Last Saturday's first-ever all-day, all-around-town Community Day stretched the food and fun and friend time from the Market's opening at 9:00 am till 11 hours later, when the packed artist reception ended at the 20*20 House, the featured musicians gathered up their stuff, and the now-empty food trucks drove out of the parking lot. Hope you came out and had a swell time. Many of the day's happenings are documented in the LEDC's Facebook gallery. There may be more events like this in the future, so if you have any feedback (suggestions, complaints, and encouragement are all welcome), please let the LEDC know.
There has not been a single week yet this season when all the scheduled vendors managed to make it to Market, but here's hoping. Weekly: Big Sky Bread, Frecon Farms, Freeland Market, Fruitwood Farms, Green Zebra Farm, The Icery, Kia's Cakes, Wilsons Curiously Good Foods. Biweekly: Creative Shepherd Farm, Mediterra, Mitchell & Mitchell Wines, MoJo's Pop Co., Relishing Grannies, South Mountain Creamery, Taste of Puebla. Soap: Kiss My Soul Naturals.
Two more things: First, the Icery is back this week, with water ice and pops for eating at the Market for the next two months. Look for Avril's little cart in Bonnie's spot. Second, South Mountain Creamery is now carrying half gallons of ice cream at our Market -- vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, butter pecan, and mocha chip -- which ups their percentage of goods that need immediate refrigeration to 125% (because requiring immediate refreezeration counts extra). Think ahead and bring a cooler of ice in your car, so the milk and meat and ice cream you get stand a fighting chance of making it home safely.
In case you're calendar-impaired, let us remind you that the Fourth of July is just around the corner (the corner being this coming weekend). If you're planning to grill (and who isn't?), you should know that South Mountain Creamery will be bringing frozen hamburgers, beef and pork blend hotdogs, and Italian and sizzler (ie, grilling) sausages. On the fresh meat front, in addition to their frankfurters and wide variety of sausages, Freeland Market has three kinds of burgers -- seasoned ground beef, ground beef with bacon and jalapeno, and Cubano, which is ground pork mixed with chorizo. Freeland's grab bags of four uncased rounds of unidentified sausage blends sold by meat type (that is, you select pork, chicken, or lamb, but not the exact kind of sausage because GRAB BAG) are a good choice because the patties are big enough to divide into two for sliders, they grill wonderfully, and the variety of flavors is a nice change from hamburgers.
From the Fields
Peeps, we have been promised sweet corn this Saturday. Jersey sweet corn, in fact, since that's where Fruitwood Farms is located. Though we're hoping for plenty for everyone, you know how popular the corn is, so shop accordingly. Similarly, the first heirloom tomatoes showed up last week and were gone well before noon. Mitch at Green Zebra said that they picked everything that was close to ripe, so they may not have as many this week (actually, he said they may not have ANY this week, but we refused to hear that nonsense). Please, people, no fistfights over the heirlooms. On the bright side, there are cukes and zucchini for the masses until the end of time.
A big surprise last week were the boxes of sour cherries brought by both Frecon and Fruitwood, since both had stated unequivocally that the late spring freezes had nixed the sour cherry crop. However, there they were last Saturday, and all Karen from Fruitwood could offer was that they were packed in the truck when she showed up to drive it and she was as surprised as we were. So it is possible, though not likely, that there will be more this week. If, however, we have already run through our crop of nonexistent cherries, you can still get some hypothetical ones. Frecon Farms is taking orders for sour cherries that are being brought in packed in water from a farm in Michigan in mid-July (they asked and we gave them the okay to do this). They don't know yet exactly when they'll show up or exactly what the final price per pound will be. But you can place an order for 10 pounds with a $25 deposit or for 30 pounds with a $60 deposit, and then pay the remainder (TBD) when they come in. These are sizable quantities, so if you're not looking to make jam, cherries freeze well or you could find a friend or two to share an order with. Alternatively, you could keep them all and make a bunch of these to scatter throughout the community, with the likely result of a statue in your honor.
For the Hosts
Unless you are holding a get-together over the next few days, chances are good that you'll be attending just such a gathering as a guest. And, sure, your potato salad will be more than welcome, but it's always nice to take something for the sponsors of the event -- the hosts -- something that they can thank you for and stealthily put straight into a cupboard (not the fridge, which is already packed) so they can enjoy it themselves at some future point. That's how ya get invited back, doncha know: thoughtful host/hostess gifts.
To that end, let us suggest some infused vinegar or flavored olive oil from Mediterra, which will likely last for months, reminding your hosts of you whenever they add a splash here and there. On the other hand, a bag of amped-up popcorn from MoJo's will go quickly (maybe in one sitting) but will make a big positive impression. Jarred jam and salsas from Creative Shepherd, a set of different relishes from Relishing Grannies, and honey from Fruitwood Farms all fall right in the middle of the temporal consumption continuum, and all aim to please. Finally, a bottle of wine from Mitchell & Mitchell is always appreciated, just don't put it with the beverages for general consumption; hide that thing.
Dang it. We forgot to put out a call for food for the community food bank last week. But trying to restock that pantry is not something to skip just because your writer has a sieve for a brain. So let's collect food this week -- the kinds of nonperishables that we always request -- or you could pop some dollars into the big jug that now sits on the table in the Market Manager tent for just that purpose. We'll give you a Market Buck for a bag of food, as well as our sincere thanks for all donations.
There are still insulated "Come Chill in Lansdowne" cooler bags for sale in the Manager tent. Get one and then bring it each week with some ice packs inside, and you'll be in good shape. As will the greens and eggs you buy.
This is the last Saturday (duh) to get your Fourth of July fireworks tickets at the Market. Reps from the Union AA are at a little table in the shade between Wilsons Curiously Good Food and Green Zebra, so step right into their zone of cool and pick up your tickets now rather than waiting in line at the Penn Wood High School football field the night of the fireworks. You can even get a T-shirt there.
Feeling dull? Neil's Sharpening Service is coming next week, July 9. Put it on your calendar, please.
All for the Mighty Fourth
Of the many things that Lansdowne does well, it might do the Fourth of July the best of all. Since 1904 (that's over a century, people), the Union Athletic Association has organized and sponsored the day's events, and what a bunch of events. The day starts with the best small town parade going (seriously, how Martha Stewart missed featuring this thing in her magazine we'll never know; major oversight). There are so many people in it -- in cars and fire trucks and bands and wagons, on floats and bikes and foot -- that we always wonder how anyone is left to watch it. But watch they do, lined up along the entire route waving little flags that enthusiastic runners-ahead hand out, collecting candy that is thrown from floats, wearing beads that somehow appear, shouting to neighbors, bouncing to the music, and generally digging it.
The parade sets off at 9:00 am (don't complain if it sets off a little late; really -- don't be that person) and winds its way from East Greenwood to the field at Penn Wood High School, pausing for performances along the way. (Did we mention that this year's Grand Marshal is former mayor Jayne Young, who is both a major local celebrity and completely accessible, a rare feat?) At the field, there are a few short speeches, free water ice for kids, and foot races. (Foot races, dear reader! As though it's still 1904!) Prizes get distributed and everyone goes home for a nap or off to an all-star game or a cookout.
Around 7:45 pm at the same field, people start filling up the bleachers and the grass, awaiting the day's capper, the fireworks, of course. Meanwhile, a DJ brings the party vibe (be ready to sing along to "American Pie"; it's mandatory). You need a ticket to get in the gate, but you can buy it there if you've procrastinated. Bring chairs or a blanket and some snacks to tide you over on this day of nonstop eating. Cotton candy and other treats are available for sale on the field, but sparklers and firecrackers are not permitted. The fireworks start around 9:00 (ie, when it's dark) and they're always terrific -- close and low and loud.
If you are new to the borough, the parade and fireworks on the Fourth of July are as great an intro to Lansdowne as you're going to get. Join us.
Don't go anywhere just yet. Take a quick peek at the upcoming events list. Next week there are two free outdoor shows
at Hoffman Park on consecutive days. Thursday at 7:00 is the live production of Tartuffe
by Commonwealth Classic Theater Company. You're used to attending this group's terrific shows on the green at the Twentieth Century Club, but construction there has made it impossible, so Hoffman Park it is. On Friday night at 8:30, the Parks and Rec Board is screening the movie Creed
, which everyone agrees is awesome. Try to rewatch Rocky
between now and then (also awesome!), and you'll enjoy it all the more. For both shows, bring blankets, low chairs, and food and drink if you want, though some snacks will be available there. Your preferred bug-be-gone is also recommended.