pondering farmers markets

DSC_0081I decided a little more farmers market pondering was in order.

Farmers markets are a wonderful idea in their true form of promoting sustainable agriculture in communities and all that good stuff.

But lately there has been farmers market drama and intrigue which detracts from the positives.

The most recent drama involves West Vincent Township.  But what did I expect it’s West Vincent and drama and intrigue go hand in hand, don’t they? Now if the folks who originated this market idea would just slow down, and if West Vincent would just do something the right way (as in the way everyone else does things and not their definition of the right way) there would be no drama and this market would probably be open already.  But the horse is out of the barn on that one, so only time will tell.

The other market drama is the thing going on between the East Goshen Farmers Market and their former market managers who have started Malvern Farmers Market in the borough of Malvern and Downingtown under a for profit entity called Growing Roots Partners, which by their own description offers “farmers market management and event management in Western Philadelphia Suburbs”.  They also say:

In addition to farmers market management, Growing Roots Partners also offers farm to table dinners, education in sustainable nutrition, event management, culinary and farm tours, and artisan craft shows.

From what I can surmise Growing Roots Partners is a for profit business model that I find oddly similar to my friend Janet Long’s Clover Market. And if that is the case, just woman up and admit part of what drives them is the all-American dollar. Who doesn’t get that?

Growing Roots in their own mission statement says:

Growing Roots Partners is dedicated to community education that nurtures the importance of sustaining our local agricultural food system.

As a weekly community event, our Farmers Markets offer vital economic opportunity to regional farmers and food producers while playing an important role in revitalizing a community’s economic profile.

But given the drama and who shot John over if you are in Malvern’s market you can’t apparently be in East Goshen’s Market, are they living their mission statement?

After all if you are pro-farm and pro-farmer how can you tell them if they want to sell in a particular market they basically have to be exclusive to that market and no other?  And why is it Malvern Market sends people to “shop” East Goshen Market every week like it is a competition versus sustainable agriculture and connecting the community to local food sources, i.e. the localvore movement? Not only is that ethically and morally wonky in my opinion, we are a country based upon a free market system aren’t we?  I mean wow that is like telling little girls they can’t be in a Brownie troop because it’s full but in fact you can’t deal with some of the moms, right?  And who would do that?

I did not pull this drama out of thin air, I have had farmers and other food vendors tell me and people I know flat-out that this is the case.  As a matter of fact someone from where I used to live whom I do not speak to very often called me this week after she had a similar kind of conversations with a vendor who participates in  Oakmont and Bryn Mawr Farmers Markets, which are Farm to City Markets.  They called me up because when they had asked a couple of farms if they were doing East Goshen this year their was this long dance and mumbling about how it all got “too political” so they were doing Malvern instead. How embarrassing that they are even talking about this drama in non-related Main Line markets, right?

Huh?  Who made it political?  Certainly not East Goshen. I mean the ladies of Growing Roots Partners even seem unable/unwilling to take down the East Goshen Farmers Market blog spot from when they ran the market and isn’t that petty?  Is this done to confuse people into thinking there is no East Goshen Market? Or to make it difficult for people to find the REAL East Goshen Farmers Market Web Page?

And why is it o.k. that the Growing Roots folks have in essence poached a lot of farms and vendors from Farm to City Markets and that is o.k. (and they did it last year as East Goshen Farmers Market) but it is not o.k. for these farms, farmers , and vendors to go to East Goshen if they wanted to? East Goshen has crossover vendors with West Chester Growers Market and others and that is because that is the name of the game isn’t it? Exposure for farms, farmers, vendors and multiple market choices for the public is win-win for all?  After all I don’t know about you, but don’t you have certain vendors or farms that are favorites and if you miss them at one market, you catch them at another?

Now to what started me thinking about this today.  I still go once in a blue moon to Bryn Mawr’s Farmers Market which is Farm to City run.  Not only because friends of mine were the driving force behind getting it established, but also because it is a nice market with some farms I really like.  Anyway I received an e-mail this morning of who this week’s vendors/farmers this Saturday  are:

Amaranth Bakery

Birchrun Hills Farm (yuck)

Brulee Bakery

Canter Hill Farm (awesome farm)

Davidson Exotics

Good Spoon Seasonal Foods

Freshapeel Hummus

Jenny and Frank’s Artisan Gelato (super yummy)

John and Kira’s Chocolates (delightful but VERY tasty in price)

Philly Fair Trade Roasters

Sea Findings (new – fresh seafood, know nothing about them)

Shellbark Hollow Farm (hmmm one of the Growing Roots Partners partners, yes?)

Two Gander Farm & Apiary

Wimer’s Organics

Wild Flour Bakery

Vera Pasta

So now here is the line up for Growing Roots Partners Malvern and Downingtown markets ( I am not segregating by market, you can go figure that out if it interests you):

Blueberry Hill Farm (used to be at East Goshen and Bryn Mawr, also found at Oakmont)

Canter Hill Farm (at Bryn Mawr, and Bryn Mawr used to be their only market because they are small)

Down Home Acres

Down to Earth Harvest

Frecon Farms (used to be at Bryn Mawr and East Goshen)

Kimberton CSA

Longview Center for Agriculture

Oley Valley Mushrooms (can’t remember if they were at East Goshen, Bryn Mawr or both)

Two Gander Farm (at Bryn Mawr)

Daily Loaf

dia Doce (used to be at East Goshen and was most recently at East Goshen’s Winter Market)

Laura’s (used to be at East Goshen and I know from the now closed food business Panache Foods)

Market Day

My House Cookies (think they were at East Goshen)

Saint Peter’s Bakery

Lindenhof Farm

Wyebrook Farm

Birchrun Hills Farm (at Bryn Mawr and elsewhere – I personally do not care for and choose not to patronize this farm and their price points are also a bit steep)

Shellbark Hollow Farm (at Bryn Mawr)

Blue Cafe

FreshaPeel (at Bryn Mawr)

Jenny & Franks (at Bryn Mawr used to be at East Goshen)

John & Kira’s (Bryn Mawr, used to be at East Goshen)

MomPops (used to be at East Goshen, forget where else they are)

Naughty Nutty Love (used to be at East Goshen – good but price points are high)

Old Mill Gourmet

Pureblend (used to be at East Goshen, used to be at West Chester Growers Market – not sure if they still are, and are in Lancaster Central Market among others)

Vera Pasta (at Bryn Mawr and not sure where else – I make my own pasta so I do not buy a lot of fresh pasta from outside sources)

Ellen April (used to be at East Goshen I thing and has been at West Chester Growers Market and Kennett Square Market)

Rustic Bunch

Veronica’s Doggie Delights (was at East Goshen and East Goshen winter market and Artisan Exchange)

So you see the majority of the vendors and farms and farmers at Malvern and Downingtown came to these markets from other markets didn’t they? Do we see those other markets making farms, farmers, and vendors choose in either overt or passive aggressive manners?  And seriously Farm to City could be justifiably annoyed here right?

Look, what happened is simple: the women who used to run East Goshen developed a for profit business model to benefit themselves.  That is totally cool, it is the American way in a free market economy.  From what I understand, their business model is not how East Goshen Township wanted to operate their township sponsored market so they went in a different direction.  That is East Goshen’s right.

So the former managers of East Goshen got their model picked up by Malvern and Downingtown so why can’t they be happy with that?  After all why make so much issue with your home township of East Goshen? (at least one of the Growing Roots Partners partners lives in East Goshen do they not?)

I like going to multiple markets and would love to go to Malvern’s market but I just do not feel I can in good conscience do that until the farmers market wars which they seemed to have started calms down.

The ultimate point of this post is all these farms came to these markets because people either patronized them directly or found them at other markets.  Local farmers markets on different days don’t have to be utterly exclusive, live and let live and everyone get over themselves and have crossover.  After all Growing Roots Partners did not invent the idea of community farmers markets and therefore shouldn’t be able to demand exclusivity of farms, farmers, and vendors like that should they?

I missed East Goshen’s market yesterday but hope to get to West Chester Growers Market tomorrow.  I also hear raves about Phoenixville’s market.  I will tell you that I got the most fabulous shrubs and perennials from Applied Climatatology at the West Chester Growers Market.  I also got fabulous herb plants from TWO produce purveying farms at East Goshen Market – Brogue Hydroponics and Sunny Slope Farm- I recommend them all highly!

Let me know where you farmers market and what some of your favorite farms and farmers are and why.

the art of custom cabinetry, woodworking, and furniture

custom-kitchen-lg-aCabinet makers, custom furniture builders, and artisan wood workers are a dying breed.  It takes real artistic talent combined with years of work. Some people call themselves cabinet makers and so on, but they really aren’t. Seriously, it is an art form.

I love custom woodwork and cabinetry.  It’s luscious and beautiful.  baker

I do not often promote businesses and if I do I must have personal experience with them.  I am going to introduce you to one.

Sherman & Gosweiler Fine Cabinetry and Woodworking. They have been in business  since 1976 and I LOVE their work! If you can dream it, Dick Gosweiler can build it.  Whether it is an urban space like a chic Manhattan apartment or townhouse; a penthouse on Rittenhouse Square; a second home in Bay Head or the Hamptons; or even a simple mahogany-bookcasesfarmhouse in Chester County this is who you want.

In addition to making your dreams for your home come to life this company also can olengdo period reproductions.  One of my particular favorites are the mantelpieces and mantelpiece surrounds they have done over the years.  I mean don’t you just hate to see people put gobs of money into either a new house or an extensive renovation only to cheap out on a stock mantelpiece and/or mantelpiece surround for a den or living room or great room?

On my wish list for my home someday I would love one of their mantelpieces.smuckler

Anyway, just was thinking about house stuff and thought I would throw this up here.

Sherman & Gosweiler have a website and a Facebook fan page. If you need their services they can be reached at (610) 270-0825.  They are located at  401 East 4th Street in Bridgeport – that is their physical shop, but they travel pretty much anywhere for installations and whatnot.

What they say about themselves is as follows and utterly true:cherry-dining-table

Since our inception in 1976 we have always had the same philosophy: To craft beautiful and functional cabinetry delivered on budget and on time.  We are committed to making the entire experience easy and pleasurable for our clients. From creating a great design to a trouble-free installation, we are available to answer your questions and coordinate with other tradespeople on the job. Let us show you why scores of interior designers, architects, builders and hundreds of homeowners have put their trust in us.

deadly building collapse on market street in philadelphia

building collapse

We see crumbling buildings and homes and even crumbling barns when we drive just about anywhere.  This is why municipalities and cities and states have to do a better job.  Accidents happen, and when they are construction accidents like this they are quite awful.  But a lot of crumbling buildings become unstable in the first place because they are allowed to rot.

So earlier today if you had the news or radio on you heard of the building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets in Philadelphia.  This would be the location I believe of a couple of blocks of building once owned by now deceased slumlord Sam Rappaport.  If you are familiar with this stretch of Market street from driving by, from what I can see it appears neighboring buildings (NBC10 reports Philadelphia Fire Department says TWO buildings) collapsed on that big Salvation Army store on the corner.

collapse

The photos I have are courtesy of a couple of different friends, one of whom works a couple blocks away and snapped a couple of photos with her cell phone camera.

NBC10 is reporting one fatality plus 13 others with injuries.  They have been covering this since it happened. They say a company called Griffin-Campbell

buildingThis is a truly awful thing and I hope the rest of the people pulled from the rubble will be o.k. The news has reported stories of selfless individuals who dove in as regular citizens to try to help people get out before first responders arrived.  If memory serves there used to be a fire house very close by.

They have search dogs on site sniffing about for additional people. STB Investments owns these collapsed buildings.  The Mayor of Philadelphia and Fire Commissioner announced that one of the owners (or partial owners?) of these buildings is still Times Square Porn King  Richard Basciano .

NBC10 Philadelphia Building Collapse, People Trapped      

By   Lauren DiSanto    |  Wednesday, Jun 5, 2013  |  Updated 11:34 AM EDT

A building in downtown Philadelphia has collapsed and authorities fear that multiple people may be trapped beneath the rubble.

As many as 10 people may currently burried beneath the collapsed structure according to Lloyd Ayers, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner and a frantic search is underway.

“There are firemen, police, construction guys digging out because I  believe people are down there. It’s crazy right now,” said Corey Vey who  works nearby.

At least a dozen people have been rescued already, according to eyewitnesses.

NBC10 Property History of Building Collapse

By  Dan Stamm  |  Wednesday, Jun 5, 2013  |  Updated 2:31 PM EDT

Here is a look at the property history of the building that collapsed on a Salvation Army resulting in one death and at least 13 injuries this morning in Center City Philadelphia.

According to city property records, STB Investments Corporation located on JFK Boulevard owns the property. STB paid $385,894 for the nearly 4,200-square-foot property at 2136-2138 Market Street in 1994.

The current market value for the property in nearly $2.6 million and the property is zoned as a multi-story office.

Inga Saffron, one of my favorite writers on things architecture for the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about this stretch of Market Street in December 2012:

Changing Skyline: An opportunity on blight

By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic

Posted: December 29, 2012

Sam Rappaport’s empire of blight once extended clear across Center City’s midsection, from the Schuylkill to the Delaware, and beyond. But since his death in 1994, his heirs have shed his holdings, shrinking his domain to an archipelago of surface parking lots and shuttered stores. Some of Rappaport’s most notorious architectural victims, such as the Victory and PSFS buildings, have even gone on to lead productive lives again.

Much of what does remain of Rappaport’s kingdom is now controlled by Richard Basciano, a close friend and business associate who served for a time as executor of his estate. Dubbed “the undisputed king of Times Square porn” by the New York Times – back in those ancient days when Times Square and porn were synonymous – Basciano has hewed faithfully to Rappaport’s recipe on real estate: Hold tight onto properties. Invest nothing, even as your buildings crumble in full public view. And wait patiently for the big payday to come along….

Basciano says he is “fed up with the adult business” and now wants to clean up his act, particularly on two blocks at the western end of Market Street, where he helped maintain a red-light district for the better part of two decades. In an interview last week with Inquirer reporter Miriam Hill and myself, Basciano outlined plans to seek a developer for his holdings, starting with the 2100 block. The slumlord, it seems, wants to be a contender.

Of course, he needs the city’s help.

Basciano doesn’t own everything on those two blocks. Smack in the middle of the 2100 block is a city firehouse. An even bigger impediment to his dreams of real estate gold is that some parcels on the two blocks are owned by other people. Following the Rappaport script, they’re holding out for big bucks.

“They should be embarrassed for playing hardball,” Basciano sniffed, straight-faced, forgetting that he has turned down repeated offers for the 2100 block. The guy can act, as well as box.

Basciano wants City Hall’s help in acquiring the remainder of the 2100 block, so it will be more appealing to a buyer. He has already gone to see Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger about doing a deal on the firehouse. Greenberger has told him the firehouse stays on the block

just dumb

truck 2This morning if you were on 352 at the underpass in Frazer you got to witness yet another truck driver get stuck. And it wasn’t some guy renting a box truck from U-Haul or Budget or Penske for the first time, it was a regular truck driver in a huge truck hauling a load – in other words this isn’t in my opinion to be filed under beginner’s bad luck.

Every time I see something like this happen I marvel at how these trucks and people driving them don’t seem to know how big they are by themselves and if they are carrying a big load, how tall they are in relationship to a tunnel or underpass.  And if they do know how big and tall they are they see the height sign for an underpass that would indicate to a sensible person they might get stuck, why they don’t stop and turn around?

Around 10 am this morning a giant truck hauling giant metal cube things decided height restrictions were for other people at the Route 352 underpass in Frazer.

truck 1

We were in a line of traffic waiting on the Immaculata side of the underpass and we sat and watched the truck approach.  The driver stopped at first as if giving it a good look and then he proceeded.  And got stuck.  The truck stopped.  Then remarkably it tried to go forward as if that would make it better.  Only he wasn’t hauling puffy rubber or foam that would bend, he was hauling these giant metal boxes with what looked like vents cut into them. So he got more stuck.

Finally he stopped trying to go forward and instead started to back up.  Of course it being 352 there was traffic up the rear of the truck but they started to back up and after many minutes of all of us on the road collectively holding our breath, the truck was able to get unstuck and out from underneath the underpass.

I just don’t understand how these trucks think they are going to fit if they are too tall and big going into the scenario?

Here’s hoping Amtrak checked the bridge after.  Every time there is a stuck truck or a hit they are supposed to check the bridge.