Now We're Spoiled

The local Philadelphia food scene has changed dramatically since I moved to the City in 1993.  The June 2012 issue of Grid magazine pays tribute to four people who have helped develop access to local produce, cheeses and meats since the mid-1980's.

Duane Perry, Judy Wicks, Ann Karlen and Bob Pierson, all heading different organizations with varying focuses, have helped bring local ingredients into Philadelphia restaurants and city neighborhoods.  They have spearheaded educational efforts and have established dozens of farmer's markets.  They have brought farmers and consumers together.

I moved to Philadelphia from New York to be with my then boyfriend, now husband.  I already knew Philadelphia pretty well having spent two and a half years commuting here on the weekends to visit Mr. Savory.  When I visited, I shopped at the Reading Terminal Market, my first stop always being Kauffman's, to buy local produce from this Amish farmer April to November.

Those first years of living in Center City meant fresh bread and cheese came only from "The Terminal" or a nearby cheese shop.  Sometimes we'd venture down to the Italian Market, where bread and cheese were in abundance, but there was no local produce.

We bought a bread machine and weekly made our own whole grain breads, setting the timer for a loaf to be ready for breakfast.

We frequented Judy Wicks' White Dog Cafe, and I learned about Duane Perry's Food Trust.

When a Metropolitan Bakery opened in our neighborhood, the bread machine was rarely used.  The Food Trust opened a  farmer's market within walking distance of our house, and we shared a CSA box one Summer with neighbors.  Another market opened, and then they grew, and then on a limited basis they were open all year.

I bought produce and cheese from Ann Karlen's Fair Food Farmstand from the beginning, when everything was set up on folding tables and in coolers.   

We moved to West Mt. Airy, and that Summer a farmer's market was started in neighboring Chestnut Hill by the efforts of Bob Pierson's Farm to City. I tried the Winter Harvest for a couple years until the market two years ago became year 'round.

While Ann is the only one I have ever spoken with  (we used to chat about our children while I shopped), these four individuals have directly impacted how our family eats and lives.  I am grateful for their foresight and commitment.  

"On the Shoulders of Giants:  Four People who Kick-Started the Philadelphia Food Movement" by Liz Pacheco, Grid, June 2012, Issue 38.