May 15, 2008 |
Local crops and farmers markets got an early start this year. And judging from the relative bounty already evident at the growing number of markets, it is going to be a very good year. Besides opening earlier, markets have attracted more growers and vendors. So far, the variety of crops and products exceeds what we're used to at this point in the season. The mild winter and good weather conditions get some of the credit. The rest goes to smart farmers who took note of the 15 percent increase in farm-market business here last year and planned ahead, "forcing" some crops in greenhouses and "high tunnels" (tented crop rows in the field)
February 14, 2008 |
The standard cafeteria fare at Great Valley High School and Middle School (cheeseburgers, meatball sandwiches, taco salad, etc.) has been supplemented this year with clementines, snap peas, vegetable lasagna and other healthy options, many of them grown at (or, in the case of the lasagna, made from things grown at) local farms. The healthy local options are given out as samples by Great Valley students, with the help of volunteers and a few interns from local colleges. The farmers' markets, which set up shop at the high school and middle school once or twice a month, are funded though an $8,000 grant from Coatesville philanthropists Bob and Jennifer McNeil.
November 21, 2007 |
Pennsylvania soon will wrap up its best farmers' market season ever. The markets attract thousands of customers who buy tons of apples, blueberries, lettuce, corn, zucchini and other fruits and vegetables worth more than $50 million annually from farms across the state. In the last three years, the number of farmers' markets in the five-county Philadelphia region has increased by 20 percent, from 68 to 82. Our elected officials in Harrisburg could ensure that next year will be even better for farmers and consumers.
November 1, 2007 |
The problem with food served in a cafeteria is that invariably it tastes like cafeteria food. The steam-table aura is hard enough for any cafeteria to deal with - add to that requiring patrons to prepay nearly $4,000 a year, and you've got a college dining hall. Inmates in state penitentiaries may be easier to please. At the University of Pennsylvania, where freshmen are required to buy a $3,884 two-semester meal plan (it's optional for all other students), expectations run high, said Laurie Cousart, who oversees Penn Dining.
May 17, 2007 |
In a resounding endorsement of locally grown produce, the old "town square," and reasonable prices, farmers markets here and across the country continue to multiply, with at least 10 new seasonal markets opening in the Philadelphia region this year. In addition, Whole Foods, piggybacking on that popularity, will host weekly or monthly farmers markets chain- wide for the first time this spring, at six stores in this area as well as others across the country. These farmers markets will be set up under tents where space allows, and in front of stores or in parking lots on the smaller properties.
May 10, 2007 |
The first Saturday in May had farmers hauling out their vegetables, fruits and flowers for the first growers' market of the season in Chester County, in West Chester. But the West Chester Growers Market is just the first of seven local markets that have opened or will open over the next few weeks, selling fresh produce and baked goods. Details about each appear below. At West Chester Saturday, Peg Dearolf of Blueberry Hill Farm said her asparagus sold out within the first hour and a half.
September 7, 2006 |
Across the nation, obesity rates continue to climb, striking more than a quarter of the population in almost one quarter of the states, including Pennsylvania. But I think there is a way for residents here to combat fat: by frequenting their local farmers' markets. In my city, Lancaster, our 300-year-old Central Market is located in the heart of downtown, where the old King's Highway west from Philadelphia, now called King Street, meets the major north-south route, now called Queen Street.
June 28, 2006 |
We were out at 5:30 a.m. putting up handmade signs with directions. Our banner had been hung over the train station canopy. And we'd done as much local advertising as we could with our limited budget. It was the first day of the new farmers' market in downtown Swarthmore, and everyone was nervous. We had worked with Bob Pierson of Farm to City, the organization that helps communities set up farm markets, and had four of our five farmers ready to go on the last Saturday in May. But, we worried, what if we threw a party and nobody came?
June 4, 2006 |
At 3:15 a.m., the only light comes from a window in the barn. Chris Powell, with big shoulders, is loading the last of the vegetable and fruit boxes onto the truck. The market will open at six. No time to waste. This morning, he's got the first strawberries of the season. It's only the third Saturday in May, but his fields near Strasburg in Lancaster County are exploding with spinach, rhubarb, asparagus, sugar peas, radishes, lettuce, green onions, herbs and Swiss chard. The crunch of car wheels on gravel announces the arrival of helpers.
May 25, 2006 |
Farmers markets are blossoming everywhere. Blooming. Often, booming. Dozens of new markets have opened in the city and suburbs over the last few years, and the Delaware Valley College farm market in Doylestown has expanded exponentially, moving indoors for year-round operation, open seven days a week. And shoppers' expectations are growing along with them. More vendors. More products. More variety. Many markets now offer meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products - from milk to cheese - usually from pastured, "humanely raised" stock.