Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Return to the Glenside Farmers Market

Susan Anderson is a guest blogger on the Philly Food Feed. She is a welcome addition to our staff! We look forward to her continued contributions.

The following is a piece written by me, Susan Anderson. I would like to send a big thank you to Ben for allowing me to share my experience at the Glenside Farmers Market this past Saturday as well as to Dana who introduced me to the market in the first place. Like many of you loyal readers I find myself captivated by the ideas Ben shares here at the Philly Food Feed and I am humbled to play a small part on his blog. Please check out the Glenside Farmers Market website for more information. http://theglensidefarmersmarket.com/

Recently we were introduced to the Glenside Farmers Market via Dana who contributed some descriptions of her visit to our BlogFather Ben. After hearing about the market and all that it had to offer, I decided that it was time for me to make my way out to historic Glenside. Upon arriving I saw that it was located right by the Glenside Train Station. This is a definite plus for those of you in the Philadelphia area since it is just a quick SEPTA ride away from your weeks supply of fresh produce.

With my 21 month old daughter at my side, I went from area to area checking out everything that the market had to offer. The first booth I encountered was one that gives children and adults alike an opportunity to make their own paper out of recycled materials. What a great way to reinforce the idea of letting nothing go to waste and to make old things new again. Next was some spectacular produce being sold by some Amish women. The green onions and lettuce alone were tempting and organic. There were several other vendors there as well, including a purveyor of honey and bees wax candles. Upon closer inspection, I found he was also offering Chick Classes. Now I know what you are thinking, but he was not offering lessons on understanding nor lessons on picking up women. Instead, it was a unique opportunity to try your hand at raising baby chicks under the tutelage of Jesse Howe from Everich Farms. I was intrigued enough to put down my name on his mailing list!

At this point that Chloe, my aforementioned 21 months old, decided she wanted to visit Old City and took off behind some booths in the direction of the train tracks. While I took off after her enjoying the warm weather a booth happened to catch my eye that I knew I had to check out once I was able to convince Chloe she didn't have enough money for a train ticket. As I scooped up my little sprinter I read the sign – Hempzels Pretzels. The word hemp caught my eye because of my love for the cooking show Christina Cooks, hosted by our own local Philly Vegan Chef Christina Pirello.

As I approached I was offered something no shopper can resist –free samples- by Shawn Patrick House of the Lancaster Trading House, Inc. (www.hempzels.com and www.natalieschoice.com). I feasted on some great sour dough pretzels that were infused with hemp seeds. With the first piece barely in my mouth, he offered some great horseradish honey mustard to add to my pretzels. I was hooked! The mustard matched the taste of the prezels so pefectly, that I dug deep to gather what little cash I had left to buy some. Words can't describe how good the experience was. I struck up a conversation with him by telling him about this blog and the great work that Ben was doing to spread the word about shopping for local and regional fare. No sooner did the words leave my mouth that my little companion wanted to go wondering off again. After seeing me wrestle to keep Chloe close by Shawn shared that his daughter who is close in age to mine comes down from Lancaster with him every week and was being watched by his mother who resides in Glenside while he manned his booth. We talked about hemp seeds and their nutritional benefits. Shawn also shared with me about the movement to make it legal to grow hemp in our country. I was informed of the fact that hemp is of the low THC variety and cannot be converted into drugs. Let that be a lesson to any of you who were wondering if those pretzels could be smoked! As our conversation continued I was shown some of the other great products his company sells like jams and snack bars. He then shared a great story of the time he appeared on TV with Christina Pirello and I listened like a star struck fan. He added that he would love to have Christina do a cooking demonstration next to him and I agreed about how wonderful that would be. Before we parted ways, I gained permission to feature him in this blog along with promises to come back and try out more great products.

I came to the Glenside Farmers Market hoping to find quality local and regional produce that I could buy and feel good about consuming. From signing up to raise baby chicks to finding a great new mustard that I can’t wait to use as a marinade, I feel that I've accomplished all that and more. The piece de la resistance was meeting up with Shawn and getting the chance to spread the word about his wonderful products. And Shawn, if you are reading this I want you to know that I’m sending a link to Christina’s blog. Who knows, maybe someday we will get to see her do a hemp cooking demonstration at the Glenside Farmer’s market!

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