Monday, February 28, 2011

There’s Always a Season to Visit Lancaster County....Right Now It’s Mud!

Mud season in Vermont signifies the last of the’s kind of sad as they shut down your favorite trails and runs, limiting your options each day.

But Mud season in Lancaster County is just the beginning of fun. Saturday was the first of the mud sales (auctions to the uninitiated), and they will continue all spring. The money that is raised benefits the local fire companies in Lancaster County.

The cool weather, the smell of great food, the chance to mingle with the locals, and, best of all, to squish in the mud like a’s an experience like no other. And chances are, once you try it you’ll be back for more.

These sales each have their own personality. Some specialize in building materials, others have fresh roses. Most all have hundreds of hand-made quilts and donations from businesses big and small.

Throw in Amish kids helping to carry goods on wagons, families trying out the swing sets, horses gathering in the meadow, and you’ve got a picture of our special part of the world..... a land like no other where people come together to help a cause.

So adjust your ears for the auction cadence, grab your boots and head to Lancaster County. And don’t worry about the chill in the air - all the excitement will keep you warm.

Here’s a full schedule:

March 5 - Bart Township Annual Auction/Mud Sale

8:30 a.m., Bart Twp. Fire Company, 11 Furnace Rd., Quarryville. 717-786-3348 or Bart Twp. Fire Co. website  - Antiques, quilts, furniture, new and used equipment, small goods, hay and straw, livestock, buggies, tools, crafts and food.

March 12 - Gordonville Spring Mud Sale & Auction

8:30 a.m., Gordonville Fire Company, Old Leacock Rd., Gordonville. 717-768-3869 or Gordonville Fire Co. website

The largest firemen's auction/sale on the East Coast, featuring 500-600 Amish quilts, antiques, collectibles, new and used furniture, tools, farm equipment, horses, mules, buggies, lawn & garden, barns, utility sheds and trailers, construction equipment.

March 19 - Bart Township Building Materials Mud Sale

8:30 a.m., Bart Twp. Fire Company, 11 Furnace Rd., Quarryville. 717-786-3348 or Bart Twp. Fire Co. website - Wood and aluminum siding, windows, doors, paneling, bath tubs, wash bowls, lumber and food.

March 19 - Penryn Fire Company 3rd Annual Mud Sale

8:30 a.m., Penryn Fire Company #1, 1441 N. Penryn Rd., Penryn. 717-664-2825 or Penryn Fire Co. website

Woodcrafts, furniture, antiques, quilts, crafts, farm equipment, food and more.

March 19 - West Earl Fire Company Mud Sale

6:30 a.m. breakfast, 8:30 auction begins. 14 School Lane Ave., Brownstown, PA 17058. 717-656-6791 or West Earl website

Groceries, local nursery stock & mulch, hay and straw, lawn furniture, outside toys, swing set, sheds, quilts, food and more.

March 19 - Airville Volunteer Fire Company Mud Sale

7 a.m. coffee and doughnuts, 8 a.m. auction begins. 3576 Delta Road, Airville, PA 17602. 717-862-3806

Crafts, antiques, and household furniture, building material, plants, trees, equipment, groceries, windows & doors, tools, quilts, tractors, saddles, tack, buggies, and more.

March 26 - Gap Annual Spring Mud Sale/Auction

8 a.m., Gap Fire Company, 802 Pequea Ave., Gap. 717-442-8100

Horse-drawn carriages, buggies, wagons, new & used furniture, quilts, crafts, dry goods, groceries and more.

April 2 - Robert Fulton Volunteer Fire Company Mud Sale

7 a.m. breakfast, Robert Fulton Fire Company, 2271 Robert Fulton Hwy., Peach Bottom, 717-548-8995

Crafts, plants, tools, antiques, farm equipment, furniture, food, buggies, wagons, groceries, horses.

April 9 - Rawlinsville Annual Mud Sale

8 a.m., Rawlinsville Fire Company, 33 Martic Heights Dr., Holtwood. 717-284-3023

Quilts, horses, crafts, building materials, lawn equipment, new and used furniture.

A few fire companies have changed their sales for later in the year:

May 7 - Gratz Area Mud Sale

8:30a.m. Held at Gratz Fairgrounds, 601 E. Market Street, Gratz, PA 17030. 717-365-3043 or Gratz Fire Co. website

Equipment, nursery stock, quilts and crafts, tools, antiques, flowers, building materials, children's toys, appliances, furniture, animals and more.

May 14 *NEW DATE* - Honeybrook Annual Auction/Mud Sale

8 a.m., Honeybrook Fire Company, 679 Firehouse Ln., Honeybrook. 610-273-2688

Quilts, crafts, new furniture, Winross trucks, Smuckers bells, farm-related supplies, tools, buggies, heifers.

June 24 *NEW DATE* - Bird-in-Hand Mud Sale
Lancaster County Carriage and Antique Auction

8 a.m., Along Rt. 340 (Old Philadlephia Pike) across from Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant, 717-392-0112

Antiques, harness and tack, specialty items, quilts, crafts, carriages, buggies, wagons and food.

June 25 - Refton Fire Company Sale

7 a.m. breakfast, Refton Fire Company, 99 Church Street, 717-786-9462

Hardware, shop tools, plants, furniture, antiques, crafts, hay and straw, quilts, horses, food and more.

August 27 - Kinzers Fire Company Mud Sale

7 a.m. breakfast, Kinzers Fire Company, 3521 Lincoln Highway East, 717-442-4121

Plants, groceries, antiques, furniture, lumber, tack, sheds and gazebos, equipment, buggies, quilts, horses.

October 22 - Cochranville Fire Company Mud Sale

7 a.m. breakfast, Cochranville Volunteer Fire Company, 3135 Limestone Road, Cochranville, PA 19330. 610-593-5800

Tools, household goods, shrubbery, horse tack, quilts, horses, sheds, outdoor furniture and more

To read more about mud sales in Lancaster County, see our previous blogs:

The Best Way to Buy a Quilt in Lancaster County
Do They Really Sell Mud?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It’s a Good Thing for Cooks in Lancaster County

Guests were telling me about it, I saw the ads, and finally I got there myself. Phyllis Pellman Good, author of Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbooks (which have sold more than 9 million copies) has opened a cooking store.

It's called the Good Cooking Store and it's located in nearby Intercourse.  Add it to your list of fun things to do the next time you visit us at The Artist's Inn.

While other women like to shop for clothes or shoes, I am drawn to all things "kitchen" a store devoted entirely to cooking items is right up my alley. 

Right now, The Good Cooking Store is having a Grand Opening Event – it runs until February 12, so if you hurry, you’ll be there for special sales, demonstrations and tastings.

On the day I visited, J. Scott Martino, CEO of Cortazzo Foods, was handing out samples of his family’s spaghetti sauce..(no preservatives, no trans fats and gluten free)...and, best of all, made right here in Lancaster County. He used to work at Doneckers and we soon found out that some of his friends are some of my favorite’s a small world, after all.

I couldn’t decide between the Marinara or the Arrabbiata sauce, so naturally I bought both. I love the picture of his family on the label and am happy to support local products.

The store is brightly lit, not too big, and they have packed great quality and products into every inch. I ran into two friends from Terre Hill! They were as delighted as I was with the selection.

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with one of the most expensive items in the store – this wonderful Staub enamel cookware.  No, I didn't get the roaster, but it's already on my Christmas list!

There are shiny new pans, containers, a nice selection of microplanes and bowls.  There was a great salsa bowl shaped like a red chile,

wonderful stacking bowls that would solve anyone's challenge for lack of shelf space,

a banana peel that doubles as a handle protector,

and the cutest cocktail picks shaped like nails.

So many great things in one spot!

I'm a gadget gal and loved seeing the display. 

You just never know when you'll need a banana slicer

 or a scrubby shaped like a mushroom

or an avocado slicer!

There's a whole line of cute stuff for cooking with kids.

I found my way upstairs where there was a gadget demonstration in progress. Of course I ended up buying a little flour duster and will use it to sprinkle confectioner’s sugar, cocoa on truffles or anything else that I can think of on dessert.
Oh yes, that brownie tasted even better once it was properly dusted.

This is the kitchen where they are planning to have cooking demonstrations soon - we'll keep you posted on those - and don't be surprised if you see me in class!

Here are some interesting quotes that I found on the wall in the store:
This is from the New York Times:  Good's books have sold more in the United States than the combined works of popular Food Network hosts Ina Garten, Giada de Laurentiis, and Jamie Oliver.


"The author who came in second to Rachel Ray in total foodie sales was Phyllis Pellman Good, who does not have a TV show."  - Publishers Weekly

Pretty darn impressive.  And right in our own backyard.  YAY for Lancaster!

I was almost done making my purchases, when I discovered the knives under the counter by the cash register. I was really intrigued by the ceramic knives by Kyocera – ten times sharper than metal, but very light. Tina, the Assistant Manager, explained that the knives are so sharp that you can cut a tomato without a serrated knife. Wow.

I sent more guests to the store this weekend. I think they’ll agree, and perhaps Martha would too, “It’s a good thing”.