Olney Farmers & Artists Market Blog turned 2 today!
Olney Farmers & Artists Market Blog turned 2 today!
Our guest chef Matt Baker and his sous chef Damian Brown, from the Occidental Grill and Seafood, returned to the Market last Sunday with another inventive take on a mundane dish. (They were here in June, showing us a really cool heirloom tomato gazpacho.)
Matt Baker and Damian Brown Prepare for Demo
Behold the Carrot!
This time, carrot salad got the upgrade. There were shaved curls of three colors of carrot, red sorrel baby greens, sunflower seeds, three (three!) dressings: Black Cumin Vinaigrette, Herbed Yogurt, and Carrot Butter; and (wait for it), Flambéed Raisins. It was quite dramatic when he set the brandy aflame!
Three Colors Carrots
Hydroponic Baby Red Sorrel
Some of the raisins were passed around for the patrons to taste.
Flambeed Raisins? Really?
Everyone agreed that the assembled salad was delicious.
Salad Samples Being garnished
It was a beautiful day, the Market was populated with shoppers and picnickers.
The first pumpkins shared space with summer beans and tomatoes.
And Homestead Farm had really sweet watermelon.
See you on Sunday at the Market!
It was a beautiful day last Sunday, and many folks were enjoying it under the umbrella tables at the Market.
View of Market Umbrellas
I wondered what Susan Delbert, the Executive Chef of the National Press Club, could possibly do to match her chef demo appearance last year, when she fried up a batch of soft-shelled crabs. "Well," she said, "I’ve been thinking of snakeheads…"
That may have done it! She managed to get ahold of several of these invasive fish that have managed to populate every river in Maryland within only a few years of having been first discovered. They are rumored to be delicious, but also rumored to be illegal to sell. This last was proved false, but they are still hard to find, and expensive at that - so I was excited to have the chance to try some.
Susan Brought Along A Sign
And A Nasty-Looking Fish
The fish were on exhibit for awhile and attracted some attention.
Pictures were Taken
Susan used one as a lesson in how to cut up a fish so as to result in boneless fillets. Then she cooked them two ways - both were delicious.
Susan Cuts Up A Fish
Fillets and Fried Bits
All our patrons agreed that this was one good-tasting fish.
Much Sampling Happens
You may have seen the bird’s-eye views of the Market that appeared in a previous article; here is a view from the other end. The device those pictures were taken with hovered above Mary Laur’s booth, controlled by her husband, Matt.
What’s That Hovering Thing?
We have decided on the date for the Holiday Market - December 8, from 11:00 to 2:00. Can you even think about cold weather now?
Bonnie Benwick, writer for the Washington Post and editor of their brand-new cookbook, was the demo chef for last Sunday. She prepared a tomato relish called “Tomato Kimchi-chi” which tastes a whole lot better than it sounds (and nothing like kimchi). She also brought along another dish from the book, already prepared: Peach and Pecan Cobbler. Both were great sales tools!
Bonnie Cooks, Patti Sells
Bonnie Holds the Crowd’s Attention
Bonnie was accompanied by Patti Harburger, who assisted in food prep and sold books. Karen Montgomery, our State Senator and great Market booster, got one autographed.
Sandy Heiler, Karen Montgomery, Harry Montgomery, Hal Hoiland, Bonnie, Patti
Afterward, the sampling crowd heartily approved.
Lining Up For Samples
There is a review of the cookbook here.
Sandy Heiler, Chairman of the War of 1812 Brookeville Bicentennial Commission, had a table to publicize the fundraising dinner they are holding in October.
Sandy and Dwayne Heiler at the Brookeville Bicentennial Booth
So did the Olney Theatre Center. Have you seen A Chorus Line? It’s terrific!
Two Enthusiastic OTC Folks
The band this week was a new one, called the Banana Republicans. Their music was so infectious that the Master Gardeners were moved to get jiggy.
Two Energetic Master Gardeners
And here’s another use for a newspaper:
Can’t Do This With Your iPad!
OFAM had a table at the Fairmont Hotel’s 4th Annual Sustainability Fair. This event was part of the commitment of the Fairmont chain to improving the ecology of their local community. In addition to keeping bees on their rooftop, they promote the efforts of groups dedicated to the improvement of personal well-being and the environment.
Part of the lure (for a foodie, anyway), was the nice spread of finger food the hotel provided. They had baklava made with the aforementioned honey, and other healthy tidbits.
The OFAM Table As Seen Through the Food Display
Janet and Kathy Take the First Shift
Judy and Meridel At the OFAM Table
The public spaces in the hotel are beautiful, not the least of which is their garden.
A View of the Garden
Many folks were interested in the Market. We met the staff of the hotel, including one chef who lives near Olney. I hope we can schedule him for a demo!
Matt Laur, one of our vendors, took these pictures of the Market on August 11th. Were you there?
From the Hospital Side
From Rt. 108
Kid’s Day at the Market was jumpin’! Commerce and cake pops vied for the attention of Market patrons as young entrepreneurs and cake lovers had their day in the sun.
Kids were encouraged to come and set up a Business for a Day, and we had many takers.
Kids Take To Commerce
All pictures of kid’s commerce credit: Barry Newton
For a special chef demo, kids were invited to make cake pops. We set up a table next to Jennifer Brown’s Cupcakes Lounge. Then we set up another one.
Kids and Parents Build Those Pops
Then we ran another shift of cake pop makers. It was a big hit! Lexi, Astrid Pleitez’s daughter, helped out while Jennifer wielded the pastry bag full of icing.
Lexie Helps Out
Falcon Ridge Farms had wonderful grapes for sale, along with their peaches and plums. It’s that time of year when produce floods in, and fruits and vegetables are available in variety and abundance. Life is good!
Two Sundays ago, Debbie Amster was the demo chef, and I am just now getting around to posting about it. We also had a visit from Senorita Sunshine. Last week, Sarah Acconcia showed us how to cook chicken thighs.
Debbie did basil - basil oil, basil vinegar, basil varieties, basil honey salad dressing, and poached peaches in basil syrup. Many of our Market producers contributed their terrific products to last Sunday’s chef demo, and I’d like to thank them here:
Falcon Ridge - Peaches
Westmoreland - Basil
Atwater’s - Bread
All Things Olive - Basil-flavored olive oil
Banner Bee - Honey
and M&M Plants for the varieties of basil plants to be sniffed!
Debbie Cooks and Teaches
Ably Assisted by Husband Michael
Many Varieties of Basil Were Sniffed
Peaches Poached in Basil Syrup
Senorita Sunshine (Andrea Hancock) put on a great show, singing and dancing and recruiting a partner from the audience.
She Sings! She Dances!
She Recruits a Volunteer!
Meanwhile, in another part of the field, a huge parachute-like object materialized to great enjoyment.
And then last week we had Sara Acconcia from Maggie’s Farm. It’s a restaurant in Baltimore, not a farm, but it sources from local farmers and producers as much as possible - and yes, they do play the song there!
Sarah and Chicken Plates
Sarah Grills with Help From Colin
The chicken was brined, rubbed with a spice mixture, brushed with a basting sauce, grilled, and served with a blueberry barbeque sauce and Bread ‘n’ Butter Pickled Squash. Sarah provided the recipes and sold the barbeque sauce and pickles so the more ambitious market patrons could reproduce the chicken at home.
Sampling the Chicken
Sample of Chicken
Plantmasters (subbing for M&M Plants last week) had pomegranate plants. Carol said the fruits don’t get as big as the ones you see in stores, but they’re still very cool.
Little Pomegranates Actually Growing on Plants
This Sunday is Kid’s Day. We’ll have an interactive chef demo of cake pops lead by Jennifer Brown of Cupcakes Lounge. There will be enough pops for 20 kids. Sounds like fun!
Yes, last week Carla Hall came out to the Market to demo, sign, visit with fans and just be her fabulous self! Although she was scheduled to take a plane to the West Coast later that day, she still made time to thrill her faithful followers for a few hours.
Sheilah Kauffman, who was one of our pie bakeoff judges and will be a demo chef herself later in the season, was there to help.
Sheila Helps Carla Set Up
Carla signed books and cards for her fans. She posed for pictures with old friends and new.
Carla Poses and Signs
And then she did some actual cooking. Her demo of yellow tomato soup started with a reminder that salt is known as “compliments” in her kitchen, and proceeded with lots of other tips and tricks. It was garnished with her own mini-savory cheese cookies, which caused her cookie stall to sell out of them. There will be more available on future Market days!
Carla Talks and Cooks
Her assistant, Jack, helped with prep and serving.
Jack Pours the Soup
In another part of the Market, we are now selling tickets for our series of Farm To Fabulous fundraising dinners. They will be just as glittering as the peacock. See you at one or more of them?
Tickets on Sale Now!
Were observed on all faces after the Pie Bake-Off was judged, when we sold pieces to benefit the Market. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We had five pies entered for judging.
In order as they appear in the picture, they were:
Creamy Banana Pecan Pie; Peach Pie; Chocolate-Cherry Mousse Pie; Spice Pie; Pecan Pie
In a blind tasting, the judges deliberated as the attentive audience watched.
Our Judges, L to R: Sheilah Kaufman, Nancy MacBride, Karen Sippel, Rosario Gamboa
The Suspense Builds At The Pie Contest
And here are the winners:
1st Place - Rusty Suter - Creamy Banana Pecan Pie
2nd Place - Judy Newton - Chocolate-Cherry Mousse Pie
3rd Place - Asma Siddiqui - Pecan Pie
People’s Choice Award - Judy Newton - Chocolate-Cherry Mousse Pie
Your humble correspondent appreciates the judges’ good taste.
Of course, the real winners were the Market patrons who got to eat the entries! We will be posting the recipes for some of the pies on the Market recipe website page.
In other Market news, we had a bonsai stall last week.
Benny Zhang of Celestial Bonsai
And Dave at Homestead Farm had ten (10) varieties of eggplant on offer.
Ten, Count’em, Ten, Eggplant Varieties
The bounty is overflowing - come take advantage! And come see Carla Hall this Sunday! She will be at the Market at 10:00 a.m. and must leave by noon, so come early to get a book signed and schmooze!
And remember, we will be at our alternate site one block down Prince Phillip Drive, in the Medstar Montgomery parking lot this week only.