Whether purchasing produce from Temple’s farmers market or anywhere else in the city, locally grown foods pack more benefits than the obvious.
If you think finding places to buy fresh, locally grown produce in Philadelphia is like entering some kind of citywide scavenger hunt, there is some good news – it’s not.
Buying freshly grown grub is, however, better for your health and for the environment than you may realize. Studies have shown that locally grown foods are richer in nutrients because the fruits and vegetables are usually picked when ripened, at the peak of their seasons.
The U.S. system for packaging and transporting goods to the local grocery store chains is highly inefficient. The process for packaging and marketing food can waste valuable energy and resources, and fuel-burning semi-trailer trucks can travel as many as 1,000 miles before reaching their destinations.
To enjoy the eco- and health-friendly goods of a Philadelphia farmers market, you may have to venture off campus. But shopping for produce is one of the best excuses to take a break from university life and get out there.
Right now, though, finding the fresh foods you crave is easier than ever. In fact, you don’t even have to leave Main Campus.
Close to the corner of Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, between Ritter Hall Annex and the skate park, you’ll find Temple’s own farmers market every Thursday from 2-6 p.m.
A partnership between Temple and the Philadelphia Food Trust brought the farmers market to campus, which has been running all summer since mid-June. The small market serves Temple students, along with members of the surrounding community.
The vendors are only scheduled to be here until mid-November, and once they’re gone, be ready to venture off campus and into the city to explore the plethora of farmers markets in the greater Philadelphia area.
Some of the most popular farmers markets can be found at Center City’s Reading Terminal Market, on the corner of 12th and Arch streets. Here, you’ll find more than 80 merchants selling just about anything you can think of, but if it’s fresh produce and homemade goods you’re looking for, check out the Fair Food Farmstand, Kauffman’s Lancaster County Produce, Livengood’s Produce and more.
Or make the trip to South Philly’s Italian Market, on Ninth Street between Catharine and Wharton streets. The Italian Market boasts one of the world’s largest working outdoor markets, selling everything from fresh meat and produce to handmade pasta and homegrown herbs.
And those are just two of the better-known spots for fresh goods in Philly. Check out the many vendors that contribute to the extensive list of farmers markets the city, including places like the University City’s year-round Clark Park farmers market, the Rittenhouse farmers market at 18th and Walnut streets or the Fairmount farmers market, located at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, which runs through October.
Visit thefoodtrust.org for more information on the city’s farmers markets, their times and locations.
Next time you’re sick of eating cafeteria food, put your hard-earned money to good use: Support local farmers, and do your part in preserving the agricultural landscape by helping them keep their farms alive.
Without Philadelphia’s support, finding fresh produce in the city could turn into a scavenger hunt after all.
Laura Fanciullacci can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.