Thursday, August 09, 2012

Food factory: Reading Terminal Market

When Valley Shepherd Creamery's owner, Eran Wajswol, went to government agencies seeking permits for his forthcoming store and cheese-making operation at the Reading Terminal Market, he discovered a zoning variance was required to permit food manufacturing.

It wasn't only a surprise to Wajswol. It seems that any number of vendors were manufacturing food at the market in violation of the zoning regulations. (Among them: Miller's Twist, Old City Coffee, Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe, Famous Fourth Street Cookie, Mueller's Chocolates, Beiler's Bakery, Flying Monkey, Martin's Quality Meats, Giunta's Prime Shop, Pennsylvania General Store, and Herschel's East Side Deli.)

To solve the problem, the market applied for a single zoning variance to cover the entire premises. That variance is now in hand, legalizing all the food-manufacturing operations, which are distinct from restaurant operations.

Valley Shepherd still has to obtain other approvals from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the city's Board of Health, but it has its building permit. This week the large tank which will contain the milk which will become cheese was delivered to the market. It will be installed in the basement and the liquid will be pumped to the cheese-making room within the shop.

Valley Shepherd hopes to be open for business sometime in September.

Other new vendors also are making progress on their stalls.

The first to open likely will be the Head Nut, which this week is receiving deliveries of stock. They plan to be open sometime next week.

The Tubby Olive plans an Aug. 24 opening for the sale of bulk olive oils and vinegars.

Wursthaus Schmitz begins construction next Monday of its space behind Flying Monkey; the contractor says it will take a month.