saturday morning at west chester grower’s market

This morning my sweet man took me to the West Chester Grower’s Market for the first time and boy did I have fun!

It is not nearly as large as the East Goshen Farmers’ Market, and is in a more urban setting in downtown West Chester, but I loved it!  I had a lot of choices in produce, the produce prices in some cases were a little more money than East Goshen and in other cases less.

I bought fabulous mustard and bok choy greens and beautiful spinach from Queens Farm, eggs and tomatoes from London Vale Farm, crimini mushrooms of incredible beauty from Oley Mushrooms, and amazing sticky buns from Lizzie’s Kitchen. (East Goshen needs a regular PA German/Farm Market staple baker like this, but I would not dream of suggesting that to the Market Madam lest I be chided and reminded again that she is a nutritionist and mama knows best.)

I noticed on the West Chester Grower’s Market preview post that plant growers called Applied Climatology was going to be there with their day lillies.  Those people had me at hello.  I purchased two beautiful new day lilly cultivars for a deer free zone (fences make good neighbors when I comes to deer too!), and a cone flower cultivar in a peachy color I had never seen!

The market was packed and the people friendly.  I also purchased some fruit from Fahnstock’s Fruit Farm, but really felt like I was cheating on my farmers from Frecon Farms.


I had quite a few delightful photo opportunities and look forward to a return visit to this  market.  I will however, look forward to a cooler day at my regular market (East Goshen Farmers’ Market) next Thursday.

what is summer without a cherry pie?

When I started this blog, I didn’t think I would be sharing so much of my home cooking.  But when I am pleased with recipes, I love to share, so here we go again.  (If this keeps up, I might have to self-publish a small cookbook!)

Anyway, I purchased a big container of cherries from Frecon Farms this past Thursday at The East Goshen Farmers Market .  They were more tart than sweet, so today I thought “pie”.  Pie is an all-American part of summer, isn’t it?

I also had some leftover fresh cranberries in the freezer, so a combo pie idea was born. I also have other summer cherry memories….

The summer between 9th and 10th grade my friend Lizzy and I went to Alsace (Strasbourg) courtesy of a trip sponsored by the Valley Forge Historical Society.  I stayed with a family who owned a large working farm on the edge of a village called Stutzheim.  One of the days I was there, I went with my host family’s daughter Marie-Claude to either a friend or relative’s home.  We picked cherries right out of the trees, and they were so sweet.  That was also where I saw pear trees with bottles in the trees and the pears growing inside the bottles for Poire William, an eau de vie distilled from pears.  I also remember Marie Claude’s mother making these incredible tarts.

O.k., now that I am back from my trip down memory lane, back to the pie of it all.  It ended up being a Cran-Cherry Pie with a Lattice-Crumble Topping.  Would you like the recipe?  It is out of my head today, so I had better write it down so I can do it again!

I also made the crust, and I made a sweet crust.  In between I made a dry rub for the big thick steak for grilling this evening.  I will serve that with the leftover pasta from last evening , and another salad.  (And we decided no more pre-marinated Smithfield pork products as they are waaaaaaayyyyyy toooo ungodly salty.)  But I will get to the dry rub later – and that is never an exact science, depends what herbs and spices leap off the spice rack at me.  And a tip as we begin– do not wear a light-colored T-shirt when pitting cherries!

First the filling:

2 cups of white sugar

grated fresh ginger to taste

2 TB Calvados

2 TB Orange Juice

4 tablespoons corn starch

2 cups pitted fresh cherries

1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh cranberries (I thawed them, they were frozen)

 Toss the fruit into a mixing bowl.  Sprinkle the sugar and cornstarch.  Grate some fresh ginger into it.  Fold together.  Add the Orange Juice and Calvados and set aside.

Second the crust:

1 1/2 cups maybe a bit more of flour

6 Tablespoons cold butter (unsalted)

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 -4 tablespoons ice water (you might use more as today I think I actually used 5 to get the dough to the consistency I wanted)

3 Tablespoons of sugar (white)

Dash of cinnamon, some more grated fresh ginger (I love fresh ginger, so I will and do incorporate it where I can.)

Take a big mixing bowl.  Toss in the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and ginger.  Mix together with a fork until blended.

Cut the butter into little pieces and toss in to flour mixture.  Use 2 forks or a pastry cutter to incorporate the butter into the flour until it is all crumbly small together.

Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time.  The dough should come together nicely and then form a ball, put it in a small bag, tie off the bag so the dough doesn’t dry out and then put the dough in the fridge for at LEAST one hour.  Today my dough hung out and chilled for two hours as I had other things to do like make beds, etc.

Third the crumble topping

1/3 cup brown sugar

4 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup quick cooking but not instant oatmeal (plain, not flavored)

1/4 cup flour

cinnamon and ginger to taste

Dead simple – cut the butter up into tiny pieces and toss with other ingredients into a bowl and get out your trusty pastry cutter (they call it a “pastry blender” too) and mix it all together until you have nice, uniform crumbs.

When your dough is chilled, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. [YOU WILL TURN THE OVEN DOWN TO 375 DEGREES WHEN YOU BAKE]

Take your dough, flatten it somewhat into a flat, round disk in your hands and put between two pieces of saran wrap you have lightly floured.  This makes rolling out the dough a snap.

When your dough is thin enough, lay in pie plate – today mine was a nine or ten inch one.  I prefer the vintage glass pie plates that are over safe.  This is one I picked up at a church sale a few years ago, and I guess I should measure it, but I haven’t.

Trim the crust – it doesn’t have to hang over that much.  Set scraps aside, do not throw away. Crimp or flute or whatever your pie crust edge.  Take a tiny smidge of soft butter and coat the bottom of the crust – I saw it on a show with Chef Robert Irvine when he was making over a restaurant.  Some people also paint egg white on the bottom of the crust.  It is an anti-soggy thing.

Toss in your cran-cherry filling.

Cover the filling neatly with the crumble topping.

Now….the anal Martha Stewart in me surfaces….take your pie crust scraps  I told you to set aside and make a new pastry ball and toss them back between two lightly floured pieces of saran wrap.  Roll it out as thin and all that good stuff as you can get it.  Take a small kitchen knife and cut 8 uniform “ribbons”.  Weave the “ribbons” four on a side OVER the crumble topping and gently attach to pie crust edge. I even had a little extra left over after that and cut out some free form leaves and fashioned a little flower.  I did not egg wash the top today, but you can.  I cover the edge of my pie crust lightly with a tin foil ring so the edges do not singe.

After you make sure you have turned down your pre-heated oven to 375 degrees, place your pie on a baking sheet lined with a piece of that half parchment half foil paper, foil side up.  Bake 45 to 50 minutes. 

Trust me, this pie makes your whole kitchen smell awesome!

A tip is buy the Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick Pan Lining Paper NOT Martha Stewart’s version called Martha Wrap.  Martha’s cost more and isn’t as good.

So, I told you we were grilling and I did a dry rub this morning, right?  Today’s rub was salt, sugar, chipolte chili powder, sweet paprika, roast paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, rosemary, basil, oregano, cumin, a dash of Roopak’s Rajma Masala.

Bon apetit all!

stumbled upon: east goshen farmers market

So it’s Thursday and there I am wandering around and as I was driving up past East Goshen’s park (which is awesome, by the way), I see a sign that says “Farmers Market Today 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.”

They had me at “hello” as I love farmers markets.

This farmers market had made its debut last year, and well, this year the market has grown up and is a great thing to see.

It was packed.

As I wandered around, I saw some of my favorite purveyors from the Bryn Mawr Farmers Market which my friend Molly put together a few   years ago now.  I was pleased to see Frecon Farms, John & Kira’s Chocolates (if you are a chocoholic you will want to splurge on them!), and Shellbark Hollow Farm.

I was also happy to see Laura’s Biscotti from Malvern  is on the roster (these biscotti are the real deal and the only ones I have ever bought since I generally make my own ) and had fun discovering Veronica’s Doggie Delights–now dog approved in my house!   And Chaikhana Chai was there and they rock out loud – I am a fan of their products as their chai is in Du Jour in Haverford.

I also saw that St. Peter’s Bakery was there and had fun chatting with the ladies of Blueberry Hill Farm.

I have strawberry-rhubarb something on my mind for cooking and the rhubarb I bought from Blueberry Hill was gorgeous.

One fly in the ointment and a farmer I won’t support even if hell freezes over are those fine folks from Birchrun Hills Farm.  I will not put money in the pockets of eminent domain loving FarmerSupervisorRoadmaster Ken Miller and his wife.  They are a personal choice boycott. If you are interested in why I made that choice, simply catch up with your Chickenman reading.

In any event, don’t let one slezoid farmer-politcian keep you away from the East Goshen Farmers Market – it’s a good thing!


I even made a new dog friend.  His name is Shakespere and he is a tri-pod rescued English Springer Spaniel.

Over and out…off to peruse all things rhubarb.