Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Word (or two) From the Feed

I have definitely been lax about posting here which isn't fair to the three of you that read this blog. I complain about not having enough readership, but I never post - at least not consistently. You all know what happens (especially those of you with children). You mean to do something and life gets in the way. Its Friday now and Sarah is putting Ethan down and I am listening to the Beatles so I'm going to try to make up for a little lost time.

For the past two Saturdays, I have been helping Mark Skinner from Natural Meadows Farm at a couple of markets around the city. Last week I worked Fitler Square and the prior week I was at the Piazza at Schmidt's. I also have been trying to expand my area a little and visit markets not in my normal rotation (Clark Park, Headhouse). With those experiences in mind, I have amassed some observations that I will now share with you.

1. Highland Orchards - They are every where you want to be. - I first discovered Highland Orchards in March when the Piazza opened. Sarah is hooked on their Apple Cider Donuts and I eat pretty much everything else. The prices are reasonable and the food is always good. They have these dried strawberries that taste like they have to have sugar added but upon further investigation, do not. So far this season I have seen them at the Piazza, Fitler Square, and Schuylkill River Park.

2. Savoie Farms - I have always seen Savoie Organic Farm at the Headhouse but for some reason I never bought anything. It wasn't conscious, it just never happened. Then I saw him at the Piazza the day I worked and after we chatted for a bit I made a mental note to make sure I get something from them. On Sunday I was at the Headhouse and low and behold, there was Barry Savoie with greens galore talking to every customer about his bounty. I had to buy a couple of heads of lettuce, one red one green which Barry identified as New Red Fire and Black Seeded Simpson respectively. Sarah and I ate 3 huge salads with a mixture of these two lettuces as the base and we were certainly not disappointed. It also didn't hurt that Barry told me that each head had been picked the morning off the market. Doesn't get any fresher than that. Then last week Barry turned me onto some really spicy radishes which my wife practically eats like grapes. Savoie is CERTIFIED ORGANIC. From the Savoie Organics Website:

Produce that has been "certified organic" often bears the familiar USDA organic symbol (at right). When you see this sign, you know that the farmer has been held to the strictest national guidelines for the production of food without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and genetically-modified seed stocks...We are a small farm that is proud of its certification, because it means our customers can be confident in the quality and integrity of our produce.

This is definitely good news, especially in light of the recent study by the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics concerning the correlation between ADHD and Organophosphate Pesticides. If you have the chance, stop by and say hello to Barry and ask him about his produce. You'll get a lesson in farming, organic food...the works.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

From the Food Trust - Markets Opening this Week

Opening this week:

Germantown Farmers' Market
Germantown Avenue and Walnut Lane
Friday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Featuring seasonal produce from the Wyck House and Buckview Produce.
Plus: New vendor 4-Carat Cakes by Philly Kitchen Share with carrot cake cupcakes and carrot bread.

Overbrook Farms
63rd Street between
Sherwood Road and Overbrook Avenue
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Featuring Eden Garden Farm spring produce and Forest View Bakery Amish baked goods

Lansdowne Farmers' Market
Lansdowne Avenue Parking Lot
between Baltimore Pike and Stewart Avenue
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Link Between ADHD and Organophosphates

A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics links Organophosphate Insecticide exposure to ADHD in children between 8 and 15. From the medical journal Pediatrics -

Cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2000–2004) were available for 1139 children, who were representative of the general US population...One hundred nineteen children met the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Children with higher urinary dialkyl phosphate concentrations, especially dimethyl alkylphosphate (DMAP) concentrations, were more likely to be diagnosed as having ADHD... For the most-commonly detected DMAP metabolite, dimethyl thiophosphate, children with levels higher than the median of detectable concentrations had twice the odds of ADHD.

While correlation is not causation and more studies need to be done in order to prove causation, it is worth noting that these Organophosphates work by disrupting the central nervous system of insects by affecting the chemicals in their brains. I am in no way a scientist but to me, this study compounded with how these chemicals actually work do much to reinforce my buying practices of organic fruit and vegetables. Just ask Ethan.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Markets Opening Today

Broad and South Farmers' Market
Broad and South Streets
Wednesdays, 2 P.M. to 7 P.M.

Schuykill River Park Farmers' Market
25th and Spruce Streets
Wednesdays, 3 P.M. to 7 P.M.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

On Saturday I WORKED at the Farmers' Market

Those of you who read this blog (yes, all three of you) usually find me basking in the glory of one farmers' market or another, venerating those who bring us the bounty that is local, healthy food. Saturday was different though, for on Saturday I became what I most admire; the purchaser became the purveyor! Well not really. I just worked the Piazza at Schmidts for Mark Skinner of Natural Meadows Farm. Mark is my "meat and eggs guy" and he found himself short-handed for the Piazza market on Saturday. As a budding blogger, I could not pass up the opportunity to participate in immersion journalism. So there I was, and the first thing I have to relay to you about the experience is the wind. It was way windy. Like, I was doing a one man show of The Wizard of Oz and although I have a heart and a brain (some might debate), my courage was being blown around all day as well as some of the products on the table. Nothing fell or broke but by the end of the day I did feel like I went 10 rounds with an industrial fan. Due to those circumstances, I consider my bout with nature a draw.
On Saturday there was a fashion show going on in the middle of the Piazza with the Farmers' Market vendors operating on the peripheral. On occasion, a few of the fashion show denizens would meander by the stand and I would dutifully hand them a price list and try to explain the health benefits of pastured meats and eggs. One gentleman bought some soup and told me he loved me as he left. Quite a rousing endorsement.
Eggs and honey sold like hotcakes and plenty of people bought plenty of meat. Although the market was quiet  compared to other times I have seen it, I still had a chance to interact with plenty of foodies and locavores and I definitely had fun. I also ran into some familiar vendors also working the market like Three Springs Fruit Farm and Savoie Organic Farm. I felt my "market cred" increase with each vendor I said hello to. Speaking of Three Springs, I want to give a special thanks to them for letting me use their scale when ours went on the fritz. Famers helping farmers...what a concept!
I'm looking forward to the next time I can work a market. The experience left me tired but definitely eager to they my hand at it again. If anybody out there needs an extra hand, you know where to find me!

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Farmers' Market Opening at the Reading Terminal

Beginning this Sunday, May 16th, and running every Sunday until Mid-November, The Reading Terminal (in conjunction with Farm to City) will be operating a Farmers' Market. It will operate from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is directly across the street from the Terminal on 12th. According to the Reading Terminal website, there will be 14 local growers participating including:
  • Steve Bowes Family Farm – vegetables, berries, tree fruit, eggs, cut flowers, seedlings, plants
  • Derick’s Orchard – tree fruit, berries, melons, vegetables, baked goods, preserves
  • Two Gander Farm – produce, eggs, honey
It seems that everybody is getting into the Farmers' Market act and Sunday is the day du jour. The Piazza at Schmidt's in Northern Liberties and now this market in Center City. Plus we have the Headhouse on the boarder of Queen's Village. I thought Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest! So much for sleeping in. I just wish they would open up one for us Locavores in the Northeast. There are plenty of places up here that could handle 10-15 growers on a Sunday morning. Some of us up here wouldn't mind being able to take a bus to get our greens or better yet...walk there. PERISH THE THOUGHT!!! 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From the Food Trust

This Week's Markets

Fairmount Farmers' Market
22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue
Thursday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Fitler Square Farmers' Market 
23rd and Pine streets
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Open year-round.

Clark Park Farmers' Market
43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Open year-round.

Headhouse Farmers' Market
2nd and Lombard streets
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Opening Day!
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Philly Food Feed in Fairmount

Today Ethan and I ventured to the Fairmount Farmers' Market, directly across the street from Eastern State Penitentiary. We saw some old friends, met some new ones, and left with fresh string beans, fresh beets, and a quart of strawberries for the family to share. If you live in the area or need something to do on a Thursday afternoon, check out this quaint market. The market is located on 22nd St. and Fairmount Ave. from 3 to 7 P.M. on thursdays.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Welcome Back Headhouse Market!

This past Sunday marked the opening day for the Headhouse Farmers Market on 2nd and Lombard in Philadelphia. For those of you who are frequent followers of the Philly Food Feed, you know that out of all the markets that we love, we love this one the most. It isn't that the other markets in the area don't have a cornucopia of fresh, natural foods to enjoy or that they don't each have their own distinctive's just, the Headhouse has a feel to it like no other. It reminds me of a Bazaar where people of different backgrounds and various walks of life congregate to share their love of all things natural. And there are a lot of people too. The place was packed with vendors, customers, the mayor, Brad Lidge, police head was spinning. I'm telling you, it was enough that I was able to make it out of there with a few pictures and some asparagus (and some strawberries, and pastured eggs, and oyster mushrooms, and fresh get the point).
There is so much to relay about this past Sunday, I don't know where to start. I arrived at about 10:15 and the place was already hoppin'. Considering that the market opened at 10, that isn't bad. I guess it didn't hurt that Phillies closer Brad Lidge and Mayor Michael Nutter were at the entrance along with Brad's wife Lindsay and Yael Lehmann, the Executive Director of the Food Trust. Imagine my surprise...I came for some spinach and I ended up rubbing elbows with some pretty important people. Hey, its the Food Feed - we are everywhere you want to be.

                                        Lindsay Lidge, Brad Lidge, Mayor Michael Nutter, Yael Lehman

During their guided tour of the market (dutifully lead by market manager Katy Wich), I actually had a chance to speak with the mayor and he informed me that over the next two years, even more markets will be opening up in Philadelphia. Katy later explained to me that the Food Trust is one of the agencies helping the city open  up to 10 new markets in low income areas thanks to 15 million of a 25.4 million dollar grant via the economic stimulus

Lindsay and Brad Lidge have joined the Food Trust in promoting healthy eating as a lifestyle. In the Food Trust's weekly newsletter, Fresh Picks, Lindsay will be offering tips on healthy eating as well as a glimpse of the eating habits of a Major League Family. If you don't receive the newsletter already, sign up! Besides tips from the Lidges, the newsletter is full of helpful information such as what's in season, Food Trust news and links to relevant articles highlighting topics concerning recipes, nutrition, and healthy living.

So now, on to the market! As I mentioned before, the place was bustling. Nice to see some things don't change! With that being said, I definitely needed to visit some of my old friends at the market like Ben Wenk over at Three Springs Fruit Farm. Even though it is early in the season, the Three Springs stand still held a garden of earthly delights. A variety of apples, asparagus, rhubarb, homemade applesauce...and of course, the man himself...Ben Wenk, gentleman farmer. Ben has been busy over the winter as the Three Springs newsletter can attest (I'm on a newsletter kick, evidently). Sign up for it and you will be up to date on  the Three Springs market schedule as well as what Ben is bringing to market. You can find recipes there as well.

I also wanted to take the time to spotlight a vendor I have visited and purchased from frequently but have  heretofore not written about. Queen's Farm out of West Chester PA always has a distinctive selection of mushrooms, of which I purchased a quarter pound of the Oyster variety this trip. Ed Yin and the Yin family grow their food in traditional Chinese fashion and according to the Food Trust website, they grow over 100 varieties of Asian vegetables each year. WOW. Up until now I have only had the pleasure of buying mushrooms from them, but I will be sure to expand my selections in the future. So far these Oysters I bought have made their way into a stir fry and eggs and its only Tuesday. 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the succulent strawberries I purchased from A.T. Buzby farm. Nothing tastes like spring like the taste of fresh strawberries and these did not disappoint. I bought two pints but they were gone by today.  A pint a day...not bad. I can't take all the credit for eating them though, I had a little help!

So there you have it. It was an awesome time as usual and I can't wait to get back there again. Before I sign off I also want to give a shout out to all of the volunteers at this, and all of the Food Trust markets. Without their help, all of this access to healthy eating wouldn't be possible. Next time you are at the market and you see one, tell them thanks. See you at the market!