From the Editor: Philly to Farm

"There are so many opportunities. We wish we were 20 years younger,” Paul Crivellaro mused, sitting across the kitchen table from his wife Ember in their Berks County home. It was a cold, gray December day and the Crivellaros had invited me in for coffee and cookies after a short meet-and-greet with their herd of heritage pigs—hulking beasts with floppy ears and low-key personalities. Trotting amongst the massive backs and inquisitive snouts were troupes of piglets, barely the size of my rotund housecat. 

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Cover Story: Second Life

A recently-renovated Glenside home showcases salvage's potentialWhen her family moved from Paoli to Glenside, Fran Crotty knew she wanted to do a green remodel using as much salvaged material as possible. It was also essential that the renovation blend in with the historic character of the home.  

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Intersections: Flower Power

This year’s Philadelphia International Flower Show features several green exhibitions.

The 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show will showcase not only beautiful flowers and horticultural achievements, but also innovative green projects. It’s fitting, since the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) funnels $1 million in Flower Show revenue into their Philadelphia Green urban revitalization program. Philadelphia Green works to improve vacant land, restore parks, plant trees, manage stormwater runoff and create community gardens. PHS also runs City Harvest, a program that brings fresh produce to underserved communities by investing in urban agriculture.

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Intersections: Yards Tasting Room

Venerable local brewery taps a new market.

In late January, Yards Brewing Company unveiled their latest assist to the city’s hangovers: a tasting room at their brewery on Delaware Avenue. The space will sell six-packs, cases, kegs and sixtels, in addition to pints that can be enjoyed at the U-shaped bar. The tasting room was constructed using a plethora of recycled and salvaged materials—the bar is made from old bowling alley planks, the floor is a sustainable composite and the lights came from an old Bennigan’s. There is also a limited food menu featuring sandwiches and chili. In addition to its regular hours, the tasting room is available for private parties and events.
901 N. Delaware Ave, noon–7 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 
noon–4 p.m. Sun., yardsbrewing.com 

 

Profile: Pet Project

Companion Pet Hospital cares for Philly’s furry friends and the environment.

While strolling along rowhouse-lined 5th Street in Pennsport, you might be surprised to pass the newly opened Companion Pet Hospital (CPH). The modern building, which sits between Dickinson and Tasker, stands out in this historic South Philly neighborhood. It houses a full-service veterinary hospital run by Dr. Cori Majeska and her husband, Josh Weber. 
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Review: Bringing It To The Table

Wendell Berry understands technology’s lure to farmers. In 1950, when he was 16, his father bought a tractor, and suddenly he found he was impatient with his mules. But what does a tireless machine do to a farmer’s relationship to the land? Land becomes something to overcome—a perspective shared by a traveler on an interstate or in a plane. “I now suspect that if we work with machines,” Berry writes, “the world will seem to us a machine, but if we work with living creatures, the world will appear to us a living creature.”
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News Flash: A New Solar Panel Plant Will Bring 400 Jobs to the Naval Yard

The Naval Yard is set to welcome HelioSphera, the latest addition to the city’s sustainable scene. The two-year-old, privately-held company is based in Athens, Greece and manufactures solar panels. They use a process licensed from Oerlikon Solar, a Swiss company, to produce Micromorph thin-film photovoltaic panels, which are rapidly gaining share in the solar-cell market because of their low cost.
Micromorph modules perform in low light, partial shading and higher temperatures, resulting in above-average energy yields. Thin-film solar cells do not produce as much electricity as traditional crystalline silicon solar panels, but they are much cheaper to manufacture.
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Review: Food Rules: An Eaters Manual

Food Rules is basically the CliffsNotes version of Michael Pollan’s last two books—The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. But that’s not a diss: This little collection of tips and food facts offers plenty of practical, distilled information. Even for committed Pollan-ites, it’s a quick, breezy refresher, and a nice motivation for re-commitment to whole foods and sustainable eating. 
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How To: Make Your Own Tomato Sauce

Liberating yourself from processed and prepackaged food often starts with the small stuff. For me, salad dressing was a game changer. Once I realized how simple it was to make, and started reading the labels on commercial brands (Canola oil as the number one ingredient? Water as number two?!), I could never go back. A simple process to master, vinaigrettes can be tweaked and custom tailored with delicious results.

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Food: Winter Greens

In the summer, eating local is easy. Farmers’ markets abound, featuring mounds of beautiful, colorful produce. In the winter, there are potatoes, sweet potatoes, and a rotating cast of root vegetables that require a bit more work than the kiss of the grill and a splash of olive oil. Fortunately, there are a few green things hardy enough for the long slog through winter—kale, collard greens, chard and spinach among them. These winter staples are essential for providing that I’ve-eaten-my-vegetables satisfaction, and are some of the healthiest things around.

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Food: Soy Bien

A Chinatown company churns out tofu

Manufacturing is a centuries-old tradition in Philadelphia, but over the last 50 years, countless factories have left the city. In 1990, Yatsun Wen, a Chinese immigrant, started manufacturing tofu by hand in Chinatown. Now, 20 years later, his company Nature’s Soy has distribution up and down the East Coast, and as far west as Chicago.

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Recipe: Root Cause

A seasonal spin on Shepherd’s Pie 

photo and recipe by erin gautsche, farmtophilly.com
This vegetarian casserole is a variation on the traditional Shepherd’s (or Cottage) Pie, created in England in the late 18th Century to feed poor working families.  The top layer features the ubiquitous (and cheap!) potato; we’ve replaced the traditional filling of leftover meat with a flavorful mix of vegetables and tempeh and made the crust out of lentils.  
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Noble Salvage: Lost and Found

A local architectural salvage company finds value in the discarded.

Walking into Provenance Old Soul Architectural Salvage’s Fairmount Avenue space is a bit like entering the world of a children’s book—the sort with creaky doors and hidden passages to menacing places. The best kind. There is a strange sort of magic to old things, to objects that have been on a journey. Items with history are Provenance’s specialty. Their warehouse overflows with row upon row of doors and windows, old church pews, light fixtures, slab marble, chunks of old-growth wood, knobs of every shape and size, molding, mantles, bricks and thousands of other objects. 
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Noble Salvage: Wood Works

Two local businesses turn trash into tables.
A few years ago, two friends started filling up their homes with what most of us would consider trash. At the time, neither one of them even had a reason for spending most of their spare time rummaging through various job sites and dumpsters for wood, much of it significantly damaged by water or termites. But among the debris, there were also gems—beautiful pieces of lumber, left to rot.  ¶    Christopher Stromberg and David Quadrini, former co-workers at an architecture firm, couldn’t stomach that potential treasure going to waste, so they hauled the wood to their respective basements. Eventually the two men realized they shared this passion for salvage.
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