THE FOOD LIFE: SUMMER 2015 CHECKLIST

PHOTOGRAPHS: courtesy of Weckerly’s, Rineer Family Farms,
Vern Ick; wine glass by Carole Topalian

Are there any sweeter words than June, July, and August? Kids are out of school, vacation happens, and lingering sunlight sets the perfect scene for outdoor gatherings in the evenings. We think this cool six-pack of summery treats will bring even more local flavor to your favorite season. —Stephanie Kane

BLACKBERRY MINT ICE CREAM

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The star ingredients in this new ice cream from Weckerly’s were grown in Roxborough at the Henry Got Crops CSA, a partnership between Weavers Way Co-op and the W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences. Available at Weavers Way Co-op in Chestnut Hill, 8424 Germantown Ave., and the co-op’s farmstand at 7095 Henry Ave., 215.866.9150, weckerlys.squarespace.com.

MANGO SALSA

Sweet with a slow-building heat from the addition of cayenne, Anita’s mango salsa is the perfect addition to any summer gathering. Available at Mariposa Food Co-op, 4824 Baltimore Ave., 215.729.2121, and for availability throughout the Philadelphia area, visit anitasguacamole.com.

ROMANESCO CAULIFLOWER

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A wonder of the natural world, romanesco’s perfectly repeating pattern humbles the most esteemed chef and mathematician among us. Whether you steam or roast one, be sure you keep those spirals intact for maximum dramatic effect. Available from the Rineer Family Farms table at Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market, year-round on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm, 18th and Walnut St., Rittenhouse Square.

PINOT NOIR

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This light, local red is a great pairing with a summer cookout. There’s a light-bodied spice here that will match whatever you throw on the grill. The climate of Blue Mountain Vineyards’ 50-acre vineyard in the Lehigh Valley mirrors the climate in the Loire Valley and Burgundy regions in France, perfect for crafting their old-world style wines. Available at Blue Mountain Vineyards, 51 N. 12th St. (in Reading Terminal Market), 215.238.9022, and online at bluemountainwine.com.

HICKORY ON THE HILL CHEESE

This raw-milk stunner from the Farm at Doe Run owes its deliciousness to a herd of Jersey cows. Their autumn milk is aged six months and then hand washed with apple cider and scented with bay leaves. Available at the Fair Food Farmstand, 51 N. 12th St. (in Reading Terminal Market), 215.386.5211.

BLUEBERRY PIE

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Chef Greg Vernick taps his Piney roots with this highly anticipated seasonal dessert special. The rich, flaky crust is bursting with the intense, juicy flavor of ripe New Jersey blueberries. Available at Vernick, 2031 Walnut St., 267.639.6644, vernickphilly.com.

SIMPLE RECIPES FOR TOMATOES

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HOME SWEET HONEY

Photograph: Carole Topalian

Honey from the Philadelphia Bee Co. is not only local to the city, but to your very own neighborhood. Every jar is labeled with the hive of origin’s zip code, cross-streets, and surrounding zip codes where the bees likely foraged.

Beekeeper and founder Don Shump’s raw, unfiltered honeys come from 12 apiaries scattered across the city—and each neighborhood’s jar is strikingly distinct. For instance, this year’s West Philly honey is pale yellow, thick like cream cheese, and equally as luscious. Center City/Fairmount’s batch, on the other hand, is a rich dark amber in color with robust flavor.

These hyper-local honeys have even inspired research scientists to take a closer look. Biologist Charles Nicholson, formerly with Morris Arboretum, studied the fine traces of pollen in different honey samples from Philadelphia to investigate the diversity of each hive’s botanical sources.

Color and flavor notes from PBC’s Spring 2014 harvest appear on the opposite page along with possible pollen/nectar sources the bees may have foraged to create that honey. —Meeri Kim

Honeys from The Philadelphia Bee Co. (PhiladelphiaBee.com) are available at:

LONGWOOD (BEER) GARDENS

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Photograph courtesy of Longwod Gardens

On July 1, Longwood Gardens will debut its first beer garden. “We wanted to have a relaxing place for people who come to the Nightscape exhibit to be able to have a beer and hang out,” says Patricia Evans, communications manager for Longwood Gardens. “Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience”, by Philadelphia artists Klip Collective, will feature colors and shapes projected all around the Longwood landscape after dark.

The pop-up-style restaurant will offer three beers on tap, all from Victory Brewing Company. One beer, Summer Zest, was created using the zest of lemons grown on the property at Longwood. The food will lean German, in keeping with the beer garden theme. Think brats, frankfurters and red cabbage kraut. The beer garden will be open from 6 to 11pm each night of the Nightscape exhibit, through October 31 (though you don’t have to purchase a ticket to the exhibit to stop by the beer garden).

Longwood Gardens
1001 Longwood Rd., Kennett Square
610.388.1000 longwoodgardens.org

IN A PICKLE

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Photograph courtesy of Longwod Gardens and Crisp & Co. Pickles

When it comes to small-batch pickles, Tom Peter of Crisp & Co. thinks big. From his Hockessin, Delaware, workshop, he brines local vegetables while dreaming up ambitious new pickling projects. Take, for example, his unusual and award-winning mushroom pickles.

“Most gourmet pickle companies are looking for products that cost less than 50 cents a pound. The Kennett Square creminis I use for these pickles cost $1.60 per pound,” says Peter. He seasons them with thyme, garlic and olive oil before the mushrooms are pickled and jarred. The result is a flavor-forward pickle that works equally well as a snack or as an ingredient. “I like to mince the mushrooms and fold them into goat cheese to spread on a baguette,” says Peter.

A major fan of local Szechuan chain Han Dynasty, Peter is currently experimenting with a pickled version of that restaurant’s famous Spicy Crispy Cucumbers. “We’ve been working on this one a long time. It’s pending approval from the restaurant, but we hope to make it available soon,” he says. And though he has a definite penchant for experimentation, he loves the classics, too. This summer will also see the release of Crisp & Co.’s first classic dill.

Visit crisppickles.com to buy pickles by the case or for a list of shops and farmers’ markets where Crisp & Co. pickles are sold.

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