Philly Farm and Food Fest Preview: Off The Shelf

The 4th Annual Philly Farm & Food Fest is this Sunday, April 12. A partnership of PASA and Fair Food, the event brings together regional farmers, unique food producers and sustainable businesses and organizations. We're counting down the days to Sunday, April 12 with previews of the exhibitors you can expect to find at this year's Fest. To learn more about the event, check out our exclusive event guide. And don't forget to buy your tickets

 

From flavored beets and exotic nut butters to kosher hot sauce and rosemary caramel popcorn, there is such a variety of packaged goods vendors this year. Here are some of our favorites:

 

Featured Vendor: Love Beets

Love Beets | All-natural, marinated ready-to-eat beet treats. Products include marinated baby beets, freshly vacuum-packed steamed beets and all-natural beet juices. 

 

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Philly Farm and Food Fest Preview: Something Sweet

The 4th Annual Philly Farm & Food Fest is this Sunday, April 12. A partnership of PASA and Fair Food, the event brings together regional farmers, unique food producers and sustainable businesses and organizations. We're counting down the days to Sunday, April 12 with previews of the exhibitors you can expect to find at this year's Fest. To learn more about the event, check out our exclusive event guide. And don't forget to buy your tickets

 

Delicate cakes, wholesome cookies, locally-sourced ice cream and vegan pops: these vendors will remind you what spring tastes like.

 

Featured Vendor: Brûlée Bakery

Brûlée Bakery | Gluten-free French bakery that uses sustainable practices and local ingredients—including organic sugar, rice flour and free-range chickens—to make fruit tarts, macaroons and other sweet treats.

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Philly Farm and Food Fest Preview: From the Farm

The 4th Annual Philly Farm & Food Fest is this Sunday, April 12. A partnership of PASA and Fair Food, the event brings together regional farmers, unique food producers and sustainable businesses and organizations. We're counting down the days to Sunday, April 12 with previews of the exhibitors you can expect to find at this year's Fest. To learn more about the event, check out our exclusive event guide. And don't forget to buy your tickets

 

Delicious meats, creamy cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, these exhibitors are sure to make your mouth water:

 

Meat | Featured Vendor: Hocks N Coqs

Hocks N Coqs | Makers of handmade smoked sausages, smoked pulled pork, smoked pulled chicken, local seasonal toppings and sauces. Look for their products at local markets.

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From Around Here: Whole Foods Market program bolsters local producer Organic Mechanics Soil Company

In 2007, a flyer for a new Whole Foods Market program caught the eye of Mark Highland, founder and president of Organic Mechanics Potting Soil. It asked for local producers who had products that were grown, raised, harvested or crafted within 100 miles from a Whole Foods Market store (measured as the crow flies). Highland had such a product. His 100 percent organic potting soil and planting mix was made outside of Philadelphia in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and used locally sourced ingredients, so he applied. “I got lucky,” he says. 

Whole Foods Market brought him onboard and used his company as an advertisement for the program when it began it in 2007. Previously called Local, the program name was changed in the summer of 2013 to From Around Here to be more specific and get away from the fuzzy definition of local. 

Through the program, Whole Foods Market wanted a way to share the stories of the companies it was endorsing with its customers—to help bridge the gap between producer and consumer and to promote the shared dedication to environmental sustainability. “When you tell the whole story, then that transparency tends to build a connection,” Highland says. “It compels [customers] to pick up a bag and try it right then and there.” And before long, “we have a customer for life.”

Whole Foods Market eventually started selling Organic Mechanics products in multiple markets, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, the Mid-Atlantic region, the Northeastern region and most recently the Midwest, although the company still gets most of its business from local stores. From Around Here products in Whole Foods Market stores that are beyond the 100 miles away are highlighted using a “From Pennsylvania” signs and call-outs. 

According to Highland, the support he has received as a result of From Around Here has bolstered Organic Mechanics and helped increase sales. “When people learn that Whole Foods is one of our major customers … it’s an impressive thing,” Highland says, adding that the name recognition has prompted other companies to sell his products. 

Highland is looking forward to attending Philly Farm & Food Fest. The event is a good way for him to come face to face with customers and to share his story about wanting to create a nutrient-dense organic soil that touted earth-friendly benefits. Highland says that using Organic Mechanics soil cultivates healthier produce, makes the planet more sustainable, groundwater safer to drink, promotes cleaner air and helps keep your family healthier. “Even if you’re a family of one,” he says. 

Organic Mechanics Container Blend Potting Soil is ideal for container gardens, transplanting, tropical and indoor plants, and because it’s peat-free, you'll water half as often. To purchase, head to your nearest Whole Foods Market or visit organicmechanicsoil.com.

Their Own Design: Brothers change the blueprint of their family farm

Sam and Brian FoxThough he and his brother, Sam, were raised on a conventional dairy farm in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Brian Fox took a completely different career path before realizing that he’d rather be farming. Brian spent his days as a graphic designer in Washington, D.C., before delving full-time into tending vegetables and cultivating garlic. But ask him today what he thinks of swapping a desk job for this and it’s clear he made the right move: “I’d rather be this kind of worn-out.”

The brothers own Salem Mountain Farm in Waymart, Pennsylvania. Sam had always had the agricultural dream, but their parents ended the dairy operation in the 1970s. He and Brian knew that starting their own agricultural business, even if it was on the family land, was going to be a challenge.

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Living The Dream: An idealistic vision becomes a dynamic business

The Brownback Family, owners of Spiral Path FarmSpiral Path Farm is a well-oiled machine. Tidy rows of kale, tomatoes and broccoli line sections of the farm in Loysville, Pennsylvania, and when you see their community supported agriculture (CSA) operation, it’s clear that a considerable amount of planning and organization went into the farming and the business. But it wasn’t always so well-coordinated. 
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Pork Life: Connections, smart decisions plump up production

Paul and Ember CrivellaroEmber Crivellaro speaks affectionately about the city’s most highly regarded chefs as though they’re the neighborhood kids with a lemonade stand. Ember, and her husband, Paul, are some of the preemminent porcine professionals of Philadelphia. Country Time Farm’s customers include Le Virtu, South Philly Tap Room, American Sardine Bar, Southwark and the eateries of Jose Garces and Marc Vetri.
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Folks flock to Philly Farm & Food Fest

Interns Meredith and Corey chat with visitors to the Grid table on Sunday.

Philly folks interested in a sustainable local (and delicious) food system showed up in force for the second annual Philly Farm and Food Fest, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Sunday, April 14. Practically the entire Grid team was in attendance, handing out more than a thousand copies of Grid, meeting with Grid readers and soon-to-be Grid readers, and tasting all sorts of great local foods, from ice cream to baked goods to meat products and even raw oysters, as well as plenty of local produce.

A collaboration between PASA and Fair Food. the event had a definite focus on food, but the real stars were the folks who produced that food: the bakers, cheesemakers, confectioners, and others, and especially the farmers. And the best part of all was having all those producers together in one place, with hundreds of folks who appreciate how important their work is. We can't wait for next year's PF3!

Leaders of the Pack: Kids and parents flock to Pennypack Farm

story by Shaun Brady | photo by Emily WrenOn spring, summer and fall afternoons, Pennypack Farm is the hot spot for local families. Parents gather at the Montgomery County nonprofit to examine the selection of crops laid out farmers market-style in the harvest house. Kids head straight for the U-Pick crops and start on rows of green beans, raspberries and other coveted produce. But fresh fruits and vegetables are not the only goodies these member families will return home with, says Margot Bradley, the administrative director and one of Pennypack’s founding members. “Every time somebody sets foot here, they’re going to learn something. We look at every visit to the farm as an education.”
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Leading the Charge: PASA Announces Leadership Award Winners

Image via pasafarming.orgThe Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture is gearing up for their annual “Farming for the Future” conference this week (Feb. 1-4), which will include the presentation of their leadership awards.

This year, Philadelphia’s own Mary Seton Corboy of Greensgrow Farms in Kensington will receive the Sustainable Ag Leader Award, while the Sustainable Ag Business Leadership award is going to Frankferd Farms Foods of Saxonburg, Pa. 

The awards, given as part of the PASA-bilities Leadership Award Series, were created to honor the individuals and businesses leading the way to a sustainable food future.

Corboy began Greensgrow Farms in 1997, when she started growing gourmet lettuce. Since then, she’s expanded into a nursery, a farm stand and a 600-member CSA program—all on a single acre, a former galvanized steel plant site in Kensington. (Check out Grid’s September 2010 cover story on Corboy.)

 Frankferd Food Farms, family owned and operated, was started 30-years ago when T. Lyle Ferderber and his wife left college and began grinding flour. Today, the Ferderbers run a farm, flour mill and natural foods warehouse.

Greensgrow and Frankferd are just two of the incredible farms part of Pennsylvania’s sustainable agriculture movement. Read about other PASA members in Grid’s annual Farmbook, hitting stands next week with our March issue.

For more information on the PASA conference, “Breaking Ground for a New Agriculture: Cultivating Versatility and Resilience,” visit pasafarming.org/conference2012.

  -- Anna Louise Neiger

From PASA's Executive Director

To the Readers of Grid,

All of us at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) are delighted to share our story with folks who truly understand the importance of building a food system that not only helps to keep good farmers on the land, but good environmental practices in the field and good food on your tables.
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