GRID Magazine February 2010

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Sustainable Philadelphia

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Sustainability Resolutions

Green goals from Mayor Nutter, Jose Garces and more! [ page 12 ] february 2010 / issue 11

Beautiful Music The Curtis Institute expands [ page 10 ]

Veggie Tales Grid tackles tofu bĂĄhn mi [ page 20 ]

Elkins Park joins the city’s burgeoning co-op community [ page 14 ]

BarberGale designing sustainable brands. We are a brand communications firm wishing you a peaceful Holiday Season and a New Year blanketed in social, environmental, and economic prosperity.

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ne of my favorite things about being a member of the Sustainable Business Network is that, at the annual meeting, they offer a public forum for declaring your New Year’s resolutions. There’s nothing like making an announcement in front of a roomful of people—many of whom you’ll see the following year—to motivate you to keep your word. In that spirit, I’ll commit a few of mine to print. First, I’m going to finally pick up my compost bin from Greenable and start composting. I will also buy as much food as possible from the Fair Food Farmstand; weatherize my home; and buy more used and less new. I will be far from alone in making green resolutions—a recent study found that 51 percent of Americans already do. That’s a pretty impressive number. We asked a few Philly notables what they resolved to achieve in 2010, and when the calendar turns again, we’ll follow up and see how they’ve done. I don’t think it can be stressed enough how important it is to “start with the man in the mirror,” or to “be the change you seek.” Setting an example is contagious. And when there are enough people who share the same values, real change can happen.

That’s why the co-op business model is such a powerful tool for community self-sufficiency. When profits aren’t siphoned away to corporate headquarters, and when people feel ownership in the places they patronize, the dividends are great. Philadelphia is fortunate to have such a robust example in Mt. Airy’s Weaver’s Way. They have provided the blueprint, and people in Elkins Park and Kensington hope to follow in their footsteps. December was a thrilling month for Grid. We won the Lewis Mumford Award for Architectural Journalism from the Philly chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and shortly after that we were victorious in the Best Print Publication poll on Thanks to the AIA, Philebrity and the people who voted for us. Sustainability is such a fascinating and important topic, and covering it in Philadelphia is a joy and a privilege. Speaking of the AIA, we have entered into a partnership with them. Each month, every book we review will be available in their bookstore at 1218 Arch Street. Together, we are going to hand-pick what we consider to be essential reading for the sustainability movement. We will keep you posted on our progress, but stop by Amanda Weko, their store and have a look for chair of the AIA yourself. Communications Committee, presents Grid with the Lewis Mumford Award for Architectural Journalism.

A quick note of explanation regarding the dating of the magazine: Yes, this is a February issue with New Year’s resolutions in it. Over the past year, we’ve been trying to fit Grid into a crowded production schedule. (We also publish two other monthly magazines.) It took some shuffling, but we now have things pretty much worked out. The result is that Grid will street toward the middle of each month— January 13 this time around—and early rather than late. So, allow me to wish you a Happy New Year, Black History Month and Valentine’s Day!


Alex Mulcahy 215.625.9850 ext. 102 distribution

Claire Connelly 215.625.9850 ext. 100 managing editor

Lee Stabert art director

Jamie Leary assistant to the publisher

Tim Mulcahy copy editors

Andrew Bonazelli Patty Moran production artist

Lucas Hardison customer service

Mark Evans 215.625.9850 ext. 105 writers

Dynise Balcavage Bernard Brown Claire Connelly Tara Mataraza Desmond Allison Kelsey Natalie Hope McDonald Jonathan McGoran Lee Stabert Samantha Wittchen photographers

Lucas Hardison David Schrott Albert Yee illustrators

Kelly Franklin published by

Red Flag Media 1032 Arch Street, 3rd Floor Philadelphia, PA 19107 215.625.9850

Alex J. Mulcahy Publisher

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Printed in the usa on Leipa’s 43.9 lb Ultra Mag gloss paper. It’s 100% recycled, 80% from post-consumer waste. c o ver il l u st rat io n by kelly frankli n

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g rid ph illy.c o m February 2010 / i ssue 11


Philadelphia University

Market share

cove r story

Elkins Park embraces the nascent Creekside Co-op


Elkins park residents embrace the nascent

creekside co-op

By Tara Mataraza Desmond


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“The principle of sustainability is reshaping the way we think about the world, encouraging us to improve the way


we design, build and live in the 21st century”

— Rob Fleming,


february 2010

News | Philadelphia Recycling Rewards launches; Mural Arts brings a colorful touch to going green Local Business Green Eggs Café, New Age Blasting Media

Program Director

07 08

Sustainability 101: Stormwater Management


Recycling | Local designer Taryn Zychal gives old umbrellas new life

sp ec ial featu re

february 2010

Sustainability Resolutions Local notables tell Grid their green goals for 2010

10 11

Architecture | Curtis Institute of Music’s impressive expansion

Energy | Feast Your Eyes Catering goes solar

Recycling Challenge Old Carpets

Become proficient in Green Building Materials,

20 21 22

Energy Efficiency, Construction Systems and Sustainable Design


Eating Out | Grid tackles tofu bánh mi

Seasonal Produce Mushrooms

23 24

How To Braising basics

Farm Profile Meadow Run’s marvelous eggs

24 24

Libation | Dock Street’s Barley Wine Urban Vegan Humble and Hearty Vegetable Soup

Recipe | AsianInspired Pot Roast

26 Photography by Tom Crane & Dean Gazzo


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Tapped examines our catastrophic bottled water problem; Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals causes a stir; The Value of Nothing takes on the market

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Things to do Mural tours, Green Drinks, composting and more


Essay | A Weaver’s Way vet reflects on co-ops and community

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design and more

Trick My Truck Just Rewards Philadelphia Recycling Rewards launches in Strawberry Mansion


ecycleBank, a company founded in Philadelphia in 2005, has finally launched its innovative recycling rewards program in the City of Brotherly Love. Mayor Nutter and other city leaders celebrated the event with a press conference and demonstration in Strawberry Mansion. RecycleBank partners with municipalities to reward citizens for recycling—the more you recycle, the more points you accrue to redeem for rewards at over 1,500 local and national businesses. You can also donate rewards to nonprofits and charities. All participants need is a sticker for their recycling bin. That sticker contains a microchip that identifies their home. When collected, the bin is weighed and the appropriate amount of points are deposited in the owner’s account. As Mayor Nutter put it, “Philadelphia Recycling Rewards is an opportunity to put real money in the hands of Philadelphians at a time when people really do need it.” This initiative is the latest in a series of strides (including BigBelly trash receptacles and single-stream recycling) that the city has made towards decreasing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. The program is being rolled out one neighborhood at a time. District 3, which includes Fairmount, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Port Richmond and parts of North Philadelphia, launches in February. Visit to register or learn the launch date for your area. —lee stabert

The city’s Mural Arts Program brings a colorful flourish to recycling by Lee Stabert


ne of the most striking things about the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards Program launch was the trucks. Wrapped in vibrant, colorful patterns, the hulking behemoths were belle of the ball. That’s all thanks to a partnership between the Streets Commission, under the guidance of Clarena Tolson, and Philadelphia’s Mural Arts program. A few years ago, Mural Arts was asked to commission murals for two trucks as a beautification measure. The trucks won a national award. Then, this year, as the city was gearing up to launch single-stream recycling, they wanted to raise awareness. They came to Mural Arts and asked them to do a whole fleet. “We wanted to make something bland beautiful,” says Director of Art Education Jane Hellman. The program was dubbed “Design in Motion.” Everything at Mural Arts has a community element, so they enlisted the help of middle school kids in their after-school program. Through a partnership with Philadelphia University’s Design Center, the kids were able to learn about turn-of-the-century, locally-made textiles, and use those as inspiration for

the trucks’ design. The kids also learned about the recycling process. On Earth Day, the city celebrated the new trucks with a parade down Broad Street and a dedication by Mayor Nutter at Love Park. Future plans include 12 more trucks, done in collaboration with drivers, kids from the Mural Arts Program and local communities with low recycling rates. A little while back, Hellman saw one of the eyecatching trucks cruising through her neighborhood. She struck up a conversation with the driver, telling him she worked for Mural Arts, then asked him what he thought of his new ride. “People talk to me now, like they didn’t before,” he responded. “They ask me about recycling.” ■

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/ local business

Blast Off

New Age Blasting Media uses recycled glass in a creative way


Seeing Green A new café opens in South Philly


reen Eggs Café is the latest business to open in the rapidly-exploding South Philadelphia neighborhood adjacent to East Passyunk Avenue. The breakfast-and-lunch spot will offer another option for hungry neighborhood residents, tired of long waits at Queen Village brunch meccas. The café has taken over a beautiful historic building on the corner of Clarion and Dickinson. The original tin ceilings and terrazzo floors have been refurbished, and the dining room is bright and airy. There is also a cozy private room in the rear, perfect for large parties. Owners William Bonforte, Stephen Slaughter and Andrew Zuccarini are committed to sourcing locally and being as eco-friendly as possible. They’re stocking their kitchen with local produce when possible and serving LeBus baked goods, La Colombe coffee and Steaz Beverages. Water is filtered on the premises and all take-out materials are made from biodegradable and compostable materials. 6

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When it comes to breakfast, there are the usual suspects—eggs benedict, stuffed French toast, breakfast burritos, omelettes—but also some twists, like the Philly-style benedict, served on a pretzel roll with cream cheese and pork loin, grits topped with scrapple chips or porridge made with quinoa. On the lunch front, there are sandwiches (including a burger topped with a fried green tomato, a steak sandwich paired with gruyere béchamel and fennel slaw, and a vegetarian Italian panini) and a small selection of enticing salads. Green Eggs also offers carry-out coffee and pastries. —Lee Stabert →→ Green Eggs Café, 1306 Dickinson St.; 215-226-3447

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id you know that most blast cleaning in the United States— used on public spaces like bridges, buildings and sidewalks—is done with industrial coal waste? Yup, industrial coal waste (or coal slag): the very same substance causing an environmental and public health disaster after a spill in Tennessee, and the same black muck that Lesley Stahl was warned to wash off her boots during a recent 60 Minutes piece. That by-product— which the government currently encourages companies to “recycle” by finding any possible use for it—is known to contain toxins like arsenic, lead and selenium. The Ben Franklin Bridge was recently cleaned using coal slag. (It took about 10 trucks full of waste to do the job.) “What’s scary about it is that people just don’t know,” says Paul Mellon, president and founder of New Age Blasting Media. His company, which is based in Philadelphia’s Naval Yard, takes unusable recycled glass and grinds it into an industrial abrasive that can be used for blast cleaning or preparation of surfaces. Their product is not only 100 percent recycled—and reduces the amount of waste in landfills—but also replaces products that are known to be both carcinogenic and harmful to the environment. New Age Blasting Media was recently used to clean the Market Street Bridge. New Age is also looking into other uses for their product. The King of Prussia Mall recently used their glass to repave a walkway. The mall liked the green appeal of the glass, and the LEED-based tax credit that came with it. New Age is also exploring manufacturing media for fish tanks and public ashtrays under the name NovaSand ( Ready for a shock? The “black sand” you currently see in public ashtray stands? Industrial coal waste. Some brands of fish tank pebbles? Industrial coal waste. Walmart was selling “black sand” until a meeting with Mellon this summer— he informed them that what they were selling was a substance containing 11 of the top 13 toxic compounds. They no longer carry the product. For more information, visit

/ education

What Is Stormwater Management?


t’s all about runoff. When precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground, impervious surfaces like streets and sidewalks keep the water from naturally soaking in, creating stormwater runoff. This can be problematic on several levels. Runoff erodes rivers and streams, and causes flooding. Stormwater also picks up debris, chemicals and other pollutants as it flows into sewers, eventually making its way into the rivers, lakes and streams we use for swimming, fishing and drinking water. As land development increases and permeable surfaces decrease, runoff becomes harder to control. Luckily, we live in one of the most proactive cities in the country when it comes to managing stormwater, alongside Chicago, Seattle and

Portland. The Philadelphia Water Department’s (PWD) use of green stormwater infrastructure is a key component of the city’s Greenworks plan.

“Uncontrolled stormwater is the root of all evil,” says Marc J. Cammarata, Manager of Watershed Planning and Engineering for the Office of Watersheds. “We’re trying to control stormwater using the most natural process, with limited funds.” The goal is to replicate Mother Nature’s way of getting the water back in the ground by using a variety of soil-water-plant systems and intercepting stormwater runoff before it enters the city’s sewer system. Stormwater planters, rain gardens and green roofs are great examples of green infrastructure changes that have helped reduce flooding and sewer overflow, improving water quality. Philadelphia residents can also reduce stormwater’s unwanted flow by utilizing rain barrels. These collection containers store rainwater from your roof that would otherwise end up in storm drains and streams. The rainwater can then be used for purposes such as gardening, watering the lawn, cleaning outdoor furniture or washing your car. Rain barrels reduce homeowner water bills while decreasing stormwater’s negative environmental impact— a win-win situation. Rain barrels can be found at your local home and garden store. This spring, PWD will again offer them at no charge to people located within the watersheds of Philadelphia who attend a mandatory rain barrel workshop. —claire connelly Visit for more information. ■


Model Neighborhoods The Philadelphia Water Department has partnered with Fairmount Park, PennFuture, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and local civic organizations on a new green initiative that manages stormwater while beautifying our city. The Model Neighborhoods Program showcases green infrastruc-

ture tools such as sidewalk planters, stormwater tree trenches and rain gardens, all of which slow down and soak up runoff, while also helping to improve air quality and create safer communities. Response to Model Neighborhoods has been overwhelmingly postitive, showing residents’ commitment to making Philly a greener city. Participating neighborhoods include Passyunk Square, Northern Liberties and Awbury/Clivedon, where entire blocks of residents signed a petition to green their streets. Information on the program is available at

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/ recycling

When It Rains

Local designer Taryn Zychal gives broken umbrellas new life by Claire Connelly


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mbrellas—designed as a convenient solution to getting caught in the rain—can be surprisingly unwieldy. On a stormy day, Philly sidewalks are filled with all shapes, sizes and varieties. But, when the wind is strong, the flimsy shields often can’t withstand the pressure, acquiring that all-too-familiar inside-out look. At that point, the city becomes an umbrella graveyard. Local artist and eco-enthusiast Taryn Zychal finds opportunity and inspiration in a situation that makes most people crazy—she collects broken umbrellas and turns them into her own unique line of fashion under the moniker Recycling Zychal. Zychal, who moved to Philadelphia from Scranton to pursue a degree in Industrial Design at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, runs Recycling Zychal from her basement apartment near Rittenhouse Square, where she lives with her pet pugs. She designs and produces stylish, functional apparel for pets and humans using salvaged fabric from umbrellas, selling the finished wares on Customers choose from a variety of samples on the site, send in their measurements and Zychal makes the pieces to order. Her most popular products are the Upcycled Umbrella Dog Rain Coat and Winter Dog Coat. Her “HOOD” for women—which she describes as a “modern-day babushka”—is also a huge hit. As one would imagine, scavenging for supplies isn’t the most glamorous task. Zychal and her fiancé wait for the strongest, windiest storms before hitting the streets. They gather abandoned umbrellas by the bagful, leaving no trashcan unturned. Zychal lets the umbrellas dry for several days, detaches the fabric, then washes them with lavender and lemon essential oils. This cleanses the material, leaving it with a relaxing, non-irritating scent. In addition to the

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umbrella linings, Zychal uses Eco-Fi felt (a polyester fiber made from recycled plastic bottles) and vintage or handpicked fabric remnants she finds down on Fabric Row to create her finished pieces. With the success of her Etsy line and many satisfied dog-owning customers, Zychal plans to expand her repertoire—she’s currently working on a stylish kitchen apron for men—and hopes to customize items for local stores. She’s thrilled that the venture has taken off and loves running what’s become a booming small business. “What gives me the most satisfaction is working with my two favorite things, which are animals and trash,” Zychal explains. “Each and every one of the broken umbrellas I pick up has a story behind it, and being able to reconstruct them in a way that still utilizes the original function and doesn’t look like it was made from something that was ever pulled out of a trashcan is truly rewarding.” ■


To buy, visit

by Samantha Wittchen

Carpeting The Issue: Getting rid of old carpet. The Challenge: Between 2 and 2.5 million tons of carpet are discarded each year in the U.S. Carpet can be tricky to recycle because it is made out of many different substances, including nylon, polypropylene, polyester, PVC and latex. However, since carpet production is such a petroleum- and energy-intensive process, it is estimated that carpet recycling programs can save more than 700,000 barrels of oil per year and conserve 4.4 trillion BTUs of energy. Additionally, your old carpet can be made into other valuable products, such as composite lumber, roofing shingles, railroad ties and automotive parts. The Solution: Because of the complexity of recycling carpet, reclamation and recycling centers can be hard to find. Luckily for the residents of the Philadelphia region, there is a center located in Bristol, just outside the city. The Foam Recycle Center accepts carpets from homeowners at no cost. However, they do not recycle polyester carpet, so it’s important that you check the tag on the back of the carpet before making the trip to Bristol. The Foam Recycle Center is located at 2014 Ford Road, Bristol, PA (610-247-0596) and is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon.-Fri. The Eco-Aware Consumer: Once you’ve finally sold your disco records and decided it’s time to replace the mustard-yellow shag in the basement, it’s important to look for new products that can be recycled or are made from recycled materials. FLOR carpets (; can be sent back to the manufacturer for recycling when they’re ready to be replaced. And the Carpet and Rug Institute ( maintains a searchable, comprehensive list of sustainable carpet products. Look for their “Green Label” or “Green Label Plus” seals for the added benefit of lowVOC emissions.


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/ architecture

Face Lift

The Curtis Institute of Music’s expansion project goes green while preserving the character of an historic block by Lee Stabert


or the last few months, observant Philadelphians strolling down the 1600 block of Locust Street have no doubt been startled. When you first catch a glimpse of the massive Curtis Institute of Music expansion project, it feels a little bit like you’ve stumbled onto a movie set. On either side of a gaping hole are two perfect townhouse facades, standing there like empty masks. The adjoining structures have been removed, leaving only the historic exteriors. By the time the project is complete, the beautiful facades will provide bookends for a new, LEED-certified wing of the prestigious music school. The building will house an orchestra rehearsal room, greatly expanded teaching and practice facilities, and a nine-story residential wing set off from the street. Architect Seth Cohen of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates is in charge of the project. Respecting the surrounding streetscape was an invigorating challenge for his team. “Context was a very important design goal that relates to aesthetics, sustainability and historic preservation,” says Cohen. “As you know, Locust is a very historic block, with St. Mark’s Church right across from the site. It’s mostly two- and three-story townhomes, and we wanted to match the feel and the scale.” They achieved that through both the façade preservation 10

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Tuned Out—Historic facades on Locust Street stand alone for now (right). When completed, the project will reflect the architectural character of the block (left).

(which was required by the Historical Commission of Philadelphia) and aesthetically resonant window design on the infill elements of the structure. “There is a series of vertical bay windows,” explains Cohen.“That scale is very similar to the scale of townhouses. Also, if you look at that overall streetscape, most of the historic facades are not completely flat. They have ornaments and bay windows that project out. We’re doing that in a way with a bay over the entry. It’s our interpretation of the bay window—it acknowledges the power of St. Mark’s and acknowledges the surrounding context.” The building is also aiming for LEED certification upon completion. Besides building on an existing site and integrating the existing facades (both earn sustainability points), the architects have chosen high-efficiency plumbing and mechanical systems. They have reduced the amount of water typically used in these kinds of projects by as much as 40 percent. The building will be completed in summer 2011. When added to Curtis’ existing facilities on the 1700 block of Locust, it will create what the school is calling a “Curtis Corridor” running from Rittenhouse Square to the Avenue of the Arts, where students often perform. ■


ph ot o by L uca s ha rd i s o n

/ energy

Sun Solutions

A local catering company gets a solar panel rig for their new digs by lee stabert


east Your Eyes Catering was in Northern Liberties before the hordes. Now, they’re in South Kensington, in a spectacular space carved out of an old barrel factory. They moved so they could add an event space to their off-site catering services. And what a space it is: Rustic wood and soaring industrial beauty are paired with spectacular custom chandeliers by local artist Warren Muller.

Festival of Light—The striking chandeliers in FYE’s new Kensington event space are partially powered by a solar rig on the roof (inset).

Sustainability was a huge factor in the renovation process. In addition to extensive efforts to reuse and donate salvaged wood from the site, owners Skip Schwartzman and Lynn Buono commissioned Andrew Kleeman at Eos Energy Solutions to install a rig of solar panels on their roof. Based locally in Fairmount, Eos does both commercial projects and smaller residential solar systems. Though the project required a $50,000 investment, Feast Your Eyes was able to take advantage of a wealth of financial incentives for businesses that install solar systems. The Pennsylvania Sunshine Program offers a $15,000 rebate, and the federal

government supplies another $15,000 through Section 1603 of the stimulus bill. (Residential systems are eligible for a different set of tax credits.) Kleeman asserts that between the cash perks and decreased energy bills, “These days, it costs less to get your power from the sun than it does to buy it from PECO.” Once construction began, the solar rig—comprised of 36 panels—was up and running within a week. Since the launch in October, FYE has already reduced their carbon footprint by 2,500 lbs. That works out to just shy of eight tons of carbon per year that they’re keeping out of the atmosphere. Eos’ systems can be monitored from any web connection. Feast Your Eyes installed an LCD screen in their lobby, showing off their new toy NEW S FLA S H to visitors. Now potential clients will know that the light emanating from Muller’s jaw-dropping reclaimed lightLEED Bill Passes City Council ing collage above their heads gets its juice In December, the City Council voted 17-0 to pass Bill No. 080025, sustainably, from something even further introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. The bill requires above their heads. LEED-silver standards for all government construction projects over 10,000 square feet that are primarily funded by city capital dollars and For more information on Feast Your Eyes controlled by the city. The measure is an important step towards reaching Catering, visit; for the Target 1 goal of Greenworks Philadelphia (reducing government energy consumption 30 percent by 2015), and could someday be extended to all information on Eos Energy Solutions, city buildings. visit

MAIN pho t o by al bert yee

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philadelphia’s 2010 sustainability


Local notables offer Grid their green goals for the coming year


t’s not only the beginning of a new year, but the dawn of a decade. Time for fresh starts, kept promises and discarding all the stuff from the aughties that Americans would do better without (Hummers, commercially-made sausages wrapped in chocolate chip pancakes, Nickelback, Ed Hardy t-shirts, bottled water, to name a few.) Grid asked some notable Philadelphians about their sustainability resolutions for the coming year. We hope they will inspire you to make a few of your own. And yes, promising to eat at Iron Chef Jose Garces’ upcoming farm-to-table restaurant does count.

when i took office,

Philadelphia residents recycled just 7.5 percent of their solid waste. In 2009, we got close to 15 percent. In 2010, my goal is to push Philadelphia’s recycling diversion rate above 20 percent. To that end, my resolution is to get as many Philadelphians as possible to sign up for Philadelphia Recycling Rewards and enjoy incentives to recycle. Residents can sign up at”


Legislation plays a major part in setting environmental priorities, but I make sure to follow through on my individual responsibility to conserve, too. My ecoresolutions are mostly centered on technology this year. My office system is moving to a virtual file server that shares a physical machine with other servers to use less energy; our filing system is already 95 percent paperless and we use 100 percent recycled content paper products. Our new computers will utilize an energy efficient power profile that shuts off monitors and hard drives when they’re not in use.


Michael Nutter

robert casey

• Iron Chef

My green resolution for 2010 is a big one:

Jose Garces

I’m planning to open a new restaurant whose focus will be on ‘farm-to-table’ foods, with the dual mission of bringing my guests excellent local, sustainable products and also offering them opportunities to learn more about how and where their food is produced. I’d like to think of it as my contribution to an ongoing conversation between myself and my guests about what we can do to take better care of our planet and ourselves at the same time. 12

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In 2010 With an interest in invention and innovation, I will use the new energyefficient light bulbs to conserve electricity. This will cut down on electricity use and I applaud any efforts to make our planet more eco-friendly.

• Ralph Archbold

Philly’s best-known Ben Franklin impersonator

we resolve to deepen our commitment to sustainable, local-minded living. As our touring plans come into shape, we aim to increase the connections we make with each of the communities we visit. The farms, co-ops and locally-owned businesses we find along the way will help lessen our impact as we travel.

Sean Hoots Hoots & Hellmouth

My personal green resolution is to cut my home energy bills in half from what they were last year—I want to see how low I can go by just making simple and affordable changes. I’m a renter, so making improvements is tricky. Luckily, I have a great landlord who agreed to pay for an electronic thermostat. Projects in the works include replacing the weather stripping around the doors and windows and making an insulating cover for my fireplace, which is lovely but allows a lot of cold air into my living room!

• Katherine




Gajewski Philadelphia’s Director of Sustainability

✔ Laundry Detergent ✔ Dishwashing Liquid ✔ Auto Dishwasher Pacs ✔ All-Purpose Cleaner ✔ Glass Cleaner ✔ Fabric Softener ✔ Hand Soap

This year my resolution is to uphold 10 Arts’ emphasis on sourcing its ingredients from local and regional farmers. Buying fresh, sustainable, local ingredients not only contributes great flavor to our dishes, but it also helps reduce the global warming-causing emissions that result from food transportation.

• Jennifer Carroll

Chef de Cuisine, 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge; Top Chef: Las Vegas

934 South Street 267.909.8661


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Elkins Park residents embrace the nascent Creekside Co-op

story by tara mataraza desmond

Market share Elkins Park residents

embrace the nascent

Creekside Co-op

By Tara Mataraza Desmond


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rom the early ’60s through the late ’90s, the Elkins Park business district was an active town center—and Ashbourne Market its de facto town hall. The market eventually occupied a good percentage of the sidewalk-framed storefronts along the main strip, as the owners bought up other businesses to increase space. Technically, it was a grocery store, but it was also a gourmet magnet. The place was Philadelphia’s equivalent to New York City’s Zabar’s: If a culinary trend popped up— truffles, caviar, dried chiles—Ashbourne carried it. People would travel from all over to shop there. And, for Elkins Park residents, it became more than just a place to sample the legendary whitefish salad—it was a meeting place. Unfortunately, as competition from major chains moved in—including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Acme and Genuardi’s—Ashbourne wilted and eventually folded in 2002. Several businesses came and went in the market’s old space, but none lasted. Today, when you hop off the train at the Elkins Park SEPTA station, the view has changed. A oncebustling downtown district has become relatively desolate, with only a few storefronts and a coffee shop still doing business. Elkins Park is six miles from Center City and one of the first suburbs over the northwest city line. The close proximity makes for an easy commute for Phil-

adelphia workers, and fuels the diversity of the borough. With memories of Ashbourne’s heyday still fresh in their minds, locals decided that a grocery store would be key to the town center’s reignition. This time, the neighbors decided to do it themselves, investing in a food cooperative (co-op), a memberowned grocery retail store. Since December 2007, Elkins Park residents have been working to make that vision a reality. The cooperative is evolving simultaneously with a mainstream shift in thinking from selfhood to solidarity, from mega-mart to buy local, from gratuitous grocery gratification to the search for a sense of place on our dinner plates. Creekside Co-op, as it’s been named, is the story of how a new business is emerging to revive an old way of life, and helping a neighborhood look to the future. ↘

change is gonna come The dilapidated storefront that used to house Elkins Park’s beloved Ashborne market will become Creekside Co-op.

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ood cooperatives are centuries old, rooted in the development of industry, when people began leaving rural areas in droves to live and work in cities. They were markets that connected farmers and their goods, at a fair price, to urban dwellers who had limited access to farm fresh products. Today, there are about 300 food cooperatives in the United States, in both rural and urban areas. While traditional grocery stores and supermarkets are built to turn a profit, cooperatives exist because of the investment of their members, who commit to both working and shopping to sustain the business. Decision-making power, governance and profits all fall squarely in the shopping carts of the clientele. There are seven internationally recognized cooperative principles: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community. The board members, general manager and members all commit to upholding these principles. Food cooperatives tend to internalize an obligation to the welfare of surrounding communities and the broader environment. Profits are often endowed to neighborhood and regional programs and organizations to support sturdy communities. Most co-ops make distribution of natural, organic and locallyproduced products a priority. In America, the West Coast is rich with established food cooperatives spurred by the ’60s and ’70s counterculture. Natural and organic food activists wanted control over what they were eating. Today, that demand has gone mainstream.


n December of 2007, Elkins Park community members wanted to gauge the enthusiasm for the idea of bringing a food co-op to town. They rented space at the Elkins Park Free Library and set up 30 chairs. More than 200 neighbors showed up. “We didn’t have to convince anyone that this was a good idea,” says Andrew Schloss, a founding member and lifelong resident of the community. He and several others formed an ad hoc board of directors to put things in motion. Today, 1,280 households have joined (equating close to 3,600 members), and the doors aren’t even open yet. Members have the option to invest $50 per year, capping out at $400 after eight years, or to become fully vested with a one-time $400 advance contribution. “The business plan we are building off of now is what we aimed at for the second year of operation,” explains Schloss. The co-op has also applied and qualified for a USDA loan, and is tying up loose ends on loans from local banks. Members settled on the name “Creekside” based on the nearby Tookany Creek, which runs through Elkins Park and provided an artery for settlers and entrepreneurs to build a viable community during the industrialization of Philadelphia. That creek symbolizes growth. The Creekside Co-op, says Schloss, is “about regeneration of a community that’s hungry for a town center. The town has felt somewhat devastated without one.” The board members weighed in on three different locations during the site evaluation process. One had a parking lot and was in a visually prominent spot along a major thoroughfare. Another was predicted to be the most profitable, in the shortest amount of time. But the Ashbourne Market location, at the foot of the SEPTA train stop, meant revitalization. “We asked ourselves if we wanted to regenerate Elkins Park or be as rich as possible,” says Schloss. “We decided we wanted to regenerate our community.” Cooperatives put the steering wheel in the hands of a general manager who is tasked with upholding the principles and bylaws. Ryan Youngman was hired as the Creekside CEO and General Manager. He is a third generation grocer, and regards the grocery business as a reliable opportunity. “Everybody’s got to eat,” he says. Youngman is passionate about natural foods and organics—and his career grew in that direction. He worked for several natural food grocers and eventually started his own distributor, Good Earth, Inc., which he sold to United Natural Foods, Inc., the nation’s largest natural foods wholesaler. Youngman worked with Whole Foods Market as a regional director to establish Pacific Northwest stores. He was eventually recruited away from his hometown of Seattle to Richmond, VA, to run Ellwood Thompson’s Local Organic

“ Creekside is about community resurgence, and nothing builds community more than a neighborhood grocery store.” <—ryan youngman, General Manager, Creekside Co-op 16

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p ort r a it by david s c hro tt

Leader of the pack Mt. Airy’s Weaver’s Way serves as a strong example of the impact co-ops can have on a community.


Market and be its CEO. Creekside is his first venture into food cooperatives. “Creekside is about community resurgence, and nothing builds community more than a neighborhood grocery store,” says Youngman. He points out that 70 cents of every dollar spent at a locally-owned business stays in the community. Youngman foresees carrying both organic and conventional products, based on demand from customers. “The decisionmakers are in the stores, not in a corner office in some other city,” he explains. He is also determined to source seasonally and locally. “Farm-to-fork ideology needs to stay,” he says. “We want farmers to be able to sell direct to the market.” Creekside will tap into other local businesses, including restaurants, for product partnerships and will leverage buying power with national distributors of organic and natural foods, like United Natural Foods, Inc., and the National Cooperative Grocers Association. Youngman intends to offer products of high value—items that are both delicious and nutritious. “Big conglomerates have homogenized the value of a grocery store to a community and the definition of value has changed,” he says. Youngman also wants Creekside to be a place where people can gather to talk, exchange ideas and connect with one another. “Grocery stores are the church of a community,” he says. If the store is the church, then Youngman is indeed the pastor, ready to congregate neighbors around co-op principles, and excited to spread the word of natural, organic and locally-sourced food. pho tos by al bert yee

lkins Park residents had an ideal model to reference when brainstorming for their own food cooperative. Weaver’s Way Co-op in Philadelphia’s Mt. Airy neighborhood is nationally recognized for its success and community impact. Organized in 1973, Weaver’s Way is busting at the seams with 3,600 families as active members. They did $8.7 million in business last year, and are set to open a second location in Chestnut Hill in 2010, lifting some pressure off the current store. Weaver’s Way has been integral to Creekside’s development. In fact, Weaver’s Way general manager Glenn Bergman was at the Elkins Park library in 2007, on the night of that very first gathering. Before Chestnut Hill was finalized, Weaver’s Way was considering Elkins Park for its second location. Bergman stayed connected with Creekside as a member-atlarge in an effort to uphold the seventh principle of cooperatives: “cooperation amongst cooperatives.” “They are an amazing community, working together to reignite the downtown,” says Bergman of Creekside. “They are going to be incredibly successful.” Weaver’s Way remains a paragon of success for burgeoning cooperatives. Its loyal membership investments, which have kept the business going for over 30 years, pay returns not only to members, but also to the surrounding neighborhood. “We believe so much in the power of community doing something good,” says Bergman. Weaver’s Way’s impact expands well beyond the shelves of the tiny Mt. Airy storefront. They’ve created a small farm in the city’s Awbury Arboretum that supplies the co-op with hyperlocal seasonal produce. They also farm a small parcel of Fairmount Park land in conjunction with W.B. Saul High School, offering a CSA to the surrounding neighborhoods. And they have designed mini-cooperatives at local schools that sell garden and farm products. “Any profit goes back to the members or stays in the community,” explains Bergman. Weaver’s Way has also invested in other co-ops, loaning money at interest, twice in the last five years. “People like to support companies that honor the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit,” says Bergman. Employees of co-ops (including Weaver’s Way and Creekside, when it gets underway) earn a living wage, one that’s higher than pay from a traditional grocery store. ↘ f e b r ua r y 20 10

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“Knowing what a cooperative can give to the community drives me. We went to visit Weaver’s Way and said, ‘We need this!’” <— lena helen, founding member, Kensington Community Food Cooperative


he positive impact a successful cooperative like Weaver’s Way makes on a neighborhood is exactly what drove Lena Helen to pursue creating one in Kensington. The Kensington Community Food Cooperative (KCFC) has been in the works since summer of 2008, and is currently in the early stages of feasibility studies and site evaluation. KCFC’s mission is to serve as a grocery store in the Kensington area that will provide healthy, quality food, products and services to its members and the community. It will also be committed to the environment and to supporting local and organic farming. “Knowing what a cooperative can give to the community drives me,” says Helen of her efforts to breathe life into KCFC. “We went to visit Weaver’s Way and said, ‘We need this!’” Helen and fellow KCFC founding members pushed for a cooperative instead of a traditional grocery store because of a co-op’s mission to educate members about food, ethics and health. “Food is the bottom line for everyone,” says Helen. “It’s what makes a healthy community and healthy individuals.” KCFC is aiming for a spring 2011 opening.


he same vision of a vibrant community spurred the idea of the Creekside Co-op. Jennifer Brandabur, a Creekside member, has been involved in the planning from the start. She saw the need for a cooperative when it was clear that neighbors were no longer shopping in downtown stores and were not vested in the neighborhood. Since the 2007 meeting, Brandabur has played the role of fundraiser, grant writer and cheerleader—she is also a newly elected board member. “One of the things I find so appealing about the co-op is that it can provide our community with a central meeting place that is open to everyone,” she says. Over the last two years, Brandabur has become acquainted with people who share those values. “It’s been tremendous to see the pool of talent available and the amount of time people are willing to dedicate to help their community,” she says. As the projected late springtime opening approaches, Youngman and the board, including Schloss and Brandabur, are in the process of choosing the product inventory that will define them as a cooperative and distinguish them from the competition. There’s a lot of talk about “value judgments”—decisions made about products based on the cooperative philosophy and 18

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any additional indicators gleaned from member surveys and feedback. “There is an inference that you’ll be taken care of as a co-op member, by virtue of the operating principles of cooperatives,” explains Youngman. “It’s not just a service, it’s believing in the value.” “The reason you set a philosophy is you want to take care of a lot of the choices for customers,” says Schloss. If members trust the decisions made by the general manager and the board, they feel relieved of the pressure to read every single label or research on their own time because the legwork has already been done. Brandabur adds, “We have a commitment to sourcing our products as responsibly as possible.” In the instances where co-op products or services are more expensive than options at a nearby Another Philadelphia co-op is also supermarket, the co-op staff is tasked on the move. Mariposa, in West Philwith educating members and changing adelphia, is close to securing a deal the perceived value. to purchase a space just a block Youngman intends to hire employees from their current home at 4726 Baltimore Ave. The new building will who are knowledgeable about products have five times the space of the and sustainability issues so they can offer original location. Mariposa has been contextually relevant input to shoppers. working with the Community Design This might include stressing the economCollaborative to incorporate green ic impact of buying locally, or explaining elements into the space which will feature more room to process and the environmental benefits of choosing prepare food, a loading dock and organic over conventional produce. It space for overstock. “With a new could mean handing out samples of a larger space we will be able to furchocolate sandwich cookie void of hydrother our mission,” says store mangenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup ager Bull Gervasi, “We’ll provide more residents of West Philly with as a suggested alternative to “America’s healthy, affordable, locally grown favorite cookie.” and sustainably produced food The proposed 7,800 square feet of while also supporting more local Creekside’s retail space is being designed farmers and offering more people to serve as a one-stop-shop tailored to the meaningful employment.” For information on the Mariposa expansion, requests of its members. The full-service visit grocery store will include a prepared foods section, a hot bar, soups, sushi and charcuterie. Youngman and the board hope that the choices they make on behalf of investors will help shoppers feel good about their purchases, and will distinguish the co-op from competing groceries. They even plan to stock the original-recipe Ashbourne Market whitefish salad—the legend that lured Elkins Park neighbors for so many years. ■

mariposa to expand


p ort r a it by a lbert yee



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/eating out

Soy dream

A sandwich from Nhu Y (left) used mayo and firm tofu to separate itself from O’s take on the vegetarian treat (right), served on housebaked bread.

Bánh-ding Experience


Grid traverses the city, sampling the vegetarian take on a Vietnamese staple by bernard brown

should start this piece by disclosing some bias: I have FuWah’s number saved in my cell phone. I use it for ordering takeout tofu hoagies—the timing is perfect if I dial right as I’m leaving my apartment. Fu-Wah Mini Market I have eaten at least a hundred from the beloved corner market in West Philly, →→ 810 South 47th St. (at Baltimore), and loved every one of them. 215-729-2993 Even non-vegetarians admit they’re something special, though most note that the tofu hoagie isn’t actually a “hoagie,” per se. The roll is a hoagie roll, but the fillings are far from shredded iceberg and sharp provolone—richly sauced chunks of fried and long-simmered tofu are paired with cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon, slices of fresh jalapeño and garlicky chili sauce. I recently discovered that the tofu hoagie— something I had long considered a special neighborhood claim to fame—is actually an adaptation of a common Vietnamese sandwich called a bánh mì, and they are found throughout the city. Of course, I had to try them. The bánh mì is a child of colonialism. The French brought their baguettes (and their coffee) to Vietnam, where they were married with local ingredients and the Southeast Asian passion for the confluence of sweet, salty, spicy and sour. Non-vegetarian versions can feature everything from shredded pork to paté to charcuterie. Now it seems Philadelphia has added its own footnote to the form—stacking the traditional fillings on our ubiquitous Italian rolls. 20

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All three of the sandwiches sampled (with the able assistance of Grid’s solidly omnivorous Lee Stabert) were delicious steals for under $4, and beautiful examples of how anyone can enjoy tofu done well. (In case vegetarians were wondering, none of the sandwiches sampled included fish sauce, or nuoc mam.)

O’s →→ 1205 S. 9th St. (next to Geno’s),


A friend recommended O’s for the amazing bread, and she was right. This Vietnamese sandwich shop, an attractive space with concrete floors, exposed brick walls and tables for eating in, bakes its own rolls. The floral aroma hits you as soon as you walk in, fanning your hunger as you wait (salivating, fidgeting, growling) for your sandwich. They fill the crusty baguettes with tender chunks of fried, lemongrass-infused tofu, cucumber, a little pickled carrot, jalapeño and cilantro. This is a relatively light sandwich overall—tasty, elegant and well-balanced.

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Developed seven years ago in response to demand from the West Philly vegan community, the Fu-Wah bánh mì is the richest of the three we sampled, but still well-balanced thanks to sweet, tangy pickled carrot and daikon, fresh cilantro and sharp jalapeño. It is also the juiciest; the savory drippings are perfect to sop up with the end of the hoagie. Fu-Wah’s deli counter (all takeout, no seating) offers a long menu of sandwiches, but say, “One with everything,” and they’ll know what you mean.

Nhu Y

→→ 802 Christian St., (215) 925-6544

Nhu Y, a narrow hole-in-the-wall storefront with a counter and one teeny tiny corner table, starts with a toasted Italian-style Sarcone’s roll. They use denser tofu (fried, then sliced), and build on it with sliced red chili, pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro and mayo. (I was a little skeptical of the mayo at first, but it worked.) It’s a little less sweet and sour than the others, and the feel is a touch more like a traditional deli sandwich. ■


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nly the hardiest souls flourish in the dead of winter. Far from the glimmer of spring, with little sun and no warmth, most reasonable organisms are hunkered down. Fortunately, mushrooms (like bloggers) don’t have much use for nice weather—they do just fine in the damp darkness of February. So, at a time of year when most local produce is coming out of storage, these fungal frontiersmen are still growing away in sheds, notably in Kennett Square. Mushroom cultivation in the United States first began in Kennett Square in 1896, and the place has been a hub for the earthy delights ever since. The town hosts the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival every fall (, and provides Philadelphia with local product year-round. Mushrooms are great in any variety of savory dish—soups, casseroles, pasta, pizza, omelettes and braises. When prepared correctly, they add earthiness and meatiness to pretty much everything they touch. Wild mushrooms are subject to seasonal whims (and can be budget-busters), but common cultivated varieties—shitake, portabella, cremini, button, oyster—are delicious and almost always available. Mushrooms are great friends with woody herbs like rosemary and thyme. For a pizza that sets hearts aflutter, sauté your mushrooms first with olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs before topping your pie. If you have leftover ’shrooms,

throw them in a pan with stock, wine and mascarpone, then toss with pasta. (This recipe also works if you start the mushrooms from scratch.) Every home cook’s repertoire should feature a variation on duxelles, a finely chopped mixture of sautéed mushrooms (usually with onion or shallot and butter) that can be used for pretty much anything: stuffing for ravioli, the base for a vegetarian Bolognese or a spread for toast (top that with a fried egg or a spoonful of ricotta and brunch just got an upgrade). Any variety of mushroom will do, though the deeper the flavor of the mushroom, the deeper the flavor of the duxelles. (That said, you wouldn’t want to use anything too expensive or impressive.) Creminis, a smaller variety of portabella, are a great option. The earthiness of mushrooms—a flavor component the Japanese have dubbed in umami—is also perfect paired with the bitterness of winter greens or the sweet funk of artisan cheese. —Lee Stabert

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/cooking at home

Asian-Inspired Pot Roast [serves 6-8] 2

lbs. beef eye roast, trimmed of fat and cut into approx. 1 inch cubes 2 tbsp. canola oil 1 medium onion, minced 2 carrots, minced 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed 3 cups beef broth ¾ cup water ¼ cup tamari 2–3 tbsp. soy sauce 1–3 tbsp. sambal oelek or other Asian chili sauce (1-2 tsp of red pepper flakes also works) 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated 1 orange 4 cinnamon sticks 1 ½ cups shitake or mixed mushrooms, sliced 3 cups chopped bok choy or other greens (napa cabbage, spinach, mustard) Handful of chopped cilantro (optional) Udon, soba or other favorite noodle

Winter Fusion A twist on an old stand-by


his dish combines the savory melding of long cooking and the fresh, bright flavors of a quick spin on the stove. Although the recipe is printed here, there’s room to improvise. If you’re not a big fan of mushrooms, substitute a vegetable (just be sure to add at the right time and not to overcook). If you have holiday clementines on hand, substitute those for the orange. You can also toss in small amounts of vegetables you find scattered around the fridge—diced red bell pepper, steamed broccoli or snow peas (added late in the cooking process) are all great options. Many of the ingredients are available locally. 22

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by Allison Kelsey, My beef came from Meadow Run Farm in Lititz, PA, through their buying club (available at; the onions, carrots and mushrooms were bought at the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market. The pace of the cooking is great for a leisurely afternoon: There’s plenty to do at the beginning, followed by two to three hours of cooking, and then a flurry of activity at the end. The resulting dish is very brothy. I like to ladle it over a bowl of Japanese udon, but soba or fresh egg noodles would be equally delicious. Just cook them separately and set aside for when you’re ready to serve.

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Brown the beef in batches in a big stewpot. (Too much meat in the pan will reduce the temperature and the meat will steam rather than brown.) Once all the meat is browned, return it to the pot and add onion, garlic and three-quarters of the minced carrot (the rest you add at the end for some fresh crunch). Sauté until the vegetables begin to brown. Add broth, water, tamari and soy, scraping up the carmelized bits from the bottom. Add sambal oelek, ginger, cinnamon sticks and mushrooms. Remove the peel from half the orange with a paring knife, avoiding the pith (the bitter white part), and add it to the cooking broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer slowly, mostly covered, for at least two hours. (The length of time depends on how quickly the meat gets tender.) Five minutes before serving, remove the cover and add the remaining minced carrot, the juice from the orange and the bok choy. (If you want a thicker broth, take the cover off and crank up the simmer before you add these last ingredients.) Remove the cinnamon sticks and orange peel. Ladle over cooked noodles and garnish with chopped cilantro. ■


/cooking at home

How to Braise


he best thing about cold weather is ending the day with a rich, hot plate of food. So, there is no better time for braising—the low and slow method of cooking that produces deep, comforting flavors. Meat is one of the more obvious choices for braising, but you can also use fish or vegetables. It might sound a little fancy, but braising simply means cooking for a long time, on low heat, in some kind of liquid (usually stock, wine or water). When it comes to meat, the process results in the breakdown of fat and connective tissue, leading to a moist, tender result. Tougher (and cheaper!) cuts call out for the patience braising rewards so well. Here is a basic method that can be applied to almost any combination of meat, vegetables, herbs and liquid. You can use any heavy, lidded pot for this, but enamel or cast iron works best. Step 1: Sear in the flavor Brown your meat on high heat in a bit of oil until there is a nice crust on it. You are not looking to cook—simply to sear in the flavor. Great meat choices include chicken (legs and thighs work best), short ribs, brisket and lamb shoulder. If you have the choice of bone-in or de-boned, always keep the bone—it’s a treasure trove of flavor. Step 2: Sweat the aromatics Remove the meat and add a bit of fat: olive oil, butter or a combination. (This gives you the flavor of the butter, but the higher burn point of the oil.)

Sauté chopped vegetables (with salt and pepper) until translucent and slightly browned. Options include onions, shallots, leeks, carrots, celery or fennel. If you want to use tomatoes, add them towards the end. Garlic should also go in later to avoid burning. Throw it in when the vegetables look almost ready. Step 3: Add the Herbs Any braise (well, really any dish) benefits from the addition of fresh herbs. At this point, feel free to add fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano or bay. (Dried works too.) Stir until fragrant (1-2 minutes).

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Step 4: Pour the braising liquid At this point, return the meat or main vegetable back to the pot. Try to arrange it in an even layer. Add liquid until it almost covers the meat. A half-and-half combination of stock (beef, chicken, vegetable) and wine (white or red, depending on the flavor profile you’re looking for) will yield an intense, earthy sauce, but in a pinch, even water (when mixed with the vegetables and the meat) will lead to a satisfying dish. If you’re braising fish (or artichokes!), white wine and a splash of citrus is lovely. Step 5: Simmer slowly Bring the liquid to a boil and then turn down to a low simmer. Cover and cook. Cook time will vary from an hour to several hours. You’ll know the meat is finished when it comes apart at the slightest encouragement from a fork.

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At this point, you can remove the meat and simmer the sauce for a bit longer while it rests. Reducing the sauce will concentrate the flavor. Serve with potatoes, rice or crusty bread. ■


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Dock Street Barley Wine


perfect tipple for the dead of winter, Dock Street’s Barley Wine is the local brewer’s first foray into bottled beer. Produced and packaged onsite, this limited release is a complex burst of malty goodness. Barley wine is a style of strong ale that originated in England around the turn of the 20th century. The name is something of a misnomer inspired by the high alcohol content (around ten percent)—brewed from grains, it’s most definitely a beer. This specific take on the genre was tempered for 10 months in oak barrels that had previously been used to age pinot noir at Chaddsford Winery. That leads to a slightly fruity nose. But the brew itself has a pleasant bitterness and a mellow, malty finish. The high alcohol content had the whole Grid office feeling warm and fuzzy inside—and wishing we were relaxing in front of a roaring fire somewhere. Available at Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant, 701 South 50th St., 215-726-2337 and Grey Lodge Pub, 6235 Frankford Ave., 215-825-5357.

Meadow Run Farm The strongest prosthelytizing tool in a food sustainability advocate’s bag-o’-tricks might just be a farm fresh egg. Crack that thing open into a hot skillet and watch onlookers gasp in awe at a yolk the color of a perfect Florida orange. Pasture-raised chickens have a healthier, more dynamic diet which leads to that striking chromatic difference. The taste and texture also blow commercial products out of the water. Meadow Run Farm in Lititz produces some gorgeous eggs—and not just on the inside. Their cartons often contain a medley of shell colors: white, brown and

even pale blue. (The exterior color of an egg only indicates the breed of hen, not the nutritional value, but the unusual ones sure are fun to look at.) And this family-owned farm does more than just eggs and chickens. Husband and wife Philip and Dorcas Horst-Landis also raise grass-fed beef and lamb. Their meat products are available at area farmers’ markets, the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal and through a monthly buying club at 727 Rettew Mill Road, Lititz, PA. 717-733-4279

Humble and Hearty Vegetable Soup [serves 8] by dynise balcavage, Nothing is as comforting as being snowed in, puttering around the kitchen and making a huge pot of steaming soup. This filling soup uses pantry staples and humble vegetables. It’s a snap to make, nutritious and filling, and you can improvise, depending on what you have on hand. It also freezes well. 3 1 5 1 1 8 1 2 1 1 2

tbsp. olive oil large onion, chopped garlic cloves, sliced carrot, diced stalk of celery, diced cups of vegetable stock bay leaf tsp. dried parsley tsp. dried rosemary tsp. dried oregano cups of kale or spinach, trimmed and roughly chopped 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced 2 cups cooked chickpeas or one 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed 1 cup barley Optional additions: 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn, edamame or peas Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large soup pot on medium low. Sauté onions, garlic, carrots and celery until soft, about five to 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a rolling boil. Lower to a simmer and cook partially covered until carrots and potatoes are soft, about 45 minutes. ■



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Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer Little, Brown, $25.99


Tapped feb



Screening as part of Ambler Theater’s Pennypack Sustainability Series on February 9. For information and tickets, visit or call 215-345-7855

n recent years, bottled water has become something to avoid for sustainability-minded consumers. But after watching Tapped, you might be tempted to go beyond a sigh and a sneer, and slap that horrific hazard right out of the hands of the next drinker you meet. The documentary, produced and directed by Stephanie Soechtig, makes a compelling case for bottled water as an environmental and public health abomination—a scam perpetuated on the public that not only destroys and pollutes our natural resources but actually makes us sick. From small town Maine, where townspeople fight Poland Spring (owned by Nestle) for a right to their water, to drought-ravaged Georgia, where the governor asks citizens to pray for rain while Coca-Cola’s bottling factories continue to suck water from streams and rivers, to Corpus Christi, Texas, where citizens live next to an oil refinery responsible for producing a large percentage of the nation’s clear plastic bottles and suffer illness and birth defects at a terrifying rate, the film successfully argues that corporate interests continually trump public good in this multi-billion dollar industry. As is the case with many documentaries, the filmmakers are a bit over-enamored with their iconic images—clear mountain springs, bottling factories, polluted waters, industrial exteriors and discarded bottles—but the experts they’ve assembled, from environmental justice advocates to politicians to scientists, are so impressive and convincing that it’s easy to forgive. (There are also plenty of squirmy gotcha moments from paid bottled water lobbyists.) Less easy to forgive is the obliviousness of the FDA to pollutants in bottled water and toxins in commercial plastics. This film is also a bit of a love letter to good old fashioned municipal tap water. It’s cheap and clean—and doesn’t pollute or put money in the pockets of corporate behemoths. Drink up. —Lee Stabert For more on Tapped, visit 26

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onathan Safran Foer has flirted with vegetarianism his entire life. Despite questioning the morality and cultural history of eating meat since childhood, the 32-year-old author of the popular novels Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close wavered between omnivore and vegetarian for years until he became a father. Suddenly, dietary decisions became more than a personal choice, and he needed to discover for himself where the food Americans consume comes from, and whether or not meat should be on his son’s plate. Foer embarked on a journey that would become his first work of non-fiction, Eating Animals. He traveled across the country to factory farms and slaughterhouses, documenting the ugly truth behind the meat industry. Eating Animals combines shocking depictions of animal cruelty with touching personal narratives about family traditions and experiences—from his relationship with the family dog to his grandmother’s escape from the Nazis. He utilizes masterful prose and sharp wit to drive home his realization that the process of bringing meat to our tables at a minimal monetary cost is inhumane and we can choose to avoid it. Foer won’t convince everyone to become vegetarian or vegan (though the book’s message board boasts a number of converts). Eating Animals’ criticism of sustainable food experts like Michael Pollan and Foer’s sometimes in-your-face attitude will turn off some readers. But, regardless of your stance, the book is undeniably valuable for bringing critical issues of food safety and animal cruelty into the national dialogue. —Claire Connelly

The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel Picador 2009, $14


aj Patel opens his new book, The Value of Nothing, with an anecdote about being a child playing in his parent’s convenience store. He recalls getting endless pleasure out of the pricing gun—especially when labeling his little brother with a paltry $.01 cent tag. Even then, the disconnect between cost and value was something that fascinated him. Here he argues that the assumption that markets will assign correct values is an inherently false idea that leads to dangerous discrepancies between what we pay for things and how much they’re actually worth. Using shocking examples of price points gone awry, the book is a scathing critique of free market ideologues and the tremendous influence they’ve had over economic policy in this country for years. But Patel also offers a way forward through reinvigorated democracy, social action and commitment to sustainability. —Lee Stabert

Fair Food Approved

Catering! Mugshots Coffeehouse & Café Not Your Usual Lineup l,














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jan feb

30 27

Love Letter Mural Tours

Departing from the LOVE Park “LOVE” sculpture, these Mural Arts tours take participants on the El to view the “Love Letters” project, a series of fifty rooftop murals along Market Street. Conceived by Overbrook native Stephen Powers and the youth of West Philadelphia, the project was completed in 2009. →→ Saturdays through Feb. 27, 10 a.m. –

11:30 a.m., $17 (includes SEPTA train token; reservations required), LOVE Park, 1500 Arch Street, at the LOVE sculpture,, 215-685-0754



Sustainable Business Network’s Annual Members Meeting

This event will feature board elections, volunteer recognition, the State of SBN Address, Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions and time for networking. Potential members are welcome, but only current members can participate in the election. →→ Jan. 26, 6 – 9 p.m., $10 members;

$15 non-members, AIA Philadelphia, 1218 Arch Street, RSVP before Jan. 22 to



Urban Sustainability Forum: Building Safer Communities through Sustainable Land Use

This forum will explore the intersection of safety and land use. Playgrounds, abandoned buildings and well-maintained recreational parklands all impact community safety. Other factors like vacancies, broken sidewalks and poor lighting also impact the perceived safety of a neighborhood. Panelists will address the research associated with safety as it relates to land use. →→ Jan. 28, 6:30 p.m.; 6 p.m. reception,

Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, RSVP at,



Delaware Valley Green Building Council: The Basics of Passive House Standard

Learn strategies for cost effective deep energy savings using Passive House standard. Discussions will include a case study of a North Philadelphia Passive House rowhome project, an historic preservation project in Brooklyn, single family suburban retro-fits and high rises.



Delaware Valley Green Drinks

These casual monthly gatherings offer a place for people interested in green issues and sustainability to drink and chat with like-minded folks from the community. There are meet-ups in four locations: Northern Liberties, Cherry Hill, West Chester and Mt. Airy. →→ Feb. 3, 6 – 8 p.m. (the first Wednesday of

every month),, Standard Tap, 2nd & Poplar St., 215-238-0630; PJ Whelihan’s, 1854 E. Marlton Pike, Cherry Hill, 856-424-8844; Kildare’s Irish Pub, 18-22 West Gay Street, West Chester, 610-431-0770; Earth Bread + Brewery, 7136 Germantown Avenue, 215-242-6666


Cities, Bicycles and the Future of Getting Around: A Special Urban Sustainability Forum with David Byrne


Talking Heads frontman and bicycling advocate David Byrne will speak at this forum on urban sustainability issues. Byrne’s recently published book Bicycle Diaries detailed his adventures bicycling all around the globe, and what those experiences taught him about local cultures and urban centers. He will be joined by Alex Doty of the Bicycle Coalition and Katherine Gajewski of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability. →→ Feb. 4, 6:30 p.m., reception at 6 p.m.,

Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway,, register at


04 05 06

PASA’s 19th Annual Farming for the Future Conference

This annual event hosted by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture features workshops, keynote speakers and networking with sustainable agriculture enthusiasts. For a complete schedule and registration rates, visit →→ Feb. 4 – 6, Penn Stater Conference Center

Hotel, 215 Innovation Blvd, State College, 814-349-9856,

Hall, 320 Chestnut St.,

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Northern Liberties Saturday Winter Farmers’ Market

The Piazza’s Farmers’ Market, which launched in January, features more than 20 farmers with a focus on local, sustainably grown products such as winter vegetables and fruits, rabbit, veal, beef, quail, pheasant, raw milk, artisan cheeses and heritage breed free range chicken eggs. Prepared foods are also available for shoppers to enjoy as they browse. →→ Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., The

Piazza at Schmidt’s, 2nd and Hancock Sts.

feb 10

PHS Greensource Conference: Compost Matters

This one-day conference on the status of composting in the Delaware Valley will feature a keynote address by Will Allen, co-founder and CEO of Growing Power, a national non-profit and land trust working to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Katherine Gajewski, Director of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability, will offer closing remarks. →→ Feb. 10, Ben Franklin Hall, American

→→ Feb. 3, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Carpenter’s



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Philosophical Society, 427 Chestnut St.,, 215-988-8869

feb 14

Valentine’s Day

In lieu of gifts and flowers, celebrate your Valentine’s Day with an intimate meal at one of the city’s excellent farm-to-table restaurants (Farmicia, Southwark, Noble American Cookery, RX and Fork are all great options) or stock up on local produce and proteins and prepare dinner at home. What better way to share the love than to support local farmers and businesses.

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Geothermal Systems GeoExchange Heat Pumps grid 3.5x1.875.pdf 610-306-6245







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Crafts Arts Salvage

108 South 20th Street Philadelphia, PA, 19103

7:55:02 PM

10% off purchase with this Ad Artist Consignment Handmade Crafts & Arts featured artist openings 1st Saturdays and Sunday workshops tuesdays - Saturday 11 - 7 Sunday 12 - 5 215 360 5548

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Community Chest

by jonathan mcgoran

One of the questions you hear a lot when you work at a food co-op is, “What the heck is a food co-op?” It’s kind of a tricky question. On the one hand, there’s a simple answer: It’s a food store owned by its members for their mutual benefit. Factually correct, but incomplete. On the other hand are all the “What my co-op means to me” answers, a gazillion variations, each one different. People feel quite strongly about what their co-op means to them. (Not strong enough to fight obviously—this is a co-op. But there have been rolled eyes and the occasional condescending shake of the head). Local, natural, organic, fair trade and sustainable are all important aspects of a food co-op, and each is most important to someone. But one thing that is essential to just about everybody is community. I started working at Weaver’s Way Co-op when it was ten years old and I was nineteen. People weren’t as aware of food issues back then. Imported had more caché than locally grown, organic was relatively unknown and natural wasn’t even a cynical

marketing ploy. Most of what I now know about the politics and economics of food I learned while working at Weaver’s Way, and most of what I know about community I learned there as well. The community I initially felt came from the people I saw everyday—my coworkers and the shoppers. But, over the years, I’ve seen the long-term impact a co-op can have on a community, both within the co-op and throughout the surrounding area. I’ve seen touching reunions between shoppers in the produce aisles (actually, I’ve been stuck behind them while trying to grab a head of lettuce). I’ve seen lasting friendships formed over the course of a two-hour work slot between people with almost nothing in common other than their co-op. (Members are no longer required to work at Weaver’s Way, but most still do.) Of course, I’ve also seen volunteers come to a fast, intense mutual dislike—that second hour can be hilarious to witness, deepening the bond among those watching and laughing. As Weaver’s Way has expanded, I’ve witnessed connections made at the Co-op’s monthly recycling event, farm programs and educational events. The store’s gravitational pull has grown as well. The intersection of Greene Street and Carpenter Lane has seen an amazing resurgence. Big Blue Marble Books, Highpoint Café, Maternal Wellness Center and Philly Electric Wheels are all dynamic, independent businesses that probably wouldn’t be there without Weaver’s Way. Co-ops also support other co-ops; it’s one of the principles that define us. Part of why Weaver’s Way has worked so closely with Creekside Co-op is that, having seen the strengthening of community Weaver’s Way brings to Northwest Philadelphia, we want to see Creekside bring the same to Elkins Park, and other new co-ops bring it to Kensington, South Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley and Doylestown. There has been a lot of interest in food coops recently and for many good reasons. A co-op can be a place where all the food issues people care about come together, but just as important, it’s where those people can come together, too. ■


jonathan mcgoran is communications director at Weaver’s Way Co-op. Writing as D. H. Dublin, he is also the author of a series of forensic crime thrillers, including Freezer Burn (Penguin). 30

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february 201 0

ph ot o by a l bert yee

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