Saturday, February 14, 2009

Greensgrow Goal: Farmers' Market
Earl Livengood first to give it a test

Earl Livengood became the first regional farmer to directly market at Greensgrow's Kensington urban farm.

Greensgrow, entering its twelfth season, is a favored nursery among many Center City backyard gardeners. (I love their pepper plants; She Who Must Be Obeyed was ecstatic last spring when she discovered Moonflowers there.) The Kensington non-profit also hosts a CSA and sells its own produce and that of other regional farms, urban and rural. It also supplies city chefs who want local produce.

Now, however, Greensgrow founder Mary Seton Corboy would like to see area farmers sell their product directly at Greengrow, located at East Cumberland between Almond and Gaul streets, just a couple of blocks from Aramingo Avenue and its strip malls and fast-food franchises. She and her market and CSA manager, Natalie, are seeking participants both from the current crop of growers who supply Greensgrow's own retail operation, and others.

Earl, who is also selling this winter at Clark Park's Farmers Market (where his helper John greeted customers today), plans to try it for a few weeks to see how it goes and whether it's worth his time and effort. Winter sales at the Reading Terminal Market, he told me last month, tend to be okay for the first couple hours in the morning but then die. One advantage at Greensgrow when compared to outdoor farmers' markets operated by The Food Trust and Food To City is that Livengood doesn't have to set up his own awning to protect him and the produce from the elements. Greensgrow plans to located any farmers they can attract within the largest structure, which in spring, summer and fall is filled with plants for sale.

Greensgrow's own retail operation reopens for the 2009 season April 28, selling produce, meats and dairy products from many of the same farmers who market through Fair Food and/or participate directly in regional farmers' markets.

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