Category Archives: market

a veritable food rainbow

I walked down to the the Headhouse Farmer’s Market this afternoon and picked up some organic veggies to start the week off well. Purple cauliflower, some kind of ultra-green bok choy, beets, carrots, and a half gallon of apple cider.  I love fall!

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Chilean apples

I stopped at the Reading Terminal Market yesterday to pick up some sausages for dinner and fall fruit and veg–namely, apples and squash.

The market is one of my favorite places in Philadelphia. Open year-round, you can find butchers, fish mongers, produce stands, an herbalist, local honey, jewelry stands, food stands, and, on Thursday through Saturday, Amish farmers, bakers and food stands.  Kauffman’s is my favorite local produce stand, but is only open on Th.-Sat. since the proprietor is Amish.

Yesterday I stopped at the alternative produce stands looking for some fresh produce, but could only find apples from New Zealand and Chile. At the end of September in Pennsylvania?  Is it really more cost-effective to ship produce from the other side of the world than from 50 miles away?  And who is buying these apples when you can buy local, fresh-picked apples, including heirloom varieties, for the same price? Standing in despair before the Chilean applies, I remembered the Fair Food Farmstand. I ran over and was greeted with six different types of apples, all grown using IPM, all local, and for the same price as the Chilean Red Delicious.

Thank you local farmers and the vendors at the market who bring this produce to Center City Philadelphia.

Do you want some hormones with your eggs?

Dunkin & Styrofoam cups

I love Dunkin Donuts.  The donuts are basically puffed white flour and sugar, the coffee is weak, but I can’t resist the Mass. based breakfast franchise.  Maybe it’s the pink and orange color scheme that appeals to me or its blue-collar Mass. roots or the feeling of holding hot coffee and a sugar glazed French cruller, but what doesn’t appeal to me is the Styrofoam to-go coffee cups.  I get Dunkin about once a month, but the woman who works down the hall from me stops there every day for coffee and a donut.  Five Styrofoam coffee cups a week, 50 weeks a year adds up to 250 styrofoam cups a year.  Let’s say that 10% of Philadelphians follow the same morning routine. That is 154,000 people.  38,500,000 coffee cups a year! It’s time for Dunkin to switch to paper.  Better yet, it’s time for Dunkin’s customers to bring their own to-go cups.

Sailing for SOS

A big congratulations to a blog friend who hasn’t had Dunkin for a loong time: Lee Winters successfully arrived in Fatu Hiva (a tiny little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean) after 21 days at sea alone on his little sailboat.  Lee and I “met” through the Log of Whisper.  He sat at his office job day in and day out dreaming of going cruising.  Our roles are now reversed.    Read all about his voyage and the charity he is raising money for, SOS Children’s Villages, at his website: Sailing for SOS

Hormone injected eggs?

Hans and I buy the majority of our groceries at Reading Terminal Market and Trader Joes.  Last night we needed a few items that were specific to the grocery store (baking powder being one) so we went to the nearby Super Fresh.  We pushed the cart up and down the aisles looking for the best price on almonds, searching out good crackers and salt-free canned tomatoes.  A couple observations:

  • chicken.  Purdue advertises hormone-free, all natural* chicken.  What is that pesky little asterisk?  *The USDA/FDA regulates that no poultry can be injected with hormones or other additives.  So they are advertising the fact that they are following USDA/FDA guidelines.  Do they want a pat on the back?
  • Eggs.  I had a coupon for Eggland’s Best eggs – 50 cents off a dozen.  Yikes! These ones are loaded with Vitamin B6; look over here, these ones have Omega vitamins!  How about some eggs from hens that run around and eat grain and bugs in the ground?

Urban gardening hits Philadelphia

I posted yesterday’s link before reading the latest edition of the City Paper. Looks like I’m not the only one in Philly interested in making the city green.

Agricultural Phenomenon :: Cover Story :: Article :: Philadelphia City Paper.

urban gardening, CSAs & community farms

May 1 is just around the corner.  Here in the northeast, people with land are getting their hands dirty on the weekends, planting their first seeds of the season. City-dwellers are looking forward to farmer’s markets and the first CSA delivery.  When will the rhubarb be ripe?!

I live in Philadelphia but dream of owning a piece of land large with enough space to grow veggies, have a couple hens and two goats.  In the meantime, I’m thinking of how to get my hands dirty in the city (and I don’t mean by riding SEPTA).  The easiest way is to get a plot at a community garden. The Spring Gardens (www.thespringgardens.org) is a large, volunteer-run space with 180 plots, but the website has a waiting list of 2 years.

Greens Grow Farm (www.greensgrow.org) is a large urban farm in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia that has a nursery, CSA and farm stand with a goal of providing sustainable, green business development in the city.  Since Greens Grow is a non-profit and has a large group of volunteers, I’ll call it a community farm.  Non-profit, day-to-day farm management is led by an experienced farmer and supported by volunteers. The farm has wider goals for the community such as education, hunger-reduction and bringing fresh food to neighbors.

I really like the idea of a community farm. But I’m wondering about combining CSAs and community farms–creating an urban farm collective.  My rough idea is this:

  1. assemble a group of interested, committed people
  2. form a non-profit
  3. write grants and more grants
  4. receive grants (!)
  5. get a plot of land from the City
  6. start farming

Each member can have their own plot, or we can have one large plot where we share the veggies. Chickens, goats, pigs? As long as we have enough committed members, I think animal husbandry and a small dairy operation could be part of the farm. If we got enough grant money, it is possible that we could hire a person to manage the farm on a part or full time basis, but I envision the bulk of the work coming from members of the farm.

I’ve googled community farm in different forms and have only found CSAs and community farms (like Green Grows).

What do you think? Could this be viable?

beans aren’t just for vegetarians

I love beans. (Despite the song, you know the one…) But I find that most omnivores only eat beans when they are presented as “baked beans”. Traveling in France, Spain and Italy two years ago, beans were always on the menu. After glancing at a menu for “butter beans with fresh herbs” I was inspired to make a tapas-esque dinner. Andouille sausage from my favorite butcher, “Martin’s”; butter beans, salad, a spanish tortilla and a couple pieces of sourdough bread. The only thing we were missing was good bottle of Rioja. (Although I don’t know if the Rioja would help Hans remember his biology slides during the test tomorrow. Probably a good thing we stuck to water.)