Magical Day at Market for the Kiddies this Saturday

12814681_10208636837462629_2757435708309138336_nBesides the delicious produce, artisanal goods and farm fresh breakfast, the Ambler Farmers’ Market has yet another component this coming Saturday that will have you looking for magic words to describe. Jay Howard Gross of J’s GourAmaze Fine Foods and Baked Goods will take his magical baking hands and use them for actual magic with his Wonders Never Cease Magical Memories Show. Jay becomes Quasar-Magic’s Brightest Star at 11:30 so make sure you are at market to enjoy the festivities…there will be mystery, music, mirth, merriment, and more! And……ITS FREE!

Also this Saturday, Miss Michelle from the Wissahickon Valley Public Library will be on hand at 10:30 am to sing and entertain the kiddies! It’s always a good time singing along with Miss Michelle!

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Market Recipes: Market Toast – From San Francisco to Ambler with Love

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By Brooke Marshall

There’s nothing mind-blowing or extraordinary about toast, but that didn’t stop it from becoming a major culinary trend in recent years.  The toast craze started in San Francisco when Giulietta Carrelli opened Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club and served … yes … Toast!  Her toast was merely slathered with butter and topped with cinnamon and sugar, but it started a gourmet toast trend that spread through San Francisco, then hit the east coast, and finally headed overseas. Carrelli’s background and how she came to open Trouble are interesting stories in their own right.  She was interviewed on Fresh Air by Terry Gross a couple of years ago and I was fortunate to tune in that day.  If you can find the interview in the Fresh Air archive, it’s worth a listen, but a quick Google search will give countless articles on Carrelli and the artisanal toast trend.

Gourmet toast has made it to Philly as well. I was at Vernick Food & Drink, a restaurant in Rittenhouse, over the winter and was surprised to find one of their specialties is gourmet toast.  There’s also a cafe on Spruce St. called Toast.  While their offerings are a little less fancy than Vernick’s, they have a couple toast options on their menu.  So we might be a little late to the party, but I thought we should bring gourmet toast to the Ambler Farmers’ Market.  Better late than never!

For my first market toast, I wanted to top a fat toasted slice of Alice Bakery’s simple-yet-delicious white bread with a cheese and chutney or jam.  This is not a particularly difficult task and can be accomplished with a few purchases from the market.  Pick up some wonderful chevre from Apple Tree Goat Dairy Farm and chutney from Saucy Sue’s Sauces or jam from Clay Brick Farms and Voila, you have the makings of gourmet toast.  I highly recommend these options and even purchased a few items to try…

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I couldn’t leave well enough alone though, and wanted to make my own cheese and chutney from market ingredients.  So I made the leap into cheese making, which has been a long time coming.  I decided ricotta would be perfect for toast and an easy place to start since I could make it from whole milk sold at Clay Brick Farms.  While I like coming up with my own creations in the kitchen, cheese seemed like something I should leave to the experts. So I followed a recipe by Ricki Carroll, known as “The Cheese Queen”, to the letter. Her recipe for whole-milk ricotta is pretty easy to follow since she provides a lot of pictures and detailed descriptions of each step.  Two items you might not have for this recipe are a candy thermometer and citric acid, but these aren’t expensive items and are worth picking up to experience the fresh taste of homemade ricotta.

blog 4With the cheese made, I moved on to the chutney.  Since rhubarb is in season, I picked up several bunches from Clay Brick Farms and set out to make rhubarb chutney.  There are a gazillion recipes for rhubarb chutney out there. I came up with the one below after pouring over about ten of them and checking what I had in my pantry.  I have to admit, this chutney is pretty tart – so if you like tart, go for it. If sweet is more your thing, you may want to stick with jam or cut back on the vinegar and add more sugar or honey to my recipe. Feel free to adjust other ingredients to your preferences as well.

RHUBARB CHUTNEY

Makes about 5 cups

Ingredients:

From the Ambler Farmers’ Market –

  • 2.5 lbs (about 18 stalks) rhubarb, chopped (Clay Brick Farms)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (Clay Brick Farms)

From the Pantry –

  • 1-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne

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Recipe:

  1. In a dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium heat.  Add garlic and onions to the dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes).
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the dutch oven, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chutney thickens and sticks to the back of a spoon (1-1.5 hours).

11263081_907917222602896_6098781368158266639_nBrooke Marshall is a market volunteer, Ambler socialite and overall good egg. This season she will be the market’s resident locavore, turning market proceeds into culinary delights. If you see her at market, say hello. And if you make one of her recipes, bring it to market for her approval. Only kidding about the last part.

Market Recipes: FARM MARKET PANZANELLA

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By J. Brooke Marshall

Market season in Ambler has begun!  I thought a great way to kick off the season would be to make a dish using ingredients from as many market vendors as I possibly could.  I was inspired by recipes for panzanella, not only because it’s a way to incorporate many market ingredients, but because it’s a perfect dish to transition from the comfort foods of winter to the fresh veggies of spring.  Letting go of warmth and coziness is particularly difficult with the endless rain we’ve been experiencing.  So topping this panzanella with poached eggs seemed like a great way to hold onto some warmth while getting a taste of the first fresh greens of the season.  Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

From the Ambler Farmers’ Market:

  • 1 loaf of baguette bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (Alice Bakery & Confectionary)
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced (Pennypack Farm)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, remove tough ends and chop into 1-inch pieces (Clay Brick Farms)
  • 1 large box of mixed mushrooms (Crimini, Shiitake, Oyster), roughly chopped (Davidson’s Mushrooms)
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, roughly torn or chopped (Pennypack Farm)
  • 1 bag of pea shoots, roughly torn (Pennypack Farm)
  • 1 box of sunflower shoots, roughly torn (Taproot Farm)
  • 1 block of goat Gouda, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (Apple Tree Goat Dairy Farm)
  • Pastured eggs, 1-2 per serving (Taproot Farm)

For the dressing :

  • 3 oz (1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 oz (2 Tbsp) red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped chives
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

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RECIPE:

  1. Make the panzanella dressing.  Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight lid.  Shake to mix.  Set aside or refrigerate if making ahead.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.  While the oven is preheating, cut the baguette into 1-inch  cubes.  Lay bread cubes on a large parchment-lined jellyroll pan.  Drizzle olive oil over the bread and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Bake bread until crisp (about 6 minutes), removing the pan from the oven once to toss the bread cubes for even toasting.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the spring onion and cook until the onion is beginning to brown and caramelize (about 12 minutes).  Then add the asparagus and mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sauté until the asparagus is bright green and the mushrooms are tender (3-4 more minutes).  Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
  4. Combine romaine, pea shoots, sunflower shoots,  and goat Gouda in a large mixing bowl.  Transfer toasted bread to the mixing bowl.  Add asparagus mixture.  Drizzle a little dressing over the panzanella and toss to coat. Continue to add dressing and toss the panzanella making sure not to over-dress it so that the panzanella won’t be soggy when you add the poached eggs.
  5. Let the panzanella meld while poaching 1-2 eggs/serving to top the panzanella.  Scoop the panzanella into bowls when the eggs are almost done.  Top each bowl with 1-2 poached eggs.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

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Brooke Marshall is a market volunteer, Ambler socialite and overall good egg. This season she will be the market’s resident locavore, turning market proceeds into culinary delights. If you see her at market, say hello. And if you make one of her recipes, bring it to market for her approval. Only kidding about the last part.

 

Important – New Layout and Parking for the Ambler Farmers’ Market

As most of you know, for the past three seasons we have allowed pedestrians to park in the same SEPTA parking lot that we hold our market in. As the market has grown in both patronage and vendors, we have concluded that having both patron parking and vendors in the same area is no longer safe…especially with the amount of vendors expected this season. Therefore, we have decided to close off the parking lot to patron parking and devote the entire space to the market. However, don’t despair – we now have access to parking all around the market which we are sure you will find to be convenient and safe.

First, patrons of the market can now park on Maple St., Trax side only. Up until now, there was no parking allowed on this side of the street. We also now have access to a large parking lot on the other side of Maple St., courtesy of LTK Engineering Services. That’s not all! We also have access to the other Septa parking lot on Main Street AND finally, we have access to the municipal lot on Butler Ave.

This may post an inconvenience initially but we hope that after a while, it will become old hat to our valued patrons. Below is a map of the parking areas – click for the large version. If you have any questions, please direct them to market manager Ben Bergman at ben@gnrpastures.com.

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Market is Coming!

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In a little less than three weeks, the Ambler Farmers’ Market begins again! On May 7th at 9 am, Ambler’s link to local food opens and the deluge of deliciousness begins. This season we have more vendors than ever with a total of 17. Although some of them are bi-weekly, patrons will notice a larger market with more variety. All of our vendors are listed on our vendor page.

Due to last year’s success, the Trax Farm to Table Cafe’ returns for a second season for your market day brunch, sourcing directly from the market. There is no fresher meal in town than a Trax Farm to Table brunch and you will be able to taste the freshness.

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As always, we will have live music, programming and an area for the kiddies. We will have festivals, giveaways, contests and more. Every week will be an event!

Stay tuned to this website and to our Facebook page for market updates, recipes, vendor profiles and more. We are all eagerly anticipating  this coming season and we know it will be the best season yet for the Ambler Farmers’ Market. Who else is excited?

 

Vendor Spotlight – Frecon Farms

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When we think of Frecon Farms, our first thoughts probably turn to their cavalcade of fruits that nourish our collective sweet teeth throughout the Summer (their fruit butters are ridiculous as well…have you ever tried the Cherry Butter?). True, we would be hard pressed to find a more delicious variety of tree fruit in the state, but there is more…so much more! And while we patiently await the beginning of “fruit season”, we can still enjoy Frecon goodness…

Frecon Farms opened their Estate Cidery seven years ago and their Bakery one year ago. In keeping with the Frecon Family principles of quality and desire to do things the right way (even if that means it’s the hard way), both Frecon’s Cidery and their bakery adhere to hand crafting a year round, tree fruit culinary experience.

Frecons Cidery is an “Estate” Cidery, meaning that                                   FRECON                         all fruit used in the creation of their ciders is grown on the family farm. The Frecons select specific apples from the orchard with distinct tannic, aromatic, and acidic qualities creating traditional European dry ciders with an American twist. Natural ingredients such as White American Oak, Local Wild Flower Honey, and Golden Raisins fortify the ciders flavor and traditional bottle conditioning is used to add carbonation. Frecon ciders are aged a minimum of five months to allow the natural conversion of sugar to alcohol and layers of complex flavors to develop. Frecon’s Cider has been recognized by the Great Lakes Cidery and Perry Association and featured in Edible Philly, The Philadelphia Inquirer and most recently, WHYY Friday Arts!

There’s more…their cidery extends beyond the fermentation of cider – Frecon’s Apple Cider Vinegar uses the centuries old Orleans process where quality wine juice is unnamed (1)converted to vinegar in French Oak Barrels. The Orleans process is a perpetual cycle that transforms wine into vinegar while in the barrels by the living mother. Upon the conversion of wine to vinegar and extraction for bottling, fresh juice is poured into the barrels keeping the mother alive for another cycle. With each cycle new layers of complex flavors are added to the vinegar. You can purchase this Vinegar at our market. Wow!

And guess what…right, there’s more…

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Frecon’s Bakery, under the direction of head baker Holly Haas (professionally trained at Drexel School of Culinary Arts), was conceived to offer a year round culinary experience extending Frecon’s market season well before and well beyond the harvest. Continuing the tradition of quality, Frecon’s bakery is a true scratch bakery with all items made from whole ingredients. Every Frecon pie crust is made fresh on site with zero filler and over two pounds of whole fruit!  Frecon Tart Cherry, Peach and Cider doughnuts use 100% real cherry, peach and apple juice and their Apple and Peach Cake comes straight from Martha Frecon’s original recipe!

Imagine that…Saturday night, you pop open a cold bottle of Frecon Cider, sit on the back deck and listen to the evening – then you wake up Sunday morning and enjoy a Tart Cherry Doughnut. See…your weekend is already planned! Stop by the Frecon tent at market and enjoy what they have to offer!

Local, Organic Filmmaking

Remember this awesome movie? Last year, Ambler native Joe Ronca put that together for us, donating all of his time and talent to help us look good. Joe has been indispensable in helping our market gain traction on social media as well as other Ambler businesses and we want to help him in his latest endeavor.

In the spring of 2014, Joe set out to produce a feature length film in his hometown of Ambler. Now, a year later, they are knee-deep in production and need your help. “By the Dashboard Light” is a clever and witty comedy written by Media, PA. screenwriter Sienna Golden Malik and featuring veteran character actor (and Philly native) Jon Polito (The Big Lebowski) and Margaret Reed (Seinfeld, As the World Turns). The production company Keasbey Mattison Filmworks partnered with the Philadelphia Film Office and is scheduled to begin filming in October 2015. But before a single camera rolls… the crew needs your help!

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“We’ve just begun fundraising our film through the crowdfunding website Indiegogo. By contributing to our campaign you will help us pave the way for filmmakers around the world who refuse to give in to the Hollywood Big Budget Machine.” Ronca says, “There are passionate people out there who’s talents would go unnoticed… who’s stories would otherwise go untold if not for the support of generous people who support local artists.”

For those unfamiliar with the crowdfunding process… it’s a simple method of raising money through a handful of small donations that ultimately add up to the budgeted amount. Websites like Kickstarter.com have made this a very popular and successful alternative to finding one financier to fund the entire project. “By the Dashboard Light’s” funding is well on it’s way, but will require contributions from people like you to find success.

“We have raised over 22% of our goal through friends and family. Now we’re reaching out to the community.” says Joe. “We’re looking for individuals as well as businesses to contribute. There are perks available for those who donate (such as autographed memorabilia, t-shirts, tickets to the Ambler Theater premiere and more)… and advertising opportunities available for businesses.”

They are also looking for Executive and Associate producers. These are individuals who will fund the bulk of the project and will see a return on their investment when the film sells. They will get their name on the film as well as their own page on IMDB (the Internet Movie Database) “Companies like Netflix, Amazon, Video OnDemand and iTunes are buying small independent movies up left and right. The market for these types of films is wide open right now. There is no better time to invest.” says Joe. “It’s like buying your way into Hollywood.”

For more information, visit the film’s website: www.bythedashboardlight.com and check out the trailer. There you will also find links to the movie’s Indiegogo Fundraising Page. Please consider making a contribution and supporting true, local independent cinema and the arts in Ambler.

Let’s help our friend Joe get his movie produced!