Saturday, October 11, 2014

All Lamb, All The Time

New sign boasts Border Springs in nation's only all-lamb butcher
No more lamb tacos for lunch or lamb hash for breakfast at the Reading Terminal Market.

Border Springs Farm has eliminated sandwiches and platters to eat within the market from its offerings. That makes it, in the nomenclature of the market's lease structure, a "purveyor" rather than a "blended purveyor/food court" merchant.

Owner Craig Rogers may be able to convert the change into a little break on his rent when his lease comes up for renewal, since the market gives a discount to "purveyors" when compared to its "food basket", "mercantile" or "food court" businesses, each with its own rent structure.

A few customers complained when they couldn't get their fix of lamb taco, according to Nick Macri, the former Southwark chef who manages the RTM operation. On Twitter, @foobooz remarked: " was a good spot for an excellent sandwich without the wait." Sure, but maybe that's why they don't offer sandwiches anymore. Not enough people bought them.

Since the overwhelming majority of customers come for the butcher operation, Macri isn't concerned. And he's happy to offer a broader line of prepared foods to take home as well as fresh lamb.

Lamb hash off the menu at Border Springs
What the change does accomplish is open up space for more room to create prepared foods, like the new lines of meatballs, vacuum packs of formed and sliced gyro meat, and lamb liver terrine in Border Spring's refrigerated display cases.

Selling uncooked meat has always been the biggest part of Border Springs' business since it opened at the market in May 2013. Rogers, whose lamb farm is located in southwestern Virginia near the Blue Ridge Mountains, had already established a wholesale business in Philadelphia, hauling his lamb north to local restaurants, including Zahav. By opening the stall at the market Rogers not only created a base of operations for his wholesale business, but an outlet for lesser cuts —like necks and breasts — that he couldn't otherwise sell.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

'Great' Designation for RTM

Of the 30 "Great Places in America" for 2014 selected by the American Planners Association (APA), only one has a roof over it: Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market.

Except for the RTM, all the other "places" are public parks, streets, neighborhoods, scenic vistas and other outdoor entities.

Even the incoming president of the planner's group was unaware of the RTM's uniqueness as the only interior space among this year's "great places".

At this morning's celebratory news conference at the market's center court, Carol Rhea, president-elect of the APA, had to check with a staff aide when I asked her to confirm the RTM was the only interior space on this year's list.

Rhea praised the "authenticity" of the market. "You won't see a Spataro's at the airport," she told me after the event.

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger and Brent Cossrow, vice chair of the Reading Terminal Market Corporation also spoke at the ceremony led by Paul Steinke, market general manager.

The APA designated 10 public spaces, 10 streets and 10 neighborhoods for its 2014 awards. Sharing the public space honors with the Reading Terminal are: Bayliss Park In Council Bluffs, Iowa; Cliff Walk In Newport, Rhode Island; Delaware Park In Buffalo, New York; Great Plains Trails Network In Lincoln, Nebraska; Lake Mirror Park In Lakeland, Florida; Lithia Park In Ashland, Oregon; Point State Park In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Rainier Vista In Seattle, Washington; and The Lawn At The University Of Virginia In Charlottesville, Virginia.