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Philly Farm & Food Fest 2017

March 15, 2017
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philly farm and food fest

Locavores, Get to Philly Farm and Food Fest on April 8 to Eat Local All Year

You might already know which vegetable CSA you’ll sign up for this year, and of course we’re all counting down to the first farmers’ markets of 2017. But when it comes to eating peak-of-the-season local foods all year long, your choices go way beyond produce. There are seasonal rhythms to cheesemaking, meat production, grain harvesting and beverage fermenting, too.

If you’re in tune to these patterns of the season and get to know your local makers, you can eat even more local foods at their prime. This year’s Philly Farm and Food Fest, hosted by Fair Food and Kitchen Table Consultants, is the perfect opportunity to learn straight from the sources; more than a hundred growers, artisans and makers will be there to talk directly with you, the eager local eater. We talked with a few of them to give you a head start before the event, but seek these purveyors out at the fest to learn more.

Buy Tickets Here


Keep your eye on a local cheese case (like the one at Farm Food Farmstand), and you’ll notice certain patterns. For example, it’s hard to find chèvre or ricotta in the winter. Small-scale farmstead cheesemakers depend on the natural lactation cycles of their animals, which means that the quantity and quality of milk changes throughout the year.

Catherine and Al Renzi’s goats at Yellow Springs Farm in Chester Springs are bred naturally, meaning they have their kids in March. “Goats will provide milk for about 250 days after they give birth,” Catherine says. “There’s very little milk in January and February.” For that reason, Yellow Springs’ fresh cheeses— chèvre, feta and “goat-za-rella”—are only available May through October, when the milk is flowing heavily. It’s also when goats graze on fresh pasture and forage, which lends a floral, grassy flavor to the milk—that’s why Catherine says her ripened cheeses, Black Diamond and Cloud Nine, are best in the spring.

Deeply savory, aged cheeses get us through the low-milk months, like Yellow Springs’ award-winning Nutcracker. Aged in walnut liqueur that the Renzis make each year from the fruit of their native trees, it’s released each November.

To learn about the peak seasons of more local cheeses, talk to these vendors at the fest:

Yellow Springs Farm
1165 Yellow Springs Road, Chester Springs

Cherry Grove Farm
3200 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, NJ

Dutch Meadows Organic Dairy
694 Country Ln., Paradise


Yes, grains are a storage crop we’re used to getting year-round—that’s the whole point. But, unlike commercially processed flour that can sit in the pantry for years, freshly milled flours do have a shelf life. “The difference in what we do and industrial flour [production] is we mill to order,” says Mark Fischer, co-owner of Castle Valley Mill in Doylestown.

When Northeastern farmers harvest their wheat and rye (midsummer) and dry corn (fall), the mills buys the entire crop and stores it in thousand-bushel grain bins. “Grain is actually a living product,” Fischer says. “It stays in seed form until we get the orders and then we mill it fresh.” Their flour still contains all the natural components (bran, germ, and endosperm), which give it robust flavor and nutrition—and a shorter shelf life.

Freshly milled flour will keep in the fridge for about six months, but the fresher the better, Fischer says. “We encourage people to use it quickly and order more.”

Talk to these makers and bakers about local grains:

Castle Valley Mill
1730 Lower State Road., Doylestown

Green Meadow Farm
1030 Mt. Vernon Rd., Gap

High Street on Market
308 Market St., Philadelphia


You can easily buy high-quality local meat year-round— just be flexible about which cuts you cook with. Small-scale butchers often work with whole animals, so don’t expect a high volume of certain cuts—like flank steaks, for example (there are just two per beef cow). Butchers like Nick Macri at La Divisa Meats know that customers have seasonal cravings for distinct cuts—chops and steaks for grilling in the summer, roasts in the winter—so he gets creative. “In the summertime we slice lamb’s neck—a typical braising cut—really thin and marinate it in a Korean barbecue sauce, so it’s grill-able,” he says.

Though La Divisa works with whole animals from local farmers year round, certain meats do have a brief window of availability, like the veal that Macri occasionally gets from Birchrun Hills Farm. Birchrun’s calves are raised on their mother’s milk and pasture, resulting in what’s referred to as “rose veal.” “It’s still young and very tender,” Macri says, “but you can tell there was blood flow and oxygen because it has this brighter color.” The prized veal is generally available in the late fall.

Learn more tips for finding the best local meats in season from these vendors:

La Divisa Meats
51 N. 12th St., Philadelphia
(inside Reading Terminal)

Lancaster Farm Fresh

Birchrun Hills Farm
2573 Horseshoe Trail, Chester Springs


Contrary to what you might think, many small brewers aren’t making their craft beers and ciders year round. They’re doing it only when the ingredients are in peak season, to make the best tasting beverages. Though they’re bottled to keep, some are just better fresh.

Take Ploughman’s Cider, which Three Springs Fruit Farm introduced last December. “We really want our product to appeal to discerning craft-beverage appreciators,” owner Ben Wenk says. “The best way for us to do that is to squeeze the best apples we can grow on Three Springs Fruit Farm when they’re at their optimal best.” The apples are pressed in late fall and early winter, fermented for four to six weeks and then left to mature for up to six months—which means that the best cider is actually available in the spring.

“Cider is best enjoyed fresh,” Wenk says. Ploughman freezes some of the fresh-pressed fall juice and makes a batch in the early summer, so we can still get our hands on fresh cider in the fall and into the holiday season. Talk to these vendors to learn about more seasonal drinks.

Oma Teas

Ploughman Cider
1606 Bendersville-Wenksville Road, Aspers
(by appointment only)

Stark Juice
9957 Kunkels Mill Road, Kempton


Of course, fresh produce from our vegetable farmers is the cornerstone of local eating. If you’re strategic, you won’t have to forgo midwinter cravings for fresh flavors. Sign up for a winter CSA or shop at the Fair Food Farmstand, which stocks storage crops like winter squash, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, beets and apples all year. And of course—we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—freeze, can, pickle and ferment! If you don’t have time to stand over big pots of tomato sauce or blueberry jam in the height of the summer, support local makers (like Brine Street Picklery, Spruce Hill Preserves and Food and Ferments) who make it their mission to preserve the best of the season.



Over 150 of the region’s best farmers, chefs and food and beverage artisans. All together in one place, for one day. Don’t miss this outstanding opportunity to celebrate and shop the flavors of our foodshed. Visit phillyfarmfest.org for tickets, an updated vendor list, and more information.

2nd Story Brewing Co


Amaranth Gluten Free Bakery

Anna Lee Herbs

Baba’s Brew

Baby Wordplay

Baldor Specialty Foods

Bennett Compost

Bent Limb Farm

Better World Spirits

Bill’s Best Organic BBQ Sauces

Birchrun Hills Farm
& Collective Creamery

Bluebird Distilling

Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse

Breakaway Farms & Butchery

Brine Street Picklery

Burnt Cabins Grist Mill

Cabot Creamery Co-operative

Caputo Brothers Creamery

Castle Valley Mill

Chaikhana Chai

Cherry Grove Farm

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Cider Culture & Town Dish

Columbia County
Bread & Granola

The Common Market

Cotton Cattle Company

Cranberry Creek Farm

Crisp & Co.

Delaware Valley University

Dock Street Brewery

Double Eagle Malt

Dutch Meadows

Eden’s Natural Garden

Edible Philly / Edible Jersey

Eight Oaks Craft Distillers

Ephrata National Bank

Epic Pickles

Equal Exchange

The Family Cow

The Farm at Doe Run

FireFly Farms

First Field

Frecon’s Cidery

Friends of Farmworkers

Fulper Family Farmstead

Gemelli Artisanal

Gelato & Dessert Cafe


Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy

Grateful Plate



Green Mountain Energy

Greensgrow Farms

Grid Magazine


Happy Cat Farm

Hazel and Ash Organics

Hidden Hills Dairy

High Point Philly


Honeypie Cooking

Hungry Education

Inspire Energy

Inspired Brews

Jacob’s Raw Fermented Foods

Keswick Creamery
at Carrock Farm

Kurant Cider

Lancaster East Side Market

Lancaster Farm Fresh

Lil’ Pop Shop

Little Lost Creek Alpaca Farm


MaKen Studios

Manatawny Still Works

Masey & Leigh Spirited Syrups

The Merchants Fund

Merion Park Cheese Company

Misty Creek Goat Dairy

MOM’s Organic Market


Monteagua Coffee

Mother Earth Organic


Newkirk Honey

Nuts About Granola

Nutty Novelties

Oasis at Bird-in-Hand

Oma Herbal Teas

PA Chapter of Sierra Club

PA Preferred

Penn State Extension

Philadelphia Master


Pennsylvania Association
for Sustainable Agriculture

Pennsylvania Cheese Guild

Pennsylvania Farm
Vacation Association


Philadelphia Distilling

Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture

Philly Fair Trade Roasters

Philly Foodworks

Philly Homebrew Outlet

Philly PR Girl

Ploughman Cider/Three Springs

Plowshare Farms

Popped Culture Popcorn

Handcrafted Foods

Primal Supply Meats

Primordia Mushroom Farm

Quarry Hill Farm
& The Mainland Inn

ReAnimator Coffee


Roberts Event Group

Robson’s Farm

Rodale Institute

Seven Stars Farm
Organic Yogurt

Shellbark Hollow Farm

Shibumi Farm

Simmer Down Soup Company

Sly Fox Brewing Company

Small Batch Kitchen

Soom Foods


Starr Restaurants

Stone & Key Cellars

Subarashii Kudamono
Asian Pears

Sundry Mornings

Sweet Ladybug Baked Goods


Taproot Farm


Trickling Springs Creamery

Truly Pure and Natural

Twelve Letter Company

University of Delaware
College of Agriculture
& Natural Resources

Valley Milkhouse

Vellum St Soap Company

The Wayfare Baker

Weaver’s Orchard

Weckerly’s Ice Cream

Whole Foods Market

Wild Flour Bakery

The Wild Foodies of Philly

Wild For Salmon

Woodland Jewel Mushrooms

Wyndridge Farm Brewing

Yellow Springs Farm

Article from Edible Philly at http://ediblephilly.ediblecommunities.com/things-do/philly-farm-food-fest-2017
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