A bright sunny spring day enhanced a brisk walk along the Philadelphia streets to the Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex venue yesterday with the Warehouse style room hosting the diverse and numerous arrays of Vendors at the 2nd Annual Philly Farm and Food Fest.
It was fortuitous to have arrived early for as the day wore on the crowds surrounding the lined tables supported elbow room only between numerous attendees. Eager to sample, purchase, or just learn more about the many Farmers, Artisans, Specialty Foods and their producers, crowds streamed the lines munching on tidbits in between gathering pamphlets from representative organizations promoting everything from agricultural education for children and sustainability to the birthplace of the Organic Movement in America as the Rodale Institute.
There were numerous Farmers Markets encouraging support at their locations and various food cooperatives engaging potential members. There were Distributors, Marketers, and then sponsors, Whole Foods and Chipotle who both provided stands offering free samples to long lines of enthusiastic or hungry taste testers. The exhibitors totaled one hundred and eleven in all.
Off to another separate area specific Workshops were held, a couple of which I had planned to attend but then got caught up chatting with some of the farm and restaurant vendors. Surprisingly, I was able to get some good photos, the lighting also seemed particularly good and later learned even the power provided had a symbolic twist through another of the days sponsors, Clean Currents, which purchased renewable energy certificates equal to the amount of power used on this day offering benefits to green sources through the electricity.
Photo: Farmer and Writer, Tom Culton of Tom Culton Organics with his giant sized Rutabaga pulled from the soil the morning of the Fest
On the other hand, once I loaded up all the photos there was a noticeably unbalanced number short of some of my very favorite vendors whose products or banners I was not able to photograph due to the sheer numbers of samplers surrounding their display tasting and testing. Some of my favorites included an amazing Pulled Pork from the Front Porch Family Farms, the Cape May Salt Oysters, quality farm raised oysters from the Atlantic Capes Fisheries, Inc…Come on now how much room do you think was available to photograph at a makeshift oyster shucking area offering free oysters on ice with side enhancements of fresh lemon wedges and cocktail sauce?
Eberly Poultry Farms whose tag line, pioneer in organic and specialty poultry served bite size pieces of chicken thigh cooked simply in olive oil, there were cheeses, breads, including those gluten free, a very tasty granola from Intrinsic Foods in Easton who begin their Essential Granola from whole grain oats that are freshly flaked immediately before baking. Also among my favorites, a former Post Story on Spiced Peach Blog is Wild For Salmon who had such a consistent batch of booth visitors that despite numerous tries I couldn’t even get an even shot on the top of their sign. You can read the former Spiced Peach Blog Post on Wild for Salmon here
Aliza Green, author of Starting With Ingredients manned with another cookbook author, the Les Dames d’Escoffier Table (shared along with Slow Food Philadelphia) while additionally offering another of her cookbooks, Artisan Pasta. Green currently nominated for a James Beard Award on a Washington Post article on food gloves announced in May also shared with me that there are yet a few remaining openings in her upcoming Culinary Adventures Tour in Puglia, Italy, October 2nd-9th 2013. The week’s accommodation at Masseria Montenapoleone Villa will involve along with sightseeing and touring historical sites, the culinary aspects of the region through guided tastings, artisan demonstrations, hands on cooking classes, and trips to the market. You can contact Aliza here if you would like more information on participating on the upcoming tour. You can read a former Spiced Peach Blog Posting on Aliza’s Cookbook, Starting With Ingredients here.
Not to be overlooked, our close next door neighbors from the Garden State, New Jersey among these fellow contingents, First Field, displaying a richly colored fresh flavored Ketchup
Kimberton Whole Foods
Among some others of my notable favorites included Small Valley Milling specialists in Organic Spelt, the healthful ancient grain of thousands of years ago also known as Farro. Small Valley Milling also offers Whole Grain and White Spelt Flour, which provides an excellent variation addition if you are interested in bread baking experimentation. Since Spelt is easier to digest than wheat some people with wheat sensitivities may possibly be able to tolerate usage of this product whose tough outer hull during the harvesting process is removed. Next on the notables list is Subarashi Kudamono LP producer of gourmet Asian Pears along with distinct varieties of Asian Pear Wine, Dessert Wine, and Eau De Vie. Quarry Hill Farms in Harleysville now in partnership collaboration to re-open a Montgomery County landmark favorite, the Mainland Inn, transforming the former establishment into both a Farm to Food Restaurant along with separate Kitchen Areas providing Cooking Classes. I will keep you Posted on this in the future. Finally, I wanted to mention a former fellow Arizonan of Zea May’s Kitchen, a food truck with menu fare influenced by Native American Cuisine.
Although black and white Post Cards lined the Product Tables listing vendor numbers beckoning Votes for the Best of the Day’s Event, I found it difficult there could be just one top vendor among all of the exceptional choices, especially with nearly every table and product singularly worth exploring.
And then, there were desserts and this particular vendor whose photographed supreme tasting French delicacies of perfection goes unknown for lack of a promotional piece filled among the handy Whole Foods cloth shopping bag I toted along, receiving yet another useful rain proof version from the Three Springs Fruit Farm in Wenksville, PA.
Finally, this lovely young woman above is Elena Hoffman the 2013 Pennsylvania Honey Queen, a Title annually awarded based on depth of knowledge on honey and beekeeping as well as Public Speaking and Presentation. An impressive representative, Hoffman through her role travels throughout the state during her reign providing a broad array of everything related to honey from cooking demonstrations to educating schoolchildren at assemblies. If you are interested in sharing Honey in your school or festival event, you can contact The Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association at www.pastatebeekeepers.org
The Philly Farm and Food Fest is certainly an annual event worthwhile attending and I hope to see you there in 2014, you might want to keep my one tip in mind, just be sure and get there early.