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

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

Given our file-breaking scorching summer, it is tough to fathom that I took this photo this past February. The snowfall — the second highest in Philadelphia’s recorded historical past created an urban winter wonderland. It was a magical day.

Rittenhouse Sq. stuffed with pals, neighbors and almost 25 fastidiously crafted snow folks in varied levels of costume. An amazing snow tableau featured a sitting canine watching tv full with twig antenna.

Christina’s the one on the right. 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 Sq.
Winter’s snow provides method to Spring’s daffodils. Magnolia blossoms fill the square with pink for several days and then litter the bottom as they yield to magnolia’s broad green leaves. Soon, the timber — barren since fall — are full of green. It always appears as if this happens virtually in a single day. Sooner or later, no leaves and the next, leaves in every single place. Rittenhouse Sq. helps us metropolis dwellers keep monitor of the seasons.

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

Trees present shelter to bench-dwellers from summer time’s solar whereas extensive expanses of lawn welcome solar worshipers. By late October the leaves start to fall as peaches yield to apples. Every year, as Christmas approaches, tons of of lighted balls twinkle in now leafless timber. Although some farmers make it into the late fall and early winter, by the yr’s flip almost all farmers have gone. For all the things there’s a season and the Sq. bears witness.

A really Transient Historical past of Rittenhouse Square
Rittenhouse Square was one of five squares designated by William Penn in 1682 as open public areas — a part of Penn’s “inexperienced country town.” It was known as Southwest Square. The opposite squares, Southeast, Northeast, Northwest and Heart are at this time respectively, Washington, Franklin, Logan and Metropolis Hall. There was little in it is early historical past to counsel that at the moment our Rittenhouse Square would rank #6 on an inventory of Greatest Squares and Plazas in the world by Tasks for Public Areas. (The #1 Plaza is the Piazza del Campo in Sienna adopted by Piazza San Marco in Venice.) In its early years, livestock grazed and it was a dumping ground for “night soil.” Its clay-like soil was higher fitted to kilns and than crops. In consequence, a lot of Philadelphia’s colonial brick was made at our Southwest Square.

It wasn’t till 1825 that the sq.’s identify was modified to Rittenhouse, in honor of astronomer and Revolutionary patriot David Rittenhouse. In 1840, as Philadelphia moved westward from the Delaware River, the first “aristocratic” residence was built at 1811 Walnut Street by James Harper. The house of his daughter adopted at 1821 Walnut Street. By the late 1800’s Rittenhouse Sq. was residence to Philadelphia’s Victorian-period aristocrats.

For the reason that early nineteenth century, local residents have played an important position within the square’s upkeep and beautification. In 1913, the Rittenhouse Sq. Enchancment Association commissioned Beaux-Arts trained French-American architect Paul Philippe Cret to design what we know at present as the modern Rittenhouse Sq.. The Affiliation took care of the square till 1976 when duty was assumed by the Fairmount Park Fee. At the moment, the park is maintained by town of Philadelphia together with Buddies of Rittenhouse Sq..

The Life of Rittenhouse Sq.
The success of Rittenhouse Sq. as a terrific public space is the result of a sequence of things.

Here is Jane Jacobs’ take from The Loss of life and Life of Nice American Cities: “Rittenhouse Square, the success, possesses a diverse rim and numerous neighborhood hinterland.” She goes on to explain the many makes use of of buildings that surrounded the square in 1961 when the e-book was written. She continues, “Instantly past the rim, in the streets leading off at proper angles and in the following streets parallel to the park sides, is an abundance of shops and companies of all sorts with previous homes or newer apartments above, mingled with quite a lot of offices.”

From 1977 to 1995, The Commissary, my second restaurant, operated stone island shop online italia nearly within the shadow of the sq.’s towering bushes. Practically all of my restaurants were inside a 5-minute stroll of the sq.. Jacob’s concludes: “This mixture of uses of buildings straight produces for the park a mixture of customers who will enter and leave the park at different times. They use the park at different occasions from each other because their every day schedules differ. The park possesses an intricate sequence of uses and customers.”

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

The sq.’s central artery connects 18th & Walnut to the southwest corner of the sq.. However even this central artery just isn’t a raceway. It features a series of “dividers” that break up the pathway — large central planted flower beds, sculptures, and a “gazebo” on a central open plaza. The edges of the pathways are defined by modifications in materials — the paths are composed of sturdy pavers — grass and soil, balustrades and flower beds outline each arduous and comfortable edges.

In case you are strolling by the square from the southeast nook, near The Barclay, to the northwest corner adjoining to the Trinity Church, there are a set of steps to climb from road degree to the elevated central plaza.

However no such steps exist on the opposite side or on the 18th & Walnut diagonal. The paths rise to the elevated plaza degree ever so gently that you are unaware that you are transferring on an incline.

And though the pathways have a symmetry, the square itself doesn’t. The east aspect of the central plaza has a reflecting pool whereas the west side has a big densely planted flower mattress. The dimensions of the pool and flower bed are the identical, but their impact isn’t. This serves to asymmetrically concentrate the folks energy of the central plaza on to the world of the central plaza outlined by the balustrades– balustrades which are favored seating areas for youthful folks — and across the reflecting pool relatively than the planted space.

There is a big informal planted mattress on the southwest corner that has no equal and reverse on the northeast corner. This refined mix of bodily order and serendipity — not one thing you are really aware of day-to-day, gives the Rittenhouse Square an curiosity and power not often matched in city areas.

The central plaza and with wide entry at 18th & Walnut are the 2 main “leisure” venues.
Sculptures abound around the sq.however are usually not imposing by their presence…besides maybe for the lions that sit in one of the least inhabited areas of the square. In fact, the friendly stone frog is one on my favorites.

The partitions of the sq. are the encompassing high-rises, sitting in an orderly manner till The Rittenhouse Hotel and Condominiums altered that pattern. As excessive-rises proceed to exchange decrease density buildings, the sq. has a more closed in really feel than when there we fewer tall buildings.

Scores of benches line the trail that circles the sq. and traces the central pathway. Every bench has a small plaque — a memorial to one individual or another who loved the square. A neighbor within the building by which I dwell re-counted scattering the ashes of her late husband in and around the azaleas near nineteenth Road. Some day Izzy and my mom could find the same last resting place. Many trees have been planted as memorials on the sq.’s perimeter — this one planted a couple of years ago by his household in memory of a expensive friend of mine.

Strolling house final night from Barnes & Noble, the sq. was stuffed with the sights and sounds of youthful vitality — music, bicycles, backpacks, shut-cropped and shaggy hair, tattoos. Some evenings you’ll be able to hear Curtis college students practicing from Curtis’s home windows that face the sq. at 18th & Locust.

You do not should go to Curtis to play the flute or violin or guitar or drum on Rittenhouse Square.
Despite it is fancy handle, it is a very democratic place. The sq. belongs to all.

Early mornings, canine walkers meander the grassy areas while older walkers briskly circle the sq.’s perimeter. Subsequent, waves of employees scurry via whereas the workless, each prepared and unwilling, enjoy coffee and the morning newspaper on a bench. Later within the morning, weather allowing, mothers, principally, and pre-schoolers, collect on and around the stone bench that faces the goat on the southwest aspect of the sq.. (Once more, there is no such thing as a equal and reverse on the opposite aspect of the square.) Lunch is a hop-scotch of lunching bench sitters — together with the FedEx guys who park their truck on the south facet in entrance of the moral Society, and seniors watching the world go by.

Bocce ball compete with frisbies. City fathers train younger sons and daughters tips on how to catch and throw a baseball. Impromptu soccer and contact soccer games come and go. That snowy February afternoon included a veritable snowball conflict by perhaps fifty snow ball fighters.

At the 18th and Walnut nook, the wall is shared by the chess players and bicycle messengers. If in case you have a petition to get signed, this is the nook to do it.

As day strikes into night, the path of office staff is reversed as employees head house — or to neighborhood restaurants — or to fulfill a good friend on a bench for a “picnic dinner.”

In a single day the sq. is residence to some homeless, though the addition of a middle arm relaxation on some benches has served to limit the place you may lie down.

Heat sunny days differ from cold wet days and weekends are different from weekdays. On weekends, there is less speeding by means of the square and more strolling and lingering.

Sunday mornings within the spring or fall are my favourite times. The square is its quietest on Sunday mornings, and you may get almost any bench you want while you sip your espresso and eat your scone from neighboring Metropolitan Bakery and read the Sunday New York Occasions. The peak the square’s activity are those clear blue sky, not too scorching, not too chilly sunny Sunday afternoons where practically each inch of grass is stuffed with blankets and there is a watch for a great bench.

Rely your self gloriously lucky if you live or work on or near Rittenhouse Sq..
The Rittenhouse Sq. Farmers’ Market
And so Rittenhouse Square has a rhythm of the seasons and the times. That is the backdrop to Saturday’s Rittenhouse Square Farmers’ Market which each borrows from and provides to the power of the sq.. 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 every of two principle organizers of Philadelphia’s neighborhood farmers’ markets. The market runs alongside Walnut Road adjoining to the sq.. Nineteenth Avenue is generally an end level. This 12 months, as extra stalls have been added — there are about 25 — the market wraps round on to 18th Avenue. Saturday hours are 9:30 AM to 3 PM, though on busy days by three PM pickens’ are slim. Tuesday’s it runs from 10 AM to 1 PM.

At the top of the market at nineteenth Road is a big and complete stand run by Rineer Family Farms of Lancaster. In addition they provide grass fed meat and poultry.

The Rittenhouse Sq. Farmers’ Market is the market I do know finest. I shop here nearly each Saturday. It’s the place I look ahead to asparagus within the Spring, tomatoes and peaches within the summer season and apples in the fall. It helps me know the place I’m on the planet. While I worked on At Home, the Saturday farmers’ market supplied a weekly jolt of seasonal inspiration.

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

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

Listed below 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 something I first saw this year. They’re variously referred to as husk tomatoes or floor cherries. Under the husk, which you discard, are slightly berry-like tomatoey fruit. I have tried them just a few instances and so far I am not satisfied they are anything but a novelty. But try for your self.

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

A recent discovery for me — and certainly one 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 effective as their Toma Primavera They also offer grass fed beef and lamb and certified Berkshire pork as well as natural eggs.

In case your desire is goat cheese, we have now that as properly.
You should buy normal baked items.

Christina has gluten-free tendencies and, thankfully, our market boasts arguably one of the best gluten free baked goods within the region from Amaranth.

Whereas I’m with reference to baked goods, Market Day Canele divides its Saturday between Rittenhouse Square, Clark Park and Fitler Sq. and on Sunday, they are often found at Headhouse. Look for them around the corner on 18th Road.

For your tabletop there’s Lilies and Lavender.
My go-to tabletop stand is Triple Tree Flowers — also at Clark park — where I both follow Zinnias by the dozen or pick my own summer time flower combine. If you happen to make your personal bouquet you simply keep picking, present them what you’ve got obtained, they appear and suppose a bit and tell you a very reasonable price. Try At Dwelling’s Simplified Flower Arranging, a double page unfold on pages 28 and 29.

An intriguing stand that seems to get little motion is Otolith sustainable seafood. From their web site I’ve discovered “At Otolith, offering the very best quality seafood and supporting environmental sustainability in the seafood trade are our high priorities.” These are admirable targets that possibly simply need stronger advertising shopper training at the stand. It’s part of the bigger problem of methods to shine the highlight on “proteins” — meat, poultry and Otolith’s fish — when showy vegetables are stars of the show. Maybe taking a cue from supermarkets the place they often cook and provides out small samples. It’s a simple approach to draw attention and engage potential customers.

Wine isn’t normal fare at farmers’ markets. But wine absolutely is a farmed product. Blue Mountain offers a wide collection of modestly priced wines from their Lehigh Valley vineyards. Blue Mountain wines are additionally available at Reading Terminal Market.

Just because produce is domestically grown does not imply it is organic. However if you are after certified organic native produce, you may get it at Rittenhouse Square.

My favourite stand at Rittenhouse Sq. is Z Food Farm from Princeton. While you can buy nice zucchini and summer season squash at every farm stand, Z Food Farm grows and sells extra attention-grabbing and distinctive products of top quality together with one of the best specimens of more acquainted fare.

The chief farmer is David Zabeck and that is his awfully laborious working mother and dad above. In addition to Rittenhouse Square on Saturdays, Z Food Farm is at the Princeton Farmers’ Market on Sundays. It is at Z Food Farm that I’ve found shiso leaves and lemon verbena — both practically unseen at area markets. Their tropea red onions have become my customary addition to heirloom tomatoes this summer time.

So there you might have my neighborhood and its farmers’ market. It is a really well constructed market offering an enormous expanse of what any cook would be proud to serve to associates and family. If stone island shop online italia you reside in the neighborhood and do not shop at our local farmers’ market, you’re lacking an addition to your Saturday routine that could enrich your life and table. If you aren’t from here, I hope that you go to Rittenhouse Sq. with a brand new appreciation of simply how special it’s. And that i recommend you visit on a Saturday…when our Farmers’ Market is open.

What’s Subsequent
There is way in store as we transfer to late summer into fall and the strategy of the holiday entertaining season. Rosh Hashana is subsequent Thursday.

Search for a put up this week to introduce you to Shishito Peppers.
Subsequent week: Headhouse Square Farmers’ Market. If you have by no means visited the Headhouse’s Sunday Farmers’ Market you are missing a world-class food buying experience. Come together with me on a weblog put up go to.

Coming up: Search for an upcoming On the Street post about New York’s Hudson Valley and the ensuing On the Desk, my brother-in-legal guidelines birthday dinner.

My Hudson Valley sojourn included an extended go to to Guy Jones’ legendary Blooming Hills Farm (above). Look for a put up 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. Additionally, a recipe put up of my interpretation of the squash soup served at that dinner — a culinary highlight of a summer season’s eating.

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

I depart today from Long Island’s South Fork and my annual birthday dinner for my brother and family. Posts will comply with. Look for more recipes too.

If you don’t already subscribe and don’t desire to miss any of these posts, I suggest you subscribe today. You may also “give” a reward subscription to the blog to a friend by merely suggesting they subscribe. It is free! It’s also possible to subscribe at athomebysteveposes.com where you can also learn about my e book and companion website, At Dwelling by Steve Poses: A Caterer’s Guide to Cooking & Entertaining.