Saturday, February 16, 2008

Farmer's Market Cooperative of East Liberty

It really is a wonderful thing to have a farmer's market that is open year round. Even in February, one can find some locally-produced produce. The East Liberty Farmer's Market Co-op (http://agmap.psu.edu/Businesses/1655) is open year round on Saturdays from 5:00AM to 12:00 PM. It is sort of behind Home Depot near Highland Avenue and Penn Circle.

Here's what I found today that was local and will be around next week as well. I get the feeling that most of the products at the market are sold by "middle men" for the Amish. Most of the fruit and veg stands also have lots of produce from away.

J.L. Kennedy Stand Meats
They always have local (from farmers in Armstrong, Butler and Westmoreland counties) beef and chicken from Eastern PA. They often have local pork and sometimes have local lamb (its next appearance will be 3/15) and local veal (3/22). They can be very, very busy and by the time I saw them at 9:00 they were mostly sold out. They told me around 7:00 AM is when their line starts to get really long. Usually bacon and chicken breast and boneless chicken breast are the first to go. They said they almost never take home any ground beef. It looked to me like they wouldn't be taking home anything today. The prices are amazingly reasonable. You can try calling ahead to place your order: 724-898-2316 in advance or 412-661-1875 day of (Saturdays).

Greenawalt's
Best known for their eggs. They are all local, free range and come in a variety of sizes. The price is crazily low. I bought a dozen large eggs for $2.00 today. They have extra jumbo ($4), jumbo($3.50), extra large ($3.25), large ($3) and "pullets" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pullet. I got mine for less because I used some discarded packaging. So, bring your own egg crates.

Greenawalt's also has dried pasta (flavored with garlic, chives, thyme, chicken, beef, oregano, etc.), many kinds of jellies, apple and banana bread, sauerkraut, American cheese, pickles, relish, honey and milk from Schneider's along with raw milk.

B & G Enterprises
Has a big bucket of garlic. They did not look so pretty, but I bought several heads/ bulbs for .50 each a few weeks ago and put them in the refrigerator. The cloves themselves are as white and clean as fresh garlic-colored snow and taste great. The trick is to squeeze the garlic bulb (ever so gently or you will expel the cloves across the room) to make sure the cloves are firm before purchasing them.
Some small cabbages, Butternut, Carnival, Acorn, and Sweet Potato squash provide him with the most variety of locally grown produce. He also has some potatoes -- red, yukon gold and white -- which are looking a little worse for wear at this point. All of these vegetables have been harvested long ago and have been in storage.

Kistaco
My favorite apple growers. Still have red and golden delicious, rome, empire, ida red and McIntosh apples (all of which were picked in the fall and have been in storage). They also have apple cider (which all in our family Luh uh uh ove), honey and maple syrup.

Mushrooms for Life
These folks used to be at the Farmers@ Firehouse market in the Strip District. They currently have White Button ($4/LB) Crimini ($5/LB), Oyster ($9/LB), Shitake ($14/LB) and Maitake, also known as Sheeps' Head ($6 for 1/4 LB) mushrooms.

Zang's Greenhouse
Has cabbage, mushrooms (Portabello and Button), Carrots (which are enormous but very tasty) and white potatoes grown locally.

Califonte Foods
These folks sell prepared pastas and sauces, mostly frozen. There were too many varieties for me to list. Many of the frozen fresh pastas had sold out when I got there. Here's a sampling of what was left in the freezer case: manicotti, ravioli, cheese stuffed rigatoni, spinach, sweet potato, plain and whole wheat gnocchi, jalapeno cheddar ravioli, and cheese and spinach and cheese stuffed shells. They also sell eight varieties of dried pastas in addition to flour to make pasta at home (durum, semolina and whole wheat). Sauces were available canned and frozen.

Najat's
Another visitor from the Strip District. They sell their own hummus, baba ghanoush, pita, and other prepared middle eastern foods and baked goods.

4 comments:

Tim said...

Interesting...Today was the first time I had been back to the Farmer's Market Cooperative of East Liberty in several months. So it is interesting that you would post this today.

I would add only a couple of comments:

1) J. L. Kennedy sausage is among the best I have found in Pittsburgh.

2) That Kistaco cider is incredible.

3) There were a few other things available, but not consistently: bread, garden and house plants, and probably some other things.

Hopefully more people will discover this diamond in the rough. I made the assumption that it had gone out of business until it was in the Post-Gazette last year.

Angela said...

Not all of Greenawalts' eggs are free range. You have to ask.

Cindy Green said...

Hi Angela,

I thought that as well from previous trips to the Market. However, I did ask, she said all of the eggs were free range. I'm not sure if the definition of free range has changed, her product has changed, or if she wasn't telling me the whole truth.

Cindy

Kelly said...

Sorry, one more. This newspaper article says that Greenawalt's doesn't actually have any free-range eggs of their own, but they get them from a neighbor. Greenawalt's own operation is 24,000 hens strong, which are kept 2-3 per cage. Maybe it's better to find a local producer committed to all free-range eggs?

Here's the link about Greenawalt's eggs: http://www.post-gazette.com/food/20010819greenawalt0819fnp4.asp