It’s National Farmers’ Market Week! This week when you attend your local market, make sure you let the people there know how much you appreciate what they do for you and your community! With the help of local farmers, consumers have the choice of purchasing fresh, healthy, food which benefits both the consumer AND the local food shed. We here at the Philly Food Feed love the farmers and the farmers’ markets so we kicked of the Farmers’ Market Week early this past weekend and wow…what a weekend!
The Philly Food Feed made its presence known at two farmers’ markets this weekend, one of which was for the first time! On Saturday the Food Feed made our first appearance at the Lansdowne Farmers’ Market and we are better for the experience.
Not only did this market offer a plethora of fresh, locally grown, fruits and vegetables, this market also has the added benefit of live music! So there we were, Sarah, Ethan, and I grooving from vendor to vendor, checking out all the local wares. Kudos to the market manager, Rick Grocottt, who obviously manages this market with an extra dose of TLC. You can tell this by the organized set-up of the marketplace, as well as his amiable disposition and his willingness to impart as much information as we needed about the market I took a picture of Rick for the Feed but his eyes were closed and I didn’t want everyone’s first impression of him to be from a sleepy looking photo. Sorry Rick!
Vendors of note include Louise Bierig from Lupine Valley Veggies. We bought some organically grown fresh parsley from Louise which we put on our salad yesterday. The fresh taste really spruced that salad up, that’s for sure! We will definitely be visiting Louise again for more herbs; she was very gracious AND affable. What a combo!
Another vendor we at the Feed are really excited about is Fruitwood Farms out of Monroeville, New Jersey. Beautiful Peaches, Nectarines, Blackberries…all huge and all purchased. Those blackberries were delicious on Vanilla ice cream last night. A little confectioner’s sugar and BOOM – delectable! What impressed me most about the fruit (besides the ultimate taste – the white peaches we bought bordered on the ethereal), was the size. Big, luscious, local, fruit. And if all that wasn’t enough, the fruit from Fruitwood is grown using Integrated Pest Management. For those unfamiliar with IPM, it is a common sense approach that favors a variety of techniques to control pests as opposed to total pest annihilation. I think this would be a good time to explain how IPM works. I took this from the EPA website:
IPM is not a single pest control method but, rather, a series of pest management evaluations, decisions and controls. In practicing IPM, growers who are aware of the potential for pest infestation follow a four-tiered approach. The four steps include:
• Set Action Thresholds
Before taking any pest control action, IPM first sets an action threshold, a point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate that pest control action must be taken. Sighting a single pest does not always mean control is needed. The level at which pests will either become an economic threat is critical to guide future pest control decisions.
• Monitor and Identify Pests
Not all insects, weeds, and other living organisms require control. Many organisms are innocuous, and some are even beneficial. IPM programs work to monitor for pests and identify them accurately, so that appropriate control decisions can be made in conjunction with action thresholds. This monitoring and identification removes the possibility that pesticides will be used when they are not really needed or that the wrong kind of pesticide will be used.
As a first line of pest control, IPM programs work to manage the crop, lawn, or indoor space to prevent pests from becoming a threat. In an agricultural crop, this may mean using cultural methods, such as rotating between different crops, selecting pest-resistant varieties, and planting pest-free rootstock. These control methods can be very effective and cost-efficient and present little to no risk to people or the environment.
Once monitoring, identification, and action thresholds indicate that pest control is required, and preventive methods are no longer effective or available, IPM programs then evaluate the proper control method both for effectiveness and risk. Effective, less risky pest controls are chosen first, including highly targeted chemicals, such as pheromones to disrupt pest mating, or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding. If further monitoring, identifications and action thresholds indicate that less risky controls are not working, then additional pest control methods would be employed, such as targeted spraying of pesticides. Broadcast spraying of non-specific pesticides is a last resort.
Some food for thought there. I read it while eating a Fruitwood Nectarine so it went down nice and easy! With all of the delectable produce offered at Lansdowne, I can’t understand why Ethan feels the need to eat his foot. Try a blackberry for cripe’s sake!!!
So that was Saturday. We will definitely be back to Lansdowne again, that’s for sure! Moving on, what weekend would be complete without our obligatory visit to the Headhouse Farmers’ Market in Philadelphia! Although the weather resembled impending doom, there is nothing that can hinder the Feed’s pursuit of the freshest, tastiest, local food. Check out what we had to go through on our way home!
And from the size of the crowd at Headhouse, we weren’t the only ones!
I spoke to Katy Wich, the benevolent market manager who informed me that the market now carries Raw Milk, a coveted item among local foodies. If Raw Milk is your bag, be sure to pick some up at Hillacres Pride. Katy also has informed me that Griggstown Farm will be bringing 4 types of quiche made from eggs from their chickens as well as the chickens from a neighboring farm. Looks like I’ll be back on Sunday! (As if I wasn’t going to anyway).Incidentally, managing a large farmers’ market like Headhouse can be really hard work. Every week that I’m there, I see Katy flying around, making sure everyone and everything is situated. She works her tail off to make sure we have access to the wonderful food at the Headhouse. If you see her there, make sure to say hello and thank her for all of her hard work!
As I mentioned before, this week is National Farmers’ Market week. If you are so inclined, take the time to make a donation to the Food Trust. While purchases at the markets do help support the farmers, the Food Trust counts on donations to help support the management and operations of the those markets. In other words, without them, we don’t get our peaches, quiches, eggs, etc! So let’s give them a hand, shall we?