We have fond memories of being in the backseat of the family station wagon (not belted in because 1970) as our mom made her weekly trip through the drive-in teller window at the local bank, depositing paychecks and getting the week's cash allotment back in an envelope (plus Dumdums for the two little monsters hanging over the seat clamoring for them). There were no ATMs in those days, and banking while sitting in your car seemed crazy modern to us, just this side of The Jetsons. Nowadays, who goes to the bank? You can do nearly everything through an ATM, and some of us can even take a picture of a check with a smart phone and have that money appear in our accounts within hours. Weeks go by in which almost all the money we spend is virtual -- through online payments, in-person debit transactions, and even payment apps (how clever of Starbucks to make it so easy for us to squirrel away money just for them!).
All this is to say that we've gotten pretty used to paying for things without hard currency, and that's a possibility even at most stands at the LFM, though some might have a minimum for credit and debit charges. Instead of telling you who can accept a card, it'll be much quicker to tell you who cannot. You'll need cash or a personal check at Buy the Dozen Bakery, Poniton Farm, Creative Shepherd, and about half the time at Neil's Sharpening Service (depending on who's working). If you have FMNP checks to spend, you can do that at Green Zebra, Frecon, and Livengood Farms, whereas Fruitwood Farm would be happy to take SNAP payments.
In conclusion, if you're short on cash, don't let that stop you from shopping at the LFM. As long as you have money in a bank account, most vendors can take your credit or debit card (just respect their minimums), and the ones who can't will typically take a personal check. Ask them up front if you have any questions. Now, if only the vendors gave out lollipops...
Don't you hate when you give yourself ptomaine or botulism while trying to do right by the planet? It turns out that those mismatched reusable shopping bags that we're all dutifully toting around are (1) probably filthy and (2) possibly vectors of disease. Apparently we don't clean them enough and aren't as careful as we could be about cross-contamination. (Guilty as charged.) The good news is that you can wash your bags (even the flimsiest ones should stand up to a couple trips through the Maytag), and the even better news is that you can buy insulated replacements (that you'll be much more careful with, we're sure) for $5 each or $8 for two at the Market Manager tent. It's also not a bad idea to keep a few plastic bags with your reusable bags so that you can separate your lettuce from that fresh-killed chicken. Not a bad idea at all.
Tomatoes have made the scene (both PA and Jersey varieties, heirlooms and not), corn will be arriving soon, and we're still awash in greens and early season stuff like radishes and spring onions, which will "age out" before too long. But you know what's been at the Market since Day 1 and will probably be there till at least mid-September? Squash, lots and lots of summer squash. The stuff is really reasonably priced, as well as so mildly flavored and versatile that it's easy to sneak into dishes (even cake!), so it's worthwhile to find a few recipes that you can go back to regularly.
First on our list to make is this deceptively simple recipe of zucchini cooked in olive oil with garlic and basil that is best eaten with soft cheese and bread (never did we think we'd take garlic out of a pan, but that recipe convinced us it's the Right Thing To Do). Next up (with one of Vera Pasta's dried shapes) is this herbed squash and pasta bake, which you could probably get children who like mac and cheese to gobble right down. The kids will have to fight us for these zucchini-parmesan fritters, which are fried in a waffle iron. (Apparently, waffling pretty much everything is big now. Who knew?)
Another trend appears to be "spiralizing" your food, which involves using a largish specialized gizmo to (literally) turn veggies into long noodles. Using squash as noodles is a great idea, but we didn't want any more one-use contraptions that we'd have to find storage space for. So we bought one of these (or, cheaper), which is small, handheld, and technically a julienne peeler so fills our persnickety kitchen tool criteria. You can also use a mandoline slicer to "noodlize" (should be a word) zucchini, as shown in this video, or use a plain peeler to make squash pappardelle. But if the spiral aspect appeals to you and you're short on space, maybe try one of these little spiral slicers, which produces a wide, Slinky-like noodle that children might find fun to eat. If you're on board with this, Google "zucchini noodles" or, heaven help us, "zoodles" for more recipes. Zucchini pad Thai, anyone?
Hooray, it?s the first Community Day of the season! Boo, we once again had to turn down some hopeful applicants for space reasons. Sorry about that, rejectees, but we?re glad to welcome a bunch of enthusiastic business people and community groups to the third aisle of the Market. This Saturday only, you?ll be able to get info from them on tutoring help, pain relief, local schools, professional groups, and other interesting stuff in the borough, including the Lansdowne Arts Board, which will be printing T-shirts and totebags on site (you can bring your own shirt if you want). (Don't miss their call for artists for a solo show in that building behind the Twentieth Century Club.) Other participants will be selling body products, jewelry, handmade critters, and a truly delicious and award-winning hot sauce. The full list of lovely Community Dayers is here.
In case you missed the last previous three words, Neil?s Sharpening Service is at the Market this Saturday, so bring your blades, whatever they may be.
We've been warning you for weeks, but here goes again: This is Bonnie's Wondergardens' last Saturday at the Farmers Market until September. September!! Bonnie is taking the summer off from the Market, though the Scottdale Road location (what we like to think of as her LFM annex) will be open for regular business. Buy some plants this week to replace the ones that got broken, snapped off, pummeled, impaled, knocked down, squashed, shredded, beaten about the head and shoulders, or otherwise damaged in Tuesday's storm, and send her off on hiatus with a bang.
The Regency Caf? is having some staffing issues and will be taking the next two Saturdays off to sort them out. Till they rejoin us on July 11, the Caf? will be open and operating, so just mosey across the Avenue to take ranks among the caffeinated.
Next Saturday is July 4 (aka the Fourth of July, aka Independence Day, aka [to those 5 years old or under] Parade and Fireworks Day), and the LFM will be fully functional even as the holiday morning events pass us by (sob). Thus, this Saturday is the last Market at which you can support the Union AA and get tickets (okay, stickers) to admit you to the fireworks fairground (aka Penn Wood High School football field), which is a super fun place to be as night falls on the Fourth. Don't miss it.
This is the last Saturday of the month, so we?re again collecting food for the local food bank and offering a Market Buck in return for your generosity. Go to your pantry right now and challenge yourself to find half a dozen items you can spare. We?ll be surprised if you stop at six once you take a close look.
With Kidcentric Day coming up in a month (July 25 to be exact), now is a good time to start working on a song, joke, or dance for the day?s open mic event, when the little ones get ?to exhibit? as Jane Austen might say. We?ve found that once kids see other kids performing they want to have a whack at it too, so you may as well be ready. All performers get a Market Buck and applause. Guaranteed.