From the HEART: Food Truck Serves Up Local, Sustainable Cuisine

When you think of escargot or griddled pork belly, getting it from a food truck may not come to mind. With a promise to cook from the heart and to offer environmentally sustainable and local menu options, owners of the HEART food truck, Michael Falcone and Tonda Woodling, are looking to change that. 

“We really want to offer our customers the best product possible and help elevate the way people look at food trucks, we want them to see us more as a restaurant on wheels,” Falcon says.

Having owned and operated the restaurant Funky Lil’ Kitchen in Pottstown for nine and a half years (the restaurant closed in 2013), switching to a food truck meant more flexibility, creativity and a broader customer base for Woodling and Falcone.

“The truck allows us to do what we do best, but with more flexibility,” Woodling says.

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Overlooked Winter Veggies: Consider the Sunchoke

Image via blogs.kcrw.comSunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes (though they’re neither artichokes nor related to Jerusalem in any way) and nearly identical to gingerroot, are knobby tubers shrouded in misconception. But take them for what they are – the nutrient-rich roots of a North American sunflower variety, with a sweet, earthy flavor – and you’ll find that these über-local veggies deserve an identity all their own.

Sunchokes are available from October through March, and they store well in the fridge for a couple weeks after purchase. It’s up to you whether you peel them or not; just give them a vigorous scrub and leave the skins on for maximum nutritional benefit. Rich in vitamin C, potassium and iron, sunchokes are crunchy and nutty when raw, with a texture similar to water chestnuts. When roasted, baked, or cooked into soups, they make a great substitute for potatoes.

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Overlooked Winter Veggies: Give celery root a chance

Celery Root | Image via Getty ImagesThis is the first article in a series on overlooked winter vegetables.

Celery root may not be a beauty queen of the produce aisle, but this knobby root vegetable—also known as celeriac, turnip-rooted celery or knob celery—is definitely worth a second look. Peel away its rough, warty exterior and you’ll find dense, white flesh similar to a turnip. Give it a nibble, and you’ll find flavors of celery and parsley.

As the name suggests, celery root is a variety of celery that was refined over time to create a solid, globular (and delicious) root. It is related to carrots, parsnips, anise and parsley, and its firm flesh makes a low-starch, low-calorie alternative to potatoes in hearty winter meals.

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Vegging In: What I learned from my roommate’s quest to eat sustainably

Story by Colleen Davis Illustration by Adrienne Langer AFTER DECADES OF BEING A PRETTY RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN, I felt I’d traveled about as far as I could on the path to eating and living sustainably. Others around me were more zealous, but they were yoga teachers and gardeners whose extreme eating habits grew from their career choices. I never felt compelled to join them in becoming a vegan or buying a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share. It looked like too much work.

Then I met Nick, a young California lawyer, who rented a room in my house when he moved to Philly. Along with a small number of boxes, he brought a surfboard, a bicycle and a staunch commitment to eating in a way that helped the environment. A few months after arriving, Nick bought a guitar and an organic CSA share.

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Cheese of the Month: Full Nettle Jack

story and photo by Tenaya DarlingtonIN THE WORLD OF FLAVORED CHEESES, Full Nettle Jack (a nod to Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam film, Full Metal Jacket) is a special character. Even if you’re the sort of person who bristles at the mere mention of “nettles”—they do sting, after all—you ought to reserve judgment. This bright-tasting cheese is both vegetal and herbaceous with a kick of vinegary acidity.  ¶  The taste evokes dill pickles, and would do well as slices on a Cubano sandwich. Full Nettle Jack is also a great cheese for melting. In fact, cheesemaker Sam Kennedy swears by Nettle Jack macaroni and cheese.
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Talking Turkey: Fair Food offering local bird options for this year’s Thanksgiving table

Turkey time is almost here! Once again, Fair Food has plenty of local, sustainable (and delicious) options for celebrating your holiday. Choose from naturally-raised and Heirloom Bronze turkeys from Koch’s Turkey Farm (Tamaqua, Pa.), certified organic birds from Lancaster Farm Fresh (Leola, Pa.), and Heritage Breed Red Bourbons from Griggstown Quail Farm (Princeton, N.J.). If you fancy other birds, Griggstown also offers capon, quail, goose and pheasant.

These fresh (never frozen) fowl all are hormone- and antibiotic-free, and raised with access to pasture. Prices range from $3.10 to $8.40 per pound. Pre-ordering is required and can be done through the Fair Food website (fairfoodphilly.org). The ordering deadline is Monday, Nov. 12 at 12 p.m. Turkeys will be available for pick up on November 21 and 22, the Tuesday and Wednesday before the holiday.

Heaven in a Truck: Yumtown offers local cuisine on wheels

Image via yumtownusa.com

“If something is delicious, then it takes you to Yumtown,” jokes Yumtown food truck co-founder Andrew Tantisunthorn.

If it’s local and sustainable, all signs point to Yumtown as well. The truck, which Tantisunthorn and Lanie Belmont opened full time in October 2011, sources the majority of its ingredients from growers throughout the Philadelphia region.

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Feature: Will Play For (Local) Food

Philly raconteurs Hoots and Hellmouth promote local farms on tour
by Andrew Thompson


Amid the hustle of touring—going from town to town and not being able to stop for more than a few hours to play a show, fill your stomach at a Cracker Barrel and jet off to the next venue—it can be hard to find a small food co-op, especially when the town you’re playing in doesn’t have one, says Sean Hoots, guitarist/lead vocalist for Philly-based roots rock band Hoots and Hellmouth.
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Feature: Small Is Beautiful

Braving the heat for an intimate seat at Talula's Table
by Jamie Leary


For the staff at talula’s table, a gourmet market and caterer in Kennett Square, hospitality is not perfunctory—it’s heartfelt and natural. Aimee Olexy and Bryan Sikora, the hands-on husband and wife owners (she manages the market, he runs the kitchen), seem to truly enjoy their customers. That might seem like a somewhat tepid compliment, but when paired with their formidable culinary talents, it’s what propels the market in a sleepy Chester County borough into a gastronomenon (consider that term coined).
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Eat Local: Vrapple

Eight years ago, Sara Cain attempted to turn Philadelphia’s infamous mystery meat concoction into a treat that herbivores could enjoy. A good friend of hers, who had grown up on scrapple, lamented the loss of the local delight since becoming a vegetarian.
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Eat Local: New Horizons

Upscale vegan eats warm your stomach and conscience
by Will Dean


With the rush towards eating locally, it’s surprisingly easy to forget about the original “ethical” eating choice that for hundreds of years has attracted people like Ben Franklin, Charlotte Bronte, Albert Einstein and, of course, me. While Kate Jacoby, co-owner and pastry chef of upscale vegan eatery Horizons, gave up meat out of concern for animals, there are plenty of environmental reasons as well.
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A Simpler Time

Southwark offers a connection to local food
by Will Dean and Ashley Jerome


When you walk in the front door of Southwark, it feels a little like you’re going back in time, which makes sense. Southwark got its name from an 18th century district of the city and it fits because preserving history, including a tangible connection to the land, is important to owners Sheri and Kip Waide.
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Daily Dish

Farm to Philly hosts bloggers who eat locally, seasonally

by Tenaya Darlington

I may not be a locavore—the word for someone who tries to source food from within 100 miles of her home—but I am definitely a locavore voyeur. I like knowing what people are cooking within 100 miles of my house. No wonder I’ve become a fan of the group food blog Farm to Philly. Call it a peep show into local kitchens. Yesterday I ogled a squash gratin dinner, then a post on purple soup. It inspired me to SEPTA over to Reading Terminal for red cabbage and purple potatoes so I could slow-cook my own lavender stew.

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Doctor's Orders

When Greg Salisbury opened Rx restaurant in University City, almost no one in the Philly restaurant industry was thinking local. “When we started in ’01 there was only one other restaurant doing this,” says the laidback and laconic Salisbury. “My first exposure to a CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] in 1997, at 17th and South, caused a revolution in the way I thought about food, and I knew if I started a restaurant it would revolve around local food.”
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