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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Know Where Your Produce Comes From!

Written by: Eliza Chute

When you go to pick out apples at a grocery store you have no idea where they came from, but when you go to a farmer’s market you can rest assured you are buying locally grown products, that are often also organically grown with little to no pesticides. Venture into Clarke Park in Philadelphia on a Thursday from 3-7 p.m. in the summer and you will find their own Farmer’s Market. When approaching 45th from the North or South, it looks as if there are only one tent, but when you get closer you will see an array of vendors lining the street, their unmarked and unbranded vans and trucks sitting behind them. In front of them lies their particular array of produce. This Farmer’s Market was set up by The Food Trust, which now operates 29 other Farmer’s markets in the Philadelphia region. These markets were set up in order to provide an outlet for local farmers as well as nutritious foods for local people. Something you might not guess about these farmer’s markets is that they all accept food stamps and Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program vouchers. After all, the Food Trust’s Motto is “Ensuring That Everyone Has Access To Affordable, Nutritious Food”. They have a variety of different programs to ensure this mission, including both community-based and school based. In the past year, the food trust has expanded it’s farmers market programs to include the now 30 they operate, enlarged their school programs to now include 100 schools in SE Pennsylvania, and has begun work to expand their efforts to other states, in addition to other recognitions and accomplishments.
This particular Farmer’s Market is the Largest in the city, and has been in operations for 10 years. The Project Associate, Jon Glyn told me that come July there will be fruit vendors lining 45th along with the current ones. The vendors on Thursday June 11th had a variety of different produce with vendors like Big Sky Bread Company and Mountain View Produce. Urban Girl’s Produce, a one-woman run vendor, also joins the line of other tents, selling delicious sweet potatoes, and even the Asian vegetable Poc Choi. Alongside her is Country Meadows, who sell delicious smelling chicken, cooked right there, with an interesting marketing strategy. Along there table are pictures of live chicken, a helpful reminder of
where your food is coming from. The Park itself is home to more than just farmer’s markets. This popular city park in West Philadelphia, also has an extensive playground in addition to hosting flea markets, arts and music festivals, movie screenings in the summer, Youth Expos and more, bringing the greater community together one activity at a time.

For more information on The Food Trust go to:
More information on Clark Park can be found at:
A Review of Urban Girl’s Produce can be found at this site:

July 11th- Chestnut Hill Book Festival- Celebrity Chef Maris Liberati will be signing books and on a panel discussion for writing about food

July 16th- Annapolis, MD, Whole Foods Market Culinary Center-The Basic Art of Italian Cooking Program & Sampling with book signing.

July 18th- Fairfax, VA- Whole Foods aMarket, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking Program and Wine pairing, book signing after. Samples, wine tasting provided. Email:

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