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rlibkind

Reading Terminal Market (Part 2)

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Barb & Suzy’s Kitchen is aiming for an Aug. 26 opening at the Reading Terminal Market, along with its companion butcher shop, S&B Meats. But that didn’t stop Barb & Suzy from trying out an item at today’s Pennsylvania Dutch Festival that doesn’t appear on the menu boards: roast pig sandwiches. In this case it was another name for pulled pork, and the sample offered me was delectable, served in a vinegary clear juice.

As for the menu, breakfast will concentrate on egg sandwiches with or without cheese, bacon, sausage or ham with the usual beverage options. At lunch it will be sausage sandwiches ($6.50 with peppers, onions and sauce, cheese extra) and hot dogs ($1.75, kraut extra).

What looks most promising on the menu is the friture: deep-fried veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, onion, $3.75/$4.75, dip extra), french fries ($2.25/$3.50, cheese extra) and, most promising of all, “Delux Bacon Fries” ($3.50/$4.75). Don’t know exactly what they will be, but I’m assuming they are french fries and bacon served together. Or maybe it’s battered, deep-fried bacon?

On the S&B Meats side, new refrigerated cases are in place. In addition to fresh meats, they plan on handling a line of German cold cuts and cured meats.

Fair Food Advances

The new aggregate floor has been installed at Fair Food’s new location along 12th street. Shelving installation looks like it should begin soon.

Work is just underway at Beck’s Cajun Cafe, but not much visible progress.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Visited the Reading Terminal Market twice this week, Wednesday and today (Saturday). Here’s what I found:

John Yi added wild coho to its salmon selection, oddly priced a bit more expensively than the sockeye ($16.99 vs. $13.99). Copper River (presumably sockeye, since the king [chinook] CRS haul is down to mostly single digits on days when it’s open; lesser number of coho are being fished, in the hundreds, vs. thousands of sockeye) is $19.99. Halibut filets were $13.99.

Over at Golden Fish Market, cooked crawfish were $11.99/pound. At first glance that seems almost reasonable. Unless you visit Ikea where 2 kg boxes (4.4 pounds) of frozen cooked Chinese crawfish (undoubtedly Golden’s is also Chinese) are on sale for $5.99, or $1.36/pound. So, if you’re yearning for a crawfish fest, make your way to Ikea.

L. Halteman Country Store, in addition to dealing in meats and some Pennsylvania Dutch cold cuts, sells produce from Lancaster County, usually less expensively than other market farmstands and vendors, though sometimes Ben Kauffman’s Lancaster County produce wins on the price score. Today I spied yellow transparent apples, $1.59/pound; limas in the pod, $2.49, cherry tomatoes at $2.29/pint, and salad cucumbers at 3/$1. Peaches and nectarines are $2.19/pound ($1.99 if you buy five pounds or more), blueberries $3.19/pint, $5.29/quart. They’ve also got Bartlett-style pears which have just made their appearance at farm stands.

Over at Iovine Brothers Produce, local peaches (Jersey and Maryland) are 99-cents, as are NJ green bell peppers. Red peppers from “away” are $1.99/pound, orange and yellow $2.99, frying $1.49. Jersey tomatoes are 50-cents a pound, plum tomatoes (provenance unknown) are 99-cents.

Iovine’s local corn, from Shady Brook in Bucks County, is the least expensive in the market at three ears for a buck.

Iovine’s fruit selection also included limes, now back to their bargain price of 10/$1, lemons still 3/$1. Red and white seedless grapes, presumably from California, were $1.99/pound. While everyone else is selling local blueberries, Iovine’s has Florida clamshells for $1.50/pint. Also not local, but well-priced, are cantalopes at a buck apiece, though today they also had local lopes (musk melons, actually, like every other local melon called a cantalope) for $1.99 each.

The fig season has started, at least in California. Iovine offered half pints of black figs (containing about 9-11 fruits) and pints of green figs (6-8) for $4.99. (I’ll wait until a neighbor’s tree bears fruit in about three weeks.)

Cactus pears (they make great margaritas) are $1.99 a pound (roughly two fruits), which is about twice the price as OK Lee (two fruits for a buck) which carries them more frequently. OKL also had five-pound boxes of Peruvian clementines for $2.99; I didn’t buy them given how much great local fruit is available, but at that price it might be worth a try.

What we won’t be seeing at the market this year is Mirai corn. Fair Food Farmstand manager Sarah Cain says the lone known grower in the region, Pete’s Produce Farm in Westttown, is no longer selling wholesale, so it’s only available at the farm near West Chester. It’s in season now, and a sweeter, more tender corn than this Japanese hybrid is hard to find.

Still, there’s plenty of good produce to choose from at Fair Food, including corn. FF also has early apples, Ginger Golds at $1.50/pound. Exceedingly ripe apricots were $3.95/pound. Great selection of plums at $2.75/pound, including shiros, Cardinals, Satsuma and Italians. White nectarines $2, yellows $2.75, white or yellow peaches $1.75. Large purple eggplants were $1.70/pound, fairttales $3. Cubanelle peppers $4, red bells $6, jalapenos $5.95, purple bells $4.95, green bells $3.50.

Kauffman’s Lancaster County Produce had the next best price on local corn, after Iovine’s, at 50-cents an ear. Beefsteak tomatoes were $2.99, cherry tomatoes $4.95/pint, twofer $9. Large white and purple eggplants were $1.99, bell peppers in various hues (photo at top) $1.99. Yellow peaches were $1.99, donuts $2.99.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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I got some of those delightful Beechwood Orchard Donut peaches at the Fair Food Farmstand today, saving myself a trip to the Headhouse market in the morning. I think they're way less expensive at RTM as well. $2/lb. vs. $6 for a quart container. Makes me think they're charging more just because they're in Society Hill/Queen Village. :hmmm:

And speaking of donuts, I made the pilgrimage to RTM today specifically to try one of the hallowed donuts at the Pennsylvania Dutch Festival. I'd heard tell of these legendary pastries but hadn't actually ever had one myself. They're everything they're cracked up to be and more. And this is coming from someone that really doesn't usually love donuts.

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A large coffee from Old City Coffee Roasters and a cream filled donut, lovingly prepared and less than ten minutes old. The donut was practically still warm. Fluffy and delicious. OMG. The best snack ever. If all donuts tasted like that I'd love them and never be able to leave my house through the front door again...

I have another donut for breakfast tomorrow, then I will swear them off until the next festival. Once you've had a fresh one, you just can't go back. :wub:


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I got some of those delightful Beechwood Orchard Donut peaches at the Fair Food Farmstand today, saving myself a trip to the Headhouse market in the morning.  I think they're way less expensive at RTM as well.  $2/lb. vs. $6 for a quart container.  Makes me think they're charging more just because they're in Society Hill/Queen Village.

I don't think you're being ripped off, Katie. Weigh a quart of those donuts on a kitchen scale, they'll be over two pounds, I bet. So FF's edge in price isn't quite as much as it seems. Sometimes FF charges a tad less than the original farmer; but since FF has to add a markup, even if it does buy wholesale and is a not-for-profit, they usually price about what you'd pay at the farmers' market. That said, Dave at Beechwood does sometimes have a loosey-goosey approach to pricing; when I asked him how much the melons were Tuesday at South & Passyunk, the answer was basically, $1, $4, depends on the size, melon and how he felt at that moment.

And speaking of donuts, I made the pilgrimage to RTM today specifically to try one of the hallowed donuts at the Pennsylvania Dutch Festival.  I'd heard tell of these legendary pastries but hadn't actually ever had one myself.  They're everything they're cracked up to be and more.  And this is coming from someone that really doesn't usually love donuts.

De gustibus non est disputandum. I actually avoided these things yesterday. Every year I try them, and every year I'm disappointed. But I might be in the minority. I know Bluehensfan and family loves them (at least the pink frosted ones regularly available at Beiler's Bakery, which is the Pennsylvania Dutch vendor that does the donuts for the festival).

The main problem I have is that they don't come close to the donuts of my childhood (what does?). Of course, no donut I've tasted since then does. That's because they were fried in lard. Dark, crispy exterior, hot, cakey interior. You simply can't find donuts like that today. It's a shame, and I have always hoped that someone from Lancaster or Berks County would offer lard-fried donuts; after all, they do it for potato chips!


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Bob:

You might be right, but when I buy a pint of the donut peaches there's only about 5 or 6 in there. Seems I got as many or a few more for less at RTM. But I could be wrong. Wouldn't be the first time. :rolleyes:

On the donut front, obviously I'd never had a fresh donut before (fresh bagels, all the time) and didn't know what to expect. Whatever it was fried in, it was damned good. The interior was spongey and fluffy and the same time, and the cream filling was just delicious. Am about to have the others as a mid-afternoon snack. Will report back if they kept for a day or not.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Not quite as transcendant the second day, but still a damned fine donut. The glazed held up better than the cinnamon-sugar coated one. Perhaps the glaze helps retain the moistness? Turns out my cat Turbo likes donuts too. :wacko:


Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Not quite as transcendant the second day, but still a damned fine donut.  The glazed held up better than the cinnamon-sugar coated one.  Perhaps the glaze helps retain the moistness?  Turns out my cat Turbo likes donuts too.  :wacko:

No donut is any good the next day. Nor should it be. Donuts are meant to be eaten fresh. Those wonderful donuts of my childhood would pass the heavenly stage by an hour later! You had to get them hot out of the fryer, cooled just enough to enable handling without burns.

It probably helped that the donuts were sold out of a war surplus bus, painted beige and brown, driven by "the donut man" to the same location every day. The fryer was in the back of the bus, and he had two varieties: plain and sugared, the latter simply being showered with confectioner's sugar after coming out of the fryer and cooling just slightly. Oh, and if you were a kid, a dozen was always 13.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Not quite as transcendant the second day, but still a damned fine donut.  The glazed held up better than the cinnamon-sugar coated one.  Perhaps the glaze helps retain the moistness?  Turns out my cat Turbo likes donuts too.  :wacko:

No donut is any good the next day. Nor should it be. Donuts are meant to be eaten fresh. Those wonderful donuts of my childhood would pass the heavenly stage by an hour later! You had to get them hot out of the fryer, cooled just enough to enable handling without burns.

I wish I had you by my side in college; I had a friend who insisted that the donuts in his dorm room were good a week after he bought them. He would buy a dozen every week and go through the box, one a day, two on each weekend days. I was mortified.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Even on the second day, the PA Dutch donuts were far better than commercially packaged donuts, and at least as good if not better than anything but a completely fresh Dunkin' or Krispy Kreme.

I don't think they'd have been any good past today. And a week later? I shudder...


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Katie, It was nice meeting you at Oyster House on Friday. We loved our cocktails and found our shellfish to be top notch. We had a Negroni and a Caesar.

-----

I was able to sample these doughnuts as well on Saturday and had a few observations.

First was the amazing scale and output of the operation. There were about 20 or so folks making, cutting, frying and filling/dusting doughnuts at a break neck pace. This was for a reason. I think they were selling about 50 a minute. It was fun to watch.

We got a mixed dozen. They were very good, but a different kind of doughnut than I am used to. While they were soft as meringue, they were also very heavy weight wise. I noticed that the dough was cut, allowed to rest briefly and then fried. This is a different method than the Krispy Kreme style where a ring of dough is allowed to triple in size before being cooked.

Overall I really liked the flavor of the dough over most doughnuts I have had before. The blueberry were wonderful and more like cake doughnuts. The jelly were like pillows, but the jelly was a little artificial tasting. The vanilla cream was sweet, but good for what it was. Im more of a custard fan.

Lastly, these doughnuts are meant to be eaten within an hour in my opinion. As time passes they get too chewy, and the cinnamon was downright tough hours later. The blueberry and cream filled held up the longest.

I can see why this is such a popular operation, and I dont see why this is not a booth. They would rake in the dough. Ha ha.

O and the fresh peach ice cream at the adjacent space was pretty darn good too.

Nate Conner

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As well as doughnuts I was able to hit the market for lunch a few times.

I had my beloved DeNics roast pork with provolone and raab twice and it never disappoints. I could eat this every other day for the rest of my life. I also really like to put banana peppers on top as well. Savory, sharp, bitter, sour, crusty, juicy. I want one right now.

We had Italian hogies from Salumeria two separate days with everything, house dressing and artichoke hearts. This was a really great sandwich and is the best hogie I have had. What surprised me was the balance, restraint and clean flavors. I was expecting this huge meat stuffed sandwich I could not get my mouth around. What I got was a layer of good provolone, various meats all excellent examples on their own, combined with the clean and flavorful dressing influenced ingredients. O, and the bread was excellent. I would have passed right by this place if I had not read the recommendations. Thanks.

I also had a hot pastrami sandwich from Hershals. This was like nothing I have had before (I have not been to Katz). It was juicy, big and saturated with flavor. If this is sin, send me to hell.

Cookies at the 4th street we excellent if not a bit overpriced. I got a chocolate dipped c-chip and a snicker-doodle.

Cupcakes from the flying monkey were good, but were a bit of a disappointment. The butter creams are all flavored well and are rich and featherlight, but I found the cake to be a bit dry and crumbly. I say this because out of the six we tried all were the same except for a chocolate cake with coconut icing. This one was perfect and if all had been like this one I would say run dont walk.

Termini cannolis were as good as ever.

My kids had crepes and they are a fine example. I will say I dont think the pizza crepe works with the eggy taste and the consistency, but who is going to argue with what a three year old orders.

I love this place and cant wait to go back.

Nate Conner

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A correction to my August 8 post regarding the price of crayfish at Golden at the RTM. It's $4.99/pound, considerably less than the $11.99 I reported (I apparently read the price for an adjacent seafood).

Still, that's still almost four times more than what Ikea charges ($5.99 for 4.4 pounds).


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Two sure signs of the pending seasonal switch could be found at the Reading Terminal Market: pears and celery root.

While we tend to think of pears as a fall fruit, some varieties appear in late summer, including Bartlett and all of its varieties. Iovine Brothers Produce had western Bartletts for 99 cents a pound, and there were also quart boxes of small Bartletts at Kauffman’s Lancaster County Produce.

The celery root, a.k.a. celeriac, could be found at Fair Food. A single one, with stalk and tops (even though it’s the root that’s desireable) were $2.95 apiece. Also attracting my attention at Fair Food were the Poblano peppers, $5/pound; maybe it’s time for some homemade chile relenos.

But let’s remember it’s still summer. Tomatoes, standard field varieties and heirlooms alike, are plentiful and, despite the Northeast fungus scare, prices seem in line with last year. Apricots are just about gone, but blueberries can still be found (at least this week) and we’re awash in plums, nectarines, peaches, blackberries (though these seem to be priced dearly at $4-$8 a pint), and second crop raspberries. Summer squashes are proliferating, as are eggplants. It’s also the height of lima bean season.

I made peach ice cream earlier this past week, but failed to add enough sugar. When I sprinkled a little granulated sugar on top and mixed it in, however, the strong peach flavor jumped out. But the idea of sprinkling sugar on top of ice cream is just a tad weird. So I bought two pints of blackberries from Livengood’s Saturday ($4/pint) and put them through my Foley food mill at home, then sieved them to make sure I got out all those pesky little seeds (which are fine to eat in fresh berries, but awful in sauces), combined the resulting juice with a very ripe peach I put through the same mill, added about a cup of sugar to a pan and briefly cooked it all until the sugar melted and it came just barely to a boil. After cooling and sitting in the fridge for a few hours the syrup was pleasingly thickened. That peach ice cream was even better with this on top! (I use the Cuisinart model with the insert you pre-freeze; it works quite well so long as you’ve got room in your freezer for the insert. It sells for $50 at Fante’s.)

Back at Iovine’s, New Jerey salad cucumbers were four for a buck. Various eggplants, including the common purple and rounder Sicilians, were two pounds for a buck. Jersey tomatoes were 50 cents, New Jersey and Maryland peaches 99 cents, and white and black seedless grapes (presumably from California) were 99 cents. Local corn was still three ears for a buck, but limes had climbed back to four for a buck. Pepper survey: green bells from New Jersey 99 cents, red bells $1.99, orange and yellows $2.99, but frying peppers were down to 79 cents. If you really wanted to splurge, little boxes with pieces of truffle could be found in a refrigerator case for $399.99/pound; most pieces were marked at $20-$25.

Sardines at Golden Fish were $3.99 whole. They were about four inches long apiece.

I went to Jonathan’s Best looking for Maldon salt (they didn’t have it), but was impressed by their selection of products from Bob’s Red Mill, which distributes all types of flours and grains. Saves a trip to Whole Foods next time I need chick pea (a.k.a. garbanzo beans, ceci) flour.

Joe Nicolosi, son of the proprietor of Tommy DiNic’s, reports he fried up some pancetta the other day and added it to a pork sandwich for himself. He loved it, but at $5/pound wholesale they won’t be adding it to the menu in these recessionary times. Sounds like a good idea to try at home, though. BTW, DiNic’s will prepare large meat platters (including gravy) for your office or home party. Be sure to order in advance, though, especially as the holidays approach.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Jack McDavid wants to renovate his Down Home Diner to break out of his walls and become more intimate with the Reading Terminal Market.

RTM GM Paul Steinke says that in lease negotations, McDavid indicated he wants to tear down the walls that separate his eatery from the rest of the market. He also will be seeking a liquor license, making the restaurant a more viable option for convention-goers who’d like a drink with their meal but don’t want to deal with a state store. If he gets the license, odds are the Down Home Diner’s hours will be expanded to 8 or 9 p.m., maybe beyond. Right now it stays open until 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday (only until 5 p.m. Sundays). When the market’s closed (6 p.m. weekdays) the diner has its own entrance along Filbert Street.

McDavid took over what had been the Market Diner in the mid-1980s. The original, a freestanding diner that would look at home on a North Jersey highway, stood where Amy’s Place and La Cucina at the Market now do business. After the RTM was renovated with the construction of the convention center, McDavid moved to the current location. In subsequent years McDavid expanded to two other restaurants in town: one at Fairmount and 18th, now closed, another, Jack’s Firehouse, at Fairmount near 22nd. The latter is now owned by Fairmount resident and ex-Twenty Twenty-One manager Mick Houston, though Jack still has a say in the kitchen.

Old City Coffee is nearing completion of the renovation of its second stall, on the Arch Street side of the market across from Blue Mountain Winery and the Pennsylvania General Store. The conversion of the stall from a temporary to a permanet outlet should be finished this week.

There wasn’t much visible progress at Fair Food’s new stall, but Sarah Cain, manager, said carpentry work is progressing off-site and refrigerated cases should start to arrive this week. They’re keeping their fingers crossed for opening the weekend of Sept. 4-5, the weekend before labor day.

No work yet at Beck’s Cajun Cafe, which has got its permits but is still lining up contractors.

S&B Meats and Barb & Suzie’s Kitchen still optimistic they can open by August 26. Can’t wait to try those bacon fries, whatever they are!


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Should be exciting to watch.  One time Jack's negotiatin' style led to him being hauled away in handcuffs.

Some say he's mellowed.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Butcher Joe Rabutino at Martin’s Quality Meats & Sausage works on a blue-ribbon steer. Owner Martin Giunta, a long-time supporter of 4-H clubs in South Jersey, purchased this winner at the Salem County Fair in Woodstown earlier this month. Giunta also made hog purchases from the Gloucester County 4-H fair this year.

I asked Joe and fellow butcher Ben Ambrosini if they could cut me a nice rib steak from the prize steer, but they said Martin had already taken that cut home for his own consumption. When I mentioned that to Charles Giunta of Giunta’s Prime Shop, he said he’d have to call his brother and get invited to dinner.

Martin’s also displayed some very meaty pork belly today — identified as Fresh Pork Bacon, City Dressed — for $2.99, pricier than I’d pay at one of the Asian supermarkets, but considerably meatier. Lamb ribs (breast) were $3.29, leg on the bone $4.59.

Brother Charles had a full range of steaks for the grill today. Porterhouse and Delmonico steaks were $9.95, T-bone, New York strips and skirts $8.95, flat irons $7.99, hangers $6.99, boneless sirloins $4.95. Big hunks of boneless leg of lamb were $6,99.

If red meat isn’t your thing, you could wander over to John Yi’s where Spanish mackeral was $2.99 whole, bluefish $2.99, sea bass $5.99. Porgies were $3.99; if you called porgies by the name of their European cousins, bream or dorade, they’d be much more expensive. Among the fileted white fish, haddock was $7.99, fluke $11.99, flounder $.8.99, halibut $16.99, cod $9.99.

Tomato Blight Doesn't Bite Consumer

The late tomato blight of 2009 in the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast is real, but it does not appear to have impacted availability and prices, at least so far. Prices for local field tomatoes at the Reading Terminal Market range from 99-cents to $3.00 a pound, in line with last year.

According to the most recent (Aug. 11) report from Penn State, the blight has yet to hit home gardens in Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, York and Adams counties in Southeast Pennsylvania, nor commercial growers in Adams, York, Delaware, Lebanon, and Northampton.

Iovine Brothers Produce, as normal, had the least expensive tomatoes, 99-cents a pound for Jerseys. Fair Food wanted $3 a pound for organically grown field tomatoes, $4.95 for yellows. Red and yellow ield tomatoes at Kauffman’s Lancaster County Produce were $2.59, heirloom cherry tomatoes $4.95 pint; conventional red and orange cherries $2.95 or two for $9. Fair Food’s red and sun gold cherry tomatoes were $5/pint. I used some red cherry tomatoes earlier this week, halved, atop a crustless quiche and as a pasta sauce.

Peaches, nectarines and plums continue to be juicy, tasty and abundant. Fair Food’s Saturn (donut) peaches were $2/pound, both the yellow and green varieties, green in this case meaning their color, not state of ripeness. Yellow and white peaches were $1.75, nectarines $2, plums $2.50, and pluots $2.75. Kauffman’s was selling peaches and nectarines for $1.99. All the stone fruits at L. Halteman’s were $2.19, or $1.99 in five-pound lots. Iovine’s continues to sell Jersey and Maryland peaches for 99 cents and pluots and plums from afar for $1.49. I didn’t see any local stone fruit at OK Lee.

Apples are appearing in greater variety and Bartlett pears are solidly here. Kauffman’s offerd Sanza, Gala and Ginger Golds for $1.95, while Rambos and Ginger Golds at Fair Foods commanded $1.50. Iovine’s had a selection of commercial apples from further afield from 79 to 99-cents a pound. Bartletts were $1.50 at Fair Food, $1.99 at Kauffmans. Pints of blackberries are still available at Kauffman’s for $4.95/pint, two for $9.

The first of the winter squashes are appearing. Fair Foods had beautiful buttercups today for $2/pound. They also had leaks for $1.50 each. Eggplants continue to be plentiful. Iovine’s string beans were 99-cents, while OK Lee charged $1.49 for string beans, $2,89 for favas and $2.69 for crnberry beans.

Back at Iovine’s, limes and lemons were four for a buck, and seedless grapes in all colors 99-cents.

Ark: Fair Food's, Not Noah's

I learned a new definition of the word “ark” recently: a shelf for holding produce. Whether it derives from Noah’s vessel I know not, but I do know that they arrived from the woodshop recently and have been moved onto Fair Food’s new premises at the Reading Terminal Market.

The unfinished wood shelving is but one step before Fair Food can open. Refrigeration units may (or may not) arrive next week, then all the equipment has to be hooked up. Fair Food’s goal is to open before Labor Day weekend, just two weeks from now.

S&B Meats and Barb & Suzy’s Sausage still has next Wednesday, Aug. 26, as its target date for opening.

Work continues at Old City Coffee’s second location, which means I had to get my iced coffee this morning at the main location.

No construction yet at Beck’s Cajun Cafe, but they reportedly have finally got a contractor.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Next time I call the RTM office with a question I'll use an alias. For some reason, after identifying myself, I got major attitude and the bum's rush from whomever answered the phone. Can't imagine why.

Anyhow - I had bacon fries from what I thought was the new S&B Meats. But there was a tweet from the market saying they were from Barb and Suzy's. Couldn't see a sign and it appears to be the same people as run S&B Meats. Then again it's brand new as of today, so I'll credit Barb and Suzy. Nice folk by any name.

BACON FRIES!!! Frozen fries topped with bacon, whiz, scallions and sour cream. Very good sausage, pepper and onion sandwich too though the bun could use a bit more gumption. Nice sausage.

They are batter frying all sorts of vegetables too.

S&B has a wide selection of German sausages though I still miss Sigfried's homemade liverwurst.


Holly Moore

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Barb & Suzy's and S&B Meats are two sides of the same coin. Both are run by the same owners. Barb & Suzy's is the sandwich counter, and S&B the retail butcher. The "Barb & Suzy's" sign is on the side of the store away from Kauffman's.

I've got Illg's liverwurst on my must-try list.

If you desire a mediator, I'm willing to serve. :wink:


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Old City Coffee opened its renovated second stand at the Reading Terminal Market this past week, next to the Arch Street entryway by Blue Mountain and the Pennsylvania General Store. It replaced a temporary stand that’s been there for about a year and a half.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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As noted by Holly and Sandy, the combined S&B Meats/Barb & Suzy’s Kitchen opened Wednesday.

The butcher shop side of the stall specializes in fresh pork, sausages and some German sausage and cold cut specialties from Illg’s of Chalfont, Bucks County. (Unlike Rieker’s Meats in the Northeast, the area’s other premier German wurstgeshaft, Illg’s is willing to sell wholesale.)

I was particularly impressed by the beef jerky selection in five varities: Sweet ‘n Spicy, BBQ, Teriyaki, Hot ‘n spicy, and Old Fashioned. I mixed a quarter pound of the Sweet ‘n Spicy and Old Fashioned: they make a great chew!

The sausages from Illg’s included Knockwurst ($6,59), Bockwurst ($7.49), Nurnburger ($6.99) and Krakauer ($9.49). German-style wieners were $7.99, and a meaty Beef Tongue Loaf $12.99. It’s nice to see the Germany wurst selection, though some are also offered by L. Halteman. Still, neither store offers the variety that Siegfried’s boasted before they left the market. S&B also sells variously flavored “grillers,” which are basic fresh sausage links, for $3.99, a penny more than Martin’s Quality Meats & Sausage charges.

The food business is a new one for S&B’s proprietor, Moses Smucker. Previously he owned a harness manufacturing business; he shipped his product to equestrians around the world, and even supplied gear for the Busch family’s Clydesdales.

I didn’t try the sausage sandwich on the Barb & Suzy side of the stall, though they looked tasty. There’s room for improvement, however, in the french fries, which were pretty limp. The Deluxe Bacon Fries are the same fries topped with cheese sauce, scallions, sour cream and bacon bits. The fried mushroom I sampled was nice, and I’m told they cut and batter their own onion rings, which I’ll have to sample on a future visit.


Edited by rlibkind (log)

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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So, you say you don’t give a fig for a fig. Think again. Especially when a box of 27 sells for $5.99 at Iovine Brothers Produce at the Reading Terminal Market. At less than a quarter apiece, that’s a bargain price, unless you can grab them for free of a neighbor’s tree, as I can.

The variety of the Iovine’s boxes weren’t marked, but they looked like Brown Turkeys. While lacking the richness of some other fresh figs, Brown Turkeys are pleasantly sweet and make good eating, either out of hand or in cooking. They’d be great in Moshe Basson’s recipe for stuffed figs, onions and eggplant, which I first tried at his original Jerusalem retaurant, Eucalyptus. (It’s a time-consuming dish to make, what with hollowing out the three main components, cooking and mincing chicken to be stuffed into the fruits/veggies with some of their pulp, preparing the tamarind sauce and steaming everything, but if you’re game you can find the recipe in Joan Nathan’s The Foods of Israel Today.)

If you’d rather eat in América del Norte style, it’s guacamole time. Iovine’s had perfectly ripe Hass avocadoes for 89-cents apiece, limes for 20 cents each, Jersey tomatoes for 50 cents a pound. On the bell pepper survey, suntans were two pounds for a buck, Reds, yellows and oranges $1.49. Frying peppers were 79-cents, long hots 50 cents. Nice South Jersey string beans were 99-cents.

Kauffman’s Lancaster County Produce had pricey but very nice red sweet frying peppers for $2.99/pound, green bell peppers for $1.99, red for $2.99. Benuel’s kirby cukes were $2.49 a pound, raspberries $3.95 a half-pint, blackberries $4.95/pint. Fair Food;’s raspberries were $4 for a half-pint, blackberries $7.50 for a pint. In another sign of the change of seasons, white cranberries are back, $2.25/pint.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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The walls have started to rise at Beck’s Cajun Cafe in the Reading Terminal Market. The stall, which will feature Louisiana specialties from beignets to jambalaya, is located across from Tootsie’s Salad Express.

Refrigerators and freezers were delivered to the new Fair Food Farmstand along the market’s 12th Street windows. They’re at least a couple weeks away from moving into the new space. In the meantime, the Fair Food stall is working out of one chest freezer and one reach-in refrigerator.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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