Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Raspberries? In November?

The last of the summer wine? Not quite, but Earl Livengood had what has to be the last of the raspberries Saturday. Couldn't bring myself to buy any given the month of the year and the temperatures.

Exceptionally large chestnuts are available at Iovine Brothers in their refrigerated case by the checkout closest to Filbert Street. They are U.S. chestnuts and priced at $5.99 a pound in one-pound clamshells. I've been roasting them for more than a week and they are very good, rot-free with a high yield. Better than what I bought earlier from Earl Livengood.

Mackeral are back, $2.49 at John Yi's. In a few weeks we should start seeing a wider variety of fish for the holiday season.

Before the end of the week, Amy's Place will move to its new location (the former Foster's, opposite Fair Food Farmstand and Pennsylvania General Store) offeriing an expanded stock of practical kitchen hard goods to go along with decorative items.

To fill temporarily the space Amy is vacating the market has attracted seven vendors to a "Christmas Market" similar to the temporary gift stalls that sprout up this time of year in Mittel Europa. To accomodate all seven the market will also place them in the adjacent space occupied by Le Bus before it moved.

Behind the new Amy's is the market's demonstration kitchen, which should see increased activity beginning in the new year. In addition to Temple classes, instructor Ann Florio will begin a full schedule of classes under the name La Cucina. Florio is a proponent of "learn Italian while you cook".

The market was scheduled to start a recycling program this week, with receptacles for customers to recycle paper, aluminum cans, and plastic.

Pork Catastrophe

An accident on the Schuylkill Expressway has put a major dent in the availability of high-quality pork in Philadelphia.

About two weeks ago Country Time Farm's owners Paul and Ember Crivellaro were injured when their truck was rammed from behind by a tractor-trailer on the expressway. Both were hospitalized overnight in ICU, but the injuries turned out to be less severe than initially feared. For that, we are all grateful.

The pork they were bringing to town wound up cushioning the blow and may have helped save them from more serious injury or death. But the pork was lost. And there's no word on how soon the Crivellaros will be able to produce, butcher and distribute more product.

In the meantime, stocks are low. At the Fair Food Farmstand at the RTM Saturday only a handful of packages of boneless cutlets and one pack of chops were available.

The Crivellaros also supply a number of restaurants with their pork.

Meatballs On Sundays

In my Philadelphia neighborhood, London Grill in Fairmount has "Meatball Mondays".

Now DiNic's has "Meatball Sundays".

Tommy DiNicolosi is experimenting with meatballs at his Reading Terminal Market landmark. I caught Tommy Saturday shaping a beef-pork-veal mix. Before leaving the market about an hour later, I tasted one. It was quite nice, and the sauce was even better. Tom said he used skin from a fresh ham to help flavor the tomato-based sauce.

Tommy insists he's just "playing" with meatballs and hasn't added them to the regular menu. But you can expect to see them on Sundays. Last week he tried a beef-lamb meatball which he said turned out well (just a little bit of lamb; mostly beef). If you want to try them, get there early: for this past Sunday Tommy only prepared 10 pounds of meat.

Olde Earth Farm

Mary and Stuart Salen, who operate four-year-old farm Olde Earth Farm in Berks County, have been selling at the Headhouse Square market all season long. In addition to various greens they sell meat products raised on their farm, including Tamworth pigs, Suffolk lamb and Scottish Highland beef. I've tried the bacon (available in both nitrite and nitrite-free versions) and it is excellent. Tonight I'll be grilling their ham steak (nitrite-free). They are considering expanding their Philadelphia presence to the Reading Terminal Market next season. In the meantime, they'll be at Headhouse on Sundays through the end of its season. Most of Olde Earth Farm's vegetable production goes to its 100-member CSA, so not much gets sold at the stand. Mary makes up for that with homemade baked goods and jams.

Also considering adding the RTM to their venues is Hendricks Farms and Dairy.

The Headhouse market will be open the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, closed the Sunday after Thanksgiving but then open every Sunday through Dec. 23 before shutting down until next spring, probably reopening in May.

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