march 2010 / issue 12 gridphilly.com
Forgotten objects find new life
This vintage Chambers stove completes a green remodel in Glenside, see page 18 for details
Philly to Farm whether it was an experimental cheese, heirloom seeds or a new website—but about pointing me towards friends and neighbors having their own successes. When you think about it, hopefulness should come naturally to farmers; there is something inherently optimistic about the act of putting seeds in the ground. At its heart it is an act of faith, an investment in the future—the acknowledgment that in a few months time we will all still be here, and hungry for something good to eat.
Before rumors of a successful coup begin to circulate, allow me to introduce you to Lee Stabert, our editor. If you’ve noticed grid getting better these last few months, it’s largely due to Lee’s hard work. Every time she returned to the office from covering a farm, she was bursting with stories. It seemed unfair not to allow you access to her enthusiasm. Enjoy! —alex
here are so many opportunities. We wish we were 20 years younger,” Paul Crivellaro mused, sitting across the kitchen table from his wife Ember in their Berks County home. It was a cold, gray December day and the Crivellaros had invited me in for coffee and cookies after a short meet-and-greet with their herd of heritage pigs—hulking beasts with floppy ears and low-key personalities. Trotting amongst the massive backs and inquisitive snouts were troupes of piglets, barely the size of my rotund housecat. I was interviewing the Crivellaros for the 16-page insert you’ll find in this month’s issue of Grid. Like everyone profiled, they are members of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), our partners for Farmbook 2010. The Crivellaro’s farm, Country Time, produces some of the best pork around, and in recent years they’ve become the go-to supplier for some of Philadelphia’s top restaurants. Business continues to grow, and the Crivellaros are excited about the future. Hope may not be something most people associate with the small family farm, but it was the overwhelming sentiment among the PASA members I met. They see a way forward through sustainable agriculture, and are excited about serving a community desperate not just for healthy, whole foods, but for a connection to where it comes from. Grid teamed up with PASA because we share that hope, and feel passionately about creating a more localized, sustainable way of living for ourselves and our neighbors. For me, this assignment was a dream come true. I had the opportunity to meet creative, inspiring farmers and entrepreneurs. I also got out of the office and spent afternoons walking through fields, hanging out with animals and visiting areas that, even as a Philly native, I had never experienced. And, on one exceptionally warm and sunny Friday in January, I had the supreme pleasure of getting caught in the wire fence of Birchrun Hills Farm’s cow pasture, and then reliving the stuggle—it had been captured on my interview recording. I encountered both young farmers and seasoned veterans in the process of passing along their work to the next generation. I met people who have lived on farms their whole lives and those who barely gardened before adulthood. All of them were not only enthusiastic about discussing their own endeavors— co ver ph o t o by sam o berter
This month’s Grid is also our first annual House & Home issue. For all the eco-friendly products out there, using what we already have is always the greenest option. “Noble Salvage” focuses on local businesses that turn discarded objects into something useful and aesthetically rich, from a green remodel done with salvage, to tables fashioned from reclaimed wood, to pieces of illuminating art made with flea market finds.
Alex Mulcahy 215.625.9850 ext. 102 firstname.lastname@example.org distribution
Claire Connelly 215.625.9850 ext. 100 email@example.com managing editor
Lee Stabert firstname.lastname@example.org art director
Jamie Leary email@example.com assistant to the publisher
Tim Mulcahy firstname.lastname@example.org copy editors
Andrew Bonazelli Patty Moran production artist
Lucas Hardison customer service
Mark Evans email@example.com 215.625.9850 ext. 105
Lee Stabert Managing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Ariela Rose writers
Claire Connelly Marilyn S. D’Angelo Erin Gautsche Julie Lorch Eils Lotozo Alina Makhnovetsky Alex Mulcahy Ariela Rose Lee Stabert Samantha Wittchen Albert Yee photographers
Lucas Hardison Sam Oberter David Schrott Albert Yee illustrators
Eric Sailer published by
Red Flag Media 1032 Arch Street, 3rd Floor Philadelphia, PA 19107 215.625.9850 g r i d p h i l ly . c o m
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Primex Garden Center Independent, family-owned and operated Since 1943 ➽
Over 250 organic & eco-friendly products
Working demonstration garden on site
Conveniently located near the Glenside train station
Free soil pH testing
We’ll recycle your pots and flats
Knowledgeable staff available to personally assist customers and address needs on an individual basis
Compost bins and rain barrels in use + for sale Products offered from recycled sources
Love Gardening? This is the place for you!
435 West Glenside Avenue • Glenside, PA 19038 215-887-7500 • www.primexgardencenter.com
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r e c yc l i n g
Food and more
Color Wheels Mural Arts sets its sights on the city’s lunch trucks by ariela rose
fter a while, Philadelphia’s omnipresent lunch trucks can blend together, fading into the backdrop of the city. Enter the Lunch Truck Project, a Mural Arts Program bringing vibrant colors and eye-popping designs to our city’s mobile meals. The eye-catching trucks are a collaboration between Mural Arts, local muralist Shira Walinsky and West Philadelphia High School’s Artworks! Program. Like the recycling trucks Mural Arts designed in conjunction with the Streets Commission, the lunch trucks represent the organization’s new focus on working with local artists to take their projects from the walls to the streets. “Over the past year we have decided to do a number of projects that represent the vision and ideas of Philadelphia artists,” says Mural Arts Executive Director Jane Golden. “We want them to take on important issues, partner with community organizations or other artists, but use art as a vehicle for social change in the most creative way possible.” Beyond the project’s artistic merit, Golden hopes the trucks offer a larger message to their patrons. “The lunchtruck idea, beyond being an art project, speaks to the idea of immigration, the notion of journey, and how there is dignity and wonder in people’s stories,” says Golden. Although only a few trucks currently sport the graphic jackets—including Honest Tom’s, Koja, Candy Truck and Rami’s—Golden promises that the project will outfit many more.
This year’s Philadelphia International Flower Show features several green exhibitions
he 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show will showcase not only beautiful flowers and horticultural achievements, but also innovative green projects. It’s fitting, since the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) funnels $1 million in Flower Show revenue into their Philadelphia Green urban revitalization program. Philadelphia Green works to improve vacant land, restore parks, plant trees, manage stormwater runoff and create community gardens. PHS also runs City Harvest, a program that brings fresh produce to underserved communities by investing in urban agriculture. Local landscape designer Michael Petrie of Handmade Gardens (handmadegardens.net) will be exhibiting a 16x20 foot green wall made of plants and recycled materials, including metal
road signs, galvanized roofing, reclaimed wood, doors and windows. And Petrie won’t have the Flower Show’s only living wall—Glen Mills’ Outerspaces Inc. (outerspacesinc.com) will showcase green landscape design, including living walls, solar shade structures and low-volume water features. Other green exhibits will examine food sustainability through edible gardening (the Camden City Garden Club), and stormwater issues and streambed restoration (the Philadelphia Water Department). Temple University will focus on the confluence of urban spaces and plant life, including the greening of vacant lots and the use of vertical, edible gardens. Feb. 28-March 7, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th & Arch Sts., Philadelphia, PA
Foodies who love their flowers should also take note: Beth Kennett, head chef at Liberty Hill Farm in Vermont will give a cooking demonstration at this year’s Flower Show. Liberty Hill Farm is a working dairy farm that opens its doors to visitors interested in an immersive agritourism experience. Kennett’s fresh, rustic, locally-sourced cooking has inspired a flood of national press, including features in Gourmet Magazine and The New York Times.
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/ local business
Yards Tasting Room Venerable local brewery taps a new market
n late January, Yards Brewing Company unveiled their latest assist to the city’s hangovers: a tasting room at their brewery on Delaware Avenue. The space will sell sixpacks, cases, kegs and sixtels, in addition to pints that can be enjoyed at the U-shaped bar. The tasting room was constructed using a plethora of recycled and salvaged materials—the bar is made from old bowling alley planks, the floor is a sustainable composite and the lights came from an old Bennigan’s. There is also a limited food menu featuring sandwiches and chili. In addition to its regular hours, the tasting room is available for private parties and events. →→ 901 N. Delaware Ave, noon–7 p.m. Mon.-Sat.;
noon–4 p.m. Sun., yardsbrewing.com
Sweet Freedom Bakery A new South Street bakery offers sweet treats for sensitive eaters by ariela rose
aking you happy” is the motto of South Street’s new Sweet Freedom Bakery. Owners Heather Esposito and Allison Lubert aim to provide treats all eaters can enjoy—every baked good on the premesis is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, wheat-free and peanut-free. Esposito and Lubert—one a former personal chef, the other a health counselor— have a long list of food sensitivities between them. Esposito is pre-diabetic, hypoglycemic and lactose intolerant, and Lubert is allergic to wheat, dairy and cane sugar. The idea for the bakery was conceived in 2007 and, after a long period of trial and error (including over 20 different vanilla cupcake recipes), the bakery opened on January 15. “We wanted to open the playing field for everyone,” says Esposito. “There are lots of gluten-free bakeries and lots of vegan bakeries, but very few are a combination of the two.” The shop’s best-selling item is a chocolate chip cookie sandwich featuring two coastersized cookies bound together by pastel blue icing. Ingredients include a combination of garbanzo, tapioca, sorghum and fava bean flours, coconut sugar and dairy-free chocolate chips. Other crowd pleasers include banana chocolate chip cupcakes and “magic bars” blanketed with shredded coconut. Every tray in Sweet Freedom’s glass bakery case includes a card listing the item’s 6
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ingredients. (This information is also available on their website). Coconut oil, vanilla extract, xanthan gum, sea salt, coconut sugar and baking soda make an appearance in almost everything Esposito, Lubert and their staff of three bake. The bakery itself is as sweet as the goods it offers. A sparkling, Barbie-pink chandelier hangs in the center of the baby blue room. A window seat topped with pink-trimmed cushions hugs the front window, while a long bar lined with cushy stools provides seating below a mural of the Sweet Freedom logo. Although Esposito and Lubert source many of their specialty ingredients from the West Coast, they aim to be as eco-friendly as possible. The shop avoids the use of plastic containers and the seating area’s bar is made from bamboo. Future plans for Sweet Freedom include sidewalk seating and delivery. →→ 1424 South Street, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Tues. – Sat.; 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sun., 215545-1899, sweetfreedombakery.com
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NE W S F LA S H
A New Solar Panel Plant Will Bring 400 Jobs to the Naval Yard
he Naval Yard is set to welcome HelioSphera, the latest addition to the city’s sustainable scene. The twoyear-old, privately-held company is based in Athens, Greece and manufactures solar panels. They use a process licensed from Oerlikon Solar, a Swiss company, to produce Micromorph thin-film photovoltaic panels, which are rapidly gaining share in the solarcell market because of their low cost. Micromorph modules perform in low light, partial shading and higher temperatures, resulting in above-average energy yields. Thin-film solar cells do not produce as much electricity as traditional crystalline silicon solar panels, but they are much cheaper to manufacture. HelioSphera recently opened its first manufacturing facility in Tripoli, Greece. Their plant in the Philadelphia Naval Yard should be operational by late 2011. Panos Ninios, president of HelioSphera US, said the company chose the Naval Yard site after considering eight states and visiting 35 locations. He said that the quality of Philadelphia’s workforce, the proximity to transportation and the government incentives sealed the deal for the city. The $500 million plant will employ 400 people when it begins operations. It will be able to produce 1.2 million thin-film solar modules per year. —Marilyn S. D’angelo
Transform the sun into Smart Solar energy. Take advantage of Pennsylvania's New Solar Rebate program! When the new rebates are combined with the recently expanded federal tax credits, and other financing that Eos can arrange for you, solar now costs less than conventional power. Now you can reduce your carbon footprint and save money. No money down arrangements available. Let Eos show you how Smart Solar can be. 215.431.0565 • www.eosss.com
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Companion Pet Hospital cares for Philly’s furry friends and the environment by claire connelly
hile strolling along rowhouse-lined 5th Street in Pennsport, you might be surprised to pass the newly opened Companion Pet Hospital (CPH). The modern building, which sits between Dickinson and Tasker, stands out in this historic South Philly neighborhood. It houses a full-service veterinary hospital run by Dr. Cori Majeska and her husband, Josh Weber. CPH, which opened to the public at the end of December, isn’t your average veterinary hospital. Majeska and Weber have made a commitment to providing quality care not only to Philadelphia’s pets, but also to the environment—which is evident within the walls of their super eco-friendly building. Majeska and Weber live in the neighborhood. Majeska received her Veterinary Medicine Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and has been practicing throughout the region for almost a decade. Her husband had been urging her to open her own practice for years. In 2006, they set their sights on the overgrown abandoned lot that would become CPH. Their South Philly community welcomed the idea enthusiastically. “The neighborhood was great,” says Weber. “They were completely supportive.” The couple bought the land in March 2007 and embarked on a three-year journey to build the veterinary hospital of their dreams. 8
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The use of sustainable design and building practices was a must in the construction of CPH. Majeska, who admits she’s been “a hippie for years,” wouldn’t have it any other way. “I was a wildlife major in school, so the idea of green space has always been a big deal to me,” she explains. Weber, whose background is in real estate, was also eager to go green with their new venture. “He’s converted, and now he’s actually worse than me,” jokes Majeska.
above left CPH founders Josh Weber
and Dr. Cori Majeska
With local architect Ivano D’Angella and Helios Builders’ Chris Dardaris at the helm, the couple assembled a team of experts to ensure that every aspect of the project met their sustainability requirements. For additional resources, they also brought in Re:Vision Architecture Project Manager Mike Cronomiz as a sustainability consultant. Majeska and Weber wanted to source building materials as locally as possible— everything came from within 500 miles. Touring the building (which is still undergoing some finishing touches) is like being a kid in a sustainable candy store. First there’s the striking living wall, which climbs two stories from the first floor reception area. The staff planted it themselves—after some DIY instruction from YouTube—and waters it twice a day. “It’s definitely for our clients, but it’s also really good for our staff,” says Majeska. There also are plans for a green roof to be planted in the spring. The hospital’s floor is made from recycled porcelain, with recycled rubber in some areas,
From the use of homemade cleaning solutions— when possible; some toxic situations call for bleach—to stocking recycled tissues, Majeska and Weber take every detail seriously. Even the dog treats they carry are organic.
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and the reception desk is made of sustainable cork. CPH gets ample natural light through its windows, which is supplemented by solar tubes throughout, allowing additional sunlight in from above. A unique translucent material called Kalwall—a wall panel system that allows natural light while providing insulation and stability on par with a standard wall—lines a portion of the second floor. These progressive design elements dramatically cut down on the use of electric lighting, and some of the facility’s rooms go an entire day without the flip of a switch. Weber, who acts as hospital manager, is also proud of CPH’s use of computer technology and high-tech gadgets. They are a paperless office, with all records kept electronically. When patients are admitted, pet owners write their information on an erasable, reusable sign-in sheet pho tos by l u c as h ard i son
and everything is transferred into the computer immediately. All invoices and medical records are emailed, and their credit card machine is an iPod Touch, which allows clients to sign on screen and have the receipt emailed to them. In addition, CPH invested in high-powered Dyson hand dryers, which cut down on the use of paper towels. They use rags and washcloths to wipe down surfaces, and are especially excited about their new laundry area. CPH also opted for a digital X-ray system, which eliminates the need for developing chemicals and allows for convenient emailing. From the use of homemade cleaning solutions—when possible; some toxic situations call for bleach—to stocking recycled tissues, Majeska and Weber take every detail seriously. Even the dog treats they carry are organic. “No one is ever going to know that my trash bags are biodegradable,” says Majeska, “but I will, and so will our staff.” The entire building is painted with brightly colored, zero-VOC paints, and exam rooms are decorated with paintings by local artists, offering a warm, friendly environment for patients and their owners. Majeska believes in quality medicine for the pets she treats. “A lot of people take a sort of piecemeal approach, especially in this economy,” she explains. “It’s best to treat the situation right. If you have an itchy dog and just prescribe steroids, you’re not really fixing the problem.” All CPH appointments are a half-hour long, so Majeska can spend the time she needs explaining what people should do for their pets and why. Majeska, Weber and the entire CPH team are thrilled to be up and running after three years of preparation. They recently hosted an open house to unveil their new space, and have plans to add a retail space and grooming facilities in the future. ■
10% OFF all Klean Kanteens & accessories through March 31, 2010. Must present coupon at time of purchase.
1524 S. 5th St., (215) 703-7387, companion-pets.com ma r c h 20 10
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by Samantha Wittchen
RECIPIENT OF THE USGBC AWARD 2009 MASTER OF SCIENCE IN SUSTAINABLE DESIGN A COLLABORATIVE, MULTIDISCIPLINARY LEARNING EXPERIENCE
The Issue: Scrapping a large household appliance “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, Program Director Become proficient in Green Building Materials, Energy Efficiency, Construction Systems and Sustainable Design
The Challenge: With the imminent rollout of “Cash for Appliances,” the federal government’s appliance edition of the popular “Cash for Clunkers” program, more Philadelphians may consider an upgrade from that water-hogging washing machine to a hip, front-loading water-miser. But that old washer is worth something, since it’s mostly made up of infinitely recyclable steel. According to the Steel Recycling Institute, recycling one ton of steel conserves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.
potholes.phila.gov/csstreets for details). If the appliance is still functional, consider donating it to an organization that needs it—they may even pick it up. If you’re willing to do a bit more work, you might be able to make a buck or two. Scrap metal dealers often pay money for ferrous appliances. (“Ferrous” means the appliance contains iron; if a magnet will stick to it, it’s ferrous.) S.D. Richman Sons, located in Port Richmond (2435 Wheatsheaf Ln., 215-535-5100), allows regular passenger vehicles into their facility, so they’re a good option for consumers.
The Solution: With the current state of the economy, Philadelphia’s scrap metal collectors are more tenacious than ever. If you leave your appliance on the curb at night, chances are it’ll be gone by morning. (My personal record for curbside appliance disposal is 15 minutes.) You can also drop your appliance at a Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Center (visit
The Eco-Aware Consumer: The good news is that about 75 percent of a typical household appliance is recycled steel. This means that you don’t have to work very hard to buy a new appliance featuring recycled content. To achieve extra energy savings, buy Energy Star-rated appliances. ■
Photography by Tom Crane & Dean Gazzo
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INTERN POSITION AVAILABLE WITH STIPEND—SUMMER 2010 (MINIMUM 10 WEEKS), ROOM & BOARD INCLUDED
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SPIN-Farm (2 acres) with summer garden, winter greenhouse, chickens, sheep, and bees, looking for someone interested in helping, learning, and giving input. Located in Chester County, our farm is labor-intensive and organic (but not certified). We sell at 2 farmers markets through the summer and would want help with that too. Check out our website at www.guineahengarden.com and then if you’re interested, contact us at Jloustau@aol.com. We will be attending the PASA conference on Thursday, at “High Tunnel Gardening” and “Pastured Poultry.”
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/cooking at home
Make Your Own Tomato Sauce by lee stabert
iberating yourself from processed and prepackaged food often starts with the small stuff. For me, salad dressing was a game changer. Once I realized how simple it was to make, and started reading the labels on commercial brands (Canola oil as the number one ingredient? Water as number two?!), I could never go back. A simple process to master, vinaigrettes can be tweaked and custom tailored with delicious results. A similar epiphany happened with tomato sauce. It’s so easy to make, yet the grocery store is packed with row upon row of pre-made sauces. When you do it yourself, you can use much higher quality ingredients and still save money. Most basic tomato sauces contain some or all of the following: tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs and spices. Meat and other veggies are also options. As with vinaigrettes, it’s really about learning the process; from there, the variations are endless. The first component is obviously the most important. Canned tomatoes can vary widely in quality. If the tomatoes are lackluster and bland, your sauce will be, too. In the past, I found San Marzano tomatoes to be the most reliable. But, as my locavorism has dovetailed with my avoidance of prepared foods, the long distance from Italy
Now that you have your perfect, simple tomato sauce, here are some things you can do with it
to my plate has become hard to justify. Then I learned about something awesome: canned “Jersey Fresh” tomatoes. Available at the Fair Food Farmstand and through Harvest Local Foods (harvestlocalfoods.com), these cans of crushed, locally-cultivated tomatoes are spectacular. The second you peel back the lid, it’s clear you’ve encountered something special—the pulp is thick and vibrant red. It’s like opening a can of summer, making them the perfect base for a coldweather meal. What follows is a flexible set of guidelines. It’s really not a recipe, since it can be thrown together with whatever you happen to have on hand. Once you start making your own sauce, you’ll never go back. 1 Aromatics Dice half a small or medium onion (shallots also work) and toss it in a deep skillet or sauce pan (I use a small enamel-coated dutch oven) with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until the onions are translucent.
Vodka Sauce I’ve always had a soft spot for this luxurious blush sauce. Just put some of your sauce in a skillet or saucepan, add vodka (about a shot per serving) and cook for 20 min. Right before serving, mix in heavy cream. This can be anything from a splash to half a cup, depending on how rich you want your sauce. Stir to incorporate, then grate in parmesan cheese until you have the consistency you want. On a Sandwich Meat sauce is great on pasta, but it can be even better spooned onto a crusty roll, and then topped with fresh grated parmesan. Fresh mozzarella or aged provolone also make splendid additions. Lasagna | Pizza | Freeze it | Rigatoni with local goat milk ricotta 4
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Toss in finely chopped garlic. I love garlic, so for one 28-ounce can, I usually use about three large cloves, but this is very flexible. Cook for 2-to-3 minutes. If you want to add meat to your sauce, this is the time. Ground pork, beef or sausage (out of the casing) all work well. I find that turkey is a bit too lean to hold up to such a long cooking process and can end up slightly tough. Sauté the meat with the onions and garlic until it is fully cooked, and just starting to brown. This might take a few minutes, as the liquid from the meat needs to cook off. 2 Wine I think white wine is the secret to a tangy, satisfying sauce. It adds that spark of acidity and perfectly complements the tomatoes. That said, if you don’t have any, you can skip this step. Pour in half a cup of wine (or one long glug) and give the alcohol a few minutes to burn off. You’ll know when the mixture no longer smells boozy. If you’re using meat, make sure to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. 3 Tomatoes Add one 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt— the sauce will reduce and intensify. You’ll want to adjust the seasoning right before serving. This is also the time for red pepper flakes (anywhere from a pinch to a teaspoon) and herbs. In the summer, a handful of fresh, coarsely chopped basil is a must, but the dried version is basically worthless. Instead, try a quarter tablespoon of good, dried oregano. 4 Cook Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally. If you’re in a rush, 20 minutes will produce something tasty. I like to let things linger for an hour or more. If you’re using meat, the longer the better—this will make the meat practically melt into the sauce. 5 Season Right before serving, taste and season with salt and pepper to get that ideal zing. ■
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n the summer, eating local is easy. Farmers’ markets abound, featuring mounds of beautiful, colorful produce. In the winter, there are potatoes, sweet potatoes, and a rotating cast of root vegetables that require a bit more work than the kiss of the grill and a splash of olive oil. Fortunately, there are a few green things hardy enough for the long slog through winter—kale, collard greens, chard and spinach among them. These winter staples are essential for providing that I’ve-eaten-my-vegetables satisfaction, and are some of the healthiest things around.
Dark, leafy greens are packed with vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, fiber and folic acid. They are also incredibly versatile; many varieties can be eaten raw, but they can also be sautéed, braised or used to stuff meat, pasta or those ubiquitous root vegetables. The only tricky thing is that the ribs and leaves of some varieties can require staggered cooking times to prevent overcooked leaves or tough, stringy stems. Just separate the stems from the leaves, and give them a short head start in the pan. Bitterness is the quality most often asso-
ciated with dark greens. Cooking will often mellow that flavor, but it is also something that should be played against with tartness (citrus, wine, vinegar) or richness (cheese, meat or nuts). The leaves are excellent tossed into hearty soups, or blanched, then folded into ricotta and layered in lasagna. Bitter greens are also an excellent addition to Southeast Asian-style stir-fries that rely on a balance of disparate flavors—they absolutely love chili, garlic, fish sauce, oyster sauce and a dash of sugar. ■
Soy Bien A Chinatown company churns out tofu story and photos by albert yee
anufacturing is a centuriesold tradition in Philadelphia, but over the last 50 years, countless factories have left the city. In 1990, Yatsun Wen, a Chinese immigrant, started manufacturing tofu by hand in Chinatown. Now, 20 years later, his company Nature’s Soy has distribution up and down the East Coast, and as far west as Chicago. In the early days of Nature’s Soy, Wen and his wife made 500 to 600 pounds of tofu daily using a simple recipe—just soy, water and calcium sulfate. His tofu gained a strong foothold in the community, so he bought out several competitors, doubling his sales volume. “It was hard manual labor,” says Wen, recalling the daily grind of mashing raw beans, moving steaming hot barrels and making deliveries—plus the additional hours making soy milk. The 18-hour days of manual labor were over in 1998 when Wen purchased a 17,000 square foot factory in north Chinatown with state-of-the-art stainless steel manufacturing equipment and warehouse space. Approximately three dozen employees keep everything running smoothly. Nature’s Soy produces organic and conventional tofu, from silken to extra firm, in addition to soy milk, soy puffs and fried tofu. Their two dozen products can be found locally at Almanac Market, Essene, Mariposa and Weaver’s Way, among other markets. Check their website for a more complete listing. Nature’s Soy, 713 N. 10th St., 215-765-8889 naturesoy.com
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GRID ad education 2:Layout 1 1/22/2010 12:32 PM
screen time for
A seasonal spin on Shepherd’s Pie photo and recipe by erin gautsche, farmtophilly.com
his vegetarian casserole is a variation on the traditional Shepherd’s (or Cottage) Pie, created in England in the late 18th Century to feed poor working families. The top layer features the ubiquitous (and cheap!) potato; we’ve replaced the traditional filling of leftover meat with a flavorful mix of vegetables and tempeh and made the crust out of lentils. ¶ A few tips: 1) For even more nutrient power add chopped winter greens. 2) This casserole is good even without the lentil crust, so if you’re short on time, you can easily skip it. 3) For a vegan version, omit the cheese and use rice milk in the mashed potatoes.
2 Yukon gold potatoes 2 sweet potatoes cup milk 1 tbsp. butter Tempeh
12 2 1
1 1½ 4 1
oz. crumbled tempeh cups water cup soy sauce bay leaf
cup green lentils cups water tbsp. flour egg
2 1 4 3 4 ½ 4 2 1 1 2 6 1
tbsp. olive oil onion, diced cloves of garlic, diced stalks of celery, chopped cups sliced crimini mushrooms cup red wine carrots, diced parsnips, diced tsp. dried sage tsp. dried thyme tbsp. chopped fresh parsley mushroom stock or bullion oz. shredded aged sharp cheddar cheese salt and pepper tbsp. olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and dice potatoes and sweet potatoes, and boil in salted water until soft, about 15 minutes. Place the potatoes in a mixer with salt, pepper, milk and butter, and beat until smooth. (You can also do this by hand.)
In a small saucepan, boil the lentils with water, salt and pepper until soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. In a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet, crumble the tempeh. Add the water, soy sauce and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until lightly brown. Add the celery and mushrooms, and brown. Add the wine and simmer for five minutes. Drain the tempeh, reserving the liquid and discarding the bay leaf. Add the tempeh, carrots and parsnips to the pot, then add the herbs, salt and pepper. Add enough water or mushroom broth to the reserved liquid to make three cups. If you have no mushroom broth, add a cube of mushroom bullion. Whisk two tablespoons of flour into the broth. Add the liquid to the vegetable and tempeh, simmering until the mixture thickens slightly. In a small bowl, combine the lentils and flour, stirring until the lentils are coated. Whisk the egg and oil together, and then stir into the lentils. Press the lentil mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Cook the lentil crust in the oven for 10 minutes. While the crust is baking, shred the cheese. Remove the casserole from the oven and add the tempeh vegetable mix, followed by the cheddar cheese. Evenly spread the potatoes over the top of the casserole. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the casserole bubble and the potatoes brown slightly. Remove from the oven and let rest for five minutes before slicing and serving. ■
This month at The Schuylkill Center: Summer Camp Registration Our Summer Camps give children and teens the opportunity to explore the natural world through hands-on discoveries, hiking excursions, environmental art, wildlife programs, and ﬁeld trips. Nature Ramblers (children aged 4-9) featuring our new program, Down on the Farm Teen Adventure Treks (children aged 10 - 15) To download a registration form, visit www.schuylkillcenter.org The Schuylkill Center oﬀers: Environmental Education for Children and Adults Land Restoration Environmental Art Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation
ma r c h 20 10
8480 Hagy’s Mill Road Philadelphia, PA 19128 Tel.215.482.7300 For more information about these and other programs:
g r i d p h i l ly. c o m
Natural By Nature produces the freshest organic dairy products you’ve ever tasted. Whether it is our authentic Italian Ricotta Cheese, our deliciously decadent Whipped Cream, or our delightfully smooth Sour Cream, our fresh organic Milk is the secret behind the best-tasting and healthiest dairy products available. Natural By Nature is committed to producing the freshest organic milk and dairy possible. Our milk is not ultra-pasteurized. It’s fresh, not sterile! It comes from cows that are grass-fed, living on small family-owned farms giving us milk that is higher in nutrients, and offering a healthy ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. It’s a great feeling to know that using sustainable farming practices brings you top-quality dairy products...and has been for over 15 years.
Natural Dairy Products Corp. | P.O. Box 464 | West Grove, PA 19390 | PH 610.268.6962 | FX 610.268.4172 | www.natural-by-nature.com 16
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march 201 0
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Meet members of the pennsylvania association for sustainable agriculture working to bring fresh, delicious food to local eaters
4 / Artisanal cheese from a family farm in Chester County
6 / A Kennett Square couple tells a story through their heirloom seeds page 7 / Urban farming gets kicked into high gear
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture www.pasafarming.org
from PASA’s execut ive
d i r e c to r
To the Readers of Grid, All of us at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) are delighted to share our story with folks who truly understand the importance of building a food system that not only helps to keep good farmers on the land, but good environmental practices in the field and good food on your tables. PASA is a statewide organization, but our reputation as one of the most “with it” agricultural communities around extends throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and, indeed, to the whole country. With nearly 6,000 members, we are also one of the largest groups anywhere working on sustainability issues on farms in both an intentional and intensive way. Our mission is to promote profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment.
There are many ways you can participate in PASA’s programs, some of which you’ll find highlighted in these pages. If you want to farm, or just want to watch, maybe you’ll attend one of our very popular Farm-Based Education Field Days held throughout the year. Or, if you want to learn from and meet others who love sustainable agriculture, please join us at our Farming for the Future Conference, held in State College, PA every February, which draws 2,000 participants from nearly every state and several foreign countries. But if you really love the great food our farmers work so hard to produce, take a look on buylocalpa.org to see where you can find it, or join our Good Food Neighborhood™ to stay in touch with others who are in the know. PASA is not just an educational program or advocacy group—we actually believe the world can be changed in real time, one food dollar at a time. We’d love to have you join us in that effort, on behalf of the farms, our food and the entire planet. Brian Snyder Executive Director of PASA
buying Tip Often we are forced to rely on labels for information about where food comes from, and how it was raised or grown. That can be a confusing process—just because something is organic doesn’t mean it was produced on a sustainable farm, or harvested by fairly-treated workers. Food Alliance, a PASA partner, offers the most comprehensive certification program for sustainably produced food in North America. They evaluate many facets of a business’ practices, including working conditions, humane treatment of animals and environmental protection efforts. So, when making food choices, look out for their seal. For information, visit foodalliance.org.
Contents Birchrun Hills Farm����������������������������� 4 Restaurant Alba����������������������������������� 5 Happy Cat Organics��������������������������� 6 Weaver’s Way Farm��������������������������� 7 Inverbrook Farm���������������������������������� 8 Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op���������� 8 Noble: An American Cookery��������� 9 Harvest Local Foods������������������������ 10 Country Time Farm����������������������������11 Vetri, Osteria, Amis�����������������������������11 Frecon Farms���������������������������������������12 Paradocx Vineyards��������������������������12 2010 Calendar�������������������������������������14 Credits Produced by Grid Magazine, © 2010 Alex Mulcahy, Publisher email@example.com Lee Stabert, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
e all know that food tastes better when it’s prepared by someone
who loves us, or when it recalls something treasured from the past— Dad’s Friday night roasted chicken, your neighbor’s homemade hot fudge or the tangy summer slaw that smells like the very essence of childhood beach weekends. This extends to other factors, too: An exquisite restaurant dish is improved by the environment, whether it’s a verdant patio under the spring sun or a space so shabby and unassuming that the contrast between culinary sensation and décor produces an unexpected burst of pleasure. This is why eating locally is so powerful. Won’t a pizza taste better when it’s topped with cheese from cows who have names and graze freely, munching on grass throughout the warmer months? What about a salad topped with shredded beets that were handed to you by the very person who pulled them from the earth, still caked in rich, pesticide-
Jamie Leary, Art Director Jamie@gridphilly.com Photographers Tim Mountz, Dan Murphy, David Schrott, Brian Snyder, Lee Stabert, Kennett Square Farmers’ Market Red Flag Media 1032 Arch St., 3rd Floor Philadelphia, PA 19107 215-625-9850
free Pennsylvania soil? And that tomato from your garden—flush with colors you didn’t know were possible in nature, and born of a seed that was passed down through a local family—is it possible to serve it without a burst of warmth and pride? Reconnecting with agriculture imbues the process of cooking and eating with layer upon layer of joy and history. How can that not taste good? Getting that message across is one of PASA’s main goals. These pages feature the personal stories of individual farmers, families and businesses, all PASA members, and all dedicated to enriching our local food web with healthy, wholesome and delicious options. Through that work, a community is created, and we hope their stories will encourage you to enlist—to strike up a conversation at your next local farmers’ market, to choose restaurants featuring farm fresh products, and to make an extra effort to buy from a sustainable farm. Just don’t forget to savor every bite.
NEW YORK CITY
+ contents? + credits?
Local flours since 1890. WASHINGTON, DC
Lancaster/Lebanon County, PA
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Birchrun Hills Farm Ken and Sue Miller
specialty Artisan cheese, grass-fed veal and pork find them Headhouse
Birchrun Hills Farm A local dairy farm turns out killer cheese, and a few surprises
n his first day of kindergarten, the teacher asked Ken Miller what he wanted to be when he grew up. It was an easy answer, since he could only imagine becoming one thing: a farmer.
offered something that we grew, people would line up to buy it.” Members eventually started inquiring about buying milk, cheese and ice cream. The Millers already had neighbors in the yogurt and ice cream businesses, so cheese seemed like the obvious choice. contact 2573 Horseshoe Sue did some research and discovered a PASATrail, Chester Springs sponsored course on artisanal, raw milk cheesebirchrunhillsfarm.com making. “I had missed the deadline to sign up,” she birchrunhillsfarm explains. “So, I called them up and said, ‘You have @verizon.net got to get me in to this class, no matter what.’” The Millers used neighbors for market research, and they loved Birchrun’s cheese from the beginning—both a “Birchrun Blue” and “Highland Alpine,” a delicious, nutty alpine-style hard cheese. (“They still get home delivery,” jokes Ken.) The business has We were so lucky to be able to stay in this region blossomed from there. Birchrun now where people think agriculture is dying. It’s really not. offers “Fat Cat,” a creamy, milder cheese that began as a happy accident It’s just reinventing itself... — s u e m i l l e r after temperature problems in the aging room, and in the summer when the cows’ milk is especially low in fat, they At this point, the Millers only sold to the comroll out the seasonal Matilda Summer Tomme. “It’s modities market, but they had always harbored really just been a whirlwind for us,” says Sue. “We were so lucky to be able to stay in this region where a desire to sell directly to their neighbors. They began experimenting, and offered a produce CSA people think agriculture is dying. It’s really not. It’s for a few years. They were overwhelmed by the just reinventing itself.” positive response. “People wanted to connect Birchrun Hills also continues to reinvent itself, with the farm,” says Ken. “We knew we were good with the help of the Millers’ two sons. Up until two neighbors and all, but we didn’t realize that if we years ago, they were selling their bull calves to the Farmer’s Market, The Market at the Piazza, Fair Food Farmstand, DiBruno Brothers, Betty’s Speakeasy, Almanac Market
Miller’s grandfather had been a farmer, but the last cows were sold by the time Ken was 10, and his father was a schoolteacher. At 14, he started raising bull calves that he bought from a friend’s father. After college, Miller leased more land and added corn and soybeans to his portfolio. But, even then, his goal was to become a dairy farmer. Miller bought his first heifers in Spring 1980. Over the next decade land values in Chester County skyrocketed and the economics of dairy farming changed. Ken and his wife Sue were at a crossroads: they could succumb to industry pressure and grow their herd, taking on debt and hiring employees, or they could get creative.
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livestock market, and getting five dollars for 100-pound calves. It cost them more to haul them to the sale. Their son Randy had an idea and approached Sean Weinberg at nearby Restaurant Alba. Weinberg promised Randy that if he raised the veal, Alba would buy it. The veal is 100 percent grass-fed and grassfinished, and the animals are raised in the same humane manner as their female counterparts. Weinberg fell in love with the product, and Randy is paying his way through Cornell. Then their younger son Jesse, a junior in high school, learned about world-famous Parma hams, and the fact that they were fed by-products from the parmesan cheesemaking process. He thought they should try the same thing at Birchrun Hills, so they brought several pigs, and now sell that meat alongside the veal and cheese at local farmers’ markets. Birchrun Hills’ cheese is phenomenal because the milk is. Their pastured heifers eat only feed that the Millers grow themselves, and have a lifespan over twice that of an average dairy cow. “The care and welfare of our cows is really important to us,” says Sue. “They’re the backbone of our business. They were born here; their mothers were born here. We’re really connected to them. How we care for them, how we feed them, how we milk them is all very important, because it adds to the quality of the milk, which adds to the quality of the cheese.” photos b y david schrott
Sean Weinberg has restaurants in his blood. His parents own the legendary Rose Tattoo Café in Fairmount, and, after years of studying cooking—including stints in Italy and Mexico, and an externship under The French Laundry’s Thomas Keller—he worked five years at the helm there. Along with his wife Kelly, Weinberg has always been intensely passionate about farm-to-table cooking, and he was frustrated by the limitations of being in the city. So they moved. “In the city, we got deliveries once a week and were forced to make that last,” says Weinberg. “Now I can go out to the farms personally a couple times a week. Some of our stuff never sees a refrigerator.” Weinberg integrates all that beautiful local product into rustic Italian cooking, much of it done on a huge woodfire grill, which helps to amplify the natural flavors. “The soul of any good Italian restaurant is the ingredients,” says Weinberg. “It’s really about letting things speak for themselves, letting them sing.” The farm-fresh focus means a seasonal menu, which can take some getting used to for American eaters. “Some people look at us and think we’re not doing a good job because we’re not carrying asparagus right now. Getting people to eat seasonally, and understanding why we cook seasonally is actually more of a challenge than coming up with the dishes.” Being out in the ’burbs has other advantages. The Weinbergs keep a home garden and raise chickens whose eggs end up at Alba. Sean is always fiddling with their diet, trying to get the best possible product. “Eggs are probably one of my most important ingredients,” he explains. “People always wonder why the pasta is so good, and all the custards. It’s all about the eggs.” The Weinbergs have cultivated personal relationships with a cadre of local farmers. For years, they have bought cheese from Birchrun Hills Farm. When the Millers mentioned raising their male calves for veal, Alba volunteered to be their first customer. “It’s 100 percent grass-fed, not finished on feed in any way, no antibiotics, no hormones,” says Weinberg. “From the get-go, it was some of the best veal I’ve ever had.” Those relationships are the lifeblood of Restaurant Alba. “We’ve always looked at it as an obligation to support local farms, and be sustainable. I’ve never looked as it as a trend,” he explains. “We have the ability to touch so many people and teach them about local foods.” Restaurant Alba, Sean and Kelly Weinberg, 7 W. King St., Malvern (adjacent to the Malvern R5 Train Station) restaurantalba.com
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HAPPY CAT ORGANICS A local seed company quietly amasses a tomato treasure trove
earing Happy Cat Organics’ Tim Mountz talk about tomatoes is enough to make any food-loving soul long for summer. Along with his wife Amy Bloom, Mountz has compiled a seed collection featuring 200 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. If that sounds like a lot, have no fear: Mountz promises to cap the operation at 250.
Happy Cat Organics
Tim Mountz & Amy Bloom specialty Heirloom Tomatoes and Seeds
find them Happy Cat’s seeds are available through their website. Seeds & produce are also available at Winterthur’s Farmstand, the Kennett Square Farmers’ Market and Headhouse Square Farmers’ Market.
In 1993, Mountz’s grandfather, who was raised on a farm and kept a large garden, was killed in a car accident. Tim inherited all of his seeds. After some research, he came across William Woys Weaver in Devon, author of a book called Heirloom Gardening, and, with his help, began to decipher his inheritance. “It was so amazing,” says Mountz. “Some of the seeds were traded from Native Americans to the Germans when they first came to Pennsylvania, and now they’re in my hands. So, I started collecting everything I could get my hands on.” When he married his wife Amy, she set to work organizing his treasure trove, and it eventually became a small business. “That’s the part that I love— the seeds and plants,” says Mountz. “Produce? Meh. I like to grow what I like to grow.” Bloom works at Winterthur, the old Dupont estate in Kennett Square, and that is where they live and farm. This past year, they cultivated 172 distinct varieties of tomatoes (in addition to other plants such as heirloom beans, carrots, radishes and peppers). Mountz will be more than happy to tell you about each and every one. There’s the Coeur de Pigeon (heart of the pigeon), a beautiful little yellow tomato that looks like, you guessed it, a pigeon heart. Or his line of peach tomatoes, golf ball-sized orbs that are fuzzy on the outside rather than shiny. Mountz can sometimes sound more like a sommelier than a farmer: “They’re just really sweet,” he
that he bred: the Black Ruffle. It’s a mix between Zapotec and Black Krim. “The Black Krim has smoky, salty, raisin-type fruits in it,” says Mountz. “Mind-blowing. I can still remember the day when I tried one for the first time.” The Ruffle is a stabilized version of a cross-breed that occurred natucontact 610-217-7723 rally in the field. People seem to love it. “It’s like I Kennett Square, PA wrote a song for the Clash,” says Mountz. “There happycatorganics.com are people raving about this tomato. And I’m just thinking, ‘Oh my god. It’s my baby.’” Mountz’s enthusiasm is more than contagious; it’s inspirational. He is clearly captivated by the Some of the seeds were traded from Native Americans magic of seeds—put them in the to the Germans when they first came to Pennsylvania, ground, watch them grow, join a legacy. He is a proselytizer, and and now they’re in my hands. So, I started collecting everything even went so far as to mail the Obamas some seeds for the White I could get my hands on. — t i m m o u n t z House garden. “Most farmers, they grow eight extols, “with really great characteristics—a lot of varieties,” says Mountz. “And then they bring them high, fruity tastes to them.” to the market, and put a sign up that says ‘heirloom When asked about a favorite, he throws back his tomatoes.’ That’s boring. Each one has such an head in exasperation at the impossible nature of amazing history, and a story. You wouldn’t think I’d such a question. He eventually settles on a tomato be able to remember 200 varieties, but I remember a little bit about each one, and if I don’t, I do know that it tastes frickin‘ amazing.”
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How does Lancaster support its local farmers?
With great community design
Weavers Way Farm David Zelov
Weaver’s Way Farm Using small parcels of urban land, a local co-op reaps a plentiful bounty
find them Available at Weaver’s Way Co-op, local farmers’ markets and via CSA
ff of Washington Lane in East Mt. Airy, down a rough little driveway, is the Mort Brooks Memorial Farm.
There, on land leased from the Awbury Arboretum, farmer David Zelov and his crew of apprentices and volunteers are taking local to a new level. On only a few acres of urban land, this offshoot project of Weaver’s Way Co-op is producing fruit and vegetables that will help stock not only the co-op’s produce shelves, but also provide wholesome options for the local community at farmers’ markets and roadside farm stands. The 31-year-old Zelov grew up in northwest New Jersey. He went to Rutgers to study natural resource management, but ended up becoming involved with the campus’ student-run organic farm. “I didn’t think I would end up in any sort of farming career,” says Zelov. “But just working there, I got more interested in it.” He held a few jobs—including managing a CSA—before realizing that he didn’t want to be in an office. At that point, Zelov was living in Philadelphia and started looking for agricultural jobs. He didn’t think he’d find anything in the city, but then some people mentioned to him that Weaver’s Way Co-op was looking for a farmer. Weaver’s Way has been running the Mort Brooks Memorial Farm—named for a late
specialty Seasonal produce
Mort Brooks Memorial Farm, Awbury Arboretum, 1011 E. Washington Ln., Philadelphia; Saul CSA, 7100 Henry Ave., Philadelphia weaversway.coop
board member—as an educational venture since 1999. Students from local schools started seedlings, then planted and harvested them. The goal was to bring kids out and show them where their food was coming from. Eventually, Weaver’s Way started researching small urban farms that were actually turning a profit—or at least breaking even—on an acre or less, and decided to expand operations. They brought in Zelov, rented a tractor, tilled the earth, sowed some cover and planted their first real crop in the spring of 2007. Weaver’s Way is constantly looking for ways to be more efficient within the confines of an urban environment. They now offer CSA shares grown on a small plot of land in Fairmount Park that they farm in conjunction with Saul High School. They’ve also teamed up with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s City Harvest program to run a greenhouse, and, this year, erected hoop houses (unheated, covered structures) at Mort Brooks that, through January, produce arugula, kale, chard, bok choy and scallions. This year, they even took over the backyard lot of a house on East Mt. Airy Avenue—it was their leek field.
ommunity Heritage Partners works with local food, farmers markets, historic architecture — and now we’ve created Lancaster’s ﬁrst downtown grocery store for Expressly Local Foods. That means more city residents are buying the best of locally-grown every day, and more Lancaster County farmers are selling products to a stable, nearby marketplace. The best of community life and farming. Brought together by Community Heritage Partners.
Read more about Expressly Local Foods and other Community Heritage Partners projects at chpartners.net
Design & Development for People and Places
717.393.1639 email@example.com L I F E T I M E
PASA 1999 2 01 0 farmb ook
Inverbrook Farm A young farmer works her family’s land
laire Murray farms land that belonged to her grandmother. Her parents live there as well, and so does her uncle, who raises pastured poultry. “It’s like this little family compound,” she explains.
But Murray didn’t grow up farming. She was raised near her family’s property, and attended Penn State University, studying environmental resource management. During her senior year, she encountered a professor who had a CSA, and then attended the PASA Conference. That was the beginning. Now she cultivates five of the 100 acres of land her family owns in Chester Country. That small plot produces enough fruits and vegetables for Inverbrook to offer 60 full CSA shares. Inverbrook’s produce is also available at the Kennett Square Farmers’ Market, and the farm serves as a drop-
off point for Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op. Like many of today’s young farmers, Murray is taking advantage of the Internet to spread the word. Inverbrook has both a website and a blog where she writes about a variety of farm-friendly topics, including the perks of buying pastured turkey for Thanksgiving, favorite recipes and attending the First Annual East Coast Fermentation Festival in Kennett Square. On December 31, Murray’s grandmother passed away at the age of 94, and she used the blog to eulogize the farm’s matriarch: “From her I inherit my love of acidic tomatoes, roma beans, and swiss chard. I learned how to french beans and score corn for freezing, how to prepare rhubarb so it tastes just right on warm buttered toast, and how there is nothing better than her strawberry freezer jam. Her simple but delicious cooking gave me an early and concrete taste for the virtues of farm fresh ingredients. I will miss her greatly, but know that her spirit lives on at Inverbrook.”
Inverbrook Farm Claire Murray
specialty Produce, pastured poultry find them Available via CSA and at the Kennett Square Farmers’ Market contact 610-563-3116 345 Lamborntown Rd., West Grove inverbrook.com
Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op Farmers use community to stay viable
uying locally often takes a bit more effort than walking into the nearest supermarket. But there are creative people out there making it easier for small farmers to compete for your dollars. ¶ Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op started as nine farmers in a barn, and has, over the course of four years, grown to include 75 member farms and a business model that makes their produce available across the region. A robust wholesale business supplies local restaurants and stores with an astounding diversity and volume of products, and a large CSA program allows local eaters to support not just one farm with their weekly share, but dozens. LFFC also recently added a buying club to the co-op. Buying club members will be able to pick up from CSA drop locations, but with full control over their order and PASA8
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Noble: An American Cookery If there’s one bartop in the city as beautiful as that first post-work drink, it belongs to Noble: An American Cookery. The jaw-dropping single piece of wood stretches almost the entire length of the Sansom Street restaurant. It was purchased from Hearne Hardwoods in Oxford, PA, a company that focuses on salvaged and sustainable wood. They had the entire naturally-fallen tree—Noble just got a slice. Noble has gone through some changes recently—most notably, the addition of chef Brinn Sinnott (Fountain, LaCroix, Supper, Amada)—but one thing that hasn’t changed is their commitment to seasonal food. Co-owners Bruno Pouget and Todd Rodgers had a vision for a restaurant that would reflect the American bounty throughout the year. All their wines are North American, and their entire beer list is comprised of American craft beers. Their food is also sourced domestically—and, whenever possible, locally. When it comes to buying close-to-home, they often rely on Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op. Using an organization that has access to over 50 farmers allows them a bit more control over their menu. Chances are that someone will have what they’re looking for. The restaurant also has its own garden. Over the summer, herbs, tomatoes, peppers and icicle radishes all came from raised beds on the roof. Pouget and Rodgers’ old restaurant, Blue on Long Beach Island, always featured a garden. “It’s something that tells a story to our guests,” explains Rodgers. “I think that’s really important to people today.”
without the full-season commitment. (The CSA members will still get a better price.) “It’s a great model, because we’re taking the power back,” explains General Manager Casey Spacht. “We’re making the decisions for ourselves, creating a good, healthy life for our farmers and customers. It’s a system that we can really stand behind.” Every week farmers tell Spacht what products they’ll have available; it changes daily. He then sends out a price list to wholesale customers. Once orders
Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op specialty Products from over 70 Lancaster County farms find them Available via CSA and a new buying club, as well as through local businesses contact 717-656-3533 48 Eagle Dr., Leola lancasterfarmfresh.com
Noble: An American Cookery, Bruno Pouget and Todd Rodgers, 2025 Sansom St., 215-568-7000, noblecookery.com
are placed, the produce takes less than 24 hours to get from the fields to its destination. All the farmers in LFFC are sustainable, organic growers. When new farms apply for inclusion, current members observe their operation first-hand, making sure their values align with that of the co-op. The issue of values also led LFFC to start their own trucking division. They weren’t happy with their contractors, so the farmers made a decision to change things. They now have three full-time drivers, all being paid a living wage, along with benefits and a free CSA share. The geographical constraints of the co-op within Lancaster County mean that even as the group grows, it remains a tight-knit community. The morning before Grid talked to Spacht, a member’s barn burned down. “I made a call to all of our farmers,” says Spacht. “Today they’re there helping him clean up. And we’re going to be building a new barn for him in a week or two. We can make it happen because we have this network of friends and family that are all within the co-op. If another farmer needs help, people help.”
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Harvest Local Foods Buying local is only a few clicks away
ituated on a tucked-away little stretch of road in Lansdowne, Harvest Local Foods (formerly Farm Fresh Express) can be a tad difficult to find. Fortunately all customers really need is a different kind of address: harvestlocalfoods.com.
From that (online) location, residents from all over the Philadelphia area can order farm fresh produce, meat, dairy, eggs and dry goods. By the time you arrive home from work on your delivery day, a cooler filled with local, sustainable goodies awaits you. For a flat $10 delivery fee, you can get as much or as little as you like. Run by Mary Ann Ford and Pam Nelson, Harvest Local Foods has been in business for almost five years. Until recently, they operated under the name Farm Fresh Express, but thanks to the threat
of litigation from food conglomerate Chiquita (who apparently felt the name infringed on their “Fresh Express” packaged salad brand), they had to make a change. Harvest Local Foods currently works with dozens of local and regional producers (in addition to Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op), sets up shop at the Lansdowne Farmers’ Market during the warmer months and opens the small storefront a few hours a week for retail shopping (and customers picking up their orders to skirt the delivery fee). The online ordering process is simple, and the options are astounding—five different varieties of artisanal sausage, cheese from a farm in Lancaster County worked by three Phoebe Titus orders from Harvest Local Foods generations of the same family, locally-made every week. As the mother of two small children, she tofu, fresh hothouse greens. Every product revels in the opportunity to plan meals in advance and includes information on the specific farm it feed her family beautiful local products. “I feel like eating locally, and as sustainably as possible, is important,” came from and their growing methods. This
says Titus. “But the quality also improves that way. I feel like my health has improved since doing this, and that it’s the best thing to do for my children as well.” She packs her Harvest Local Foods order with tons of veggies as well as responsibly-sourced olive oil, rice and dry goods. “They put a lot of thought into where they source their products,” she explains. “And even though, on the one hand, the selection is much smaller than at a regular grocery store, I have so much more confidence in it, and it’s so much more diverse.” Ordering from Harvest Local Foods is not the only way Titus supports local farmers. Along with her husband, she runs Cinema 16:9 in Lansdowne (cinema169. com), a boutique movie theater showing independent, foreign and classic films. They source most of their concessions locally—including popcorn and hot dogs from farms in Lancaster—and Titus makes the trip out there for pick-ups at least once a month.
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Harvest Local Foods Mary Ann Ford and Pam Nelson specialty Home delivery of local farm fresh products find them Order through their website or stop in at the Lansdowne storefront Thurs.-Sat. contact 484-461-7884 305 Windermere Ave., Lansdowne harvestlocalfoods.com
year HLF even carried Thanksgiving turkeys, picked up personally by Nelson from a small family farm. The organizational jujitsu that goes on in that small space to get three bags of spinach to customer A and two parsnips to customer B is a marvel—and a lot of hard work for Ford, Nelson and their staff. The feedback is what makes it all worthwhile. “I love to hear from the mom that has two kids,” says Nelson. “She says, ‘This makes my family work and it’s so healthy. I love it.’”
Country Time Farm
A local pork producer does things the right way, with exceptional results
aul and Ember Crivellaro raise pigs. Really good pigs. Pigs good enough to fill the sausages and top the pizzas at acclaimed Philadelphia restaurants Vetri and Osteria and satiate the beer drinkers at Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s. But it wasn’t always that way: In 1996, the hog market had bottomed out. The Crivellaros were selling pork for 10 cents a pound—without Paul’s day job, the farm never would have survived. So, Paul did some research, reaching out to folks in Philadelphia. A friend eventually put him in touch with St. Joseph’s University marketing students who were tackling, as their senior project, connecting local farmers with local restaurants. What started with one restaurant has now grown to almost 15. Crivellaro also sells his pork at the Reading Terminal’s Fair Food Farmstand, the Phoenixville Farmers’ Market and the Kimberton Whole Foods. So what makes his pigs (mostly Big Black and Gloucestershire heritage breeds) so special? “Our
pigs are raised humanely,” says Crivellaro. “What the public is buying in the general grocery stores today versus our product? There’s no comparison.” Crivellaro has lived on farms his whole life, but over the last few years, through his involvement in PASA and the sustainable farming community, he has gained more than customers. “People want to know where their food is coming from,” he says. “They care about the sustainable farmers, the local farmers. The small family farmer is dying out, and they care. Through the last few years, my wife and I
Country Time Farm Paul and Ember Crivellaro specialty Pork find them Available at the Reading Terminal’s Fair Food Farmstand, the Phoenixville Farmers’ Market, Kimberton Whole Foods and over 15 area restaurants.
contact 610-562-2090 Hamburg, PA countrytimefarm.com
have found a lot of friends through this. Not just customers—we consider them friends.”
Vetri, Osteria and Amis Marc Vetri has been using Country Time Pork in his restaurants’ dishes for over 10 years, ever since the day Paul Crivellaro walked into his kitchen. The Berks County pigs make their way into the sausages and charcuterie at Vetri and Osteria, and will eventually be used at the brand new Roman trattoria Amis. “They’re just great people,” says Osteria head chef Jeff Michaud. “They take a lot of care in what they do, and do it the artisanal way. The meat is so good that we’ve done carpaccio with the stuff, and nobody would ever think of doing that with pig.” Every three or four months, Michaud and his team at Osteria get a whole 300-pound pig from Country Time, and turn it into salami, proscuitto and lardo. They also get weekly deliveries of pork shoulders for fresh sausage. The quality of the meat really shines in their simple, soulful Italian cooking. Vetri, Osteria and Amis, Marc Vetri, Jeff Michaud, Jeff Benjamin, Vetri: 1312 Spruce St., 215-7323478, vetriristorante.com; Osteria: 640 N. Broad St., 215-763-0920, osteriaphilly.com; Amis, 412 S. 13th St., 215-732-2647, amisphilly.com
Love ‘n Fresh Flowers :: from seed to centerpiece ::
A small floral boutique and market garden in Philadelphia specializing in sustainably grown local flowers, uniquely organic designs, and vintage charm. We love weddings!
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frecon farms A third-generation orchard looks to the future
he Frecon family has had a storefront in Boyertown since 1952. Richard Frecon and his family settled in the area in 1944 and began planting fruit—apples, peaches and nectarines. After outgrowing their roadside
farmstand, they converted an old restaurant into of promise. In the storerooms, the fall’s harvest a permanent retail location where they could sell lies nestled in huge wood crates bearing the “Fretheir goods. Richard’s son Henry and his wife Torrie con” stamp. So many apples! Gala, Granny Smith, took over in 1969, eventually expanding the retail Honey Crisp—the list goes on. operation to include produce from local farms and Growing apples sustainably is an intensive specialty items from regional natural foods proprocess. It takes five years for a tree to bear fruit, ducers alongside their fruit and fresh apple cider. and then, after the 15-25 year lifespan, the trees Through PASA, they have also teamed up with loare removed, and the soil sown with grass to rid cal dairies doing artisanal cheese and glass-jarred it of impurities and parasites. After a fallow year, new trees are planted, on a rotating basis. It is immilk, and livestock farmers raising hormone-free, portant not to plant the same fruit twice in the grass-fed meat. They also carry free-range turkeys during the holidays. same block. “Two years back, my husband came Now their sons, along with a third business in, so excited,” recalls Frecon, “He said, ‘I can now honestly say that every partner, are planning to tree on this property has been take over. Their daughter 2008 also works in the store. “To planted by me.’” keep it open, we’re going In the fall, Frecon Farms to need to have interested offers apple picking, grows pumpkins and hosts a Blueyoung people,” explains Torrie. “And in our family, grass Picking Festival featurit’s our children that have ing food vendors and local Henry and Torrie Frecon expressed a desire and incraftspeople. It’s all about vested the capital to keep showcasing where food specialty Apples, peaches, this land a farm.” comes from, telling the story nectarines, fresh apple cider Just a few minutes up the of a family farm and getting find them Available at road from the retail store consumers to make that exFrecon Farms retail outlet are the orchards. Rows of tra effort. “You’re definitely and at local farmers’ trees stretch up a tremengonna pay more for a galmarkets. The farm also dous hill. From the top, you lon of Pennsylvania pressed hosts events in the fall; can see the neighboring apples that were raised in a visit the website for more farms and the expanse of good, systemic orchard that information. the family kept an eye on than the valley. There is somecontact 610-367-6200 thing spectacular about an you will for Chinese concen501 South Reading Ave., orchard in winter—rows trate,” says Frecon. “But who of gnarled trees mustering knows how it was handled, Boyertown their energies for a spring and how it was grown? And freconfarms.com that matters to people.” explosion. They are a sea
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Paradocx Vineyard The Hoffman and Harris Families specialty Wine find them Available at the vineyard, through their website, via a CSA and at their tasting room in Kennett Square.
contact 610-367-6200 1833 Flint Hill Rd., Landenberg paradocx.com
Four doctors turn their attention to winemaking CSAs have long been a way for small farmers to finance their operations— shareholders pay in advance and are rewarded throughout the season with top-shelf local products and an insider price. Paradocx Vineyard is applying that same system to their wines. By purchasing a seasonal share, subscribers receive two cases of PDX wine, available at “Pickup Parties” throughout the year, free admission to the vineyard’s Local Musician Music Series, one free “chic paint can” of wine (equal to four bottles), free wine tastings and discounts on additional wine purchased. Started by two couples—all four practicing physicians—Paradocx Vineyard is a labor of love for the Hoffman and Harris Families. The 5,000-case winery in Chester County also hosts events and tastings throughout the year.
Local Peat Free Earth Friendly OrganicMechanicSoil.com 110 East Biddle Street | West Chester, PA 19380 | 610.692.7404
VENDORS WANTED for 2010 SEASON! Grid_Magazine_2010_FINAL.indd Held Every Saturday from Memorial Day through Halloween!
12/23/2009 9:08:50 AM
Enjoy our fruit year â€˜round : Dried Asian Pears available online now!
Featuring organic and locally grown vegetables, fruit, bread, meats, cheeses, flowers and fresh baked goods.
Red Hill Farm CSA ACCEPTING MEMBERS FOR 2010 SEASON! (610) 558-6799 Aston, PA firstname.lastname@example.org www.redhillfarm.org
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spring 2010 Calendar Find more local food events and get involved with your region’s Buy Fresh Buy Local® chapter (there are a dozen across the state) by visiting buylocalpa.org. For information on PASA-sponsored events, classes and workshops, visit pasafarming.org. February 4, 5, 6 19th Annual Farming for the Future Conference: “The Sustainable Challenge: Providing for a Livable Tomorrow” Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, 215 Innovation Blvd., State College 814.349-9856, pasafarming.org/
737 Constitution Ave., Exton, 610-458-5700, email@example.com
April 8-10 Pennsylvania Land Trust Association Conference. April 8–10, The
Desmond Hotel, 1 Liberty Blvd., Malvern, March 6 Chester County “Keep Farming First” Conference. Octorara High School, 226 Highland Rd., Atglen, cc2020.org
March 9 Pennypack Sustainability Film Series presents Fresh. 7:30 p.m., Ambler Theater, 108 E. Butler Ave., Ambler,
“Rain Gardening.” April 10, 9 a.m.–11 a.m., Fairmount Park Horticultural Center, N. Horticultural Dr. and Montgomery Dr.,
March 13 Second Saturday Gardening Series: “Gardening for Butterflies and Hummingbirds.” 9 a.m.–11 a.m., Fairmount Park Horticultural Center, N. Horticultural Dr. and Montgomery Dr., philadelphia.
May 1 Longwood Gardens Wine and Jazz Festival. 12 p.m.–5:30 p.m., Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, longwoodgardens.org
May 16 PASA Summer Farm Start Dinner SE Region. pasafarming.org
April 10 Second Saturday Gardening Series:
February 13 Southeast Master Class Double Header: “Chickens in your
Backyard?”; “Planning for Intensive Planting: Small Productive Gardens.” Advance registration required; email denise@ pasafarming.org or call 610-458-5700 ext 317. 10 a.m.–11:30 a.m.; 12:45 p.m.–2:15 p.m. February 13 Second Saturday Gardening Series: “Indoor/Outdoor Container Garden-
ing” 9 a.m.–11 a.m., Fairmount Park Horticultural Center, N. Horticultural Dr. and Montgomery Dr; philadelphia.extension.psu.edu March 6 Presentation and Guided Tasting: Cheeses from Chester County
Now and Then. PASA Southeast Office,
March 30 “A Useable Feast”: NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) Pre-Conference Dinner; a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Buy Fresh Buy Local® (BFBL) Chapter Network. 7 p.m., Noble American Cookery Restaurant, 2025 Sansom St.,
May 21 PASA Summer Farm Start Dinner. Milestone Inn, 2701 North Front St., Harrisburg, pasafarming.org May 23 PASA Summer Farm Start Dinner. Pittsburg Produce Market, pasafarming.org
Find and patronize nearby Farmers’ Markets. If every household in Pennsylvania spent just $10 a week on local foods, $2.5 billion would remain in our local economy every year.
Ways to Amp Up Your Local Food 4 Experience
Make a direct connection to a local grower through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Besides a delicious weekly reminder of what’s in season, you can learn things like how weather affects harvests and exactly how long it takes a pumpkin to grow. Find friends or neighbors to split your share if the quantities or commitment feel overwhelming.
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Seek out and support retail stores and restaurants that have made a public commitment to source from local growers. If signage or menus aren’t clear, ask for more information. If they can’t tell you where something came from, think twice about putting it in your mouth.
If access to certain foods isn’t convenient, get creative! Consider organizing a “reverse milk route” to bring fresh milk to your neighborhood direct from a local dairy. Or gather a group of friends and arrange the purchase of a whole hog’s worth of bacon and sausage, or a side of grass-fed beef for your freezers.
Grow something, even if it’s only herbs on a windowsill or a tomato plant on the patio. And, if you’re already a master gardener, push the envelope by exploring a small backyard flock of chickens. (Disclaimer:
this might not technically be legal in every jurisdiction.)
Get handy in your kitchen. Canning, drying, pickling or fermenting can transform short-season specialties into products you can enjoy for months (especially through the lean winter). Don’t think of it as kitchen drudgery—invite folks over and turn it into a party (the opposite of pot-luck; everyone leaves carrying something yummy). Bring grandma on board as a technical advisor.
Have a local food adventure. Both city and country have plenty of interesting markets, pickyour-own operations, wineries and other food destinations. More and more farms are also offering agrotourism opportunities through “farmstays.”
nt Hill Farm AG offers the following:
1. Farm Stay programs through the PA Farmstay Asociation and can be also found www.PAfarmstay.com and ebervations 2. Fleece and fiber products, 3 .horse boarding, indoor arena and riding trails
nt Hill Farm Educational Center offers the following:
Summer Day Camp (equine and sustainable farming Kinder Camp (4-6 yr old)
Intern programs in Cheese D Making E S Iand G farm N manage-
Vocational Programs for teens and young adults with ental and physical challenges S E R V I C E Spring and Fall OPEN HOUSE events Volunteer opportunities year round On line farm store
Jersey cow and Goat milk Dairy products to local Farms Markets
East Fallowfield, PA 610-384-6005
Through our farm and joint educational center, Flint Hill offers an amazing array of products and experiences, including… Flint Hill Farm AG, LLC www.flinthill-farmag.org • Farm Stays • Fleece and fiber products
• Horse boarding, indoor arena and riding trails
Flint Hill Farm Educational Center, Inc. a non profit 501c3 Agro-Educational Center www.flinthill-farm.org • Summer Day Camp (equine and sustainable farming tracts) • Kinder Camp • Internships in cheesemaking and farm management • Volunteer opportunities
• Vocational Programs for young adults with mental and physical challenges • Open Houses • Online farm store • Jersey cow and goat dairy products
1922 Flint Hill Road, Coopersburg, PA 18036 Phone 610-838-2928 Fax 610-838-5249
small town america at its b over est. c s i d
Historic Kennett Square browse our unique shops and galleries, dine in one of our gourmet restaurants. growers only farmers market from late-may to october live music at the kennett flash all year round. For a full listing of events, visit www.historickennettsquare.com or call 610.444.8188
Looking to make eating local easier? Become a part of PASA’s burgeoning Good
Food Neighborhood™ community. For a low annual fee of $25 ($5 off the regular price when you use the coupon code below), you’ll gain access to a wealth of resources including: →→
Local Food Rewards: Special offers from local producers and businesses, including discounts and free stuff A subscription to Eaters Digest, a monthly e-newsletter bursting with news, local food tips and recipes A seat at the digital Community Table, an online network of neighbors, connecting on topics such as local food shopping, cooking, farmers market finds and learning opportunities
e and receiv Join now s off your five dollar e! scription fe b u s l a u n n a 2010. e code grid
th ut, include At checko , 2010. res May 31 Offer expi
Access to a new, members-only regional message board Personalized seasonal product alerts from local farmers: Want to know when strawberry season begins? We’ll let you know Inside information on tastings, farm tours and other local food events in your area Discounts on apparel and other products from the online marketplace. You can also access the Good Food Neighborhood™ through buylocalpa.org, where there are tons of features available to all visitors, including maps featuring local farms, farmers markets, restaurants, wineries and breweries, recipes, blogs and the Buy Fresh Buy Local Marketplace.
ecorating your home is like assembling a guest list for a dinner party. Salvaged and reused objects have a story to tell—it shows in their nicks and grooves, in the grain of their wood, in the way a pane of glass bows every so slightly from the imperfections of hand-cutting. This year, Grid’s House & Home Issue shines a light on the local craftspeople, artists, designers and salvagers who believe in the inherent beauty and utility of our country’s detritus. They also acknowledge a basic truth: Old instead of new is the ultimate green choice.
Second Life A recently-renovated Glenside home showcases salvage’s potential by lee stabert
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h e n h e r fa m i ly moved from Paoli to Glenside, Fran Crotty knew she wanted to do a green remodel using as much salvaged material as possible. It was also essential that the renovation blend in with the historic character of the home. The Crottys hoped to work with a green contractor who understood their vision as well as their commitment to salvage. After a few false starts, Fran was introduced to Brendan Jones from Greensaw Design and Build (215389-0786, greensawdesign.com). In Jones, she recognized someone whose dedication to green design and salvage ran equally as deep. Most of Jones’ team—including project manager Niko Dyshniku—were trained as artists, so Greensaw also brought creativity and an artistic sensibility to the mission of turning a collection of disparate, lovingly-restored elements into a beautiful, functional space. The partnership was just as exciting for Greensaw. “Salvage can be intimidating to people,” says Jones. “But with this project, Fran was already on the same page as us; she was already a believer. We’re immensely proud of the work we did. We feel like this remodel is the culmination of everything we’ve been trying to do.” It all started with the cabinets—found on Craigslist. org, they were pulled out of house in Wayne that was being renovated. At the time, the doors were stained a dark brown and encumbered by heavy hardware, but the wood was high quality, and worth saving. After that, pieces started coming in from all over: butler’s pantries from an estate in St. David, slate from the old Philadelphia Women’s College (once used as lab tables), a sink from ReStore in Kensington and a huge piece of tin ceiling that would be used in two of the home’s rooms. The project was hard work—months trolling the internet and architectural salvage warehouses looking for just the right pieces, hours spent chipping gunk off subway tiles and weeks without a functional kitchen—but it was all worth it. “It was totally a labor of love,” says Crotty. “Someone said to me recently, ‘Did you do all this to flip the house?’ I said, ‘Are you kidding me?! I’m never leaving this house. I’m staying here forever.’”
The bathroom sink came from John Dorety (484-437-6427, johndorety. com). The wainscoting was made from a section of tin ceiling Crotty spotted at architectural salvager Kevin Brooks’ Germantown home (215-848-5029, kevinbrookssalvage.com). The rest of the beautiful textured tin was incorporated into the dining room’s arresting light fixture. The chandelier came from Bittersweet, a neighborhood vintage and antiques shop (278 Keswick Ave., Glenside, 215-884-8414). 18
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The sliding glass doors that led from the kitchen to the back porch were convenient, but they made the kitchen quite cold in winter. In their place is a reclaimed sink from ReStore, an architectural salvage clearing house in Kensington (215634-3474, re-store-online.com). The subway tiles for the backsplash came from Kevin Brooks. The vintage Chambers stove was bought from a couple in New Jersey via Craigslist.org. Designed after The Depression as a money saver, the show-stopping stove is extremely well insulated and can be taken apart and repaired by a layperson. Crotty spotted two butler’s pantries— pulled out of a doomed stone estate in St. David’s by John Dorety—on Craigslist.org and fell in love. The whole design plan was changed to accommodate them. “They reminded me of a summer house my aunt had,” explains Crotty. The larger of the two is in the kitchen. The fridge covers were repurposed from a small pantry that was removed during remodeling. The kitchen’s wood floors spent years buried beneath layers of tile and linoleum. “It definitely looks like an old floor,” says Crotty. “But I love them. They look authentic, lived in—like they belong in an old house.”
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Lost & Found
A local architectural salvage company finds value in the discarded by lee stabert
alking into Provenance Old Soul Architectural Salvage’s Fairmount Avenue space is a bit like entering the world of a children’s book—the sort with creaky doors and hidden passages to menacing places. The best kind. There is a strange sort of magic to old things, to objects that have been on a journey. Items with history are Provenance’s specialty. Their warehouse overflows with row upon row of doors and windows, old church pews, light fixtures, slab marble, chunks of old-growth wood, knobs of every shape and size, molding, mantles, bricks and thousands of other objects. 20
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Provenance began with one man: Bob Beaty. Beaty was born and raised in West Philadelphia, then spent several years in California, running a landfill and working in the salvage and composting businesses. He has always been fascinated by the things our society throws away. “People ask me, ‘How did you ever get into this business?’” says Beaty. “And I say, a little tongue-in-cheek, ‘It was a calling.’” 22 years ago, Beaty returned to the area and became involved in an assortment of projects, including the restoration of coal-damaged land in Schulykill County. Their work involved laying down composted lawn waste and spraying with wildflower seeds. “You drive up I-81 now and instead of hillsides of black coal or black residue, it’s all wildflowers,” he explains with a smile. Beaty eventually started working for a com-
pany in Philadelphia that specialized in recycling construction waste and finding gems among the wreckage. He bought a warehouse to store all his finds. Architectural salvage became a side business, and then a full-time occupation. Three years ago, Beaty was joined at Provenance by partner Chris Donna, and then, a year and a half ago, by another partner, Scott Lash. Lash was a bond trader who spent his weekends restoring houses to relieve the stress. He would come to Provenance for supplies. “I was tired of being one of 800 people,” says Lash. “Now I work in a salvage shop that’s one of a handful.” With the help of Donna and Lash, the business has grown. They are currently in the process of relocating from the space on Fairmount Avenue to a large warehouse on Front Street. The new Provenance will be easier to navigate and have vast amounts of space for all their material. Provenance’s cache of goods comes mostly from renovations and demolitions of historic buildings. For architectural salvagers, taking something apart can sometimes be as delicate as putting it together, especially since most old buildings were built to last. “People always talk about the pho tos by l u c as h ard i son
architects that build buildings,” says Lash. “But something has to be said for the craftspeople—the bricklayers, carpenters and terra cotta workers. Those guys were unbelievable.” The fruits of Provenance’s labor are visible all over the city, if you know where to look. They’ve recently done work for several local restaurants— including Marc Vetri’s Amis and Percy Street
Revolution Recovery | The world is full of discarded material, and it’s a big job figuring out what to do with it all. Revolution Recovery specializes in recycling and reusing building materials produced by new construction and demolition. They also provide raw materials and architectural salvage for local artists, non-profits and contractors. Partners Jon Wybar and Avi Golen became friends in high school. A
Barbecue, Michael Solomonov (Zahav) and Steven Cook’s (Xochitl) new venture —helping them incorporate reclaimed materials. The bartop at the renovated Sansom Street Oyster House is made of marble salvaged from Independence Mall, while the wood flooring had a previous life as beams in the Academy of Music. Beyond large-scale projects, Provenance has something for everyone—whether it’s a piece of wood for a custom desk, a salvaged sconce, or a 16-foot marble column to build a house around. “People know they can’t get this stuff at Home Depot,” jokes Lash. For customers intimidated by using architectural salvage, the partners at Provenance are more than happy to help with advice, or even some heavy lifting. The word “provenance” means the origin or source of something valued. At Provenance, they see the beauty in salvage, in the act of saving something from the wreckage of renovation and demolition and returning it to a place of honor. Instead of filling our spaces with factory-made objects—one among many—we can make our experience of the world infinitely more interesting, and sustainable. Standing in their warehouse—feeling the reality of all the people who have sat on those pews, passed through those doors, opened those shutters or walked across that marble, surrounded by items that were once beloved, then lost—is an overwhelming experience of human connectedness. As Beaty puts it, “Everything has a story.”
Provenance Old Soul Architectural Salvage 1610 Fairmount Ave., 215-769-1817 phillyprovenance.com
7333 Milnor St., 215-333-6505
few years ago, when Wybar became interested in LEED construction, Golen roped him into the recycling business. (Buildings earn LEED points for recycling and reusing materials.) Revolution Recovery’s main mission is to keep building materials out of landfills by finding the best possible application for them—whether it’s fine woodwork or woodchips. Grid’s magazine racks were
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made from material salvaged by Revolution Recovery. “We’ve had a band come in and get carpet tile to insulate their basement so they could have louder practices,” says Wybar. “Landlords come and get ceiling tiles to use as insulation. Wood workers get beams of old heart pine and oak that become benches and tables. The good stuff that comes into our dumpsters is trash to someone, but people can use it.”
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Wood Works Two local businesses turn trash into tables
Main A full view of a kitchen table Bench Dog crafted for Postgreen’s 100k House top Raw woodstock at Bench Dog bottom Detail of the 100k House table
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by alina makhnovetsky
few years ago, two friends started filling up their homes with what most of us would consider trash. At the time, neither one of them even had a reason for spending most of their spare time rummaging through various job sites and dumpsters for wood, much of it significantly damaged by water or termites. But among the debris, there were also gems—beautiful pieces of lumber, left to rot. ¶ Christopher Stromberg and David Quadrini, former coworkers at an architecture firm, couldn’t stomach that potential treasure going to waste, so they hauled the wood to their respective basements. Eventually the two men realized they shared this passion for salvage.
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left A set of tables from Stable Tables below A Bench Dog bar top bottom
Stable Tables crafted this farm table from old barn flooring
That’s how Bench Dog Design was born, and those piles of wood became finely crafted tables, benches and more. “We went out, bought the tools and went to work,” says Quadrini. “People can only show you so much, you have to just pick up the tools and experiment.” “I have always been fascinated with well-crafted furniture and obsessed with well-crafted artwork,” says Stromberg. The pieces at Bench Dog Design are just that—skillfully executed, refined and, best of all, created sustainably from random beams and planks found about town. “There is so much material in the world,” explains Stromberg. “We just feel there is no need to be harvesting new material.” Quadrini adds: “There is a certain kind of excitement—unforeseen quirks in the wood. The pieces have their own kind of spirit. It’s not something you can buy from a lumber site.” These days, Bench Dog Design has expanded beyond furniture. They work on wall paneling, resurfacing spaces, flooring and other interiors—all with materials culled from their dumpster diving adventures.
Under the name Stable Tables, Duffy creates rustic, functional furniture that showcases its complex history, instead of sanding it away. At Stable Tables, a Lancaster barn door turns into a dining table with antique porch posts as legs. “I could sand it down and make it really smooth, almost unidentifiable, but I tend to leave on more than an average furniture maker,” explains Duffy. Stable Table clients seem to respond to the rustic look Duffy cherishes, and his business has been steadily expanding.
Purchasing from Stable Tables or Bench Dog Design not only means embracing the sustainability efforts of these two local businesses, but also welcoming a beautiful, unique piece of furniture into your home.
Bench Dog Design 2212 Sepviva St. Philadelphia, PA 19125 benchdogdesign.com
Stable Tables 113 Azalea Way Flourtown, PA 19031 tablesbenches.com
ohn Duffy III has a similar story. This one-time telecom executive left the hectic corporate world behind in pursuit of his true passion, furniture making. Duffy gathers wood from Revolution Recovery (p. 21) and a Tacony trash transfer station, among other places. He talks about his finds with great respect and admiration, even love. “Nothing is really free,” says Duffy of his wood findings. “Most of the pieces I get are rough.” He points to a pile of beams spoiled with nails and wires, likely yanked in a hurry from their previous home. Duffy actually seems to prefer his wood this way—knowing how far it’s come gives him visible satisfaction. Like Stromberg and Quadrini, Duffy greatly appreciates the imperfections in the wood, accepting and incorporating the parts most furniture makers would discard. ben ch d o g p h o t o s by Carry n M. Gold en and bench dog d e s ig n
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Light Show Warren Muller turns the detritus of everyday life into something illuminating by eils lotozo
ook closely at one of Warren Muller’s spectacular light sculptures and you might spy some familiar items: old metal lunchboxes and canteens, colored glass vases and chipped teapots, tin funnels and candy molds, shovel handles and wire baskets. ¶ In Muller’s exuberantly creative version of recycling, cast-off objects get new life as illuminated art. He has made “chandeliers”—as he calls his fantastic creations—out of wooden ladders and abandoned bicycles. A new work, the nearly 40-foot-long “Dream Time” (recently installed in the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History) features rusted lawn furniture, kids’ tricycles, old metal toys and the grille from a Jeep. 24
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top Raw materials at Muller’s studio above Steer It Up, 2008 (64 × 78 × 65 inches, mixed media, incandescent lighting), 2008 PSPCA DogHaus, Chestnut Hill left Muller at work on Steer It Up
right Whipped, 2009 (46 × 32 × 35 inches, mixed media, incandescent lighting), Whipped Bakeshop, Fishtown below Roll Me a Fatty, 2008 (48 × 36 × 30 inches, mixed media, incandescent lighting), private collection bottom The Mix, 2008 (78 x 18 inches, mixed media, incandescent lighting), private collection
“I pretty much work with things that are forgotten and discarded,” says Muller, who sees something poetic in these everyday objects. What intrigues him is their “hidden history”—the impossible-todiscover story of the places they have been and the ways they’ve been used along the way to the trash heap. There is also a practical element to his choice of medium. “These are inexpensive materials to work with,” he explains. “Because nothing is precious, you can drill holes through things without worrying about it. That makes it fun.” Tall and lanky, with a shaved head and a serene demeanor, Muller has been a part of Philadelphia’s art scene since the 1960s. Originally a performance artist and dancer, he has collaborated with Group Motion co-founder Manfred Fischbeck, choreographer Karen Bamonte and artist Isaiah Zagar, among others. Zagar, whose elaborate mosaics made from discarded crockery and broken bits of mirror cover walls all over the city, was a particular influence. “From Isaiah I learned about chaos,” says Muller, who first began exhibiting his light sculptures in 1996. That was the same year he opened Biello-Muller Studio and Gallery in Old City with lighting designer Michael Biello. In 2002, Muller launched Bahdeebahdu, a studio and gallery (originally on Cherry Street) with his partner RJ Thornburg, an impish interior designer who calls himself an “anti-decorator.” Two years ago, the pair moved Bahdeebahdu to a building in Kensington where Muller devises his light sculptures with the aid of his long time assistant, Rebecca Pulver. In the shop, floor-to-ceiling shelves brim with the flotsam that inspires Muller’s work. His collection is meticulously organized by material and color. One section is crowded with metal objects—coffee pots, pitchers and the lunchboxes he finds so useful for hiding electrical junctions. There is a section for green and blue glass, one for clear glass and a shelf lined with an eccentric assortment of ceramic statues, including horses, elves, a bust of Elvis and more than a few versions of Rodin’s “The Thinker.” ima ges c o u rt esy o f warren mull er
“I find stuff on the street and sometimes people bring me things, but I get most of it at flea markets,” says Muller. In spring and summer, he and Thornburg make a weekly pilgrimage to a flea market near their weekend home in the Poconos, loading up a barn on the property with the treasures they acquire. “I’m always way ahead of RJ at the flea market,” says Muller. “He moves slower and he sees things I don’t see. He has a different point of view.” Muller has experimented with neon, fiber optics and low-voltage lighting, but claims that only incandescent bulbs provide the kind of warm light he favors. He works entirely on commission, making pieces for public spaces (Center City’s Philadelphia Building, the Stonewall Country Club in Elverson) and for clients’ private homes. “Sometimes people will bring me an old chandelier that they’ve dismantled and ask me to use the parts,” says Muller. “Or people will bring me collections of things that mean something to them. What I always say is, I can promise you I’ll use all of it, some of it or none of it.” Thornburg, who calls Muller “a big kid in the biggest toy box,” has described his partner’s artistic method this way: “He takes all of these unrelated disparate things—discarded, orphaned, lonely, ignored, dull, heinous even—and begins the process of connecting them.” For Muller, making those connections, learning to trust that he’ll find exactly the right object for the piece at hand, has become something of a metaphor for life. “The things that you need are always presenting themselves at the right time,” he says. “It’s just a matter of recognizing it when that happens.”
A retrospective of Muller’s career as a “luminary” can be found in the photo-packed book Wink: Warren Muller published by E.C. Graham and Kevin Hanek (Bahdeebahdu, Philadelphia, 2008).
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An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan, penguin,
ood Rules is basically the CliffsNotes version of Michael Pollan’s last two books—The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. But that’s not a diss: This little collection of tips and food facts offers plenty of practical, distilled information. Even for committed Pollan-ites, it’s a quick, breezy refresher, and a nice motivation for re-commitment to whole foods and sustainable eating. Pollan’s goal is to cut through the din of diet and nutrition advice that is constantly bombarding American consumers. The simple adage at the heart of In Defense of Food remains central here: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” The first part turns out to be the most difficult in our postindustrial food culture, but Pollan offers easy-to-follow advice for spotting highly processed foods: shop the perimeter of the grocery store, don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food, avoid food products that list more than five ingredients, avoid ingredients that a third grader can’t pronounce. Pollan also encourages people to eat when they’re actually hungry, consume less meat (and only from animals that have themselves eaten well) and cut down on junk food. That said, Pollan is no drill sergeant: He is obviously a food lover himself, and this book is also a reminder to enjoy the act of eating—to cook, drink wine and savor long, carefully prepared meals with friends and family. —Lee Stabert
Bringing It To The Table: On Farming and Food
By Wendell Berry, Counterpoint,
Screening March 9 as part of Ambler Theater’s Pennypack Sustainability Series. For information and tickets, visit amblertheater.org or call 215-345-7855.
resh, a film by ana Sofia joanes, doesn’t break much new ground when it comes to revealing the contrast between commercial agriculture and sustainable farming. We have food journalist Michael Pollan and celebrated farmer Joel Salatin, who Pollan made famous in his landmark The Omnivore’s Dilemma, alongside a host of other farmers and advocates from both sides of the debate. But what sets Fresh apart are the intensely effective images, and a refreshing hopefulness. It will be hard to forget watching as crates of baby chickens are dumped (literally) onto a feedlot floor—the sound they make as they hit the dirt is even more indelible. But, it’s just as impossible not to smile at the sight of dayold piglets on Russ Kremer’s sustainable pig farm in Missouri, tumbling towards their mother’s milk. The film maintains a strong balance between the grim realities of monocultures and feedlots and the rising tide of creative and sustainable local producers. There is attention paid to co-ops and urban agriculture (personified by the hulking figure of Willie Green, Milwaukee’s worm-loving messiah of microgreens), and some encouraging numbers on the profitability and efficiency of farms that eschew pesticides and antibiotics. The film also captures the extraordinary beauty of life on a diversified, working farm—cows chewing on grass, pigs wallowing in mud (and earning a scratch behind the ear from their devoted caretaker) and even mounds of compost crawling with earthworms are rendered nothing short of moving. —Lee Stabert 26
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endell Berry understands technology’s lure to farmers. In 1950, when he was 16, his father bought a tractor, and suddenly he found he was impatient with his mules. But what does a tireless machine do to a farmer’s relationship to the land? Land becomes something to overcome—a perspective shared by a traveler on an interstate or in a plane. “I now suspect that if we work with machines,” Berry writes, “the world will seem to us a machine, but if we work with living creatures, the world will appear to us a living creature.” Throughout his four-decade-plus career as a writer, Berry has been sounding the alarm on sustainability—long before the term was common—and his influence is difficult to underestimate. In his introduction to this collection of Berry essays, Michael Pollan challenges his readers to find a single insight that belongs solely to him and can’t be found in Berry’s writing. But the big difference between the two is perspective. Pollan, the urbane journalist with an insatiable curiosity, is a consumer advocate, talking to eaters about obesity, processed food and marketing in our modern food system. Berry, a lifelong farmer, stays focused on the problems the Green Revolution has produced for farming, including the degradation of our soil and the destruction of farming communities. The book’s first two parts—“Farming” and “Farmers”—tackle the big picture and highlight several ingenious and passionate farmers who thrive while opting out of big agribusiness. The third section, “Food,” features excerpts from Berry’s fiction and revolves around meals. Why? Because food you can eat by yourself, but meals require community. —Alex Mulcahy
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8th Annual Social Venture Institute
The Sustainable Business Network presents this conference offering information on the the Triple Bottom Line, innovative capital solutions, non-traditional funding sources for green businesses and networking with a diverse group of entrepreneurs. →→ Feb. 26-27, The Hub Cira Center,
Sixth Annual Brewer’s Plate
air Food’s annual fundraising event sells out every year, so make sure to buy your tickets early. Featuring dozens of the Philadelphia area’s most celebrated independently-owned restaurants and breweries, this event is a chance for you to taste local flavors and support the region’s sustainable food system.
→→ March 14, 5 – 7:30 p.m., $55 general admission ($65
after Feb. 28); $115 VIP admission, Penn Museum, 3260 South St., for tickets, visit thebrewersplate.org
2929 Arch St., sbnphiladelphia.org
Awakening the Dreamer: Changing the Dream Symposium
Part of the Awakening the Dreamer Initiative, this symposium explores the current state of our planet and seeks to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?” Discover new opportunities to make an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling difference. →→ Feb. 28, 1:15 – 5:50 p.m., $10 suggested
donation, First United Methodist Church of Germantown, 6023 Germantown Ave., 215-843-4933, register at AwakeningTheDreamer.org
Philadelphia International Flower Show
Mon. – Fri. 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., $13 – $23, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th & Arch Sts., 215-988-8899; for tickets, visit theflowershow.com
Monthly Winter Farmers’ Market at Woodsong Hollow Farm
Woodsong Hollow Farm will offer seasonal produce, dairy and meat products at this farmers’ market. Look for cold weather offerings such as winter greens, mushrooms, squash and potatoes as well as pastured meats and wildcaught Alaskan salmon. →→ March 6, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Woodsong
Raising money for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is as easy as following the three B’s: bowling, beer and biking. Tickets include free bowling and raffle prizes. There will also be bike eye candy from Cannondale, Fuji, MAVIC and many more. The first 100 ticket buyers receive a commemorative water bottle. day-of, North Bowl, 909 N. Second St., for tickets, visit bicyclecoalition.org/redbowl
→→ Feb. 28 – March 7, Sun 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.,
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DVRPC Breaking Ground: Building Livable Communities in Greater Philadelphia
This one-day workshop hosted by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Committee features sessions on creating accessible, sustainable communities, launching green infrastructure projects and linking Philadelphia neighborhoods to the riverfront through trails, projects and festivals. →→ March 17, 8:15 a.m, – 4 p.m., $75–$100,
The Union League of Philadelphia, 140 S. Broad St., register by March 5; visit dvrpc.org/breakingground
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Philadelphia Horticultural Society Garden Tenders Basic Training: Spring Session
If you’ve ever been interested in starting a community garden, this course may be for you. Receive the practical information you need and practice your skills through hands-on horticulture. →→ March 17, 24, 31, and Apr 7, 21, 28,
5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Saturday Apr. 17, Tour of Community Gardens, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. PHS Auditorium, fifth floor, 100 N. 20th St., 215-988-8846, register by March 10; visit phsonline.org
Hollow Farm, 23 Gehris Rd., Boyertown, visit woodsonghollow.com
Bicycle Coalition Red Bowl
→→ March 6, 2 – 6 p.m., $10 pre-register; $15
At this Pennsylvania Horticultural Society annual event, you can experience hundreds of plant and floral designs from countries like India, Brazil, the Netherlands and South Africa. See the entries of local enthusiasts, get yourself a take-home gardening kit, sample goodies in the International Wine and Spirits Garden and watch performances provided by World Café Live. For more on the Flower Show’s green exhibitions, see p. 5.
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Urban Sustainability Forum: “Cracking the Code: How 21st Century Building Codes Will Make or Break Our Communities”
This forum takes a look at the role zoning codes play in moving towards a more sustainable Philadelphia. Green buildings, waterfront access, safe bike lanes and accessible public transportation are all affected by zoning. State officials, national experts and local specialists will discuss upcoming zoning reforms and ongoing efforts. →→ March 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; 6 p.m. reception,
The Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., ansp.org; to register, visit crackingthecode.eventbrite.com
Safari Overnight at the Academy of Natural Sciences
This Friends & Family Overnight Event will allow you and your mini-explorers to experience the Academy after dark. Investigate how dinosaurs eat their lunches, why animals have camouflage and how to become an expert tracker. At the end of the night, grab your sleeping bags and curl up next to a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Open to children 7 and up. →→ March 19, 6:30 p.m. – 9 a.m., $35 – $40,
The Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., ansp.org, call 215-299-1060 to register
Second Annual Mid-Atlantic Cleantech Investment Forum
Hosted by Blank Rome’s Energy Industry Group and the Academy of Natural Sciences Center for Environmental Policy, this forum will showcase leading Mid-Atlantic cleantech companies represented by Blank Rome in sectors including energy generation, transportation, air and environment, and recycling and waste. →→ March 25, 4 – 7:30 p.m., $35, The Academy
of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., ansp.org
phot o by Donna C o n n o r
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The Bicycle Thief by julie lorch
step off the train every morning, walk to the other side of the tracks and glance nervously in his direction. His return gaze gives me the dizzying sensation of desire. He is always there at the station, waiting with an air of unassuming confidence. His presence is the lone perk of my grueling reverse commute. Before the evening train, I walk closer to him, seduced by his dark allure, considering conversation but unsure how to break through his lock and chain. Those handsome features! The hot Italian build! And that magic word scrawled across his perfect frame: “Bianchi.” It’s enough to make a good girl go bad. This beautiful bicycle stood there patiently, locked, demure and covered in snow for the duration of December’s blizzard and on through the New Year. I think he is abandoned. I touched him once. The frame was cold, his handlebar tape peeling, his tires running low. A tiny logo read, “Reparto Corse.” My lust for Reparto is disrupting my moral compass: I want to steal this bike. I’ll admit, I’ve become restless in my long-term relationship with a baby blue Shogun. He is dependable, loving and easy to ride in skirts—but Sho and I have grown apart. I want a faster ride through the city streets.
I thought about stealing Reparto in broad daylight. At mid-day, my train station might as well be high noon in an old-timey western—all it needs is the tumbleweeds. I thought about working late and taking him away with me in the cold winter night. The bike is exactly my size. It would make the perfect getaway vehicle. I know Reparto won’t last long out there. He’s like a hunk of still-healthy tissue bound to a dying patient. I once read an article about the complexities of organ donation. It said, “We must draw the line between life and death precisely where we cannot be sure of the answer, because the line must lie where the donor is dead, but the donor’s organs are not.” So, I ask, where is the line between owned and abandoned? Crime and salvage? When would I cease to be a thief and become a savior? As soon as I started Googling “ways to break a U-Lock,” I realized it was time to seek counsel. I received a broad spectrum of opinions. The morbid mused, “Maybe the owner kicked the bucket.” The logical asked, “How long has it been there?” Some offered the mom-tastic mainstay, “How would you feel if someone stole yours?” Then there were those who kept it simple: “Dude, it’s not your bike.” And, from a fellow commuter, “I’ll bring a hacksaw tomorrow.” More than a few recommended that I leave a note for the owner, clearly stating my intentions, to mitigate the karmic implications. Though this was a noble idea, I nixed it immediately—I was afraid another thief would see my forlorn Reparto and steal him before I had the chance. Finally a good friend asked: “Has anyone suggested that someone who treats their bike this way does not deserve such a nice one?” Hmmm...Reparto as a battered husband? I liked it. But the owner did remove the front quick-release wheel and lock it to the frame—a gesture of love. Plus, I had enough self-awareness to know that righteous intentions had nothing to do with my burning bicycle lust. Somewhere between human organs and battered husbands, I realized that I could not justify stealing Reparto. Besides, I want to start my new relationship on the right foot, with transparency and honesty. I have since turned to our society’s last bastion of openness and integrity: Craigslist. Someday, Sho and I will find the perfect third to enter our open relationship. Maybe he’ll even be Italian. ■
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