From leafy greens to exotic cheeses, handmade dining utensils to freshly baked bread, High Street on Market and Plowshare Farms’ new partnership offers a more economic way to purchase the countryside’s goodies.
Restaurant High Street, located on 3rd and Market Street, has been purchasing fresh vegetables from local farmers since 1997. Recently, Eli Kulp, head chef and co-owner of the restaurants, wanted to collaborate with local farmers to create a new kind of partnership between dining establishments and the region’s farms.
As a result, Fork and High Street have joined with Plowshare Farms, owned by Jack Goldenberg and Teddy Moynihan, to host a weekly farmer’s market every Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The market will include fresh vegetables and fruits from Plowshare Farms and vendors displaying cheese, bread, ceramics and more.
“We started thinking of doing a farmer’s market, and chef Eli Kulp told me he was thinking of the same idea,” Goldenberg said. “So, I said, ‘Ok, great. You have this idea, I have this idea. Let’s do it.’”
Co-owner of Fork and High Street, Ellen Yin, said their purpose is to “recreate and re-imagine a partnership to create better products, promote local agriculture, and create a more sustainable economy.”
The farmer’s market kicked off its first of the weekly markets on Saturday, June 13. It included assorted cheeses from Birchrun Hills Farm, ceramics by Felt + Fat, freshly baked bread from head baker at Fork and High Street, Alex Bois, and a book signing by cheese courtesan Tenaya Darlington, who also curated the list of vendors for Saturday’s market.
“I did a bunch of cheese-related events with [Kulp] last year,” Darlington said. “He told me he wanted to do a farmer’s market with local makers and shakers. I thought it was such a cool idea. Then he asked me if I would curate some local vendors on a rotating basis and so I came here to kick it off.”
Darlington, who also goes by the name “Madame Fromage,” said she moved to Philadelphia from Wisconsin to be a writing teacher at St. Joseph’s University, but the local food and cheese makers convinced her to stay.
Sue Miller, owner of Birchrun Hill Farms located in Chester Springs, PA, agreed.
“We love this city,” Miller said. “We work with Fork, as well as other restaurants in Philadelphia. We started out doing a collaborative event with Madame Fromage, and through that, Kulp created a signature dish called the Red Cat Lasagna on Fork’s menu.”
According to Yin, the farmer’s market is geared more toward helping Plowshare Farm than anything. With their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, consumers are able to receive the same fresh fruits and vegetables as Fork and High Street.
“With the CSA program, consumers can invest in the farm in the beginning of the season,” Moynihan said. “Every week, the consumer will get a share of produce that’s fresh that week.”
Moynihan added the farm conducts a seven-week season and the cost is $280. Consumers can pick up their fruits and vegetables every Thursday at High Street.
Kulp, who was injured in the May 12 Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, wanted to move toward complete traceability – meaning that everything served can be traced back to a specific farm, according to Moynihan.
Plowshare Farms conducts sales with other restaurants in the city, as well as Fork and High Street, according to Goldenberg and Moynihan.
“Fork and High Street have been really great about working with us and we feel really great about working with them,” Moynihan said. “They know for sure where all of their stuff is coming from.”
Plowshare Farms and High Street Farms had similar goals for Saturday’s inaugural event. Both parties said they felt they reached their goals and can only wait to see how the rest turn out.
“We just want to thank everyone for coming out,” Moynihan said. “Whether you’re coming to buy one head of lettuce or a week’s worth of produce, just coming to support your local farm is helpful and allows people to make a living.”
Ashley Caldwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.