Saturday, June 09, 2007

Got back to the RTM today after a three week hiatus, mostly spent in Wisconsin. (Here's a report of my beer and brat haul.)

We left town as the early local strawberries were starting to come in, and returned just in time for the tail end of the season. As we neared home this past Tuesday, we made our last rest stop of the trip at the Pa. Pike's Allentown service plaza where one vendor was selling delicious berries as well as sugar snaps and lots of other stuff. (Only one vendor is there weekdays; additional vendors sell their produce on weekends when highway traffic is busier.)

On Thursday afternoon I visited my neighborhood farmers' market at 22nd & South where I picked up spinach and a couple of greenhouse tomatoes from Earl Livengood; radishes and eggs from a new vendor whose name I didn't get; and a baguette from Baker Street.

Back to the RTM . . .

Everyday Gourmet, in the former location of Andros, getting closer to opening. The new take-away vendor is shooting for a June 19 opening.

No word yet on an occupant for Foster's, which will be shutting down its RTM operation by the end of the month and opening at it's new consolidated store at 4th & Market about mid-July. As it is, stock is pretty thin as Foster's winds down.

Someone named Chef Harry (Harry Schwartz) will be at the RTM Wednesday, June 13,11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. He's a PBS chef touring the country in his "Watermelon Bus" to promote awareness of childhood obesity. He'll be making watermelon salsa at center court. Other events coming up: Ice Cream Festival July 28, Pennsylvania Dutch Festival Aug. 9-11.

The RTM Corporation board has once again extended the Sunday "experiment" through Sept. 30. Apparently it's beyond their ken to just acknowledge that Sundays have been a measurable success and make it permanent.

According to RTM Manager Paul Steinke's monthly merchant newsletter, Sundays are the fourth busiest day of the week, which is quite an achievement considering center city offices are closed and about half the merchants don't open. However, there will be added competition for the summer, beginning July 1, when the Food Trust opens a Sunday farmers market at Headhouse Square.

Here are the RTM's average hourly counts:

1,570 weekly average
2,203 Saturday
1.799 Friday
1.528 Thursday
1.498 Sunday
1,477 Wednesday
1.308 Tuesday
1,183 Monday

Now, onto the food...

Over at John Yi "Copper River Salmon" was selling at $14.99 vs. $10.99 for non-geographically identified king salmon. At that price, it's got to be sockeye, not king. Fitting to its alternate name of "red" samon, the sockeye was a beautiful deep red color.

Over at Iovine the price of limes has retreated a bit since I last visited -- five for a buck (four for a buck at OK Lee). Hass avocadoes were $1.49 each, vs. 99-cents at OKL. Also at Iovine, Atulful mangoes a dollar apiece. Strawberries from Iovines contract grower in Bucks County, Shady Brook, were $1.99/pint. Benuel Kaufman was selling his for $5.99/quart, while Earl Livengood's organic berries were $6.25/quart. Benuel also had beautiful kirby cucumbers, ideal for pickling.

New at Lancaster County Dairy is heavy cream in glass bottles from Trickling Springs Creamery. The cream (not ultra-pasterized, thank heavens) is $3.25 plus a $2 deposit on the shapely bottle.

This week's shopping list:

Vidalia onion

Sugar snap peas





HARRY OCHS ($9.90)
Turkey bacon


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