Last week's Lansdowne Farmers Market was really one for the dogs -- and what a lucky dog's life we were living! Absolutely perfect weather, plenty of folks and their canine companions, and great participants (listed in last week's newsletter). John Kelly Green documented the day's events, including, dare we say, the cutest ever dog parade. Thanks to everyone who came out for it!
We are just as disappointed as you in the unprecedented number of midseason withdrawals from the LFM. In case you missed it last week, Poniton Farm, bearer of Schober's peaches and apples, has bowed out the rest of the season. So the big hole at the western end of the Market is due to that. It's too late in the season to replace that vendor, but we'll be looking for someone of that ilk for next year if they decide not to come back. In the meantime, you can help by shopping like crazy at the remaining vendors so they finish the year strong.
Sara of Kiss My Soul Naturals will be debuting a new product this week, body bars that she makes from organic shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, vitamin E, and essential oils or natural scents. She has four scents to start: lemongrass, figgy pudding, vanilla cocoa butter, and wisteria lilac. Sara says they deliver silky skin in a matter of days.
The problem with a Saturday farmers market is that people seem to think that's a good day to get married. We lost Bonnie a few weeks ago to too many weddings, and we're losing Kia's Cakes this Saturday and the 15th for the same reason. Those marvelous baked goods will be at the Market on October 8 though, so save up your pennies and really treat yourself that week. So, to repeat: Kia's is out this week, back the 8th, out the 15th, then back for the rest of the season.
The cooler weather has us looking for excuses to have a get-together (final garden party, football game, birthday, debate??), but who has any time to send out invites, plan the menu, and tidy up (e.g., rent a dumpster!) to make the place presentable? Writer Kelley Powell is our new hero with her 5 Rules for Hosting a Crappy Dinner Party. We have enough perfectionist stress in our lives now so why not let go and just have fun. Local freelance writer Sarah Grey has built an entire side career around hosting casual get-togethers every week, as detailed on her Friday Night Meatballs website. The lesson is, don't sweat it. Just invite people over, offer simple food, ask others to bring dishes to round out the offerings, and see how much fun it can be to entertain again.
Casseroles, of course, were made for such potluck dinners. We found two great recipes -- cauliflower cheese (a British staple of cauliflower baked in a cheesy sauce) and deconstructed cabbage rolls -- in Leanne Brown's Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day, available as a free PDF download or as an ebook or a bound book from Amazon. The Smitten Kitchen, which has converted us to many new cooking approaches, recently posted this broccoli, cheddar, and wild rice casserole recipe, which had us wondering if we really need to wait for a party to try it. Hmmmm...
Hanging out week after week at the market, you get to know folks who like to cook. That's when we get great ideas for how to shake up our admittedly stale repertoire. (We know -- just how many tomato or corn dishes do we still want to make?) Our friend Barb has given us some terrific recipes in the past, and in the last few weeks she's been thinking about potatoes.
- Microwave potato chips for one -- Wash, dry, and slice a nice potato into thin rounds (pull out your mandolin if you have one). Toss slices with a dash of olive oil and salt and microwave on high for 6 or 7 minutes until crispy.
- Prep-now/roast-later potato wedges -- Cut potatoes into wedges and drop into boiling water and cook (aka blanch) for about 4 minutes. Plunge into an ice water bath, drain, and dry. Toss with olive oil, freeze on a cookie sheet to keep them separate while chilling down, and then store in a thick-plastic freezer bag. To bake, spread them on a cookie sheet and roast in a 400-degree oven until crispy on the outside and fork-tender on the inside.
- Baked sweet potatoes with extras -- Pick up some of Relishing Grannies' peach salsa during their once-a-month visit this Saturday and put a couple of tablespoons on a split and baked sweet potato.
Fall Plant Exchange and Bulb Sale
This Saturday you can trade in some of your extra garden plants or houseplants for someone else's extras at the Lansdowne Garden Club table during Market hours. For each plant you drop off in a plastic container (or even a plastic bag) before 10 AM, you'll get a ticket that you can exchange to take home a plant of your choice later on. No plants to drop off? They'll sell you one for a dollar late in the exchange. Donated empty pots would be appreciated.
The Lansdowne Garden Club, in conjunction with The Center for Psyche & the Arts, will also take orders at the Market for flower bulbs, which will arrive in time to plant this fall, so you can enjoy a beautiful display next year. Funds from the sale will benefit the club's educational programs, community gardens, and other beautification projects. For more information, check out the club's website.
Lansdowne Fire Company Housing Ceremony and Celebration
Lansdowne Fire Company is hosting a Housing Ceremony and Celebration on Saturday afternoon to pay tribute to their newest firefighting vehicles (or apparatus, as they call it): a 2016 Seagrave Pumper and a 2016 Rescue-Pumper. The festivities start at 3:00 p.m. at the fire station at 26 N. Highland Avenue, followed by an Open House at 4:00 pm and a procession down Lansdowne Avenue from LaCrosse Avenue to Lansdowne Court, beginning at 5:00. See more details here.
Calling all bakers and sweets-makers! Why, yes, you should enter the annual Sweet Endings Dessert Contest, being held at Community Day #3/Fall Festival on October 29. Just use two Market ingredients and your entry qualifies. Remember that you'll need to pick up your ingredients by the October 22 Market, so start looking for inspiration now!
Speaking of Community Day #3, participation forms will be available in next week's newsletter and at the Market Manager's tent on October 8.
Local Artist Survey
The Lansdowne Economic Development Corp. (LEDC) is in the info-gathering stage for a new idea: creating a co-working/retail selling space in one of Lansdowne's commercial spaces for area artisans and creative economy venturers. If the concept sounds intriguing, take this 3-minute survey and you will be entered to win a $50 VISA gift card in a random drawing. (Note that any information you provide will be kept strictly confidential.) Please complete the survey by Friday, October 7, and share it with other artisans/crafters/makers/musicians in the area. More is always better!