As the summer months begin, farmers’ market enthusiasts at Penn will find they can now buy local one more day of the week.
Starting June 4, a new farmers’ market will set up shop outside the Radian, at 3925 Walnut St. Local vendors will sell an assortment of fruits, vegetables, sustainably grown meats and freshly baked goods every Friday from noon to 2 p.m. through the end of July.
The market will open in time to get the “first local pint of berries for the season,” said Nicky Uy, program manager for the Food Trust’s farmers’ market program.
A collaboration among The Food Trust, University City District, the Rotunda and Inland American Retail Management, the market will also feature live music. Performers will include the West Philadelphia Orchestra and samba collective Unidos da Filadelfia.
Because the market’s hours are earlier in the day than most farmers’ markets, its vendors will focus on providing noontime treats so customers can bring a healthy snack, and possibly even flowers, back to their desks, Uy said.
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Despite the proximity to other farmers’ markets, including a Saturday market at Clark Park, Uy doesn’t anticipate this will create competition. Instead, she said, the new market will help meet growing demand.
In response to an increasingly “reliable customer base,” farmers are turning to “innovative” techniques, such as greenhouses, to expand their harvests, she said. As a result, the season now starts sooner and ends later than in previous years.
“Farmers’ markets at universities are becoming more and more popular,” Uy said. She has noticed that students are now more likely to buy groceries at the markets, whereas they have traditionally bought snacks or single servings in the past.
The Food Trust will introduce three additional farmers’ markets elsewhere in Philadelphia this season, making a total of 22 Food Trust-run markets throughout the city.
Farm to City, another organization that manages farmers’ markets in Philadelphia, will also add at least two new markets this year to its total of 17, according to founder and director Bob Pierson.
He said his organization received 22 customer requests for new markets last season, prompting the group to respond. Demand for locally produced food increases “year after year,” he added.
Pierson’s group oversees the market outside the Penn Bookstore — at 3601 Walnut St. — which runs Wednesdays and accepts PennCash and Dining Dollars.
According to University City District spokeswoman Lori Klein Brennan, there will be two to three vendors accepting cash or check as payment at the new market.
“There’s some overlapping community, but by and large the customer bases are separate,” Pierson said, stressing that increasing the number of markets open will only add variety to the neighborhood by virtue of the different times of day and different days of the week they are open.
In his experience, customers travel very short distances to get to the nearest market, often less than a quarter of a mile.Comments powered by Disqus
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