Be honest. Now that we have Winter Markets from December to April, you think that the first Market of the season is just a tiny bit anticlimactic, don't you? Somewhat less of an event than it was in those years when we hadn't seen our beloved vendors or, in many cases, each other in six months? Maybe even no big whoop, we daresay? Well, think again, dear reader, because the 2015 Opening Market is going to be all that and a bag of chips (gluten-free, non-GMO chips, in fact, from one of our new vendors).
Know in advance that if you snooze on this one, you lose out on the best possible intro to 2015: a chance to visit nearly every vendor who will be with us this season. Meet the new ones, greet the returning ones, and quickly come to terms with the fact that some vendors are no longer with us. Not to mention the opportunity to yack it up with neighbors and peeps you'll want to catch up with there in the big parking lot, where, let's face it, we're all buddies. Throw in live music and the first LFM of the season always vibes like a block party. Be there, bring friends, wear comfy shoes and sunblock, and don't be in a hurry.
Sadly, not all the former vendors are returning, mostly lamentable our long-time friend Schober's Orchard. Business plans change, leases expire, state-wide regulations are adopted, stuff happens. But, as always, the LFM had a long line of wannabes asking for spots in the parking lot, so without further ado, let's look at the new names on that list:
- Frecon Farms (weekly): An exciting addition on the produce front is this 70+ year-old farm in Boyerton. Frecon is already well established at many markets in the area, and we're tickled that they finally took an interest in the LFM. In addition to a great selection of fruit, they'll be providing us with baked goods, such as sweet breads, regular breads, apple cider donuts, and shoo fly pie, plus pot pies, soups, and -- drum roll -- hard cider.
- Buy the Dozen Bakery (weekly): Remember Jerome's Breads from last season? The place with the parmesan olive oil pretzels that you should definitely not under any circumstances buy? Well, this is Jerome's Bread minus Jerome. Same recipes, same location, same product, different ownership. (Seriously, avoid those pretzels.)
- Taste of Puebla (1st and 3rd Saturdays): You've met Cris Castaneda and company at several Winter Markets, so you already know how good their tamales, salsas, and guac are. They make it all by hand in Kennett Square, where they have a no doubt wonderful restaurant.
- Kia's Cakes and Gourmet Goodies (1st and 3rd Saturdays): Kia McKelven introduced her soon-to-be Lansdowne business to the FM by winning the Sweet Endings Dessert Contest last year, and has since set up shop in the Seventh Avenue Grill and done a Winter Market or two. She'll be upping the dessert quotient on her Saturdays, and wait till you try her black-and-white cake.
- Nana's Homemade (3rd Saturday): As several of our other vendors do, Katie Kane works out of the Artisan Exchange in West Chester, so we expect good things. She'll also be satisfying our sweets crazing with her variety of fudge, delicious hot fudge sauce, and truffles. At the first Market she'll have chocolate, peanut butter, and sea salt butterscotch fudge, so consider your beach season begun.
- Uncle Harold's Snacks (2nd and 4th Saturdays): Specializing in gluten-free and non-GMO savory snacks flavored with their signature rub, Uncle Harold's will be represented at our Market by co-owner Stephanie Cohen, who will be bringing white and blue tortilla chips, potato chips, corn nuts, trail mix, and sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Let's hope they offer samples!
- Love Naturally (4th Saturday): Sherelle Lloyd makes her soaps, creams, and lotions from all-natural ingredients right here in Lansdowne. Warning: Resist the urge to lick her products. They smell way better than they taste.
- Essential Herbalist (2nd Saturday): This is the new name of Christine Fierras' line of health and wellness, household, and bath and body products incorporating essential oils. You'll recognize her right away when you see her smiling face.
- Poniton Farm (weekly): This name is not on the list of this Saturday's vendors because Poniton Farm is not ready to start yet but will be soon. If the sad Schober's news set you back, this ought to cheer you up: Poniton is owned and operated by Todd McAllister, this guy, who you should recognize from approximately 150 appearances in the Schober's tent. He is working 27 acres himself now and will be bringing a terrific variety of veggies to Market, plus he'll have some of Schober's apples and peaches as they become available, in addition to their peach cider. Best of luck to Todd, out on his own!
Not new but important to wave our arms to bring to your attention is Neil's Sharpening Service, which will be on site this Saturday and the 4th Saturday of every month. Bring your knives, reel lawn mowers, and blades of all sorts, and the Neil crew will make them shine while you shop. Tie a string on your finger to remember and then you can cut it off with your freshly honed pocketknife.
We always cover the week's expected vendors in this newsletter (barring last-minute changes), but in the spirit of teaching a person to fish, know that you can go to the 2015 Schedules page on the LFM website at any time, select a date from the dropdown list, and find out who to expect any given Saturday the whole season, including Musicians and Artists of the Week. It's a good habit to get into and so empowering. No longer will you wander around the Market on the 2nd Saturday looking for a 3rd Saturday vendor. (How embarrassing!) You'll even know when to expect those tricky once-a-month folks ("Visiting" vendors) so you can bring your blades for sharpening and replenish your relish supply. The 2015 Special Events schedule gives the dates for all three Community Days, plus Kidcentric Day and Dog Day. (Hint: they're always the last Saturday of the month.) Bookmark those pages and visit them. Knowledge is power! And, in this case, well-sharpened knives.
If you're on Facebook -- and who isn't these days -- please do three things right now: (1) Go to our Facebook page, (2) click Like if you haven't already, and then (3) click the down arrow on the Liked button and select Get Notifications. This last step is important even if you have already liked the page in the past because it ensures that you'll see all the LFM's posts, as opposed to the very occasional one that Facebook will show you unless we give them money each time we post something. (Such a racket.) We don't post a lot there, but when we do we want you to see it. Facebook is how we send out reminders and last-minute alerts (important stuff, like this), so get those notifications! A fourth thing you could do is like, comment on, or, especially, share LFM posts when they come into your Facebook timeline. This also gets our messages in front of more eyes for free.
(Notice how we used exclamation points all over this newsletter to emphasize the thrill of starting the new season? We are excite!)
This is the LFM's ninth season (if it were human, it'd be in third grade, learning to multiply), and this Saturday will be the first of 25 consecutive Markets and numerous special events (as mentioned above). The committee shoulders much of the work involved but we can always use some help with set-up and breakdown. Let us know if you'd be willing to lend a hand a few Saturdays.
If you're more of an evening person than a morning person, how about helping us make the next iteration of the LFM T-shirts, which are already designed but have to be printed. We're looking for five or six people to help a night or two in the next month or so (lotta flex in that sentence). You'll get first pick of the new T's and hear insider LFM info as we work. (Just kidding: there is no insider LFM info.) Please, step forth and give us your name and availability so we can get this in the works.
Parking is free in both public parking lots and on the street during LFM hours every Saturday. This week, parking is going to be at even more of a premium than usual because of the extra vendors. One of the things you were trying to escape when you moved to the burbs was parking agita, so consider walking or biking to the Market or parking in the Highland Avenue lot next to the fire station. If you need help getting purchases to your car, ask at the Manager tent and we'll do what we can for you.
The first Community Day of 2015 will be June 27, and applications will be available through this newsletter and on the LFM website starting June 4. Lots of info about the whatfors of Community Day can be found in the first several FAQs.
Finally, let's kick off the 2015 Market Buck giveaway with a free Market Buck to anyone who wears a T-shirt from any past Lansdowne Memorial Day 5K, in honor of the run/walk that's dragging us out of bed early on Monday. Just come to the Manager tent and show us your shirt. Please don't make us to chase you down while we're busy trying to learn our multiplication tables.