Annotated Guide to Reading Terminal Market

Here's a compendium of the Reading Terminal Market vendors who sell food to cook and consume at home. Only a few to start, but I'll expand as time and energies permit.

Cheese & Dairy

Bassetts Ice Cream. High-butterfat, low-overrun ice cream, plus sorbet, dry ice. Since 1862. Original tenant of Reading Terminal Market when it opened in 1892. Limited selection of pre-packed ice creams, but you can ask for any of their flavors to be freshed packed into pints, quarts. 

Downtown Cheese. Biggest selection of quality cheeses in the market, especially strong in French.

Fair Food Farmstand. A small but strong selection of local artisan cheeses that you won't find elsewhere at the market.

Hatville Deli. Commodity type cheeses and cheese spreads. Also Amish style tube butter.

L. Halteman Family. Like Hatville, commodity type cheeses and spreads. They've always got free samples available.

Lancaster County Dairy. Need milk? Buttermilk? Real cream (pasteurized, but not ultra pasteurized)? This is the place.

Miller's Twist. Ice cream from Lancaster County's Kreider's Dairy.

Salumeria. Nearly as big a selection as Downtown Cheese, with some special items you'll only find here.

Valley Shepherd Creamery.  One of the market's newer vendors, selling very high quality cheese (primarily sheep, but also cow and mixed milk), most made at the northern New Jersey creamery. Fresh mozzarella is made on premises, as are other cheeses now being aged. Grilled panninis are available for the lunchtime crowd.

Meats & Deli

Downtown Cheese. Italian and Spanish salamis, cold cuts. Some locally made by Claudio's, others imported, like acorn-fed ham from Spanish black pigs (if you can afford it).

Fair Food Farmstand. Except on delivery days, the meats available here are usually frozen. But if you insist upon organic meat it's where you need to shop. I'm a big fan of the Country Time pork products, especially the no-water added cuts of ham steak.

Godshall's Poultry. The place to buy your bird. Competitively priced, very good quality. You can find more than chicken and turkey here: they regularly stock capons, ducks (Pekin and Muscovy), quail, guinea hen and (for the holidays) geese. If you like turkey-based deli products, they offer a nice selection.

Giunta's Prime Shop. Charles Giunta returned to the market a few years back with the goal of running a shop that sells only prime and naturally-raised meats. Alas, he found his customers wouldn't pay the necessary high prices for such meat. So although Charles now relies in Choice rather than Prime beef, he still sells quality. As anyone who is familiar with the change made by the USDA three decades ago knows, some meat labelled as Prime tastes more like Choice, and some Choice tastes like Prime. It takes a good meat buyer to pick out the latter, and Giunta does. I particularly like his lamb, but he's my usual first choice for beef, pork and duck as well.

Hatville Deli. Strictly cold cuts for the budget-conscious, including Pennsylvania Dutch specialties like souse, scrapple, etc.

L. Halteman Family
. The Riehl family, which took over from Lester Halteman about 10 years ago, sells a full line of fresh beef, pork and poultry, but it's the cured meats that are the reason to stop by. When it comes to German style sausages and cold cuts, this stall is your best bet. They feature Germany style frankfurters and wursts of all sorts from Illg's Meats of Chalfont. The wood-smoked kielbasa is an essential ingredient for a pot of beans: instant cassoulet. If you like your bacon extra smokey, stop here. And I'm a sucker for their tongue loaf, which has the bare minimum of aspic.

Martin's Quality Meats & Sausages. Martin Giunta, Charles' brother, spends most of his time at his New Jersey plant where he makes sausages for both the RTM store and supermarkets. It's a great product, and usually the place to go for sausages. His meats are of high quality too, especially the lamb. And if its an odd pork part you're seeking (belly, hocks, etc.) you'll most likely find it here. And he, like the other butchers, can always place a special order for a unique need. Deli and cured meats from a number of quality manufacturers, including John F. Martin & Sons.

Salumeria. Italian cold cuts, domestic and imported. Some of the domestic comes from the highly-regarded John Volpi & Co.

Smuckers Quality Meats. Moses Smucker occupies a stall long-used by meat sellers (including Charles Giunta's first solo venture in the mid-1980s). His selection of fresh meats is limited, but his cured selection is good and includes products from John F. Martin & Sons. A must stop for anyone looking for beef jerky. Traditional Pennsylvania Dutch products like ring bologna, scrapple Lebanon bologna.