Dear Fair Foodies,
Spring is one of the best times to be an advocate for local food. Those first glimpses of green at the Farmstand and the return of hustle and bustle to our neighborhood farmers’ markets get us excited about the growing season ahead of us.
And to kick it all off we bring you the Philly Farm & Food Fest.
We are thrilled to be hosting this epic one-day marketplace with PASA for the third year in a row. It gives thousands of people a chance to connect directly with the farmers and food artisans that keep them well fed and well nourished. For us at Fair Food, seeing farmers, food artisans, cooks, moms, dads, kids, foodies, and eaters of all kinds come together to celebrate the start of another bountiful growing season in our beautiful region is a powerful embodiment of our mission.
Please come out and be part of the celebration this Sunday. It’s a great day full of shopping, sampling, and learning with local food lovers of all flavors! Hope to see you at Fest!
Alex Jones, Product Manager
Between slowly-emerging spring crops and preparation for Philly Farm & Food Fest, things are bustling around the Farmstand! We’ve just gotten an update from our forager friend David Siller, who hopes to bring us wild PATIENCE DOCK and NETTLES this week. David also let us know that he’s starting to see FIDDLEHEAD FERNS, but they’re not quite ready yet – keep an eye on our Facebook page to know when we get our first delivery!
Speaking of Siller, we’re super excited that the next session in our educational workshop series will be a foraging field trip in the City Branch portion of the Reading Viaduct! David will lead attendees on an edible plants tour of this wild, urban space on April 27.
The City Branch is a below-grade, open-air section of disused railway parallel to Callowhill Street and west of Broad Street – a perfect spot for wild plants to take root. We’re so excited to co-present this event with Friends of the Rail Park (who are working on turning this space into another awesome Philly park) and SEPTA, who have graciously granted us access the City Branch. Fair Food will donate a percentage of the proceeds for this event to Friends of the Rail Park. Click for more info and to buy tickets!
Elsewhere at the Farmstand, we’re making plans for holiday meats to make your Easter and Passover celebrations delicious! Contact email@example.com to reserve a ham from Sweet Stem Farm, Meadow Run Farm, or Country Time Farm. We also have some Meadow Run grass-fed brisket and Jamison Farm lamb cuts coming in, but quantities are limited – place your order before they’re gone!
On Saturday, April 12, look for the Fair Food table in Center Court at Reading Terminal Market’s SpringFest. From 10am to 4pm, we’ll be selling all kinds of exotic eggs – EMU, GOOSE, DUCK, QUAIL, and both BROWN and MULTICOLORED PASTURED CHICKEN EGGS. Get prepared for Easter with these beautiful, rare, and unique eggs, whether you’re preparing a frittata or decorating with the shells.
And Sunday, April 13 is the big day! Join us for the 3rd Annual Philly Farm & Food Fest, at the Convention Center from 11am to 4pm (tickets available online here). Keep an eye out for the Fair Food Farmstand’s table – we’ll be selling and sampling some of our favorite cheeses from Doe Run Dairy, Roundtop Farm, and Keswick Creamery, plus RipRap Baking’s delicious sourdough flatbread crackers. And while I’m excited for all of the awesome Fest vendors, be sure to visit Fair Food members. Look for the Fair Food logo at their tables and show them some extra love!
Jessica Moore, Founder, CEO, & Chief Wrangler, Philly CowShare
Philly CowShare delivers local meat, including 100% grass-fed beef and pastured-raised pork, from responsible regional farmers and butchers to people who want to eat well. We are passionate about delicious and nutritious food, supporting regional farmers and butchers, sustaining the land, and caring for animals. We share that passion with our customers and provide them not only with easy access to humane, sustainable meat, but also to more and better ways to enjoy every part.
If you prefer to know where your meat comes from but don’t have extra time in your day to do the research on farms or navigate the butchering process, Philly CowShare is here. We do all the heavy lifting for our farmers and customers while giving you the story behind your purchase. Delivery comes right to your door. We even have a program to buy as a group and save some money because it’s more fun with friends!
This year, we will be at Philly Food & Farm Fest on April 13. We’re bringing our expert butcher, Bryan Mayer of Kensington Quarters, to answer your questions. Kevin Tucker, our farm manager, will also be onsite to answer your questions about our farms and the environmental benefits of pastured-raised meats.
Even better, we are giving away a free chicken with every order made by Fest attendees. Get your tickets to Fest and place your order by April 12 to receive a free chicken and free home delivery!
We would like to thank Ann Karlen and the staff at Fair Food and the Fair Food Farmstand in the local, healthy food movement. As a national and local leader, they have opened up opportunities for businesses like Philly CowShare to serve our community. Thank you Fair Food!
Philly CowShare is proud to support Fair Food and the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture, two key organizations at the foundation of the local, clean food movement, by participating in Philly Farm & Food Fest. Tickets and more info: www.phillyfarmfest.org.
Alex Jones, Farmstand Product Manager
As we’ve seen over the past several weeks, spring 2014 has unfurled a little more slowly than most of us would like. On one hand, that gives a little more time for procrastinators like me to plant our gardens with HEIRLOOM SEEDS from Happy Cat Farm – but what’s less fun is that compared to 2013, we’re about 2 weeks “behind” last year’s drop dates for spring crops.
However, I’m pleased to announce that Landisdale Farm has sent us their first harvests of ORGANIC SPRING GARLIC this week! Use bulb, stem, and leaves of this mildly-flavored young garlic to flavor recipes as you would its mature, cured version. It makes a great pesto and a great soup, too. Serve alongside Oasis at Bird-in-Hand’s CHEMICAL-FREE OVATION GREENS salad mix – a zesty blend of baby red mustard greens, tatsoi, kale, mizuna, and arugula.
While seeds will sprout and cold crops will flourish based on daylight hours and soil temperature, animals that reproduce in the spring – like sheep and goats – will pop on time whether it’s snowing orspringlike. And fowl increase their production with the changing seasons, too – so while we’ve been waiting for veggies, we at the Farmstand have turned our excitement to EGGS!
Last Sunday, I took to the country roads of South Jersey to check in with two fowl farms, one a brand new vendor and one a Fair Food tradition: Stow Creek Quail in Bridgeton and Boody Mill Emu Ranch in Sewell, respectively. (Check out photos from the fowl-filled trip on Facebook).
Stow Creek farmer Loriann Gibson and her husband Brandon keep horses, a few goats, and heritage breed pastured chickens on a handful of acres in a part of the state where feral pigs and wild turkeys roam free – but the heart of their business is quail, specifically QUAIL EGGS. When Gibson graduated from University of Delaware’s animal sciences program in 2010, she knew she wanted to work with animals, and quail became the perfect fit.
Gibson raises a small flock of Coturnix (AKA Japanese) quail, a variety bred by Texas A&M University to produce almost an egg a day on average – nearly as often as chickens do. This breed is delicate, and to avoid the use of antibiotics, Gibson keeps her adult birds in a roomy hutch elevated several feet off the ground. That protects them from predators and decreases the chance that diseases from wild birds will make it to her animals.
We’re stocking Stow Creek’s beautifully-patterned quail eggs in dozens this spring – stock up for Easter, or just experiment with a fun, delicious new food. Gibson’s favorite ways to cook quail eggs are scrambled with a good truffle cheese or 4-5 eggs fried all together, like a chicken egg with several small yolks. Or try them fried on a slider, perhaps?
After my quail primer, I headed back north to Sewell, NJ – more suburb than country, but the woods off of NJ-45 conceal a surprise: Boody Mill Emu Ranch, where large animal vet Dinah Flack and her husband Marcus Bass raise a dozen or so of these fascinating, dinosaur-like flightless birds.
Flack and Bass became emu owners sort of by accident: back in the ’90s, investing in emu, ostrich, and other ratites became a sort of fad for the wealthy, and Boody Mill was originally supposed to be where these investments were cared for until payoff – that is, breeding, then processing for meat, skin, and oil (emu oil, refined from their fat, is reputed to have analgesic effects). But the emu bubble burst, and the proprietors of Boody Mill found themselves owning their flock. The pair-bonded birds are kept on the wooded land behind their home in several 100-foot pens, where the 5’-tall birds have plenty of room to stretch their scaly legs.
Lucky for Flack and Bass (and for us), the now-20-something-year-old mob of emus (yes, that’s what you call a group of these birds) make fun, chill pets – and they’re still laying their amazing EMU EGGS each winter.
Emu eggs are laid by female emus during the cold months, when they can be kept warm by brooding males. The males will gather the brilliant blue-green eggs into a pile using their chins, then plop down on them for several weeks without eating, only getting up to drink a little water. In a farm situation, one simply straddles the brooding male, lifts him up around the ribcage, and grabs the eggs — he doesn’t seem to notice.
Once harvested, the eggs last for several months because their thick shells keep the white and yolk inside fresh – and those shells have to be thick: the female lays them while standing up, so they’ve got to survive a drop of several feet.
There are two ways to open an emu egg: One is to crack it open just as you would a chicken egg (but with a little more force). The other is to drill holes in the top and bottom of the shell, then blow out the egg so that the shell stays intact (and perfect for decorating). The contents of the shell has a slightly higher proportion of yolk to white than a chicken egg, with a mild, pleasant flavor and a fluffy, delicious texture when used in baking, quiches, or scrambles. It’s about the same volume as eight good-sized chicken eggs. Last year, I turned mine into a light, airy spinach and spring garlic frittata. (I can’t recommend hard-boiling them, though – an acquaintance tried it last year and the results were, sadly, not edible.)
Emu eggs (and the dishes made from their contents) make awesome gifts/Easter basket items for the foodie, dinosaur lover, or Game of Thrones fan in your life! We’ll be selling them at the Farmstand while supplies last, and at Reading Terminal Market’s SpringFest from 10am-4pm on April 12, along with quail, duck, goose, turkey, and brown or multicolor chicken eggs.
Fair Food is so pleased to be working with the PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) again to bring you the Third Annual Philly Farm & Food Fest on April 13, 2014 from 11am to 4pm!
We hope you will join us to kick off the growing season with a huge day of sampling, shopping, and learning at our region’s largest gathering of local farmers, food artisans, restaurants, and sustainable businesses. There will be over 140 vendors; cooking demos; workshops with Don Shump of Philadelphia Bee Co. and Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars; book signings; family friendly activities including a director-led preview of new Philly-made movie Watermelon Magic; an expert panel discussion led by nationally-known food blogger Clark Wolf; and so much more.
…and did we mention that kids under 12 get in free?!
Check out the online event guide (or find it in this month’s Grid Magazine) for a full preview!
We’ve even expanded our offering of exclusive tasting sessions! With a $15 upgrade to your general admission ticket, you can enjoy a guided tasting of either (though why not both?!) a selection of local spirits from makers like Dad’s Hat Rye, Philadelphia Distilling, Victory Brewing, Subarashii Kudamono, and more in the Local Libations Lounge – or a series of delicious, fresh, locally-raised oysters and clams, curated and led by Sam Mink, owner of Oyster House Philly, at the Shellfish Salon. You’ll have the opportunity to meet the makers and truly get intimate with the decadent side of Philly’s terrior.
DETAILS & TICKETS
3rd Annual Philly Farm & Food Fest
Sunday, April 13, 2014 – 11am to 4pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex
General Admission: $20 in advance, $25 at the door*
*Children under 12 are free
Local Libations Tasting: $15 (advance only)
Shellfish Salon Tasting: $15 (advance only)
All proceeds benefit Fair Food and PASA.
Alex Jones, Product Manager
This space is usually reserved for updates on products at the Fair Food Farmstand – like how DRIED JUJUBES and MULTICOLORED PASTURED EGGS are back in stock! But today, I’m excited to share some news that has to do with Fair Food’s consulting work – and some of our Farmstand vendors and member businesses.
Back in January, we got a call from Mrs. Green’s Natural Market, a Connecticut-based chain of small, health-focused grocery stores that’s expanding all over the continent. Besides their original Connecticut stores, the company has locations in New York, Virginia, Chicago, and Toronto, with the Princeton, NJ area next on their list. They emphasize food that’s fresh and healthy – all produce in their stores is certified organic, other products must contain natural ingredients, and their prepared food section makes it easy to grab delicious, good-for-you meals on the go.
Mrs. Green’s wanted help building relationships with small, sustainable, local farmers and food artisans in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Since Fair Food’s mission is to build markets for local farmers and producers, we jumped at the chance to be a part of this process.
And after a few months of hard work (and lots of tasty product sampling), the very first Mrs. Green’s in New Jersey will open this week! The West Windsor store – located just outside Princeton – will sell local products from bread and cheese to kombucha and black garlic alongside certified organic produce and healthy, natural national and international brands.
To mark the occasion, Mrs. Green’s West Windsor is throwing a party before their opening. Meet and sample delicious products from local vendors Cherry Grove Farm, Christina Maser Pantry, Griggstown Farm, Subarashii Kudamono, and Vera Pastatonight from 6:30-8:30 at the new store’s Preview Celebration, and pop in to shop when the store officially opens for business on Friday at 8am.
And while you’re there, keep an eye out for awesome local products from these Farmstand vendors:
Bill’s Best BBQ Sauce | Cherry Grove Farm
Christina Maser Pantry | Daisy Flour* | Donna & Co*
Epic Pickles | Food & Ferments | Fresh Tofu*
Gilda’s Biscotti | Griggstown Farm | Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op
Obis One Black Garlic* | Pequea Valley Yogurt
Righteous Felon Jerky | Stinky Girl Beauty Co. | Stryker Farm
Subarashii Kudamono | Tait Farm | Vera Pasta | Wild Flour Bakery
*Fair Food member business
Fair Food member and healthy, local-food-focused lunch spot sweetgreen has just opened a brand new location at 924 Walnut Street and tomorrow,Wednesday, March 26 from 11 am to 4 pm they will be offering “Pay What You Want” prices for their awesome lineup of sandwiches, salads, and juices, with all proceeds benefitting Fair Food!
sweetgreen was founded in 2007 and has worked closely with farmers and producers to source local, organic ingredients for their menu. A long-time Fair Food member and supporter, sweetgreen represents the power of sourcing locally for healthy fast-casual food.
This is a great opportunity to support Fair Food, check out the new sweetgreen spot, and enjoy a fresh, healthy, delicious, and locally-sourced lunch all at the same time! Please gather all your friends and colleagues in support of Fair Food and grab lunch at sweetgreen tomorrow between 11 and 4!
Our sincere thank you to sweetgreen for their support!
I’m not super into Valentine’s Day for many of the reasons you might imagine a progressive lady wouldn’t be. But I’ve grown to appreciate it in recent years – mostly because of the food.
After the bleak reality of post-holiday January, Valentine’s Day is a welcome excuse to prepare an extravagant meal with your sweetie or treat someone (yourself included!) to something delicious. Fair Food has everything you need for an intimate, home-cooked, locally-sourced dinner, as well as some awesome edible gifts.
For a Valentine’s dinner that will get hearts racing: start with a MICRO RED KALE salad garnished with crisp, pink WATERMELON RADISHES and our new Kevin’s Fresh LEMON VINAIGRETTE (bonus points if you carve your radish slices into hearts). Follow with a lavish honey-lacquered DUCK BREAST from Griggstown Farm accompanied by a romantic side of roasted PETITE POTATOES from Phillips Farm tossed with Overbrook Herb Farm’s ROSEMARY.
For dessert, try this modernized apple tarte tatin with STAYMAN WINESAP APPLES from Three Springs Fruit Farm or YORK IMPERIAL APPLES from Beechwood Orchards. Serve with whipped Seven Stars Farm’s ORGANIC HEAVY CREAM and a glass of port wine for a real “wow” finish.
If you’re on the hunt for gifts, we’ve got you covered. Use one of our gift baskets or an adorable (and functional) Fair Food tote to build your own gift box for any special someones! Here are our suggestions for some winning gift combos:
For the health nut: Show how much you care by giving the gift of probiotics. Pick up a jar of pink-hued LOVER’S KRAUT from the awesome artisans at Food & Ferments; a pint of Wholesome Dairy Farms’ delicious VANILLA AGAVE KEFIR (full of active cultures); a jar of local, grass-fed SIMPLY GHEE for those omega-3s; and a few rosy local APPLES to keep the doctor away.
For the decadent gourmet: Chocolate, of course. Grab a John & Kira’s HEARTS AND BUTTERFLIES or BEE MY LOVEBUG gift box featuring artisan chocolates hand-painted with cocoa butter and filled with salted honey caramel or almond hazelnut praline.
Or pick up a beautiful bar of Gabby’s Cacao’s Venezuelan direct-trade 73% DARK CHOCOLATE identified by bean varietal and vintage. Add a few CANALES from Market Day Canele, a jar of GOAT MILK CARAMEL SAUCE (cajeta) from Yellow Springs Farm, and a wedge of aged raw milk cheese – try Doe Run Farm’s toasty, savory ST. MALACHI – to complement all that sweetness.
For the cheese lover: Show your dairy-wild valentine how much you care by crafting the perfect cheese spread to start (or end) a special evening. A few sumptuous suggestions:Yellow Springs’ aged goat milk NUTCRACKER, washed in walnut liqueur; Keswick Creamery’s big, bold Stilton-style BLUE SUEDE MOO; and King’s Creamery’s new Camembert-style HOW NOW COW. Pair with your favorite Tait Farm preserves, a bag of Rip Rap’s flatbread SOURDOUGH CRACKERS, and Philadelphia Bee Co.’s NEIGHBORHOOD HONEY.
Contributed by Fair Food member Andrew Satinsky of Weckerly’s Ice Cream
In preparing to write this piece I asked for some advice from the folks at Fair Food. With a few simple words of direction from Emily Kohlhas came an opportunity to explore the essence of our product and reflect on the relationships that are continuing to grow out of making small batch ice cream. She said, “focus on how you integrate local ingredients into your products.” I thought about how local dairy and produce are at the core of every batch we make. It struck me that we have to exercise the most consideration with imported ingredients like sugar, cocoa, and vanilla, adding these items with care so as not to overpower the wonderful-and often subtle- flavors from our local farms.
Weckerly’s Ice Cream was born out of my partner Jen’s experience as a pastry chef. Creating desserts for ever-changing seasonal menus, she always felt a great affinity for ice cream. Few other desserts allowed her to focus on building an experience around the flavor of one or two perfect ingredients.
Every step of creating an ice cream flavor starts with one ingredient. In the beginning that ingredient was cream. As we experimented with ice cream mixes and commercially abundant dairy there was something missing in our base. The plain ice cream lacked a depth of flavor that would be an important building block. In discussing our sourcing with Fair Food Director Ann Karlen she suggested that we try Seven Stars’ organic grass-fed cream from Phoenixville. At first taste we knew we had found the missing piece. From there the process was simplified. The other base ingredients-sugar, eggs, and salt-were integrated to accent the unique qualities of the milk and cream.
This approach carries through to every flavor. From spring to early winter the ingredients that inspire each flavor come from local harvests. Heirloom cranberries from Paradise Hill are framed by caramelized white chocolate, and lavender’s herbal sweetness is complimented by raw wildflower honey. Our responsibility in crafting the ice cream is to allow each ingredient room to work its magic.
The guidance and advice provided by Fair Food has been invaluable to a small operation that pours a great deal of time into production. Making the connection between producers and the best local farm sources completes an important link in the chain. As our company grows, that resource extends to helping create lasting relationships throughout the supply chain. When we came looking for more information about small-scale dairy production, Product Manager Alex Jones introduced us to some of Chester County’s farmstead cheese makers. This network has a thorough understanding of what goes into producing great quality milk, and through this relationship we can grow with dairy from pastured cows that live happy, healthy lives.
Weckerly’s Ice Cream produces small batch French-style ice cream with local and organic products in West Philadelphia. Find their seasonal specialties in the freezer case at the Fair Food Farmstand or consider pre-ordering your favorite flavors for pick up or delivery through their Pint of the Week program!
Photos courtesy of Ted Nghiem.
Alex Jones, Farmstand Product Manager
As reported last week, the cold has hampered our intrepid farmers’ best efforts to harvest salad and cooking greens. But even when leafy crops fall through, there’s lots of tasty, interesting, and unique local produce to find at the Farmstand – more than just potatoes (though we’ve got those too!).
Read on for some of our favorite ways to prepare these hardy, tasty vegetables, then stock up at the Farmstand (and see how best to store them at home). It’s time for a Root Vegetable Recipe Roundup!
ALLIUMS: Revisit these flavor-boosting veggies as the star of a dish, not a supporting role: Try this tartwith YELLOW ONIONS, this 44-clove GARLIC soup,melt some LEEKS with white wine, or caramelizesome whole JUMBO SHALLOTS.
BEETS: We’re keeping HEIRLOOM LUTZ, GOLD, and CHIOGGIA varieties in stock. Lutz beets are big, red, and – despite their large size – stay tender, never woody. Great for making Russian borscht, roasting and adding to grain salads, grating, or pureeing. Use “bleedless” gold beets to add color and Chioggia when preparing nice round slices in this beet carpaccio - the better to show off their pink and white striped flesh.
BURDOCK: A winter-only rarity at the Farmstand, it’s high in vitamin C and is said to have detoxing and immune-boosting properties. Peel, slice thinly, and sautee with olive oil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar, or stir-fry it with carrots to make kimpira.
CARROTS: Choose your favorite blend of KYOTO RED, DEEP PURPLE, YELLOW, and traditional ORANGE CARROTS for this rainbow ribbon salad, or sauté up slices ofcarrot in honey ginger butter for a beautiful side.
CELERIAC: AKA celery root, this knobbly knot is full of refreshing, subtle flavor, kind of like a celery stalk and a parsnip had a baby. Add to potato dishes, bake into a gratin, or any of the other 10(!) things to do with celeriac.
KOHLRABI: This cabbage-turnip missing link is covered in a sturdy green skin, but its flesh is crisp, sweet, and juicy. Peel and grate into slaw or give it a braise in butter.
POTATOES: We’re stocking waxy REDS, flavorful YUKONS, a lovely MIXED FINGERLING BLEND, and the occasional PURPLE VIKING or ADIRONDACK BLUE as they’re available. New this week? Cute little GERMAN BUTTERBALL POTATOES, golden-hued and ready to shine in any dish (preferably with some heavy cream).
RADISH: Grab juicy, pink WATERMELON RADISHES or crisp, zesty GREEN RADISHES and use them as you would smaller radishes – just be sure to peel them first and slice thinly. Try thismarinated salad with slices of red onion.
RUTABAGA: This purple-skinned root is a sweet, tender hybrid of potato and turnip. Get rich and smoky with this cheesy, smoked paprika-rutabaga puree or stay raw with this juliennedrutabaga/carrot/apple salad.