It feels like the Fourth of July falls on Saturday more often than any other day of the week, but that's probably because the Lansdowne Farmers Market carries on even while a giant parade and myriad breakfast parties are underway just a few blocks over. Happily, though, we don't make vendors wait until the opening bell (9:00 am for you late risers) to start selling, so you can likely pop over pre-parade and grab some stuff for your Independence Day events. Or, for better lingering, come over after the parade; the vendors will be there till 1:00, as usual. Either way, the LFM will be where it always is on Saturdays, waiting for ya.
So, what's now in season? With five farms selling produce at the Market these days -- Fruitwood, Green Zebra, Frecon, Livengood, and Poniton -- there's no excuse not to pick up the best and ripest fruits and vegetables when they are just perfect. To give you the rundown, we could get all literary clever-like in our delivery of this bountiful news but there's really not time -- especially since we want to get eating the season's bounty.
Instead, we'll give a nod to the wonderful librarians in our past with alphabetized lists. Your fruit options include apricots, blueberries, cherries (both sweet and sour), peaches, pluots, and strawberries. Veggies make up an even larger cornucopia of options: asparagus, beets (red and orange), collard greens, cucumber, green beans, kale, lettuces, pattypan squash, radishes, red potatoes, shelling peas, snap peas, string beans, sweet corn (yes!), Swiss chard, turnips, yellow squash, and zucchini. While we try our best to get a comprehensive list, you know how Mother Nature can sometimes surprise even the farmers as to what will and won't be ready for sale. Our advice: just come on by and see what the day offers.
For variety, Green Zebra Farm's tomatoes can't be beat. They started gracing our table 2 weeks ago as part of bruschetta, fresh tomato sauce, and tomato-and-cheese omelets, and they even made it into a simple dinner salad that included lettuce, cold chicken, cheese, and walnuts. This week, Mitch promises five kinds of heirloom tomatoes (Cherokee Purple, Striped German, Cocoa, Brandywine, and Red Ripe Beefsteaks) and five kinds of small tomatoes (Clementine Orange, Sungold, Black Cherry, Indigo Gold, and Blush). You could just keep them on your kitchen table as an artful display but they are much better eaten.
One of the nice things about so many produce options is that you have so many choices of preparation -- fresh, roasted, grilled, mashed, sautéed, boiled, microwaved, sauced, etc. But, what's a cook to do when you've overbought and can't eat it all that fast? Well, how about making nachos!
When it comes to nachos, there are no rules. Okay, one rule: You have to have chips. This week you can purchase Taste of Puebla's fabulous corn tortilla chips, which are amazingly crunchy and sturdy -- in short, just perfect for making nachos. Add roasted squash, potatoes, or beets, chopped fresh veggies (especially some of those tomatoes we mentioned earlier), leftover chicken or duck (courtesy of Livengood Family Farm), or some of the several kinds of chorizo available at Freeland Market. To top it all, you can pick up some great cheese this week from Sebastian of Creative Shepherd (we got a fontina-like cheese from him that was marvelous). And, since we always want to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse, we keep Amazing Acres' goat cheese in our freezer at the ready for emergency pasta, salad, pizza or, in this case, nachos. (Amazing Acres will be back next week, so if you haven't stocked up yet, you'll have your chance then.) Finally, after popping it into the oven to heat it up, top it all off with Taste of Puebla's own salsa fresca, pico de gallo, and guacamole.
If you want some specific recipe options, there are at least 50 ways to make your nachos. And, there's this unusual recipe that uses radishes, which really balance out the flavor and texture of the chips and other veggies.
Want to celebrate Independence Day like George Washington? Apparently the First President never chopped down a cherry tree, but he really enjoyed Martha's cherry bounce, a tipple using cherries, sugar, and brandy (bourbon also works well), which could explain some of his legendary dental problems. However, if you practice good dental hygiene, enjoying this colonial drink in moderation won't hurt.
Another beverage with a historic pedigree in America is hard cider. Fellow founding father John Adams even claimed a tankard of cider every day was the secret to his longevity. Since history class didn't cover this aspect of our heritage, WHYY's Friday Arts program recently covered the history of cider making along with the genesis of Frecon Farms.
And, one last word on how to preserve the season by soaking stone fruits in rum to prepare for the winter holiday celebrations: rumtopf!
Kidcentric Day is Coming
Just a reminder to get your kids practicing for their stage debut at Kidcentric Day, which is three weeks away on July 25. That's the day when we break out the games and activities and let the little darlings use the Music Tent microphone to share their musical and joke-telling talents.
Who's Here This Week
Weekly: Bonnie’s Wondergardens, Buy the Dozen Bakery, Frecon Farms, Freeland Market, Fruitwood Farms, Green Zebra Farm, Livengood Family Farm, Poniton Farm, Regency Cafe, and Wilson's Curiously Good Foods. Nonweekly: Creative Shepherd Farms, Kia's Cakes, Spotted Hill Farm, Taste of Puebla, The Avenue Deli. Visiting: Relishing Grannies.
(Note that this really is the last Market that you can purchase bouquets and potted plants from Bonnie’s Wondergardens tent until September. Yeah, we know that we said last week was her, um, last week, but she offered to stick around one more Saturday and how could we say no?)
All Hail the 4th!
On Saturday, you'll get a twofer here in good old Lansdowne. In addition to the regularly scheduled Farmers Market, you can also enjoy Lansdowne's annual Independence Day celebrations, organized by the Union Athletic Association and made possible by vounteers and donations.
We begin at 9 am with a knockout parade featuring marching bands, floats, community group marchers, and decorated bikes. (To join in the parade and vie for prizes, come to East Greenwood Avenue near Lansdowne Avenue and find your group assembly area by 8:30 am.) After the parade wends its way through town (details here!), we'll finish at the Penn Wood High School field where prizes will be awarded and we meet this year's Parade Marshal and hear a few short speeches commemorating this historic day.
But that's not all! All day, there will be family games and activities at the field (including free water ice for the kids). Then, starting at 7:45 pm, music and dancing kicks in at the same field as a warm-up to the borough's famous spectacular fireworks display, which begins around 9 pm.
You can buy tickets ($7/adults, $4/kids) or a Lansdowne Fireworks T-shirt ($15) on the Union AA website until tonight (July 2) at 5 pm. If you miss this deadline, come to the Market on Saturday and the wonderful UAA volunteers will be happy to sell you tickets and T-shirts after the morning parade concludes. Tickets will also be available at the Penn Wood field throughout the day.
In case of rain, please check the Union AA website late in the day to see if impending weather means the fireworks will be postponed to Sunday night (same time, same location). If rained out, the parade will not be rescheduled.