It was a little quiet at the Market last Saturday, probably because of the Lansdowne Arts and Music Festival. Hope you managed to carve out some time to stop by at least one of those. Supporting local events with your presence and your dollars (even if you can spare only a few) goes a long way toward building a sense of community and belonging. Throughout the year there's a plethora of events around the borough that are free to attend -- the Farmers Market obviously, but also several art and craft fairs, First Friday happenings, open houses, Park Day (see below) -- and several more that cost less than parking for 2 hours in the city. These are all friendly, casual, welcoming goings-on, and there's no better way of meeting people and making connections, which is what it's all about. This fall, make an effort to get yourself to a couple local events, especially if they're not your usual thing. The list in the right hand column of this newsletter always has some suggestions for just that. Plus, we miss your face when you don't bring it around.
Orange and Purple and Dark, Glossy Green Zebra
As we write this, it's 74 degrees and we're wearing socks. Socks! Though the forecast says it's going to warm up again, there are signs at the Market that we're leaving summer behind (the peaches and nectarines and plums are almost over; take heed!) and coasting into fall (well, hello there, apples and pears!). A major new addition last week was beautiful heads of orange and purple cauliflower at Green Zebra's booth, which made quite the display with Mitch's red, green, yellow, and multicolor tomatoes on one side and that knockout mound of green beans that slowly disappears over the course of the Market day on the other. According to this article, the pretty cauliflower gets its color from anthocyanin, an antioxidant that's also in red cabbage and wine, possibly making it more nutritious than plain white cauliflower. You can cook it and serve it just as you would regular cauliflower, but how striking would it look as a dip for crudité, topping a cream soup, as a cream soup, on a pizza, riced, or as a gratin?
Another terrific recent addition at Green Zebra is poblano peppers, a dark green mild chili between bell peppers and jalapenos in both size and heat. (They're really pretty mild, so don't be afraid of them if you enjoy medium salsa.) Poblanos are probably best known for their crucial role in chile rellenos, in which they're filled with cheese, breaded, and deep fried (yes please!), but they are eminently stuffable with sausage, chicken, seafood, rice, beans, quinoa, or other vegetables -- as this Google result shows -- and respond well to baking or broiling if you leave the deep frying to the pros (as we do). You should also immediately start using chopped up poblanos in place of plain old bell peppers in any of your recipes that could use some kick, like omelets, fried potatoes, corn fritters, or that sautéed chicken that just was not stepping up to the plate flavorwise and needed a little encouragement.
It's with equal parts excitement and shame that we impart the revelation continued within this section, which came to us via former Lansdowne Mayor Jayne Young. Excitement because this is an excellent tip that you'll be glad to know and should start taking advantage of straight away. Shame because we've been involved with the FM since the beginning and how did we never know this?? It's a game changer.
You ready? Okay, here goes: At Poniton Farm's stand, you can ask for a combination of tree fruits to constitute the quantity you wish to purchase -- as long as they are all the same price. Thus, say you want to buy one of those quart baskets of fruit that cost $5; you can ask for a couple each of the peaches, nectarines, and apples that are priced at $5 a quart each. The worker will give you a mix of six or seven of the fruits you specify. (Todd says the bigger fruits are six to a quart basket, the smaller are seven.)
Now this works only for the tree fruits that are the same price. Honey Crisp apples, for example, aren't included because they cost a bit more. And tomatoes are right out because they do not grow on trees (and no one really thinks they're fruits either). Still, this opens up a world of possibility. You like white peaches, your family prefers nectarines, so ask for three nectarines and four peaches (hey, you're doing the shopping so that's totally fair). Get a batch of one type of apples for baking and another for eating out of hand, all for one money. The possibilities are by no means endless but they're plentiful. Exercise your options and mix it up!
Taste Artisanal Foods is off again (fingers crossed for a triumphant, pimento cheese-filled return in October), but Buy the Dozen is back. This is an odd (third) Saturday, so Taste of Puebla will have hot tamales for eating right away. Nana's Homemade missed their monthly scheduled appearance in August, so you should be more than ready for their sweet treats. Finally, do not forget that Neil's Sharpening Service will be on site next Saturday, meaning your dull knives should also be present.
Next Saturday the 26th is, in case you've been asleep, Dog Day. Last week, we briefly covered here the vendors who we're expecting, and this week we're going to cover the rescues. The Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals is a rescue located in Radnor that focuses on, well, smaller animals, but their dog list reveals that there is room in their huge hearts for 85-lb German shepherds as well. Essington group Peace Love and Doggie Paws is an all-breed rescue that happens to be having a fundraising yard sale in Media this Saturday (more info on their homepage). Rags 2 Riches Animal Rescue is a newish Delco-based no-kill rescue doing good work close to home. The easiest way to describe PACT for Animals (located in Gladwyne) is to quote from their mission statement, which frankly makes us a little teary: "PACT gives peace of mind to hospital patients and military personnel by placing their pets in temporary foster homes until their owners can be reunited with the companion animals they love." Finally, our own Animal Friends of Lansdowne organized Dog Day for us, even though they handle far more kitties than pooches. Now would be a good time to cash in that change that's been building up on your dresser since you're probably going to want to spread some donations around to help these groups. And also start thinking about whether you might be able to foster an animal, cuz they sure could use you.
Thanks and thanks again to the folks who came out last week to help with Market setup and breakdown. We put out a call, you answered. We owe ya one.
The Lansdowne Parks & Recreation Board is hosting its annual Park Day at Hoffman Park this Saturday from 1 to 4 pm. This family event will include music, games, refreshments, and plenty of opportunities for fun! Call the Parks & Recreation Department at 610-284-1493 for more information or in case of inclement weather.