So how do we celebrate a holiday, even a made-up but laudable one like National Farmers Market Week, which runs August 2-8? Well, the first thing we'll do is go to the Lansdowne Farmers Market vendors this Saturday and shake their hands, thanking them for bringing their wide selection of products to our little borough every week. (If you're shy, a smile and a thanks is enough. They'll get it.) Then, we'll look around to see what's in season and select the best, ripest, tastiest and most delicious products to let us celebrate with meals throughout the week. Read on for ideas.
Best in Season
The Market is now burgeoning with so much variety that you shouldn't have any problem finding elements for a week's worth of eating (breakfast, lunch, and dinner!) by wandering up and down the aisle. You can get poultry, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, preserves, hard cider, honeys, bread, cheeses, soups, prepared foods, quiches, desserts, condiments, herbs, and more. If you haven't heeded our advice in the past and you are around this weekend, why not wander over and get a taste of why the Lansdowne Farmers Market is the best way to shop local and live really, really well.
Stone fruits have been a standby for a few weeks now and peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots have hit their stride. By Thursday night, our stone fruits are perfect for grilling. The method is easy: split each fruit in half and lightly oil them before tossing them onto a hot grill. When the flesh is soft and the fruits show grill marks and have a nice gooey caramelization around the edges, they become perfect for dessert with whipped cream or made into a nice and simple fruit chutney for poultry or meat. (Slightly hard fruits are also good for grilling, if you can't wait. The cooking brings out their sweetness.)
You can't get any fresher than veggies and herbs than from the Community Youth Garden crew. Their slogan, "Five Blocks Fresh," is the absolute truth, since their raised beds are just up the street at the Penn Wood High School. Pick up a few tasty items and even a bouquet of flowers to brighten up your week and help the garden project continue with your donations.
Out to Lunch
Lunch is always a challenge and has been from our earliest days. There was the time we smuggled an uneaten (and, frankly, unappetizing) baloney-and-cheese sandwich out of our elementary school cafeteria in our favorite white pleather purse, which became only fit for the trash after we pulled it out of the back of the closet weeks later...
That episode may have scarred us mentally (we're working on it) but our lunch problem today is more about a lack of planning rather than being scared that the lunch lady will yell at us for not finishing what is on our plate. Today, we want lunch to be easy and appetizing. So, here are a few tips for quick sandwiches, salads and soups.
One friend, who shall be known only by the not-so-anonymous moniker "former Mayor of Lansdowne," makes us hungry each Saturday morning when she talks about her favorite new sandwich (optimal for lunch, breakfast OR dinner): one of Freeland Market's sausages (see their wide selection here), sliced and grilled and then put between fresh slices of bread or a roll. Yes, Jayne, we know a great idea when we hear it. Another friend likes those sandwiches too but kicks it up a notch with a dollop of yogurt mixed with hot sauce on top and then takes them along for a picnic.
As for soups, this roasted corn soup with tomato is even better the second day and is perfect with a piece of toasted bread from Frecon Farms.
Our favorite new salad (ideal for a side or a main course) is not so much a recipe as it is a mélange: it's a salad made of tomato, corn, avocado, cilantro, beans (black, pinto, etc.) tossed with a little bit of salt and fresh lime juice. It's delicious with nothing else...or, wait, yes, maybe a few bits of soft or hard cheeses (your choice). Now, we are well aware that some of these ingredients aren't local and therefore can't be sold at our market but when we have the chance to scoop the salad up with some tortilla chips (Taste of Puebla can help you there!), it is too good an opportunity to pass up.
Okay, we could go on and on all day about lunch but there are other things to be attended to. Try following this Pinterest curator for delicious packed lunch ideas.
Relishing the Best
Once a month, Relishing Grannies -- the mother-daughter combo of Yeadon residents Phyllis Hilley and Farah Newcombe -- bring their time-tested recipes of pepper and fruit relishes to the Market with their very-telling names like Mimi's Hot Stuff, Sweets' Pepper Relish, and Nana's Onion Pepper Relish. Once the jar is opened and we have had it on burgers, hot dogs, crackers, etc., we start wondering what else we can do with it.
Internet to the rescue! A quick search for "what else to use relish for besides hot dogs" brought up a lot of ideas. Try adding the relishes (sweet or hot, as you like it) to potato salad, macaroni salad, deviled egg filling, tuna salad, egg salad, green salad (no dressing needed!), guacamole, etc. Add them to mayo or yogurt as a spread for sandwiches or wraps. You can also use them in a pre-grill marinade for shrimp, chicken, pork, beef, or even tofu (remember that acid and flavor are your friends in marinades). These relishes pack a powerful punch of flavor and brighten up any meal.
National Night Out
Other weeknights are going to be jealous of Tuesday, August 4. After all, it's not every weeknight that Lansdowne residents get a free community cookout with local guest chefs, a Bounce House for the kiddos, public safety demonstrations, music by DJ Joe Foley and local artists, and more. You can meet local business owners (many of whom are members of the Lansdowne Business & Professional Association) and representatives from local organizations who will be sure to have lots of free stuff to give out. There's also the "Battle of the Badges," wherein the Lansdowne police and fire departments will compete to see who can raise the most money...at the dunk tank!
National Night Out, a nationwide celebration held every August, is sponsored by local police departments and is designed to bring all parts of the community together to meet with and learn about each other. According to Lansdowne Police Officer Larry Albertoli, who organizes the event each year, "By building partnerships, we will make our community safer."
So what's not to love? Come on out to this free family-friendly community party happening this Tuesday, 6 to 8 pm, at the North Highland Avenue Parking Lot, next to the Lansdowne Fire Company.
Be sure to stop at the LEDC table (sponsor of our Farmers Market and other great events) to get some information on the upcoming Lansdowne Arts & Music Festival as well as a glow-in-the-dark bracelet for the kids.
The second Community Day of 2015 is the last Saturday of this month (August 29) and we're pleased to report that applications are now available! TAKE NOTE: Community Day applications 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.
We also would like to give a big shout out to our volunteers who help us set up and break down the Market each week. As the summer days dawn brighter and hotter and pesky vacations lure people out of town, well, we could really use your help. Earn our ever-grateful thanks by showing up at 7:45 am at the center of the parking areas (near the white shed) and helping us set up the tents, umbrellas, chairs, and tables. These vital elements let us graciously host musicians and artists each week, provide a charming cafe area for eating breakfast and enjoying the tunes, and generally make a town square where normally there are just parking spaces. Not a morning person? We'd gladly accept your help at 1 pm for break down as well. If it's your first time volunteering this season or ever, we'll give you a Market Buck to spend at any vendor as a small token of our appreciation.