Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Philly Farm and Food Fest

On Sunday April 1, I got the chance to visit the 2012 Philly Farm & Food Fest, which was attended by over 3,000 people. I talked to some amazing vendors who are truly committed to cultivating local food. From cheese to meat to produce to honey, the festival had it all and I’m only sorry that I didn’t get to try everything. The event made me feel confident that the local food movement in our area is more than just a trend and is indeed here to stay. Here’s a sample of some of the vendors who I got to chat with:

Zone 7 – Zone 7 works to fill a critical role connecting the demand for local foods with the supply from farmers and distributers. They bring produce into markets, restaurants and schools in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Distributing to over 100 vendors, they coordinate both with the farmers and those who get to eat and enjoy the produce.

Tait Family Farms - A family farm producing jams (the raspberry was unbelievable), chutneys, olive oils, vinegars and a one-of-a-kind cranberry mustard. All products are made with local ingredients from the farm. They produce in small batches and it shows in the finished product!
Cherry Grove Farm – Based in Lawrenceville NJ, Cherry Grove Farm boasts cheeses, grass-fed beef and lamb, heirloom pork and free range eggs. I got to try several cheeses – my favorite was the Cumin Jack, which had a light cumin taste and finished with a hint of citrus.

Winter Sun Farms – Winter Sun Farms is a wintertime community-supported agriculture (CSA) distributer. They take local produce grown in the summer months, flash freeze it and then distribute it from December through April.

Urban Apiaries – Of all the amazing stands I went to, Urban Apiaries may have been the most innovative. They have 35 beehives in Philadelphia (if you did a double take reading that, its okay, I did too). For example, there are five hives on the roof of Milk and Honey market in West Philadelphia. Consumers can then buy a honey directly from a zip code where the honey is from. Surprisingly all 7 honeys are different in taste and color – not what you’d expect coming from the same city!

Country Time Farm- Located in Hamburg, PA, Country Time Farm raises heritage pork without animal by-products or antibiotics. They sell numerous products, including sausage, scrapple, hot dogs and pork cheeks to restaurants and farmers markets. I got to try the hot dog, it was so tender and juicy it seemed almost wrong to call it a hot dog.

Happy Cat Farm – Immediately walking up to Happy Cat’s stand I was greeted by the smell of fresh herbs. Happy Cat sells seeds, plants and the produce that grows from those plants. Wendell Berry started the company after receiving a jar of his grandfather’s beans and the result has been a wide variety of products, all cultivated in Kennett Square, PA.

Three Springs Fruit Farm – Three Sprigs is a Food Alliance Certified Producer (a third-party certification for social and environmental responsibility). They grow apples, peaches, cherries, berries, jams, and also sell canned fruits and ciders. They were giving out apples to try, which I was suspicious of because it is clearly not apple season. I was happy to learn that they store the apples through the winter in climate-controlled basement so it was just as crisp and juicy as an apple fresh from a tree in the fall.
Overall the first Farm and Food Fest was a great success and I’m looking forward to seeing how these vendors continue to thrive and grow!

-- Leyla Mocan

Check out Part II of our recap of the Fest here!

1 comment:

  1. i *adore* urban apiaries!! i'm so sad i didn't know you were going or else i would've made an effort to go! *sniff*



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