Saturday, February 27, 2010
For years I've been looking at "Mountain Trout" displayed as filets at the Reading Terminal Markets' fishmongers, knowing full well they weren't trout, but not quite sure what they were. Down in Baltimore they call this "Lake Trout".
Today I noticed (at Golden Fish) a sign which identified them, parenthetically, as hake, which is a member of the cod family, as is its very close cousin, the Whiting, which is usually found hereabouts as Silver Whiting, but sometimes called Silver Hake, as if things aren't confusing enough.
All the varieties are interchangeable, as least as far as culinary purposes are concerned. All are suitable for frying, steaming, poaching and baking, though broiling or grilling would be too extreme for these delicate and very mild-tasting fishies. Hake are the most popular fresh fish in Spain, and take particularly well to parsley and potatoes.
In other seafood news, Golden Fish is carrying a new item, head-on shrimp, $7.99/pound. You could probably save a bit by walking over to Chinatown, since that's where Golden procures these formerly frozen farm-raised crustaceans from China.
Nobody asked me, but . . .
Why is farm-raised striped bass more expensive that wild striped bass, a.k.a. rockfish: $6.99 vs. $4.99 at John Yi.
In the event you're wondering, the King salmon at John Yi (and just abou anywhere else) is farm-raised from British Columbia. Like it's Atlantic cousin, it gets its color from feed.
The Produce News
Cucumbers galore at O.K. Lee, including two seedless (or nearly so) varieties: Japanese and English. The former are a buck for what appears to be a one-pound bag with about six of the five or six-inch cukes. The latter are two 16-inches for a buck.
OKL also has bags of green seedless grapes for a buck (a tad more expensive if on trays) and Hass avocados at 49-cents apiece (essentially the same price as Iovine's where they're two for a buck).
Another cucumber-like item normally found in Chinatown made its way to the RTM today: Iovine Brother's had Bitter Melon sitting next to the bell peppers, $2.99/pound.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The bargain of the week at Iovine Brother's Produce at the Reading Terminal Market appears to be lettuce.
Displayed front and center today were four varieties, each priced at two heads for a buck: Romaine, Green Leaf, Red Leaf, and Iceberg.
Although there's nothing wrong with a nice green salad, or a wedge of Iceberg with freshly made blue cheese dressing, it seems a good time of year to consider making Lettuce Soup. Cooked with some potato, one of more members of the allium family, and herbs, pureed and finished with a wee bit of butter, it's a fitting dish for winter, but a relief from root vegetables.
The Chilean grape harvest is approaching peak, and prices have dropped accordingly at Iovine's. One-pound clamshells of white seedless were available for a buck, tray-packed bunches for $1.49. Iovine's also had a variety labeled "Tomcat", but at $5.99/pound I passed them by. They are a variety of Muscat, one of the original grape varieties, and are sweeter than the norm.
It might be a good week for making guacamole. Iovine's also featured ripe and ready avocados (don't store them for long!) at 50 cents apiece. Limes were a reasonable four for a buck.
Over to the fishmongers. I haven't done a taste comparison, but Golden Fish has been selling "dry" scallops for $13.99, a considerable savings versus John Yi, where they sell for $17.99. Golden also has something I haven't seen at the other stalls: unagi, Japanese barbecued eel, $6.99 a pack.
This being the winter doldrums, at least as far as fresh produce is concerned, my posts normally decline in quantity this time of year. This winter of near-blizzards is no exception, but the weekend before last caused me to alter my opinion, slightly, about a root vegetable I've regularly slighted: the humble rutabaga, a.k.a. Swede, a.k.a. Yellow Turnip.
The cause of my conversion is the delicately-flavored smallish specimens which have been on sale at the Reading Terminal Market's Fair Food Farmstand since the onset of winter. They hail from Vermont's Deep Root Organics. a cold storage coop on the northern climes of the Green Mountain State.
Along with parsnips from the same coop and supermarket "baby" carrots, they became the vegetable component of a Valentine's Day dinner I composed for my Valentine, who has always held the rutabaga in high esteem (must be her Scandinavian heritage). I cut the veggies into half-inch dice, tossed with a minimum coating of olive oil, along with a little thyme, salt, pepper, a scant teaspoon of sugar (to encourage browning) and roasted them in the oven.
To my amazement, the rutabaga actually tasted good! Maybe it was the sugar, maybe it was the roasting, since my previous encounters with rutabagas had always been simply mashed with butter. But these roasted rutabagas had a more subtle countenance than the mash, so that the flavor note I previously found offensive became appealing. Will wonders never cease?
The veggies accompanied filet mignon, a cut she enjoys but I rarely prepare for myself because of its lack of flavor compared to other cuts of steaks, though its tenderness is always to be admired. This beef came from Harry Ochs, and the combination of high quality beef and the method of preparation made it a hit, even with me. I simply seared it in a pan, three minutes on a side over medium high heat to get a nice char (not disturbing the meat except once, to turn turn it), then finished it off in a 450F oven for another four minutes for medium, my Valentine's preferred doneness. While it rested on a warm platter under foil, I made a pan reduction with cream sherry finishing with a small knob of butter. Although I prefer my steaks rarer, this retained just enough pinkness to remind it came from a living thing, and had great flavor.
Dessert was a sampling of truffles from Neuchatel Chocolates of Oxford, Pennsylvania, every bit as good as any truffle we've had. The creations from Swiss chocolatier Albert Lauber can be had at the Pennsylvania General Store.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
When William Bligh (left) set sail on the HMS Bounty to the South Seas to collect breadfruit trees, his goal was to bring them to the Carribean to see if they could become a crop suitable for feeding slaves working sugar cane fields and refineries. You don't have to resort such extreme measures. They're available at Iovine Brothers Produce at the Reading Terminal Market for $1.99 a pound.
When one of the cook's at the Down Home Diner, a native of Trinidad, spotted them he quickly grabbed a few for roasting.
Despite its name, breadfruit is treated as a vegetable, not a fruit. The fibrous flesh, a staple in many tropical regions, can be roasted, baked, fried, steamed or boiled. Its taste and texture is loosely compared to potato or fresh-baked bread. In the Caribbean it is sometimes mashed with bacalao, olive oil and cooked onions. The seeds are also edible, and are likened to chestnuts in flavor and texture.
Although primarily used as a substitute for other starchy vegetables, it can also be used as a pie filling, though usually in combination with chocolate, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, sweet yams or taro.
The National Tropical Botanical Garden's website offers a number of recipes here.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
A one-pound pack of strawberries for $9.99? Get used to it, at least for the next month or so.
The freeze in Florida and heavy rains in California are taking their toll on off-season winter produce. At Iovine Brothers Produce at the Reading Terminal Market today, the clamshells of Driscoll California strawberries were as expensive as I've ever seen them, $9.99. In late January and into February, Iovines frequently features strawberries from Plant City, Floriday, at bargain prices, typically $1 or $2 for a one-pound pack. Don't expect to see them anywhere near that price this winter. The Florida freeze hasn't yet impacted citrus prices but Vinnie Iovine expects they'll start heading north over the next week or two. He's even, for all practical purposes, out of leeks! About one-third of Florida's total winter fruit and vegetable production has been lost to the freeze.
The Dutch and other growers will take up some of the slack for some of the items, but they'll be priced to reflect the shortages caused by natural phenomena. Chilean fruit isn't expected to be heavily affected, since most of what they grow isn't duplicated during winter in California and Florida, but even the Chilean grapes have been dear, with better quality bunches selling for upwards of $4.99, though some smaller Chilean seedless grapes could be had for $1.99 today.
Vinnie expects his display bins of specials will be heavy on the root vegetables, rather than fruit, in coming weeks.
Supply, demand and inventory hold their sway over fish prices, too. At John Yi today the mackeral was selling for $1.99, vs. $2.49 yesterday -- they gotta move it before it becomes too old. Meanwhile, Golden priced mackeral today at $2.99. A similar price discrepancy could be found in sardines: $4.99 at John Yi and $1.99 at Golden; there was no discernable difference to my eye in size and quanity between the two fishmongers.
Crowds were thick at the RTM at mid-morning today. Partly that was due to the opening of the home show across the street at the Convention Center, but also because of a soccer convention that ends today. Yesterday, DiNic's ran out of roast pork by 4:30 p.m., which Joe Nicolosi attributes to the soccer crowd.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Andrea Luca Rossi of Cichetteria 19 won an Iron Chef-style cookoff of radicchio dishes at the Reading Terminal Market yesterday. In photo at right, Andrea describes one of his winners, a scallop dish with grilled Radicchio Rosso di Treviso, to judges John Vena, Anna Florio and Franca Riccardi.
Joining Vena at the judge's table were Florio, who operates La Cucina at the Market, the cooking school located in the former market kitchen, and Riccardi, director of the Amerian-Italy Society of Philadelphia.
The winner's scallop dish (right) was served on a bed of the Variegata and was accompanied by a radicchio polenta with beets and goat cheese. In addition to his scallop dish, Rossi also offered a risotto. His restaurant is located 267 S. 19th.
The other competitors in the 30-minute cookoff (with running commentary from TV cook Christina Pirillo) were Luciana Spurio of Le Virtu, 1927 E. Passyunk, and Nunzio Patruno of Collingswood's Nunzio Ristorante Rustico, who formerly operated Philadelphia's Monte Carlo Living Room. Spurio prepared Fettucine Radicchio Trevigiano e Gorgonzola. Patruno served a scallop dish featuring radicchio and beans, and shrimp wrapped in the Variegata.
Here are some more photos from the competition, part of a promotion to encourage Philadelphia chefs and home cooks to use these winter chickory-like veggies.
Here's the selection of radicchio displayed at Iovine''s, along with recipes. The Variegata ($11.99/pound) is the light, speckled heads in the foreground, the Treviso the Rosso di Treviso (a.k.a. "early", $7.99/pound) are the romaine-like heads on the right, the Tardivo ($17.99/pound) the spidery samples in the center. All versions come from the Veneto, the region around Venice.
The Variegata is primarily used raw in salads, but the recipe cards distributed at Iovine's included a Parmigiana version in which the leaves are briefly cooked in cream, then finished in the oven with Parmegiano Reggiano.
It's citrus time at the Reading Terminal Market.
Over at Iovine Brother's Produce Spanish clementines are the star, $4.95 for a five-pound box. The skins aren't quite as zippery as they'll get a little later in the season, but they peel easily enough and have a good sweet-tart taste, as is appropriate for this variety of mandarin orange, which some contend is a lemon-orange cross.
I spied at least three varieties of navel oranges today, one selling for four for a buck, another for three for a buck. Jumanis were two for a dollar. Tangerines, grapefruits and other citrus fruits are also coming into season.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
The Radicchio di Treviso at Iovine Brothers Produce at the Reading Terminal Market was priced at $17.99/pound today in cello-trays. Heads of regular radicchio were $5.99/pound.
If you buy those Hass avocadoes from the Dominican Republic for $1 apiece (they still need a day or two to ripen, based on my light squeezes this morning), the limes to accent your guacamole are a little less dear: five for a buck.
Once upon a time you could buy dried Italian porcini mushrooms at Iovine's. All they've had recently are Chilean porcinis, which aren't bad but not as good to my taste. You can find the Italian ones over at the Spice Terminal; while I don't recall the price, it's considerably north of $30 a pound.
I'm lazy today so I passed up buying ingredients for soup. But it's definitely the right weather for it. I ran into one acquaintence who was planning to make a mushroom soup with maitakes (a.k.a. hen of the woods). For a mushroom barley or cream of mushroom soup, I like the dried porcinis, but also plain old fashioned white button mushrooms. Plain domestic mushrooms tend to be a forgotten food among foodies, but they represent excellent value and depth of flavor, particularly if they're a bit shriveled (but not slimy), which intensifies their flavor.
I complained previously about the high price of grapes. The green seedless ones were even more expensive today: $3.99/pound. Bell peppers are about as expensive as they ever get: even the frying peppers were $1.99/pound today.
The long English cucumbers (nearly seedless) are a good deal at Iovine's, however. Two for a buck. I'm going to make a quick Scandinavian style pickle from one to accompany fried fish for dinner.
As we near the holidays, the variety and price of fish seems to increase, especially those staples enjoyed for Night of the Seven Fishes. I picked up some cod filet from John Yi today at $9.99/pound, which is pretty much the normal price in retail markets. Good-looking whole wild striped bass was available at Yi and Golden Fish for about $6/pound.
What the Reading Terminal fishmongers don't carry is one of my favorite clam varieties: the soft "steamer" clams, which when prepared for frying are often called "Ipswich" clams. You can get them at Wegman's for $5/pound. The RTM fish stalls also don't offer much variety in the way of oysters. Chesapeake, Virginia and, occasionally, Long Island shell oysters are available for about a buck apiece, as are shucked oysters for stewing and frying, but I've yet to see this bivalve from more the northern waters of Maine, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Still no beignets at Beck's Cajun Café.
Joe Nicolosi does more than make great roast pork sandwiches at Tommy DiNic's. He's an accomplished musician. Although his main thing these days is classical piano (he's hard at work on his Chopin), he's going to be playing bass with his old band in a reunion of sorts Wednesday at Johnny Brenda's.
It's always fun to people-watch at the Reading Terminal. Today I squinted rudely to read the badges of one group of visitors attending a convention: the American Anthropology Association. They must have been there to study participants in a cheer-leading competition at the convention center, who were also gawking at the food and sandwich stalls.
Friday, December 04, 2009
Last February I wrote about Tardivo, a variant of Radicchio di Treviso that I found at Iovine Brother's Produce at $22/pound.
This year the Reading Terminal Market and Iovine's are dedicating an entire festival to Radicchio di Treviso. Or at least 45 minutes worth of festival.
The program, to be held a week from today in Center Court beginning at 11 a.m., will include a brief Iron Chef-like cookoff among local chefs.
Christina Pirello of Christina Cooks (a national PBS show produced by WHYY) will serve as emcee of the event. Among the judges will be Anna Maria Florio, owner and operator of La Cucina at the Market. Samples of the radicchio will be available at Iovine Brothers Produce.
How to use this bitter veggie, a descendant of chicory? You could wilt it in sautéed onions and use it in pasta or, without the onions, fold it into a risotto at the end of cooking; blanch it in a water-vinegar mix spiked with bay leaf, salt and peppercorns, then marinate it overnight in olive oil and serve as a salad, garnished with chopped hard boiled egg; prepare a fritto in a thin beer batter; or, do as McDonald's does, and add a few pieces to a mixed salad.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
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.
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.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The aisles were crowded at Iovine Brother's Produce at the Reading Terminal Market this morning as shoppers sought veggies for their Thanksgiving tables. Once you managed to fight your way through the aisles, however, checkout was a snap: Jimmy and Vinnie Iovine rigged up a couple of additional registers, so there were an even dozen cashiers working.
Once reason for the crowds might have been the prices. White utility and Idaho potatoes, in five-pound bags, would set you back only $1.99. A 10-pound bag of non-Idaho russets were an even better deal, $2.99. Red potatoes were a relatively pricey, but still thrifty, $2.99 for a five-pound bag.
Onions were a good deal, too, at a buck for a two-pound bag (red or yellow). Three-pound bags of carrots were selling for two for $3. The green beans for your classic canned fried onion-topped casserole, however, were $1.99/pound, about twice as much as you'd pay at peak season. If you like some bay leaf in your stuffing, tray packs of fresh leaves were $1.99.
Among the non-Thanksgiving produce, limes have tripled in price, to 3 for $1. Hass avocados were two for $1.49.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
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.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
At least some merchants and the Reading Terminal Market have seen business fall off dramtically due to the SEPTA strike.
One of Iovine Brothers Produce's managers said volume was off 40 percent. On top of that, he and fellow managers had become a de facto taxi service, driving employees to and from work.
Other merchants saw lesser impacts. Over at the Fair Food Farmstand, while business was off a little, it wasn't devastating.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Super Bowl Sunday is usually the peak day for guacamole. But with the Eagles playing Sunday, and the Phillies in the World Series Saturday, Sunday and Monday, why not dip into some this weekend?
The price of avocados and limes at Iovine Brothers' Produce shouldn't stop you. Large, Chilean Hass avocados were selling for a buck apiece today, and a lime will set you back a dime. Today the avocados were a bit on the firm size and could use a day or two of ripening. But they'd certainly be ready by Sunday.
Charlie, one of the managers for Iovines, says the Chileans have been in the avocado business for a long time, but the California Avocado Board worked to keep them out of the U.S. for the past 10 years. Now they're back, which means competition for both California and Mexico, the world's largest exporter of Hass avocados.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
When I think of Jujubes, I think of the tiny gummy candies from Heide's I would buy during my pre-adolescent years at the Saturday matinees at the Elmora Theater in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where I saw such classics as "X the Unknown" and "The Blob".
Little did I know there was another Jujube, which I found recently at Iovine Brothers' Produce at the Reading Termninal Market (photo top right). Unlike the sweet, sugary little pellets of my childhood, these Jujubes are alleged to have medicinal properties, as well as a more adult taste. They somewhat resemble dates and, indeed, are sometimes called Red Dates or Chinese Dates, though their origin is probably India. They have a wonderful scientific name: Ziziphus zizyphus. For those interested here's the Wikipedia entry.
The kaffir limes (photo at right) are also purportedly medicinal and are primarily used in Southeast Asian and Indonesian cuisines, frequently in a curry paste. They are also available at Iovine's.
With the coming of winter (it sure seems close with our recent weather) Iovine's is bringing in more citrus fruit. This past week Valencia oranges were available in bags at a bargain price of $1.99 for a four-pound bag. Tangerines were six for a buck, and Florida navels were five for $2. Cara Cara oranges were 3 for $1. Limes were a bit less pricey today, 5 for a buck. Lemons were 3/$1, but they were heavy with juice. After a hiatus of a week or so, red and green cactus pears are back in stock.
Figs remain available, at least those from California. A pint box of about a dozen brown figs was selling for $4.99 at Iovines. Chile, which dominates the out-of-season fruit market in Philadelphia, is expanding into avocados to compete with Mexico. Iovines was selling medium sized fruits this week, 2 for $1.49; smaller ones were in a separate bin for a quarter apiece.
For as long as I've been shopping there Iovines has sold tofu, but only the medium firm type they package into plastic containers in water. This week they expanded tofu offerings to include three or four additional firm and super firm versions, including a "tofu cutlet" ready for cooking. You can find them in the refrigerated cases by the Filbert Street checkout.
Unpasteurized cider is back in stock at Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce, available in pints and half-gallons. (In the past Ben Kauffman has also sold it in quarts; maybe he'll have those next week).
Kauffman's always has a nice selection of brassicas each fall, and this year is no exception, as demonstrated by the purple and white cauliflower, romanesco and broccoli in the photo at left.
One of the joys of Lancaster County in the fall is the appearance of local celery. Livingood's had them at the RTM this morning, $2 a bunch. The celery grown in Lancaster County is a tad less stalky and more leafy, but it's crispy freshness (versus the trans-continental California product) and deep green color make it welcome. I'll put some stalks on an old-fashioned relish tray, with a selection of olives, at dinner tonight. (Drat! I forgort to buy some fresh radishes to complete that tray.)
If we're lucky when we get closer to Thanksgiving we might see some white celery, which is the same thing as green celery except that the stalks are buried so they aren't exposed to light; the process is the same that produces white asparagus. This labor-intensive celery makes a wonderful side when braised in butter with a little white wine
Saturday, April 25, 2009
The Cost of Progress
Few ever noticed it, but the background to L Halteman’s fresh produce shelves, a rustic depicting of Lancaster County farming. came down when Iovine Brothers Produce consolidated most of its prep operations last month.
The mural was no great shakes as far as art goes, and it certainly wouldn’t be added to any museum’s collection of American folk art. Still, it was a nice little touch that added to the Reading Terminal Market’s eccentricity.
On the plus side, it gives Halteman’s stall greater visibility.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Shad from Southern rivers appeared at John Yi's last week. Today they were selling for $3.99 (buck), $4.99 (roe) and roe sets were commanding $7.99. Local shad don't appear in the Delaware until May.
Based on how good it was a few weeks ago, I bought some haddock fillet at $7.99. I'll pan fry it tonight, perhaps in a panko crust.
More About Citrus
Or, at least, price reports from Iovine Brothers at the Reading Terminal Market.
The prices have held relatively steady except for a whopping reduction in the cost of limes. For the past week limes have been selling for a dime apiece. With Hass avocados under a buck (89 cents), it's once more guacamole time.
On to the other citrus:
- Honeybells, small 8 for $1
- Honeybells, large 2 for $1
- Temple oranges, 4 for $1
- Cara Cara oranges, 5 for $2
- White grapefruit, 89 cents
- Jumbo red grapefruit, 3 for $1
- Small ruby grapefruit, 4 for $1
- Navel oranges, 3 for $1
- Mineola oranges, small 4 for $1
- Mineola oranges, large 2 for $1.49
- Jumanji oranges, 2 for $1.49
- Juice oranges, 4 for $1
Oh, and black truffles, $300/pound, with the two packs I saw priced at $18 apiece. Makes a heck of an omelet.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I counted more than a dozen varieties of citrus fruit at Iovine Brothers Produce Saturday morning. Here they are, along with prices:
- Temple oranges 5/$1
- Jumanji oranges 2/$1.49
- Blood oranges 4/$1
- Tangelos 5/$1
- Tangelos (3-pound bag of about 11) $2.99
- Tangerines 10/$1
- Ruby grapefruit (medium) 3/$1
- Red grapefruit ( large) 2/$1.49
- Navel oranges (California) 2/$1.49
- White grapefruit (medium) $2/1
- Honeybells 2/$1
- Cara Cara red oranges 2/$1.49
- Navel oranges (Sunkist medium) 3/$1
- Juice oranges (Florida) 4/$1
- Red navel oranges (Florida) 4/$1
If organic and small grower citrus from Florida is one of your requirements, you might consider stopping by the Fair Food Farmstand and paying a premium. Navels and Cara Cara red oranges were selling for $1.50 apiece, Sunburst tangerous 95 cents each. A premier juice variety, Hamlin, priced at 60 cents apiece. Red grapefruit were $2.75.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
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.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Florida juice oranges, Valencias and small navels were selling for 20 cents apiece. Sunburst tangerines continue to be eight for a buck. Among the grapefruits, larger pink and white grapefruits were two for a buck, small ruby three for a buck, larger Star ruby 99 cents apiece. Lemons and limes were both selling for 25 cents each, though O.K. Lee offered bags of limes (8 to a bag) for about half that price. In buying citrus, don't go by looks alone; instead, go for the fruit that's heaviest in the hand for its size.
Iovine's is also pushing imported berries. Half-pint clamshells of Argentine blueberries and Mexican raspberries could be had for a buck apiece. More attractive, to me, were the California brown figs, $1.99 for a box of about eight.
With Thanksgiving approaching, string beans are in demand, and Iovines featured bins of crisp fresh ones for 89-cents a pound.
Even though it's still autumn, John Yi must think it's spring. You could buy small whole shad there for $2.99/pound. In a few weeks we should start to see a wider variety of fish as Yi and the RTM's other fishmongers stock up for the holidays.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Hardly a year goes by and Iovine Brothers Produce decides its time to play musical chairs with its Reading Terminal Market displays. It keeps customers and staff on their toes.
The net result of this year's re-arrangement is a much more open feeling. That was achieved by using lower level bins for the first two aisles, mostly containing fruits and featured veggies. The racks of dried fruits, nuts and other items was moved against the window wall along Filbert Street. The standard size display cases form the row between the window wall and the bins. The mushroom refrigerated cases now joins the other coolers along the Filbert Street windows nearest the checkout.
Another facelift could been seen at Harry Ochs, where a new case is home to prepared items (like stuffed flank steaks, stuffed pork chops, patés, etc.), making more room for raw meat in the main case. The big roast and steak subprimals, however, are now invisible in the walk-in refrigerator.
As of Saturday, Jonathan Best was not yet open, but it appeared that all the cases and shelving was in place, just waiting to be stocked. I would expect they'll make every effort to open in advance of Thanksgiving.
With Rick's Steaks now departed, most of that space now serves as a seating area.
Monday, October 13, 2008
This could be found at Iovine Brothers Produce Saturday at the Reading Terminal Market. The fruits, about four or five inches long, reminded me of cactus pears (a.k.a. prickly pears). Although one of the Iovine managers told me they are similar in taste (and structure, with tiny seeds mixed in with the flesh) to kiwifruit, some Googling uncovered the fact that these Dragonfruit (more properly called Pitaya) are, indeed, the fruit of a cactus-like plant from semi-arid regions. The flesh can be either red or white. I passed them by, but maybe I'll try them (if I can extract the seeds, which can be eaten but are indigestible) in a sorbet.