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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fowl For Your Feast

A beautiful, mahogany colored roasted bird makes a wonderful edible centerpiece for a holiday table. And no bird is more Christmas-y than a roast goose.

At the Reading Terminal Market L. Halteman Family has locally raised geese in stock. The birds, roughly 10 pounds, sell for $5.79/pound. The Fair Food Farmstand is selling geese from Griggstown (NJ) Quail Farm for $10/pound. Geese and lots of other birds can be obtained from Godshall's Poultry. In all cases it's wise to call ahead and order. It's almost too late to order from Fair Food; orders for the Griggstown geese, as well as pheasants, must be placed with Fair Food by 9 a.m. this Monday.

Fair Food has ordering deadlines for other holiday roasts, including country hams, pork loin and shoulder roasts, briskets, whole prime ribs and lamb legs and shoulders. See Fair Food's weekly newsletter for the details.

All the other butchers at the market (Martin's Quality Meats & Sausage, Giunta's Prime Shop, Harry Ochs & Sons, and S&B Meats) also can accommodate special orders for the holidays. Among other items, Giunta's is selling turduckens for $39.95 apiece.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

New Avocado Source

A month or so ago, Chilean avocados appeared at Iovine Brothers Produce at the Reading Terminal Market. Today the $1 apiece fruits hailed from the Dominican Republican, which I had not seen before.

We seem to be in an interregnum as far as table grapes are concerned. All the varieties I looked at recently have been priced at $2.99/pound. We may not see significantly cheaper grapes until the Chilean harvest starts in late winter.

I picked up some nice, heavy-for-their-size navel oranges today, three for a buck. Not a bad price, but they should come down a bit as we get into winter.

Smoked Haddock

I started to use the smoked haddock I picked up a few weeks ago at Wegman's in Cherry Hill. I took about five or six ounces out of the one-pound filet and mashed them up with an equal amount of cream cheese (softened with about a tablespoon of sour cream), ground in some black pepper, and finished with a couple tablespoons of both onion and parsley. Very yummy on good rye bread.

Speaking of sour cream, I bought some at Fair Food. Although "all natural" it was full of vegetable gums, for no apparent reason. The Dairylead brand, available at some supermarkets, is made from nothing but cream. It may not be organic, but it's good.

One of my readers reports that he tried to find the smoked haddock, a.k.a. finnan haddie, at Wegman's, but they were all out. If you find it, don't pass it by.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

June in November

When winter arrives, I'm a big fan of frozen fruit, particularly berries. Nothing like some tasty, sweet and tart blackberries to mash up with a full-fat yogurt for breakfast.

With its recent expansion the Fair Food Farmstand at the Reading Terminal Market has more room in its freezers, so it's added another fruit to its small frozen selection: strawberry puree. The one-pound packs from Green Meadow Farm, a delicious looking red, are priced at $5. I haven't tried them yet, but I can't imagine theyd be anything but excellent.

Another summer fruit you can enjoy in winter are peaches. Canned peaches from Three Springs Fruit Farm (one of the vendors at Headhouse) can also be found at Fair Food; I went through a few cans last winter and thoroughly enjoyed them.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quality Onions

The black dirt farm country of Orange County, New York, is ideal for growing onions. And Iovine Brothers Produce has them at the Reading Terminal Market. Yesterday Iovine's was selling two-pound bags of either yellow or red onions from that growing area for $1 a bag.

Also spied at Iovine's: Chilean avocados, two for $1.49; Brussels sprouts stalks, $1.99; red bell peppers, $1.49, which was less expensive than the green, orange or yellow bells, all $1.99; limes continued to be obtainable at a dime apiece.

Brussels sprouts stalks (they called them "trees" at Iovines) were available from some of the other farm vendors: $7.50 at Fair Food, $4.95-$5.95 at Earl Livengood's.

Fair Food featured what might be the last of the seasons local tomatoes, pints of organic cherry tomatoes for $4.50. The poblano peppers, $4.50/pound, looked good.

At Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce celery stalks were $1.99 ($2.49 for hearts). Livengood's celery and celeriac were both priced at $3.95/pound.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

No Vacancies at the Market

If you want to start up a stall at the Reading Terminal Market, you'll have to wait for an existing vendor to fail.

With the recent move of the Fair Food Farmstand to the 12th Street side of the market, the opening of S&B Meats and Barb & Suzy's Kitchen, and next week's opening of Beck's Cajun Café all available space has been leased for the first time in a couple of years.

The move of Fair Food expands the available seating in the court closest to Arch Street, and it will remain that way, according to Paul Steinke, the market's general manager.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

No Fresh Pretzels!

At least temporarily, as Fisher's has demolished its existing stand in order to build a new one, which should be open by Flower Show, which begins Feb. 28. When it reopens, Fisher's will be strictly a candy vendor. In the meantime, Fisher's is selling candy in the spaces formerly occupied by Dutch Country Meats and Every Day Gourmet, as shown in the photo.

Across the aisle, Miller's Twists is well along on construction, anticipating opening Feb. 25, which is when you can satisfy your fresh-baked pretzel addiction. (In the meantime, you can indulge on a fine example of street pretzel sold at the Pennslylvania General Store.) As previous reported, Miller's has bought Fisher's pretzel and ice cream business and is moving it to the west side of the Green Court seating area.

Right now seating is scarce in the Green Court, but will be restored to pretty much the previous level when the Fair Food Farmstand makes its move to the 12th Street side in May.

Fair Food Funding Gain

Fair Food is closing in on its funding needs for the move, thanks to a $50,000 state grant being arranged through State Rep. Dwight Evans, who just happen to chair the House's Appropriation Committee.

Members of the Fair Food staff attended Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture Conference in State College earlier this month, and in addition to attending various workshops also exhibited a "mini" farmstand. One of the goals was to find new farmers to let them know how the Fair Food Farmstand can help in selling their products.

Stands To Remodel

Lancaster County Dairy needs more space, Old City Coffee's adjacent stand is a jury-rigged mess. Solution: Old City reduces its footprint in a redesigned stall, making the operation more efficient (particularly important on a morning like today, when attendees and exhibitors from the crafts show at the Convention Center caused long lines). And Lancaster County Dairy gets the space it needs.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Case Study: Old

When the Fair Food Farmstand moves to its new location within the Reading Terminal Market sometime this spring, this old, recalcitrant freezer case will be replaced. A week ago Friday is went kaput, forcing FFF to sell it's contents (mostly meat) at half-price, much to the delight of shoppers. The few items that remained were donated to a local food bank. That's FFF co-manager Sarah Cain lamenting her cool problems.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Red Sauerkraut!

I'm a sauerkraut fan, so I picked up a jar of Wills Valley Farm's fermented red cabbage at the Reading Terminal Market's Fair Food Farmstand a couple of weeks ago.

Straight out of the jar, I did not care for it. But when cooked . . . WOW!

I came to this conclusion after gently braising some German-style hot dogs in the red cabbage kraut. First I gently sautéed a medium onion in canola oil (butter would work, too) until just barely starting to turn golden, then I added the red cabbage, allowing it to cook covered for about 10-15 minutes. I had an old Asian pear, slightly shriveled, sitting in the crisper, so I peeled it and grated the pulp into the cabbage. (An apple is the usual addition, but none were in the larder.) Then I added maybe a quarter cup of water (if I had an open bottle of white wine, I would have used that), a couple of the foot-long franks, covered again and simmered low for another 10-15 minutes. Delicious, especially when served with a German-style mustard.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pre-Thanksgiving Rush at the RTM

Over at the Reading Terminal Market, extra checkouts have been added at Iovine Brothers Produce for the holiday rush in an effort to keep those long lines moving.

Many of the Pennsylvania Dutch merchants, who are usually closed on Mondays and Tuesday, will be open on those days (as well as Wednesday) before Thanksgiving. Those planning to be open both Monday and Tuesday are AJ Pickle Patch, Beiler's Bakery, Hatville Deli, L. Halteman Country F0ods, and Lancaster County Dairy. In addition, the Dutch Eating Place, Dienner's BBQ Chicken, and the Rib Stand will be open Tuesday.

On the day before Thanksgiving, shoppers lined up waiting for the doors to open at 8 a.m. will be treated to free sample cups of coffee, courtesy of Old City Coffee. But it won't be at all the doors: just the 12th & Filbert entrance.

This morning 12 servers were working at Godshalls to push out those Thanksgiving birds, with a lineup of customers as soon as the market opened at 8 a.m. Expected even longer lines Wednesday.

Temporarily, at least, the Fair Food Farmstand has some extra display space, though no sales space. It's in the vacant stall formerly occupied by Everyday Gourmet and, before that, Andros. Squashes and other colorful items point the way to the the farmstand.

Speaking of Andros, he's the only retailer in town (2056 Pine) where you can acquire Leonidas chocolates, a high volume but nonetheless delicious Belgian praline manufacturer. As was once snootily explained to me by the proprietress of the old Belgian Chocolate House on S. 17th, "That's what you buy your domestic for Christmas." I'd do windows for that stuff!

The paperwork is moving along for a new pork purveyor who will move into the space formerly occupied by Dutch Country Meats. The stall has a long history of pork vendors dating back to Moyers and Charles Giunta (who now operates Giunta's Prime Shop). The butcher will sell the Stoltzfus Meats' product line, including scrapple and sausages as well as fresh pork. Not determined whether he'd handle deli products. In addition to its store in Intercourse, Stoltzfus sells at the Ardmore Farmers' Market, the New Castle Farmers' Market, and Beechwood Deli at the Fairgrounds Farmers' market, Allentown.

The Philadelphia Daily News' has selected the Reading Terminal Market as recipient of two of its People's Choice Awards: Best Farmers Market and Best Produce.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Fair Food's Thanksgiving

Those same Griggstown Quail Farms Red Bourbon turkeys I mentioned in the previous post are also availalble through the Fair Food Farmstand at the Reading Terminal Market. And they are even less expensive! The Farmstand is charging $6.50/pound for the heritage birds. In addition, you can reserve a traditional turkey for $2.99 (naturally raised) or $$4.50 (certified organic).

For the rest of your Thanksgiving table, you can take advantage of Fair Food Farmstand's other offerings, including both common and unusual squashes and white and red cranberries.

Aaack! The Farmstand is still using the term "wildcrafted". Last spring it was used to describe fiddlehead ferns. In the FFF's most recent weekly newsletter they are promoting Hen of the Woods mushrooms "wildcrafted by Patrick Murphy". Wildcrafted is taken to mean the gathering of wild plants in a manner which causes no permanent harm to the environment or the species. The goal is laudable, the nomenclature deplorable, a grave abuse of the English language worthy only of the most depraved advertising copywriter. How about "sustainably-gathered" instead? Wild-crafted erroneously suggests Patrick created/raised/nurtured the mushrooms.

Oh, well. At least the newsletter no longer considers the Jonamac a heritage apple!

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