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!

Extending Our Food Drive…For The Season!

As some of you may already know, we have a food drive every season for the Mattie N. Dixon Community Cupboard in Ambler. Located on North Main Street, the Cupboard has been serving the community for over 30 years. It distributes food to clients on Mondays and Wednesdays; there are an estimated 100,000 food insecure people in Montgomery County which translates to 34% of residents falling below the poverty line.

Our vendors also make a weekly donation of unsold goods to the Cupboard which last year totaled over 2500 pounds of food. Since the Cupboard comes once a week already to pick-up from the vendors and since there is a constant need at the Cupboard for certain items, it seems only natural that we extend our own Food Drive to every week throughout the season. Therefore, we will be running the Cupboard’s monthly “Wish List” in our newsletter and on our Facebook page. You can drop off your donated items at the market tent and we will see that they make it to the Cupboard! This program begins Opening Day, May 2nd.

Our market tagline is “Cultivating Community Through Food” and we want to make sure this extends to the entire community. We feel like this is a small step in that direction. See you at market!

May Wish List

Fiorenza-Dowlin Opens Up Market!

Fiorenza-Dowlin, together for 15 years now, is performing outdoors in the summer at farmers markets and festivals in the the suburban Philadelphia area. Their acoustic music ranges from James Taylor to The Mavericks. The duo switches from guitars to mandolin, harmonica and percussion throughout their shows…and they are coming to market on Opening Day!

The Countdown Begins

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Pennypack RampsHere we are folks! One month – four weeks – 28 days away from the Ambler Farmers’ Market 2015 season. Opening day is May 2nd and we wish it was tomorrow. This winter was brutal and the only thing that kept us going was the visions of eggplants dancing in our heads. Eggplants and heirloom tomatoes and freshly baked bread and peaches and apples and goat cheese and hot coffee and…well, you get the picture. We know you have been dreaming about it, too!

Market is going to look a little different this year as we have made some additions to our roster. You can find the updated list on our vendors page. And guess what? We aren’t even done adding yet…stay tuned…

As always, besides offering the finest in farm fresh produce and locally produced artisanal goods, the Ambler Farmers’ Market will feature a weekly musician and programming to fill your minds as well as your bellies.

Trax Restaurant and Cafe will be participating in the market more regularly this season. Owner/Chef Steve Waxman will be providing some hot food on occasion at market and also hosting farm dinners at the restaurant. Your weekly market newsletter and this blog will keep you up to date as to when to expect these tasty tidbits.

As always, we’d love to hear from you. Comment on this blog about how much you can’t wait for market…what you are looking forward to and how have you survived during the off-season without us. We are so excited to see you all…before you know it, we will all be together again celebrating the bounty of local, sustainable food.

WHO ELSE IS EXCITED???

So Long…And Thanks!

DSC_0281Our last market of the season was this past Saturday jand just like the rest of the season, everybody had a great time! Not only did we have the freshest produce and best artisanal goods around, but we had cake (above), entertainment (below) and delicious smoked chicken (in our bellies). While it was sad to say so long, the overall mood was of celebration. We came together to celebrate the Ambler Farmers’ Market and all who helped to make it possible.

We want to thank all of you who helped make this year the success that it was –

Thanks to the vendors – without you guys, there is no market. You work tirelessly throughout the season so we can enjoy your bounty.

Thanks to the customers! Seeing all of your happy faces on market day is the fuel that keeps us going.

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Thanks to all of the speakers and musicians that helped entertain us and teach us and gave us something to think about – food for thought, as it were.

Thanks to our visiting chefs, Ambler celebrities (yes, Mayor, you are a celebrity) and our friends in the press.

Thanks to SEPTA for letting us set up and giving everyone a place to park.

Special Thanks to Ambler Main Street for…well…everything!

Thanks to Chef Steve Waxman of Trax Cafe for the graciousness in the use of your electricity and facilities.

From all of us at the Ambler Farmers’ Market to ALL OF YOU…THANK YOU ALL AND SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!!!

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Food Drive This Saturday!

While we are having our first Ambler Farmers’ Market Apple Festival this Saturday, there is another huge event of even greater importance taking place at market on the same day – Our second annual Food Drive!

The food drive will benefit the Mattie Dixon Food Cupboard, located on North Main Street, in Ambler. The Cupboard has been serving the community for over 30 years.  It distributes food on Mondays to all lower-income families in need.  There are an estimated 100,000 food insecure people in Montgomery County which translates to 34% of residents falling below the poverty line yet ineligible for food stamps.

“Our relationship with the cupboard started before our market opened last year, when we arranged a weekly food contribution at the end of the market day. So far this season, we have contributed over 2,500 pounds of food and, with the upcoming food drive, we have a goal of 3,500 pounds – an increase of 1,000 pounds over our 2013 season,” says Sara Hertz, one of our co-founders.

That’s right folks – you can do the math – we want to do over 1000 lbs this Saturday! A lofty goal indeed, although we at the Ambler Farmers’ Market have confidence that our customers are up to the challenge! The food drive this Saturday, October 11th, will focus on food items for holiday meals such as canned potatoes and vegetables, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, pasta sauce and jelly. The Ambler Farmers’ Market wants to help the Cupboard serve as many people as possible this upcoming holiday season! The food drive also provides shoppers at our market with an opportunity to make a contribution to a local and very worthy organization!