Saturday, April 25, 2009

Terminal Considers Farmers' Market

There’s nothing Paul Steinke, general manager of the Reading Terminal Market, would like to add more than a genuine farmers’ market. Over the last three decades local farmers would give it a try, but most have opted instead for participating in the neighborhood and suburban farmers’ markets associated with either The Food Trust or Farm To City. Only Earl Livengood has hung on as a direct-to-public farm seller at the RTM.

Now, Steinke is talking with Ann Karlen of White Dog Community Enterprises (The Fair Food Farmstand’s parent organization) about asking many of the Farmstand’s 90 producers to participate in a once-a-week market. If enough farmers’ sign on, the market would be held from 4 to 8 p.m. one day a week, probably Thursday, on either the 12th Street sidewalk or on the sidewalk across the street next to the open air parking lot.

Steinke said he would also ask the lunch counter merchants located on the 12th street to open voluntarily during those hours. Those merchants include Bassett’s Ice Cream, Pearl’s Oyster Bar, Golden Bowl, Carmen’s Hoagies and Cheesesteaks, Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties, Delilah’s, Profi’s Creperie, Sang Kee Peking Duck, Old City Coffee, and Famous 4th Street Cookie Company.

Meanwhile, the Fair Food Farmstand is looking forward to opening at its new location along the 12th Street side of the market this summer. Their architectural plans were approved by the market’s renovation committee this week and will soon go before the Philadelphia Historical Commission, which must approve all major renovations and alternations within the market.

The date for the Fair Food Farmstand’s fund-raising party is in flux due to conflicts with other events. Right now it’s tentatively scheduled for May 21, but that could change.

In other market stall news, Old City Coffee plans to make their temporary pad on the Arch Street side permanent.

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