Brothers and sisters, we stand at the peak! This week -- this thirteenth week -- of our beloved Farmers Market leaves us with twelve Saturdays behind us and twelve Saturdays ahead, the very midpoint of our season, whence we cannot go back but can only move forward, filling our totes with corn and tomatoes and beans and carrots and whatever else strikes our fancy for, lo, it is all good and these are the days of plenty when no one shall go hungry, even those who love not vegetables, for many are the fruits at the Market also -- peaches and watermelons and apples and cantaloupes the size of your head -- and none shall eat of them and not be sticky, for they are full and ripe and heavy with juice. All shall come to the Market, and all shall leave sated, full of egg strata and donuts and tamales and pretzels and mushroom soup, and all shall know that they are loved by their neighbors and that their neighbors love them, at least for a few hours every Saturday. Verily it is so. Ask anyone.
Joys and Concerns
Astute observers may have noticed some changes at the Market beyond what have been covered in Fresh Picks. In truth, the dropouts and dropins have been coming faster than we've been able to report them. But now seems like a good time to cover them all at once. First the bad news. The Regency Café, Golden Valley Coffee Roasters, and Seventh Avenue Grill have all left the LFM, mostly because of staffing issues. We're sorry to see them go and hope they rejoin some time down the road.
Now the good news. The Avenue Grill has stepped up (and across Lansdowne Avenue) to be our weekly provider of coffee, cold drinks, and ready-to-eats in the Regency's old gateway-to-the-FM spot. In case you missed that important info, here it is again: The Avenue Deli has coffee, both hot and cold, right there at the Market, the same stuff they serve in their storefront. Try it, peeps.
Three other local acts -- The Icery, Kia's Cakes, and the Community Youth Garden -- will be joining us every Saturday in August (at least). Plus Bonnie's Wondergardens will be back in September, and we're still working on scheduling some one-off guest vendors too. So the Market is going to look a little different from now on, but change can be a good thing. And if you really have to have your Regency's or Seventh Avenue, you know where they are (across the street and south of Baltimore Avenue, respectively).
The website's Schedules page has been fully updated to reflect all this, so it's a good resource if your head is spinning. Scroll or use the dropdown menu at the top of the page to get to the August dates and beyond.
Here's a heads-up on upcoming absences. Spotted Hill Farm is off the rest of August, returning September 5, which should be no problem if you have properly laid in an appropriate store of Donna's excellent soap. (If not, please don't sit close to us.) Nana's Homemade is also off this week, returning August 29. Ditto on Neil's Sharpening Service, which will be back September 26. (Probably should have mentioned all of these impending absences before their last appearance; sorry.) Plenty of notice on this one though: Buy the Dozen Bakery will be out September 5 and 12.
Passing the Peach
Early in the peach season, most that were available at the Market were of the cling variety, meaning that the flesh was firmly attached to the pit, so if you cut a peach in half top to bottom and twisted it to release the stone, either nothing happened (it stuck) or you mangled the thing. (And by "you," we mean "we.") For whatever reason, most of the earliest ripening peach varieties are clingstone, so we've had a lot of them so far.
Going forward, however, most of the peaches at the LFM will be freestone, so cutting and twisting should result in two nice halves. Apparently, there is little difference in taste or looks between the two types, each of which have several cultivars, and if the freedom of the pit matters to you (such as if you're going to be canning them and want to save work), the only way to know what you're getting is to ask the seller. So if you bought peaches and were surprised or displeased by the "cling," don't hold a grudge against the vendor; just know that some peaches are built that way, and you'll have to ask more questions if you want freestones, as well as perhaps wait a couple weeks to get peaches if you feel really strongly about that feature. (In which case, try to get over it because Market peaches should be enjoyed as often as possible, whether clingstone, freestone, or Flintstone.)
If flat (aka Saturn, aka donut) peaches are your bag, take note. The white variety has about run its course, so if that's your preference, grab any you see this week because that's likely to be their last appearance. Happily, however, Frecon Farms should have a new yellow variety starting this week, allowing you to barely open your mouth when you dare to eat a peach.
The Good Word
Our friends at Freeland Market recently received some press coverage in the Reading Eagle reporting, among other things, that they make over 100 varieties of sausage (sounds about right) and that Ben's son and company founder, Josh Davis, is the Sausage King of Pottstown. (Not sure how much competition there was for that title, but nonetheless, KING!) If the reporter had called us we'd have said that Lansdowne loves Freeland Market (and Ben! he's the best!), and that we're working our way slowly through those 100 varieties and enjoying every one.
In other news, Frecon Farms has introduced yet another kind of hard cider -- Brix -- which they describe as "a crisp blend of sweet and sharp apples styled off dry . . . in other words, our first sweet cider." Unlike most commercial ciders, Brix gets no sweetening from artificial sugars or fruit juice; it's naturally sweet as a result of the fermentation method, which is stopped at precisely the right moment to retain the apples' natural sugars. This one comes in 12-ounce bottles and is sold in carrier packs of four bottles or by the case. Insider tip: The case price ($80 plus tax) for the 12-ounce ciders saves almost a dollar a bottle over the four-pack price, so consider going that route if you are a big fan of Brix or Early Man, or both (mixed cases count, but the large bottles are not included in this deal).
Yet another of the simple joys of our childhood that seems to be disappearing is good old-fashioned seeded watermelons, the huge oval kind that absolutely takes both hands to carry and that pretty much fills a large Coleman cooler all on its own, with just a little space left for ice, since it must be eaten very, very cold. Try finding one in a grocery store or even at produce specialists. You probably won't. But Fruitwood Farms still grows them. The first week they had them, they brought 10 to Lansdowne and sold them all before 11:00 am. Last week they brought 20; all gone. We suggested upping the count by another 10 this week, but the gist is that if you want one of these babies, don't dally. Spitting seeds is more popular than you might expect.
Applications for Community Day #2 on August 29 are due this Saturday, August 15, but get them in sooner if you can. Last time we were already full up by the due date. Take this opportunity to put a face on that local business, club, or group, and see what a difference stepping out to meet potential customers and members can make.
Speaking of August 29, half the LFM committee is elsewhere that day, so any volunteer help with setup or breakdown would be extra supercalifragilisticexpialidociously appreciated. Maybe pull up your calendar right now and write down a half an hour for your favorite Market at 7:45 am or 1:00 pm that day. Yeah, that'd be great.
Charcuterie Party at 2312 Garrett - Sunday, August 16
2312 Garrett will have a special menu featuring meats from Lansdowne's 1732 Meats. Ari Miller and company will be available to answer questions. It will be a flavorful evening! more info
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