Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Old Business and New; Ten Down, Seventeen to Go

Yes, it was over two weeks ago when I said the Feed would be back in full swing. I am a filthy liar and deserve my donut peach privileges revoked. As most of you know, behind the Food Feed is a family and this family has been going through some changes as of late, changes that actually involve the local food movement - who would have thunk it? More on that later. With change comes transition and we are adjusting accordingly. Oh and that heat wave last week didn't help either. Ethan hates the heat (poor him) and I didn't want him to have to sweat it out while I discussed the virtues of a zucchini with a Mennonite. Worry not though, for Sarah, Ethan, and I have been enjoying the fresh and local bounty of the season and have even made it to a couple more markets for the Farmers' Market Marathon. Although we still have many markets to visit in order to deem the Market Marathon a success, we at the Feed are confident that we can get it done. The journey will leave us well-fed, that's for certain.

Some Old Business

I do have two more markets to add to the list. Both are significant in that I met farmers previously not on my radar. When I visited the market at South and Passyunk (Tuesdays, 2:30 to 7:00 PM), I was introduced to Taproot Farm. These carrots were awesome. We used them in salad where Sarah would shave them in with a peeler. I also purchased some beets that you can also see in the picture. They were sweet and enjoyable. Beechwood Orchards, a familiar stand-out in the Philly market scene, were also at this market. This is where we first found out about Ethan's penchant for blueberries. I bought a pint which became a quarter of a pint by the time I made it home and I think I might have had one.
Ethan and I also visited the Haddington Market (Wednesdays and Fridays, 1:00 to 5:00 PM), located on 52nd and Haverford Ave. in West Philly. This market is convenient for me because it is literally blocks away from Sarah's job. Although modest in size, this market helps to facilitate a West Philly community's access to fresh and local food. Likewise, the participating farmers have an outlet for their produce. One of those participating farmers was Mill 
Creek Farm, an urban farm located in the Mill Creek section of West Philadelphia. Mill Creek is an educational farm and is committed to improving the lives of inner-city residents through access to fresh and local produce. Not only do the folks at Mill Creek grow food, they also offer educational experiences through community workshops and summer youth job training program. This was my first experience with Mill Creek, although after exploring their website and dining on some of their heirloom tomatoes, it definitely won't be my last!

Some New Business

Not really new business, but as some of you know I can be found on the weekends working the markets - either on Saturday at Clark Park or Sunday at the Headhouse. As I said before, we are adjusting to no Daddy home during the day on the weekends. Dinnertime is becoming one of the most important times of the day for us because it is one of the only times we are all together. We are happy though because any extra money helps, and on top of that, I'm getting my foot in the door of the local food movement! I'm working for Noelle Margerum at Margerum's Herbs, Etc. I'm really learning a great deal from Noelle and am super excited about the experience of being on the other side of the market table. I'm learning about new fruits and vegetables (not really new, just new to me), and preparing them in ways heretofore unknown to my family. As far as my wife is concerned it has been Hit more than Miss,  although I definitely can out-eat her in a Ratatouille contest - hands down (recipe to follow). 
I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate Ben Wenk and the folks over at Three Springs Fruit Farm. for the illustrious distinction of being the first Mid-Atlantic fruit farm designated as a Food Alliance certified grower. What does that mean? Here are the certification standards of the Food Alliance:

Producer certification standards for farms and ranches:

  • Provide safe and fair working conditions
  • Ensure the health and humane treatment of animals
  • No use of hormones or non-therapeutic antibiotics
  • No genetically modified crops or livestock
  • Reduce pesticide use and toxicity 
  • Protect soil and water quality
  • Protect and enhance wildlife habitat
  • Continuously improve management practices

As you already know, the Philly Food Feed subsists on a steady diet of apples and peaches and other various   earthly delights from Three Springs. Not that we needed any more incentive, but the fact that Three Springs engages in these growing practices only makes their food all the more delicious. Great Job! 

Ben's First Time Ever Made But Really Good Ratatouille
2 cups Eggplant Diced
1 Green Pepper
1 Large Onion
2 Cups Zucchini
6 Cloves of Garlic Minced
2 Tomatoes, Peeled and Seeded Chopped
1 Tbsp.Dried Parsley
1 Tbsp. Dried Basil
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Pepper
1/8 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Grated Cheese (I used Locatelli).
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Saute' the garlic, onions, and eggplant in a pot on medium high heat until eggplant gets soft, about 8 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and seasoning and put a lid on the pot and simmer for like 20 minutes, all the while stirring the concoction. After about 20 minutes, there should be enough liquid in the pot to be boiling. Take off the lid and keep intermittently stirring for about 15 more minutes until liquid just about cooks out. Then spoon out vegetables into a casserole dish. Stir in grated cheese and cover with the mozzarella. Place in a pre-heated oven on 375 degrees until cheese is melted and you can see the casserole boiling. You can skip the cheese if you are vegan and you really don't have to stick to zucchini. I have made this more than once already with various squashes. This is one of those dishes that you end up making to your taste and what you have on hand. Also I choose to strain the liquid because I cook this in the oven and I don't want it to come out a liquid mess. However, you don't have to do that. You can serve it over rice or pasta and it makes a nice sauce. It comes out ridiculously good and there is really nothing in it calorie wise except for the cheese and the olive oil. If you try this, please let me know. I love it.


  1. Thanks for the kind words and congratulations! It means a lot, man!


  2. That peach is one of yours. But I'm sure you already knew that!


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