Olney Farmers & Artists Market

Steampunk? Really?

I believe we had a first at the Market last Sunday - a steampunk band graced the field with some thoroughly enjoyable music.  Those who read the newsletter would have been prepared for the experience, for it said - and I quote - “Imagine a world where airships roam the skies, steam powers Rube Goldberg-inspired contraptions. Imagine a universe where both fictional and non-fictional characters can exist. A place where both men and woman are equally capable, strong, intelligent and frequently mysterious. Imagine a talented collective of musicians, composers and artists who bring these visions to life in a unique musical mélange that is lyrically, musically, and visually evocative. This is ‘Night Watch Paradox!’”

Night Watch Paradox in Action

The music inspired me to express my feelings with an unusual camera angle.  In the foreground you can see a flyer for the band’s next gig, a steampunk Hallowe’en in Ellicott City.

A Swiftly Tilting Paradox

Their audience included two Sensitive New Age Dads (with apologies to another fine songwriter, Christine Lavin).


And to signal that Fall has really, truly arrived, a pumpkin family.

Follow the Pumpkin

Chef Susan Callahan made a return engagement with two of her students from The Universities at Shady Grove culinary program.  They prepared Butternut Squash Soup with Cheese Croutons, perfect for a slightly chilly day.  In a continuing trend for Market chefs, she also put her spouse to work.


Chef Susan and Student Daniel

One Family Gets a Preview From Susan’s Husband Paul

Chef Susan Talks To The Audience

Showing Off Her Knife Skills

Edgar Preps While Chef Susan Talks (Note Anne’s Sign!)

She used Shepherd Manor cheese, Atwater’s bread and oil from All Things Olive in her demo.

Chef Susan, being a teacher, showed a perfect blend of demonstration and engagement.  And the soup was delicious! We hope to schedule her again next season.

Judy Newton

Chili Day A Chilly Day

The weather gods apparently got the word that we were having the Chili Cook-off last Sunday.  The first Market day of the season on which one could feel the approach of winter was perfect for scarfing bowls of tummy-warming chili.  We had plenty!

There were eleven entries for the judges to taste.  They did justice to all of them while the audience watched.


Judges, l to r: Dr. Alex Naini, Freddy Turim, Tatiana Pelegreen, Greg Cooke


Judges Taste And Confer


Audience Watches In Anticipation. Abubakr Uqdah, Closest To Camera, Won People’s Choice Award For His Beef Chili

Here are the other winners:


1st Place - Scott Minnich - Texas Chili


2nd Place - Tony Laing - Vegetarian Supreme Chili


3rd Place - Trung Nguyen of Dalat Deli - Spicy Tender Steak

The Market would like to thank Atwater’s Bakery,  Banner Bee, Chocolates and Tomatoes, Cupcakes Lounge, Ester’s Granola, Killdeer Valley, and Magnet Earth for their generous contributions to the prize baskets.

The band last week was the Not 2 Cool Jazz Trio.


Not 2 Cool on a Not 2 Warm Day

Our wonderful glass jewelry artist, Jamie Agins of Jamie Agins Art Glass, won a blue ribbon at the New Hope Arts and Crafts Festival.  Good on ya, Jamie!


 Jamie Shows Off Her Ribbon

And Plantmasters was selling flowers at M&M’s usual spot.  They had some beautiful dahlias, and I have just the right pitcher for them!



Picture credits (except the dahlias) to Barry Newton this week, as I was busy running the Chili Cook-off.  Thanks, Barry!

Judy Newton

We’re Jammin’ Now!

Or we were, last Sunday.  For a change of pace from our lineup of professional chefs, we got a lesson from Don Moore, avocational jam-maker.  By day a Senior Scientist at the National Zoo; by night and weekend a prize-winning jammer.  He made it look easy.


And a Very Gung-Ho Sign By Anne

He was assisted by his wife, Sue, acting as sous chef.  Yes, there were jokes about Sous-Sue.  She took them with good grace.


Sue Got To Chop The Pears

Karen and Harry Montgomery stopped by to say hello to Don and Sue.  They are neighbors in Brookeville, and it was at a Market day earlier in the season that Karen sang Don’s praises as a jam-maker.  I saw my opportunity to book him for a demo chef, and I took it.


Don, Karen, Harry, Sue

We learned the essential tools and techniques for safely canning a batch of jam.  Don whipped up some Asian Pear Jam and showed us how to make sure it would set, and how to process it in a water bath. 


The Magic Funnel


The Audience Was Attentive

Then we sampled the Pear Jam with and without the addition of maple syrup.  Thank you, Atwater’s’ Bakery for the baguettes, and Falcon Ridge Farm for the syrup and pears!


Jam Sampling

Speaking of Falcon Ridge, I spotted Greg Cooke (one of our Chili Cook-off judges next week, by the way) eating chocolate-covered bacon with one hand while selling fruit with the other.  This is an invention that makes me shudder, but I am assured that it’s a fabulous combination of sweet and salty flavors.


Bacon Man

At the risk of ruining the Market’s reputation for selling things that are good for you, I hereby publish a picture of the perpetrator: Jennifer Brown of Cupcakes Lounge.  She told me that her stock of the stuff sold out in 20 minutes, and will be bringing more this Sunday.


Here’s The Culprit!

In another part of the Market, Banner Bee had these seasonal candles that look just like real pumpkins and squash - even a corn cob - but smaller.


Don’t Eat These

And Homestead Farms had a sadder sign of the season - the last of the real, edible corn!


Goodbye, Corn

Did I mention the Chili Cook-off next Sunday? Bring your entry to the Chef’s Tent by 10:30 a.m. for a chance to win bragging rights, and fabulous prizes!

Judy Newton

Pork and Politicians

Last Sunday, there was a minor crisis when our scheduled musicians had to cancel at the last minute.  Never fear, we fell back on the trusty bribe to recruit brave amateurs from among the Market patrons.

Instead of watermelons, cold hard cash was the attraction.  Olivia Lozquinos and Lori Bartlett rose to the challenge.




Our chef also provided entertainment.  Chef Henning Lorenzen and his sous chef, Grey Jones, from Fox Hill Retirement Community, showed us how to cut a cabbage, truss a pork loin, and prepare a delicious stuffing.

The Sous Chef Gets To Chop Vegetables


Chef Henning and His Ingredients

The Chef Trussed The Stuffed Loin

The Audience Listened Attentively

And Ate Appreciatively

Then, a musical savior appeared - Harris Amster filled the last hour with soulful music.

Harris Amster Belts It Out

And, as if that were not enough impromptu for one Sunday, we got a surprise visit from Congressman John Sarbanes!

Photo Ops With Congressman Sarbanes

There was one more politician lurking among the vegetables.

Eggplant Nixon

Remember, the chili cook-off is scheduled for October 5.  Bring your entries to the Chef’s Tent by 10:30 a.m. to compete for fabulous prizes!  We will have categories for meat and non-meat chili.  After the judging, entries will be sold by the bowl.

Judy Newton

Camera Envy

Last week, I discovered that Anne Rickert, who has been making our terrific sandwich board signs this season, is not only an amazing graphic artist but has a very fancy camera.  She went around taking pictures of the Market.  I have posted some below with her permission.

But first, a report from the music tent: Joan & Jerry Riser, of Avian Mead Farm, are retiring from farming.  They have been with OFAM since we started.  Last Sunday we gave them a cake to show our appreciation.


Joan With Market Volunteers


Janet With The Cake

Chef Ethan McKee of Urbana Restaurant brought his family along.  He prepared a seasonal dish of Butternut Squash Soup with a garnish of pancetta and mushrooms.


Chef Ethan With Wife Kate, Fiona and Baby Isla


The Chef With Anne’s Sign

The band, Michelle Michelle, really were fronted by two women of that name.  They were assisted by a few of their friends.


Michelle, Michelle, and Friends

And since the weather is cooling off, we had two chocolate vendors: Steven Howard Confections has returned with his delicious product, while Mark Hills of Chocolates and Tomatoes has both of those commodities, plus other produce.


Mark With Some Unusual Chocolates

Here are some of Anne’s pictures:








Pots With Faces


Chillin’ Out

Judy Newton

Gilding The Gourds and Wielding the Squash

Fall is the time for the ripening of vegetables in the squash family.  Falcon Ridge has value-added some of their harvest. 


Gilded Gourds

Also, paw paws are in season.  This native fruit has a short availability, so get yours now!  Eat it raw, it’s delicious.


What Are These?


Paw Paws!  Yum!

Although we have missed celebrating National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (August 8), there was evidence of the squash’s prolific growth.  This potential weapon was given away to a deserving family, who promised to neutralize its deadly potential by cooking and eating it.


Batter Up!  Or You Can Simply Saute It.

Our band last Sunday was the Scrub Pines, who had an audience of all ages.


Scrub Pines and Fan

Susan Callahan, our chef, is chef and Instructor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore at Shady Grove Hospitality and Tourism Management Program.


Another Great Sign From Anne


Chef Susan Cooks

Also helping were Derek McBrayer - Senior and Kitchen Director for the Campus Kitchen Project, and Ruth O’Rourke - Program Director, UMES Hospitality and Tourism Management Program.


Derek Preps



Chef Susan, Derek, Hungry Watcher, Ruth


The Key Ring Of A Chef

And Derek brought his lovely family along.


Derek’s Wife, Nicole McClam, and Daughter, Mahalie McBrayer

We’d like to thank Penn, Westmoreland, Valle, and Homestead Farms for their generous contributions to the chef demo.

We have several new vendors at the Market.  One of them is the Vegetable Garden, a restaurant on Georgia Avenue (at the Leisure World Plaza).  Their vegetarian cuisine proved very popular - an interesting contrast to Dangerously Delicious Pies and Fat Freddy’s Pizza!


Vegetable Garden Makes and Sells Veggie Sushi

This Sunday, we’ll have another restaurant chef for the demo -  Ethan McKee, Executive Chef at Urbana Restaurant near Dupont Circle.  Also, Steven Howard Confections will return with their terrific chocolates, and Blue Ridge Dairy will have their fresh cheese - now I don’t have to go to Silver Spring for their ricotta! Hurrah!

 Judy Newton

Olney Farmers & Artists Market turned 3 today!

Olney Farmers & Artists Market turned 3 today!

A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight

And that’s not just the weather!  The hot pepper eating contest staged during the extended hours made the Gazette.  It must have been hot news!

But before that, we had Lindsey Seegers, Nutrition Educator at the Manna Food Center, demonstrate her recipe for Zucchini Noodles (“Zunoodles”) with feta cheese, chives and basil.  This is a great way to serve summer squash if you don’t honor “Leave a Zucchini on Your Neighbor’s Back Porch Day” (or if you were the recipient).

And Note Anne’s Latest Sign


Lindsey Lectures And Shreds At The Same Time


Lindsey and Audience


Sampling Zunoodles

We took advantage of the extended hours for the Market (this week only) to stage an extra added event - a hot pepper eating contest.  It was a real sensation.  Even the Gazette thought it was worth sending a photographer out to document - see their article here.


The Peppers on Display; L to R, Milder to Hotter


Foreground: Gazette Guy, Tee, Kingston Kodan

We had three entrants, and a big crowd watching.  Winner: Hardeep Chowdhary; runner-up, Kingston Kodan. The third entrant was Trung Nguyen (Tee) from Dalat Deli.  He lasted through three peppers.


Kingston Feels the Heat

The winner was declared after four rounds of pepper consumption.  They were, in order of increasing heat: Cherry Bombs, Jalapenos, Jamaican Red, and Jamaican Hot Chocolate.

Hardeep, Kingston, Tee (Resorting to the Milk)


Kingston Says “Uncle”; Hardeep Wins!

We would like to thank Homestead Farm, Chocolates and Tomatoes, Orchard Breeze, Atwater’s, and the Olney Theater for their support of the contest.

Watching the Pepper Eaters

The audience looked to be our biggest crowd since Carla Hall came out for a demo, so we will do it again next year for sure!

Judy Newton

Worms! And Other Attractions

We had Worms at the Market last Sunday.  Not the kind you might think of when you consider the venue, but a singing duo (they are usually a trio, but the bass player couldn’t make it).

They  are high school students, playing covers of songs recorded before they were born - and pretty successfully!  They added a nice atmospheric to a beautiful day.  Jake’s hair alone is worth the price of admission.

Jake and Cole of The Worms

Worms and Friends.  Back Row, L to R: Tristan, Jake, Caroline. Front Row, L to R: Holly, Maya, Cole

Barry and I took some general pictures of the Market.  Here are a few:

Avian Mead

 Pleitez Produce

Anne the Signmaker prepared a fresh chef demo sign on-site.  Does that count as performance art?

Work In Progress

Our chef, Brittany Brodfuehrer of Café Rio, cheerfully dispensed advice, prize t-shirts for audience pop quizzes, discount coupons, and of course samples.  She demonstrated how to prepare Guacamole and Pico de Gallo, served with Sweet Barbacoa and fresh corn chips.

Brittany vs. The Avocado

Some Even Take Notes



And here’s a scoop: we will have a Hot Pepper Eating Contest on August 31 at 1:00 p.m., after the chef demo, as the Market will be open until 3 p.m.  See the Market website for details.  Meanwhile, here’s a preview:

Peppers At Homestead Farms - Bet You Can’t Eat (Just) One!

I’ll be gone for the next two Markets, so no report on OFAM on this blog from me - although you might be seeing some posts from London and Copenhagen!

Judy Newton

NOTE:  Partial picture credit to Barry Newton this week.

A Little Precipitation Does Not Dampen Our Spirit

It was definitely damp at the start of the Market last Sunday.  Some vendors put the sides up on their tents, and all the patrons came prepared.

Wet Market!

And who was that, all by themselves out in the seating area?  Why, it was Karen Montgomery, our State Senator, and her husband, Harry, with their neighbor, Phil Zlotnick.  They formed their own little island of sunshine.  Our most faithful customers, Karen and Harry are there most every Sunday they’re in town. 

Dry Montgomerys

The kids who came out to participate in Kids In Biz Day were also undismayed.  They surrounded the Master Gardeners with merchandise they had produced themselves and were eager to offer for sale.

(NOTE: I apologize for not being able to identify any of the kids in these pictures.  If anyone would care to help me correct that, please leave a comment.)

 In honor of KIB Day, we had a cupcake decorating activity in place of a chef demo.  At the tables set up in front of the Cupcakes Lounge, Jennifer helped twenty little girls make short work of twenty cupcakes.

Then I realized that there were no boys at the table.  (Could it have been the pinkish table liner?)  Surely boys had sweet teeth?  I decided to try to convince some of the Cub Scouts manning one of the community tables that cupcake decorating is not gender-specific.


And I did!  Jennifer had a few undecorated cupcakes in reserve, and the boys accounted for them all.  Highly satisfactory.  Next year, more cupcakes.

The band scheduled for last Sunday wimped out, and didn’t show up, so Doug Terry improvised with an a cappella challenge.  Sing a song and get a watermelon!  Several market patrons took that on.

This family’s dad sang, and his son carried the prize.  I think his face was painted as the Hulk, so he was probably showing off his strength.

Oh, yes, there was face painting - and other body parts as well.  Three of our volunteers indulged.

Left to Right: Monica, Ri, Yan

Forecast for this Sunday: No Rain!  Come out and enjoy!

Judy Newton

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