Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fresh Air at RTM
Outdoor Farmers Market Opens

Butch Dougherty and Vinnie Iovine of iovine Brother's Produce flank Tom Nicolosi
of DiNic's shortly after the outdoor venue's opening ceremony

The Reading Terminal Market unveiled its Sunday outdoor farmers' market with nine stalls along the side of the 12th Street parking lot.

Although traffic was light on the market's first day, RTM General Manager Paul Steinke found customers who came from as far as the Northeast to sample the farmers' output. As word gets around and more farmers participate as the growing season progresses, he expects traffic grow.

You'd think that year-round market merchants would be against the market. But you'd be wrong. Vinnie Iovine of Iovine Brothers Produce was there, looking to buy some New Guinea impatens from one vendor -- and finding out if she sold any of her produce items wholesale, perhaps for adding to his growing list of local farmers whose fruit and veggies he and brother Jimmy sell.

About a month ago, Jim reasoned that if shoppers come for the farmers' market, they're likely to cross the street into the RTM to fulfill the rest of their shopping needs. That was the case with many of the shoppers Sunday, including me. After buying some excellent kale at Jack's Farm (photo at right), I headed into the RTM to buy a slab of Country Time ham steak at the Fair Food Farmstand. Together with some corn (frozen kernels I purchased last summer at the height of the season) it made a wonderful Sunday dinner.

The vendors I saw the market included:
  • Cherry Grove Farm, cheeses and meats
  • Two Ganders Farm, honey, lettuce, other vegetables
  • Bowes Family Farm, berries, greens, radishes, other veggies
  • Shelbark Hollow, goat dairy products
  • O&F Farm, asparagus, summer squashes (Yes! Already!), greens, flowers, plants
  • Sweet Rose's Twisted Lemonade
  • John & Kira Chocolates
  • Jack's Farm, plants for garden, veggies
  • 4mula, succulent and other plants for urban settings

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