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On The Highway: Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Farmers’ Markets — Rittenhouse Square

This is the second in a collection about Philadelphia’s neighborhood farmers’ markets.
For the previous 5 years — since I moved into Christina’s condominium and we married, Rittenhouse Sq. has been my backyard.

Stone Island Spring Men Collar Sweater In Black SaleGiven our file-breaking sizzling summer season, it is difficult to fathom that I took this photograph this past February. The snowfall — the second highest in Philadelphia’s recorded historical past created an city winter wonderland. It was a magical day.

Rittenhouse Sq. full of mates, neighbors and practically 25 fastidiously crafted snow folks in numerous levels of costume. A tremendous snow tableau featured a sitting canine watching television full with twig antenna.

Christina’s the one on the proper. By late afternoon, as we sat sipping champagne at a window desk at Parc, the 28.5 inches of snow lingered only as flurries.

The Four Seasons of Rittenhouse Square
Winter’s snow gives method to Spring’s daffodils. Magnolia blossoms fill the square with pink for several days after which litter the bottom as they yield to magnolia’s broad green leaves. Soon, the bushes — barren since fall — are crammed with green. It always seems as though this happens nearly overnight. One day, no leaves and the following, leaves all over the place. Rittenhouse Square helps us metropolis dwellers keep monitor of the seasons.

Spring marks the return of the Farmers’ Market and the rainbow of zinnias bought by the dozen by the Amish farmer.

Bushes provide shelter to bench-dwellers from summer’s sun while extensive expanses of lawn welcome sun worshipers. By late October the leaves begin to fall as peaches yield to apples. Annually, as Christmas approaches, a whole lot of lighted balls twinkle in now leafless bushes. Though some farmers make it into the late fall and early winter, by the 12 months’s turn almost all farmers have gone. For every little thing there is a season and the Sq. bears witness.

A really Temporary History of Rittenhouse Square
Rittenhouse Square was considered one of five squares designated by William Penn in 1682 as open public spaces — part of Penn’s “inexperienced nation city.” It was often known as Southwest Sq.. The opposite squares, Southeast, Northeast, Northwest and Heart are at the moment respectively, Washington, Franklin, Logan and City Hall. There was little in it’s early history to counsel that at this time our Rittenhouse Sq. would rank #6 on an inventory of Greatest Squares and Plazas on the earth by Projects for Public Spaces. (The #1 Plaza is the Piazza del Campo in Sienna followed by Piazza San Marco in Venice.) In its early years, livestock grazed and it was a dumping floor for “night time soil.” Its clay-like soil was higher fitted to kilns and than crops. Consequently, a lot of Philadelphia’s colonial brick was made at our Southwest Square.

It wasn’t until 1825 that the square’s name was changed to Rittenhouse, in honor of astronomer and Revolutionary patriot David Rittenhouse. In 1840, as Philadelphia moved westward from the Delaware River, the primary “aristocratic” house was constructed at 1811 Walnut Avenue by James Harper. The house of his daughter adopted at 1821 Walnut Street. By the late 1800’s Rittenhouse Square was dwelling to Philadelphia’s Victorian-era aristocrats.

Because the early 19th century, native residents have performed an necessary function within the sq.’s upkeep and beautification. In 1913, the Rittenhouse Sq. Enchancment Affiliation commissioned Beaux-Arts educated French-American architect Paul Philippe Cret to design what we know at this time as the fashionable Rittenhouse Sq.. The Affiliation took care of the sq. till 1976 when accountability was assumed by the Fairmount Park Fee. At present, the park is maintained by the city of Philadelphia along with Buddies of Rittenhouse Sq..

The Life of Rittenhouse Sq.
The success of Rittenhouse Sq. as an excellent public house is the results of a collection of things.

Right here is Jane Jacobs’ take from The Loss of life and Life of Nice American Cities: “Rittenhouse Square, the success, possesses a various rim and numerous neighborhood hinterland.” She goes on to explain the numerous uses of buildings that surrounded the sq. in 1961 when the guide was written. She continues, “Instantly past the rim, within the streets main off at proper angles and in the following streets parallel to the park sides, is an abundance of shops and services of all sorts with old houses or newer apartments above, mingled with a wide range of places of work.”

From 1977 to 1995, The Commissary, my second restaurant, operated almost in the shadow of the square’s towering bushes. Nearly all of my restaurants were within a five-minute walk of the square. Jacob’s concludes: “This mixture of uses of buildings immediately produces for the park a mixture of customers who will stone island reddit enter and depart the park at completely different instances. They use the park at completely different instances from one another because their daily schedules differ. The park possesses an intricate sequence of uses and users.”

The sq. is specified by a fancy set of intersecting connective pathways varying in width and shape — straight and arcs, circles and diagonals. No path runs purely parallel to the bordering streets.

The square’s central artery connects 18th & Walnut to the southwest corner of the square. But even this central artery isn’t a raceway. It includes a collection of “dividers” that break up the pathway — giant central planted flower beds, sculptures, and a “gazebo” on a central open plaza. The edges of the pathways are outlined by adjustments in material — the paths are composed of sturdy pavers — grass and soil, balustrades and flower beds define both arduous and comfortable edges.

In case you are strolling by means of the sq. from the southeast nook, close to The Barclay, to the northwest nook adjoining to the Trinity Church, there are a set of steps to climb from avenue level to the elevated central plaza.

But no such steps exist on the alternative side or on the 18th & Walnut diagonal. The paths rise to the elevated plaza degree ever so gently that you’re unaware that you’re shifting on an incline.

And although the pathways have a symmetry, the square itself does not. The east aspect of the central plaza has a reflecting pool while the west side has a large densely planted flower bed. The dimensions of the pool and flower mattress are the identical, however their impact shouldn’t be. This serves to asymmetrically focus the folks vitality of the central plaza on to the realm of the central plaza defined by the balustrades– balustrades which are favored seating areas for younger folks — and around the reflecting pool relatively than the planted space.

There may be a big informal planted mattress on the southwest nook that has no equal and reverse on the northeast nook. This subtle mixture of bodily order and serendipity — not one thing you are really aware of day-to-day, offers the Rittenhouse Sq. an curiosity and power not often matched in city areas.

The central plaza and with huge entry at 18th & Walnut are the 2 main “leisure” venues.
Sculptures abound across the square, however should not imposing by their presence…besides maybe for the lions that sit in one of many least inhabited areas of the sq.. After all, the pleasant stone frog is one on my favorites.

The partitions of the sq. are the encircling excessive-rises, sitting in an orderly method till The Rittenhouse Lodge and Condominiums altered that sample. As high-rises proceed to substitute decrease density buildings, the sq. has a extra closed in really feel than when there we fewer tall buildings.

Scores of benches line the trail that circles the square and lines the central pathway. Each bench has a small plaque — a memorial to one person or one other who beloved the sq.. A neighbor within the constructing through which I reside re-counted scattering the ashes of her late husband in and across the azaleas close to 19th Avenue. Some day Izzy and my mother could find an analogous last resting place. Many bushes have been planted as memorials on the sq.’s perimeter — this one planted a number of years in the past by his household in reminiscence of a expensive pal of mine.

Walking house final evening from Barnes & Noble, the sq. was full of the sights and sounds of youthful power — music, bicycles, backpacks, shut-cropped and shaggy hair, tattoos. Some evenings you possibly can hear Curtis college students working towards from Curtis’s home windows that face the square at 18th & Locust.

You do not need to go to Curtis to play the flute or violin or guitar or drum on Rittenhouse Square.
Regardless of it’s fancy deal with, it is a really democratic place. The sq. belongs to all.

Early mornings, canine walkers meander the grassy areas whereas older walkers briskly circle the sq.’s perimeter. Subsequent, waves of employees scurry by means of whereas the workless, each keen and unwilling, get pleasure from coffee and the morning newspaper on a bench. Later within the morning, weather allowing, mothers, principally, and pre-schoolers, collect on and across the stone bench that faces the goat on the southwest facet of the sq.. (Once more, there isn’t any equal and reverse on the opposite facet of the sq..) Lunch is a hop-scotch of lunching bench sitters — together with the FedEx guys who park their truck on the south facet in front of the ethical Society, and seniors watching the world go by.

Bocce ball compete with frisbies. Urban fathers train younger sons and daughters the best way to catch and throw a baseball. Impromptu soccer and touch football games come and go. That snowy February afternoon included a veritable snowball war by maybe fifty snow ball fighters.

On the 18th and Walnut nook, the wall is shared by the chess gamers and bicycle messengers. You probably have a petition to get signed, that is the nook to do it.

As day moves into night, the trail of office staff is reversed as workers head home — or to neighborhood restaurants — or to satisfy a good friend on a bench for a “picnic dinner.”

In a single day the sq. is house to some homeless, although the addition of a middle arm relaxation on some benches has served to restrict the place you can lie down.

Warm sunny days differ from cold wet days and weekends are totally different from weekdays. On weekends, there’s much less speeding by way of the sq. and extra strolling and lingering.

Sunday mornings within the spring or fall are my favorite times. The square is its quietest on Sunday mornings, and you can get nearly any bench you need whilst you sip your coffee and eat your scone from neighboring Metropolitan Bakery and read the Sunday New York Times. The peak the square’s activity are those clear blue sky, not too sizzling, not too chilly sunny Sunday afternoons the place practically each inch of grass is stuffed with blankets and there’s a look forward to a good bench.

Count yourself gloriously fortunate if you live or work on or near Rittenhouse Sq..
The Rittenhouse Sq. Farmers’ Market
And so Rittenhouse Sq. has a rhythm of the seasons and the times. That is the backdrop to Saturday’s Rittenhouse Sq. Farmers’ Market stone island reddit which each borrows from and adds to the energy of the square. There is an abbreviated market on Tuesdays with shorter hours. The Farmers’ Market both benefits from and contributes to that rhythm and the success of the sq..

The Rittenhouse Sq. Farmers’ Market is sponsored and managed by Farm to Metropolis, one in all two precept organizers of Philadelphia’s neighborhood farmers’ markets. The market runs along Walnut Street adjacent to the square. Nineteenth Street is generally an end point. This yr, as more stalls have been added — there are about 25 — the market wraps around on to 18th Road. Saturday hours are 9:30 AM to 3 PM, though on busy days by 3 PM pickens’ are slim. Tuesday’s it runs from 10 AM to 1 PM.

At the top of the market at 19th Street is a large and comprehensive stand run by Rineer Family Farms of Lancaster. They also supply grass fed meat and poultry.

The Rittenhouse Square Farmers’ Market is the market I do know greatest. I store here nearly every Saturday. It is where I look forward to asparagus in the Spring, tomatoes and peaches in the summer and apples in the fall. It helps me know the place I’m in the world. While I worked on At Residence, the Saturday farmers’ market supplied a weekly jolt of seasonal inspiration.

Next door to Rineer is the Fahnestock Fruit Farm, one of two fruit specialty stands. These folks, from Lititz in Lancaster County, specialize in tomatoes, peaches and apples. That is it.

Beechwood Orchards is the opposite fruit stand with a far wider number of fruit and berries as well as some specialty produce on a side table.

Here are Beechwood’s Santa Rosa plums and Doughnut Peaches and Elephant Heart Plums. Don’t you just have a strive a plum named for an elephant’s coronary heart Who even knew that there was an Elephant Coronary heart plum

Within the foreground is one thing I first noticed this yr. They’re variously referred to as husk tomatoes or floor cherries. Under the husk, which you discard, are a little berry-like tomatoey fruit. I’ve tried them just a few occasions and to this point I am not satisfied they’re something however a novelty. But try for your self.

Not many farmers’ markets have a dedicated mushroom grower. Kennett Square, about 45 minutes west of Philadelphia in Chester County is the “Mushroom Capital of the World.”

A latest discovery for me — and one in every of my favourite stands is Cherry Grove Farm. They produce world class cow’s milk cheeses in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Can the city that named Philadelphia Cream Cheese embrace a cheese as advantageous as their Toma Primavera They also supply grass fed beef and lamb and certified Berkshire pork in addition to natural eggs.

In case your desire is goat cheese, we’ve that as well.
You should purchase normal baked items.

Christina has gluten-free tendencies and, thankfully, our market boasts arguably the perfect gluten free baked items within the area from Amaranth.

Whereas I am with regards to baked goods, Market Day Canele divides its Saturday between Rittenhouse Square, Clark Park and Fitler Square and on Sunday, they can be found at Headhouse. Look for them across the nook on 18th Road.

On your tabletop there’s Lilies and Lavender.
My go-to tabletop stand is Triple Tree Flowers — additionally at Clark park — the place I either stick to Zinnias by the dozen or pick my own summer flower mix. If you make your personal bouquet you simply keep selecting, present them what you’ve got received, they give the impression of being and think a bit and tell you a very reasonable price. Check out At Home’s Simplified Flower Arranging, a double web page unfold on pages 28 and 29.

An intriguing stand that appears to get little motion is Otolith sustainable seafood. From their webpage I’ve realized “At Otolith, providing the highest quality seafood and supporting environmental sustainability in the seafood industry are our top priorities.” These are admirable targets that possibly simply want stronger advertising and marketing shopper training on the stand. It’s a part of the larger problem of find out how to shine the spotlight on “proteins” — meat, poultry and Otolith’s fish — when showy vegetables are stars of the present. Maybe taking a cue from supermarkets the place they usually cook and provides out small samples. It is a straightforward way to attract attention and engage potential customers.

Wine is not normal fare at farmers’ markets. However wine certainly is a farmed product. Blue Mountain provides a large number of modestly priced wines from their Lehigh Valley vineyards. Blue Mountain wines are also accessible at Reading Terminal Market.

Just because produce is locally grown doesn’t imply it is natural. However in case you are after certified natural native produce, you will get it at Rittenhouse Square.

My favorite stand at Rittenhouse Square is Z Food Farm from Princeton. While you can buy great zucchini and summer squash at every farm stand, Z Food Farm grows and sells more interesting and distinctive products of top of the range along with the very best specimens of more familiar fare.

The chief farmer is David Zabeck and that is his awfully arduous working mother and dad above. In addition to Rittenhouse Sq. on Saturdays, Z Meals Farm is on the Princeton Farmers’ Market on Sundays. It’s at Z Food Farm that I’ve discovered shiso leaves and lemon verbena — both nearly unseen at area markets. Their tropea crimson onions have become my commonplace addition to heirloom tomatoes this summer time.

So there you’ve gotten my neighborhood and its farmers’ market. It’s a very well constructed market offering a vast expanse of what any cook would be proud to serve to friends and family. If you reside in the neighborhood and do not store at our local farmers’ market, you are lacking an addition to your Saturday routine that could enrich your life and table. If you are not from here, I hope that you go to Rittenhouse Sq. with a brand new appreciation of simply how special it is. And i suggest you visit on a Saturday…when our Farmers’ Market is open.

What’s Next
There is much in store as we move to late summer into fall and the strategy of the vacation entertaining season. Rosh Hashana is next Thursday.

Search for a post this week to introduce you to Shishito Peppers.
Next week: Headhouse Square Farmers’ Market. In case you have never visited the Headhouse’s Sunday Farmers’ Market you’re missing a world-class food shopping expertise. Come together with me on a weblog submit visit.

Developing: Look for an upcoming On the Highway publish about New York’s Hudson Valley and the resulting On the Table, my brother-in-laws birthday dinner.

My Hudson Valley sojourn included a long visit to Guy Jones’ legendary Blooming Hills Farm (above). Search for a post about that go to and my five course vegetarian dinner at the farm. For years Blooming Hill has sponsored these dinners by visiting chefs. The visiting chef was David Gould from Brooklyn’s Romans restaurant. Also, a recipe publish of my interpretation of the squash soup served at that dinner — a culinary spotlight of a summer’s consuming.

Also on the docket as part of the neighborhood farmers’ market sequence is the Greensgrow Farmers’ Market in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood.

I leave at the moment from Long Island’s South Fork and my annual birthday dinner for my brother and family. Posts will observe. Stone Search for extra recipes too.

If you don’t already subscribe and don’t want to miss any of these posts, I suggest you subscribe at the moment. You too can “give” a reward subscription to the blog to a friend by simply suggesting they subscribe. It’s free! You can even subscribe at where you can even study my guide and companion webpage, At Residence by Steve Poses: A Caterer’s Information to Cooking & Entertaining.

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