Monday, December 31, 2012

More Lambs Come To Market

Vegetarian Stall Gives Way to Red Meat

Valley Shepherd added Krispy Kreme-like
 neon sign above its cheese-making room

There's an ovine outbreak at the Reading Terminal Market.

In addition to the soon-to-open Valley Shepherd Creamery in newly created Avenue D retail space, a southwestern Virginian sheep meat and wool operation will take over the space vacated by the Basic 4 vegetarian lunch counter.

Border Springs Farm will set up shop selling fresh and frozen lamb as well as prepared lamb-based foods (sausage, shepherd's pie, etc.). Owner Craig Rogers operates a similar stall at Union Market in Washington, D.C., but primarily sells meat to restaurants. The farm is located about halfway between Roanoke, Virginia, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The Philadelphia store will allow Rogers to expand his retail presence and extend his restaurant-supply business into the Philadelphia market.

Two existing butchers at the market -- Charles Giunta of Giunta's Prime Shop and his brother Martin of Martin's Quality Meats -- offer good lamb selection, including three different types of chops, as well as leg, neck and breast cuts. They primarily use domestic sources for lamb, whereas supermarkets use both U.S. and Australian/New Zealand meats. The Fair Food Farmstand sells lamb from producers in both eastern and western Pennsylvania.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

2013: More Changes at Reading Terminal Market

Tile art promotes one of the milk sources for Valley Shepherd Creamery
Valley Shepherd Creamery plans on opening its retail cheese and panini shop early in the New Year, reports Paul Steinke, general manager of the Reading Terminal Market.

In late fall the creamery installed the tile art pictured above. The tiles were manufactured in Bucks County at the former Mercer tile works.

Expect construction to begin soon after the New Year arrives on one relocated stall and a new vendor at the Reading Terminal Market.

Nanee's Kitchen, purveyor of samosas and other South Asian fare, is finishing up details with its contractor so it can begin work on revamping the former Coastal Cave space. In addition to continuing to sell hot items for RTM lunchers, they plan to add some grocery items.

KeVen Parker will be working on his soul food restaurant, carrying on the tradition established in the same spot by Delilah Winder.

A bit further into the future will be the move of Downtown Cheese to what is now the Piano Court.

No announcement yet on what will go into the space formerly occupied by Basic 4 Vegetarian Café. But think meat.

City Grinch Steals Salmon Seller's Christmas

Erik Torp
The city's Department of Public Health was the Grinch that stole Christmas for one retailer at the Reading Terminal market this past week. It shut down Taste of Norway, which since September had been selling smoked Norwegian Atlantic and steelhead salmon from a daystall located in the former Coastal Cave space.

Erik Torp, one of the two entrepreneurs behind the business, said the health inspector was "just doing his job" and couldn't have been nicer in carrying out his duties. But the shut down on Thursday couldn't have come at a worse time: the height of the Christmas and New Year's food shopping season.

For now you can still purchase the half-pound packages of smoked Norwegian Atlantic and steelhead salmon at Downtown Cheese where proprietor Jack Morgan has, at least temporarily, taken on the line. And at $10 for a half-pound package, it's a bargain for a quality product.

Giving out free samples of salmon is what first attracted the health inspector's attention, but the basic reason for the shut down is that the business didn't have a retail food establishment license. Torp has no problem paying the fee, but it could take months to obtain one, he said.

"We look on this as a temporary setback," said Torp, who serves as Norway's honorary consul in Philadelphia, where he owns and operates a shipping brokerage as his main business.

"Our supplier in Norway is very happy with the exposure their product is getting, and the Reading Terminal Market is a unique place to be," he said. For that reason Torp hopes to reopen in the space Nanee's Kitchen will be vacating when the South Asian eatery moves to the Coastal Cave space. This time, with a retail food license.

Looking even further into the future Torp said he'd love to sell salmon sandwiches. But that would involve even more certifications from the city.