Farmer's markets sprout again, including a greenhorn in Far Northeast

At Parkwood market, Christina Owens
At Parkwood market, Christina Owens (picks plants at Taproot Farm stand while Lilly, 16 months, amuses herself.)
Posted: June 21, 2013

It's farmer's market season once again, and Ben Bergman has much to celebrate.

Not just the opening of about 65 markets in the Philadelphia/South Jersey region, but a brand-new one in his own neighborhood of Parkwood, in the city's Far Northeast.

This is an area known for its many supermarkets, maybe, but not for its fresh produce. Until Parkwood debuted on May 18 in the Third Reformed Presbyterian Church parking lot at Byberry and Barbary Roads, there were only three farmer's markets in the vast expanse north of Bridge and Pratt Streets.

"If you live all the way up here," Bergman said, "there's just nothing."

The Parkwood market, then, represents quite an accomplishment for the 35-year-old Northeast native, who grew up eating his veggies out of a can and, four years ago, experienced the beginnings of unease over his traditional American diet.

There were two prompts.

One, Bergman and his wife, Sarah, a special-education consultant, had their son, Ethan. "I want him to grow up eating healthy," Bergman said.

About that time, he also heard a radio interview with Michael Pollan, whose books to that point - The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto - had already made him an icon of the local-food movement.

Bergman was inspired enough to read The Omnivore's Dilemma. "It blew me away," he said.

And motivated him to begin visiting farmer's markets, and learning and blogging about the local-food movement at phillyfoodfeed.blogspot.com. "I didn't understand that strawberries in January were not the way to go. I know now that it's important to taste the seasons," Bergman said.

Slowly, his thinking, diet, even his career goals, began to change.

Bergman and his wife started buying more fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2010, he became a farm market manager for the Food Trust, which operates 25 markets, most in Philadelphia and many in low-income neighborhoods.

Then, in 2012, he signed on part-time with Farm to City, which this year will operate 19 farmer's markets in the Philadelphia region, including Parkwood and a second new one in Ambler. (Bergman's "real job" is with Otolith, a sustainable-seafood company in Kensington.)

The Ambler market opened June 1, the culmination of about a decade's worth of fits and starts in the borough. "A farmer's market here is a no-brainer but people kept running into roadblocks," said Allison Wolf, a real estate agent and copresident of Ambler Main Street, who worked on the farmer's market project.

Although there are several supermarkets nearby, Ambler, with its large walking community, has none. "People grocery-shop at CVS, so not only are they not getting fresh food, they're paying twice the amount they should," Wolf said.

At Butler Pike and Maple Avenue, the Ambler market hosts six vendors selling everything from local honey, dairy products, and artisanal breads to grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, and occasional fresh trout.

Fresh or flash-frozen fish is a relatively new offering at farmer's markets, according to Bob Pierson, Farm to City founder. The Rittenhouse Square market, which Bergman also manages, has had it for about two years; and, for the first time this year, it's at the South and Passyunk market in Queen Village.

And all the fish is from the Jersey Shore: scallops, bluefish, cod, flounder, monkfish, mahimahi, swordfish, and tuna.

"I've been waiting for years to get that kind of fresh fish from the Shore. It's quite a draw," Pierson said.

There's no fish, yet, at the new Parkwood venue, but there are representatives from Taproot Farm in Bucks County; McCann's Farm in Elk Township, Gloucester County; Wild Flour Bakery in Holmesburg; and Neil's Sharpening Service.

"Big Joe" McCarthy, a real estate agent and treasurer of the Parkwood Civic Association, showed up on the Parkwood market's opening day with his wife Stacey, also a real estate agent, and son Ever, 8. They spent $50 on spinach, arugula, radishes, asparagus, strawberries, two kinds of bread, and, for Ever, a homemade chocolate chip cookie.

"We're forcing ourselves to start our diet today. We're going to eat healthier," "Big Joe" said.

Melissa Lahiff, who lives in Parkwood, spent $20 on honey, spinach, basil, and other goodies. She typically has to shop around - Produce Junction, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's - because her 5-year-old son, Chase, has food allergies and cannot tolerate artificial flavorsor preservatives.

"A farmer's market here is very helpful," said Lahiff, who also has a daughter, Peyton, 2.

For one vendor, it's also very convenient: Wild Flour Bakery is less than five miles away. Within the first hour at the Parkwood market, it sold out of three kinds of bread.


Contact Virginia A. Smith at 215-854-5720 or vsmith@phillynews.com.


2013 Farmer's Market Directory

Here is a list of some area farmer's markets for 2013. Dates and times could change as the season progresses, and additional markets that have not yet opened for the season might be added. Details on markets, including those that accept SNAP and debit cards, are at www.farmtocity.org or www.foodtrustmarkets.org. Additional suburban markets are listed at www.Localharvest.org.

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia

Italian Market: S. 9th St. & Washington Ave.; Tue.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. to 2 p.m.

Reading Terminal Market: 51 N. 12th St.; Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Greensgrow Farm Stand: 2501 E. Cumberland St.; Thu. 3-7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Chestnut Hill: 8229 Germantown Ave.; Thu.-Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.-5 p.m., year-round.

Fitler Square (the Food Trust): S. 23d St. & Pine St.; Sat. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Grays Ferry (the Food Tru  st): Wharton & 29th Sts.; Tue. 2-6 p.m.

Head House (the Food Trust): Lombard & S. 2d Sts.; Sun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Liberty Lands (the Food Trust): 3d & Poplar Sts.; Thu. 3-7 p.m.

Point Breeze (the Food Trust): Tasker & 22d Sts.; Tue. 2-6 p.m.

Fairmount (the Food Trust): 2200 Fairmount Ave.; Thu. 3-7 p.m.

Oxford Circle (the Food Trust): 900 E. Howell St.; Thu. 2-6 p.m.

South Street (the Food Trust): S. Broad & South Sts.; Wed. 2-7 p.m.

Cecil B. Moore (the Food Trust): N. Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.; Thu. 2-6 p.m.

Schuylkill River Park (the Food Trust): Spruce & S. 25th Sts.; Wed. 3-7 p.m.

Germantown (the Food Trust): 6026 Germantown Ave.; Fri. 2-6 p.m.

Hunting Park (the Food Trust): W. Hunting Park Ave. & Old York Rd.; Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Strawberry Mansion (the Food Trust): Diamond & 33d Sts.; Tue. 2-6 p.m.

West Philadelphia (the Food Trust): 58th & Chester Sts.; Wed. 2-6 p.m.

Clark Park (the Food Trust): Baltimore Ave. & S. 43d St.; Thu. 3-7 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Haddington (the Food Trust): Haverford Ave. & N. 52d St.; Wed. 1-5 p.m.; Fri. 1-5 p.m.

Overbrook Farms (the Food Trust): Lancaster & City Aves.; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Dickinson Square: Farmer's Market (Farm to City): Moyamensing Ave. near Morris St. (southeast corner of square); Sun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Fountain Farmer's Market (Farm to City): E. Passyunk Ave. & 11th St.; Wed. 3-7 p.m.

Jefferson (Farm to City): Chestnut St. & S. 10th St.; Thu. 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Rittenhouse (Farm to City): Walnut St. & S. 18th St.; Tue. 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

The Porch Farmer's Market (Farm to City): In between the south side of 30th Street Station & Market St.; Wed. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Parkwood Farmer's Market (Farm to City): Byberry Ave. at Barbary Ave.; Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

SEPTA Farm Stand (Farm to City): Concourse level of 1234 Market St.; every other Wed. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Weavers Way Farmer's Market (Farm to City): Carpenter Ln. & Greene St.; Thu. 3-7 p.m.

South & Passyunk (Farm to City): South St. & E. Passyunk Ave.; Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Suburban Station Farmer's Market (Farm to City): Market St. & N. 16th St.; Thu. noon-6:30 p.m.

Gorgas Park Farmer's Market (Farm to City): Ridge Ave. & Acorn St.; Fri. 2-6 p.m.

Girard Farm Stand (Farm to City): W. Girard Ave. & N. 27th St.; Sat. 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Chestnut Hill Grower's Market (Farm to City): Germantown Ave. & Winston Rd.; Sat. 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

East Falls Farmer's Market (Farm to City): Under Rt. 1 overpass between Kelly Dr. & Ridge Ave.; Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

University Square (Farm to City): Walnut St. & S. 36th St.; Wed. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Walnut Hill Farm Stand (Farm to City): 4610 Market St.; Thu. 4-7 p.m.

Mayfair Farmers Market:  Ryan and Frankford Avenues, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m this Sunday and then alternate Sundays July 14 through Oct. 20.

Pennsylvania suburbs

Delaware Valley College: 2100 Lower State Rd., Doylestown; Mon.-Thu. 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Fri. 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., year-round.

Newtown: 2150 S. Eagle Rd., Newtown; Thu. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

None Such Farm: 4493 York Rd., Buckingham; Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. year-round.

Doylestown (Bucks County Foodshed Alliance): W. State St. & N. Hamilton St., Doylestown; Sat. 7 a.m.-noon

The Farmer's Market at Playwicki Farm (Bucks County Foodshed Alliance): 2350 Bridgetown Pike, Feasterville; Wed. 3-6 p.m.

Langhorne Farmer's Market (Bucks County Foodshed Alliance): 115 W. Richardson Ave., Langhorne; Tue. 3-6:30 p.m.

Lower Makefield (Bucks County Foodshed Alliance): Edgewood Rd. & Heacock Rd., Morrisville; Thu. 3:30-6:30 p.m.

Ottsville Farmer's Market at Linden Hill Gardens (Bucks County Foodshed Alliance): 8230 Easton Rd., Ottsville; Fri. 4-8 p.m.

Perkasie Farmer's Market (Bucks County Foodshed Alliance): Market & 7th Sts., Perkasie; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Plumsteadville Grange (Bucks County Foodshed Alliance): Pa. Route 611 north of Stump Rd., Plumsteadville; Sat. 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Wrightstown (Bucks County Foodshed Alliance): 2203 2d Street Pike, Wrightstown; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Kennett Square: 100 E. State St., Kennett Square; Fri. 2-6 p.m.

Pete's Produce Farm: 1225 E. Street Rd., West Chester; Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Phoenixville: Under Gay St. Bridge, Phoenixville; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

West Chester Growers Market: N. Church St. & W. Chestnut St., West Chester; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Ardmore: Coulter Ave. & St. James Place, Ardmore; Tue-Fri. 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Lancaster County Farmer's Market: 389 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne; Wed., Fri 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat., 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Ambler: Butler Pk. at Maple Ave.; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Oakmont (Farm to City): Darby Rd. & W. Eagle Rd., Havertown; Wed. 3-7 p.m.

Swarthmore (Farm to City): Swarthmore municipal building parking lot; Sat. 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market (Farm to City): GSB Building parking lot at E. City & Belmont Aves., Bala Cynwyd; Thu. 2:30-6:30 p.m.

Bryn Mawr (Farm to City): Lancaster Ave. in front of Bryn Mawr Train Station; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Collegeville Farmer's Market: 217 E. Main St., Collegeville; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Glenside Farmer's Market: Easton Rd. at Glenside Ave., Glenside; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Lansdale: Railroad Ave. & Main St., Lansdale; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Quarry Hill Farm: 620 Quarry Rd., Harleysville; Sat. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; Wed. 4-6 p.m.

Upper Merion Farmer's Market: 175 W. Valley Forge Rd., King of Prussia; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Burlington County Farmer's Market: 500 Centerton Rd., Moorestown; Sat. 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Camden Community Farmer's Market: Broadway & Martin Luther King Blvd., Camden; Fri. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Camden Children's Garden Farmer's Market: 3 Riverside Dr., Camden; Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Virtua Camden Farmers' Market: Mt. Ephraim & Atlantic Aves., Camden; Thu. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Starts June 27.)

Collingswood: Next to PATCO between Collings & Irvin Aves., Collingswood; Sat. 8 a.m.-noon.

Haddon Heights Farmer's Market: Station & Atlantic Aves. Sun. 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Haddonfield: Kings Court (center of historic Haddonfield). Sat. 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Merchantville Farmer's Market: Near Centre St. & Chestnut Ave., Merchantville; first and third Sats. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Springdale Farms: 1638 S. Springdale Rd., Cherry Hill; Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Voorhees Town Center Farmer's Market: Somerdale & Burnt Mill Rds., Voorhees; Sat. 8 a.m.-noon.

Westmont Farmer's Market: Haddon Ave. & Stratford Ave., Westmont; Wed. 4-7 p.m.

Duffield's Farm Market: Greentree & Chapel Heights Rds., Sewell; Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Mood's Farm Market: 901 Bridgeton Pike, Mullica Hill; Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

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