on May 28. And he sold every single one. Expect both more tomatoes and brisk sales of same this week.
We were so behind getting this newsletter together that we asked a friend to help find some recipes. (Does anyone even read the recipes we suggest here? Raise your hand if you typically read at least one.) We suggested looking for recipes using two vegetables that are abundant right now -- Swiss chard and asparagus. He did such a good job pulling recipes from sites we've never visited that we're planning on making both of these dishes asap: chard and asparagus risotto (on a hospital website, of all places!) and vegetable bibimbap (try saying that even one time), a riff on a Korean dish, which, as so many good things are these days, is topped with a fried egg.
If, however, you have time or inclination to make only one recipe we suggest this week, it should be Mark Bittman's easy rhubarb crisp, to which you will naturally add the strawberries that got a little squashed as you conveyed them home. Be sure to use the zest and juice of one lemon and to process the dough until it starts to clump together, as one helpful reviewer instructs is important. Let the crisp cool to nearly room temp, have some vanilla ice cream on standby, serve the former topped by the latter to your guests, and try not to fall off their shoulders as they carry you around the room in triumph. Eat the leftovers with yogurt for breakfast. (We get this bossy only when we truly know whereof we speak. Trust us.)
As promised, here is the application for the season's first Community Day, to be held on June 25, the last Saturday of the month. The LFM is mighty proud of these three events each season, when we make a bunch of spaces in the parking lot available to people like you to promote whatever needs promoting, be it a business, a charity, a team, a group, a school, a church -- whatevs. Most farmers markets don't have anything remotely like it. Applications are due by Wednesday, June 15, but if the dozen or so spaces are spoken for before then, that's it. The information on the application and in the first several questions at the website FAQs can help you decide if you wanna give it a whirl.
Market Buck, Market Buck -- who wants a Market Buck? This week it takes a little more effort than just asking to get one. To celebrate the LFM's 10th year, we're going to have occasional history quizzes. If you're like us and can't remember, well, anything, don't fret; there's plenty of source material. The question: When did this week's musician of the week appear at the LFM the first time? Find the information then tell us Saturday at the Manager tent. If you're the first one with the right answer, you get two Bucks!
Finally, big thanks to everyone who donated to the community food bank last week. Your generosity filled a Mini Cooper convertible with bags of food (wish we'd gotten a picture of that!). Next time we collect will be June 25.
Tree Stroll Saturday
The Shade Tree Commission and the Tenders of Lansdowne will hold a Tree Stroll this Saturday from 10 to 11:30 am. Join the stroll and see the many improvements that have been made to trees in Lansdowne, including the historic Sycamore tree. To take part, please RSVP by calling Mary Lou Jennings at 610-622-0162 by tomorrow. Rain date for the stroll is Saturday, June 11.
Friends School Hosts May Fair Saturday
After heavy rains washed out the original date, the Lansdowne Friends School will hold its rescheduled May Fair
on this first Saturday of June. This fun-filled community event takes place from 11 am to 4 pm and features food, games, activities, and more! Funds raised benefit Lansdowne Friends School. For more info visit lansdownefriendsschool.org