Three cheers for the region’s best loved food leaders.
Recently, Edible Philly readers voted online for our fi rst crop of Local Heroes. These are the farmers, chefs, organizations, shops and artisans who fuel the Philly food world and keep the region’s diners, home cooks and aspiring food professionals awash in fresh inspiration season after season. This year’s winners include names you’ve long known and some lesserknown resources that may become your new favorites. —J. Manning
Blooming Glen Farm
Tom Murtha & Tricia Borneman
98 Moyer Rd., Perkasie
Philadelphia farmers’ market devotees know Blooming Glen Farm by its sprawling tables, heaped with photo-shoot-pretty produce, at the mouth of the Headhouse Square farmers’ market on Sundays. But farmers Tom Murtha and Tricia Borneman also have a legion of fans through Blooming Glen’s CSA. (Last year’s members were treated to unusual items like sweet potato greens, black radishes and lemongrass.) Their policy of donating abandoned shares to local food banks, and their smart blog—which toggles effortlessly between food policy and homespun recipes— are two more reasons our readers named this farm their favorite.
The Farm and Fisherman
1120 Pine St., Philadelphia
When Josh Lawler opened his tiny Center City BYOB, he reclaimed the term “farm to table” from the trash bin of overused buzzwords and gave it actual meaning again. An alum of Chef Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York’s Hudson Valley, the chef lavishes his creativity on local produce and meats while letting their pure fl avors shine through. And his ambitions don’t end on Pine Street—his recently opened, more casual Farm and Fisherman Tavern & Market is thriving in South Jersey and the chef has only just begun on his plans for expansion. He wants to make truly local food accessible to all via a chain of affordable, fast-casual outlets.
FOOD SHOP & NON-PROFIT
Fair Food Philly
51 N. 12th St., Philadelphia
Unsurprisingly, this dynamic organization, which runs the beloved Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market in addition to a plethora of other programs, won hands down in two of this year’s categories: Food Shop and Non-profit.
For a grocery run, the Farmstand simply has no equal. Bins piled high with the season’s peak produce? Check. A staggering array of grass-fed dairy plus an all-local cheese counter? They’ve got it. A freezer full of quick meal options including sausages, burger patties, soups and potpies? You’ll fi nd all that too. Even in the dark recesses of winter, Fair Food Farmstand is there with a bounty of local food.
The nonprofit arm may be slightly less visible but it’s certainly no less vital to the food community. Fair Food Philly is behind The Brewer’s Plate event as well as the Philly Farm & Food Fest, in addition to its ongoing education initiatives. But according to director Ann Karlen, the work she is most proud of happens behind the scenes. Because of their vast network of relationships, Fair Food often makes connections in the world of ethical food—sometimes saving a struggling local farm. That’s exactly what happened when she introduced Mark Lopez of Wholesome Dairy Farms to Capogiro Gelato, which now uses the Douglasville dairy’s unprocessed milk in several of their famous flavors. That’s what we call a hero .
Food & Ferments
Fermented foods are having a moment— and it’s not just because of health benefi ts bestowed by the legions of good bacteria that give kombucha and kimchi that characteristic funk. Local duo Carly and Dave Dougherty bring their love of traditionally fermented foodstuffs to hungry Philadelphians via the jars they sell at the Rittenhouse Square farmers’ market and through the delivery service Harvest Local Foods. You can also get a taste at Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen in Fishtown, where the chef piles Food & Ferments sauerkraut onto its Reuben sandwich.
Art in the Age
116 N. 3rd St., Philadelphia
This line of fl avor-forward spirits is a darling of local bartenders and home mixologists alike. The company’s Root was inspired by the traditional root teas and beers that were invented in our region. The Snap fl avor evokes the warming pleasures of a homemade ginger snap cookie. Rhubarb and Sage round out the line, with all the complexities of sweettart rhubarb and your favorite Thanksgiving herb. Best of all? These distinctive tipples are all fl avored with real, whole ingredients.