Rebels With a Cause

Illustration by Chris Hall

Entrepreneurial middle schoolers evolve
into focused jerky makers

1998. Downingtown Middle School Cafeteria. Fifth period lunch. I had just finished my brown-bagged salami, mustard and Cooler Ranch Doritos sandwich, and scrounged through my backpack for the $5 bill my mom gave me each morning for drinks and snacks. I got the same thing everyday: strawberry kiwi lemonade ($1.49), a giant chocolate chip cookie ($1), and a Taco Bell soft taco ($1.50). Yes, our cafeteria actually served Taco Bell, an inconceivable travesty by current childhood nutrition standards, and heaven on earth to a 12-year-old. It was that golden era of flavor, when adulterated concerns like “health” and “natural ingredients” never got in the way of unalloyed indulgence.

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Invasive Question

As snakeheads spread across the U.S., some experts are saying that if you can't beat them, eat them. | Photo courtesy Profish Ltd. Can restaurants and diners curb the rapid growth
of non-native species?

In just a few short years, the snakehead fish has come a long way. Its native habitat is in Africa and Asia, but by 2002 it had found a way to travel thousands of miles to a pond in Crofton, Md., (although no one knows how it got there). In a couple of years the fish—which can crawl out of the water and along the ground to find a new home—had traveled to Philadelphia, Virginia and Delaware. But its final home may be on your plate.

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Yard Works

Photo by Christian Hunold

John Janick plans to hit the 100 species mark in his backyard this year. In 2010, after consulting with Audubon Pennsylvania, he ripped up the car pad behind his West Mount Airy house. Since then Janick has planted 70 varieties of trees, shrubs and other plants—all native to Pennsylvania—in an effort to support native biodiversity: both by planting native plants as well as providing food and habitat for native critters.

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Gray Sells Green: Specialty market Green Aisle Grocery expands westward

 

Liz peruses a products case at the Green Aisle Grocery on Grays Ferry Avenue. | Photos by Megan Matuzak

The electric-green storefront of local food market Green Aisle Grocery on Grays Ferry Avenue is a sign of change. Five years ago, the acupuncture clinic across the street or frozen Greek yogurt shop on the corner would have seemed out of place. But the new addition fits right into the flourishing neighborhood South of South.

Green Aisle first saw success on East Passyunk, where brothers Andrew and Adam Erace opened their 260-square-foot store in 2009. Their uncommon offerings—Zahav’s hummus tahini, Market Day Canelé, high-quality local meats and dairy—made Green Aisle a local favorite, but the brothers wanted more space. So, when 2241 Grays Ferry Avenue became available this February, Andrew says, “We moved quickly.”

Green Aisle’s Grays Ferry location opened May 3. The store is more than four times the size of its Passyunk sister, with a full basement and outdoor storage area. In the back kitchen, the Green Aisle team prepares its in-house line of preserves and pickles, healthy salads and quick snacks, which the brothers plan to expand over time.

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New Kid on the Block

 

It looks like the wait for Kensington Quarters (1310 Frankford Ave.), an ambitious combination of butcher shop, restaurant and classroom, is about to end. The restaurant is a partnership of Michael and Jeniphur Pasquarello (the owners of Cafe Lift, Prohibition Tap Room and Bufad), and a newcomer to Philadelphia, butcher Bryan Mayer.

 

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The Hope Gardener: Volunteer cultivates youth, garden at homeless shelter

photo by Stephen DyerFor 77-year-old Margaret Guthrie, the key to success and longevity is all about perspective. “I still think I’m 18,” she says, laughing. “I wake up and I look in the mirror and I say, ‘Who the hell is that old hag?’ But I stay interested. I’m always curious about something or someone. … If you keep your eyes open to see all that’s going on around you, it’s hard to grow old.” 
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