Olney Farmers & Artists Market

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

Eggplants and Parasols

Last Sunday, the sun was bright and the music was great.  So was the sampling!  Our chef, Debbie Amster, made four eggplant recipes, and yes, made some converts too.

I personally witnessed at least two people who had previously never eaten eggplant before admit to liking at least one of the samples.  (The recipes should be on the Market website soon.)

Debbie Dissects an Eggplant (Note Sign By Anne Rickert)

Her Audience is Entertained and Enlightened

Sampling was Facilitated by Debbie’s Husband, Michael

The music was furnished by The Mighty Kelltones, playing traditional tunes of the British Isles.  It was perfect for a summer day.  The field was full of picnickers, some of whom brought their own shade.

The Kelltones, Live and Recording

The Brookeville War of 1812 Celebration was represented by Sandy Heiler, in a very cool-looking frock and bonnet.

 Sandy and Duane Heiler Warn Us That the British are Coming

And one little girl had way too much fun with her parasol - but with her boots on, she was ready for anything!

Pretty in Pink Parasol

See you next week!

Judy Newton

We Make Progress Through Olney

About 30 lucky folks gathered at Jane McCarthy’s lovely backyard to enjoy wines contributed by the Winery at Olney and appetizers for the Market’s Progressive Dinner fundraiser.

Jane’s Back Yard

We then proceeded to Taste Gastropub for a tapas course of watermelon, radish and cherry tomato salad - and more wine.

Around the corner, we found ourselves in an upstairs room at Ricciuti’s, for a pasta main course accompanied by, yes, more wine!  James Ricciuti stopped by greet our party.

Upstairs At Ricciuti’s

And lastly, we ended the festive evening at al Sospiro for a plate of three desserts.

Al Sospiro, Ho!

Thank you, Taste,  Ricciutis, al Sospiro, the Winery at Olney, and Jane!  And all who contributed to our Friends of the Olney Farmers and Artists Market fundraiser!

Judy Newton

Parking Lot Market - One Week Only

Yes, it was the only day of the year that the Market moves to the hospital parking lot, to allow the setup for the hospital picnic to start, so there were fewer vendors in a smaller space.  But the spirit was undiminished.  The chef demo was directly adjacent to the cafe seating.


People Eating While The Chef Set Up

We just swung some of the chairs around to form a row for the chef’s audience.


People Watching The Chef Demo

Our chef was Ruby Latham, who espouses a vegan diet, and makes it delicious.  She cooked Broccoli and Almond Stir-fry.  Everyone agreed that it was a fine use of nuts and vegetables.


She Brought Her Vegan Macaroons, Too

The aroma was so enticing that the vendors at Magnet Earth, the booth next door, were drawn to watch.


Sure Smells Good!

The dish was beautiful to behold, as well as good to eat.


Finishing The Dish

Meanwhile, Pat brought his pet chicken to the Market.  He wanted to show the guys at Orchard Breeze that he was taking good care of Sweetie.  He got her from them two years ago, and she has been supplying him with an egg a day ever since.  Trish and Ellen were having a good time interacting with Sweetie, who remained remarkably calm.


L To R: Paddy, Sweetie, Trish, Ellen

Our Yoghurt on a Stick vendor had lent half of her booth to her mother, who was selling baskets she had made.


Pamela Scott, Who Makes “Just For You” Baskets

And just as the Market day was winding down, our musician ceded the mike to Zia and Sophia, who charmed everyone with their rendition of “Let It Go.”  They sounded as delightful as they looked.


Zia and Sophia, the Singing Sisters

We’ll be back on the grass this Sunday.  See you there!

Judy Newton

Pie In the Face

Specifically, in the mouths of those who took part in our sale of slices after the judges had their say.  There were nine pies in the OFAM Second Annual Pie Bake-Off, so each judge took only a sliver of each one, leaving plenty for everybody else.


Don’t They Look Good?  That’s Chris Holding the Sign

Peter Franchot, the Maryland State Comptroller, came out to visit.  He was accompanied by Craig Zucker, District 14 State Delegate.  They were offered the chance to be judges, but politely declined.  They both did, however, get tastes.


L to R:Doug Terry, Janet Terry, Peter Franchot, Hal Hoiland, Bobbi Espinoza, Craig Zucker


The Judges Prepare. The Politicians Observe.


Then They Got Down To It.


The Audience Watches

The judging was accomplished with flair and alacrity by our distinguished panel.  They had the impeccable taste to award Your Faithful Correspondent the Grand Prize.  She wants to assure everyone that it was a completely blind tasting; we used a number system so that the anonymity of the pies’ bakers was maintained until after the judging.

 imageJudges Conferring. L to R: Kyle Russell, Debra Alfarone, Stanton Gill, Freddy Turim


The Judges Announce Winners.

Here is the list of winners:

 Grand Prize - Judy Newton, Chocolate Ganache and Toasted Coconut Pie
2nd Prize: Beth and Tito Porfiri, Branded Boot Ranch Chocolate Buckaroo Pie
3rd Prize: Brandon Miller and Mark Welsh, Steak Chimichurri Pie
People’s Choice: Nancy Green, Blueberry Pie

We had a new volunteer, Chris Richter (he’s in the first picture), who has an interest in politics.  He was thrilled to meet Mr. Franchot and Mr. Zucker, and assisted ably in the pie contest. He’ll go far!

And by the way, here’s yet another shout-out to Anne Rickert and the wonderful signs she continues to produce for us each week!


Anne and Sign


P.S. Do what it says.   Still a few tickets left!

Judy Newton

At Least Three Rings, Maybe More

So much going on at the Market last Sunday!  It wasn’t enough that the eggplants

and melons

 and tomatoes

and blackberries

were in, but we had two musical acts, and one of them had 50 members!

Yes, the Olney Concert Band entertained us mightily,

and so did Waylon Henry, Rodney the Ramblin’ Pieman’s son.  And he will have to forgive me for not getting a picture of him playing and singing; I was selling tickets to a raffle to draw attention to THE PROGRESSIVE DINNER ON JULY 22.  Barry took a turn at the table as well.

Our Volunteer Barry Sells Tickets

The raffle was won by Carolyn Maddox, with Michael Fearson delightedly posing while holding the wine.

Carolyn and Michael

What else was going on?  How about a return engagement by Masters of Mystery?  They held the audience in thrall with all new tricks!

Jesse and Sam, Masters of Mystery

Audience Participation

And the cutest little girl with her unique means of transport (and her parents) was making her way through the Market.

Audrey and Her Radio Flyer

Next week, Pie Bakeoff!!  Contestants, bring your entry to the Chef’s Tent at 10:30 a.m. for a chance to win great prizes, and the rest of you, bring your appetites!

Judy Newton

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