Sunday, May 22, 2016

Vendors at East Liberty Farmers Market

Woolf Farms Stand
Here I am again, singing the praises of the East Liberty Farmers Market, run by Citiparks at Station Street and North Euclid on Mondays from 3:00 to 7:00 PM. It's already open, and it will run through November 14. It will probably be closed on Memorial Day, but you can go tomorrow!

One cool thing about some of the farmers markets around Pittsburgh, is that Just Harvest is there with tokens as part of its Fresh Access program, which are accepted at many of the vendors, just not the hot food vendors. For those who forget to bring cash, tokens can be purchased with a debit or credit card, and then are accepted at the vendors just like cash -- except they only come in $1.00 and $ .50 denominations. The tokens never expire and can be used at 17 different farmers markets. For those who receive food stamps, the access card can be used to purchase tokens. With every $5.00 purchase, $2.00 in food bucks coupons to spend on fruits and veggies are included.

I poked around a little on the web, and I didn't see a list of vendors at the market. In case you want to know what to expect, I'd like to provide you with a list of vendors here. I may have forgotten someone, and most likely, more will be added as the season progresses.

With the prepared food tables, I will let you know what I have learned about their use of local products.

Pitaland from Brookline
Sells prepared mediterranean-style foods that seem very popular, fresh-baked pita bread, and fresh squeezed lemonade. No local sourced products as far as the vendor and I could figure out.

Wild River Kettle Korn
From Bethel Park, PA
Kettle corn that is popped right in front of you. Kettle corn is a little sweet if you didn't know. They also sell chocolate kettle corn until June, then they switch over to cheddar, because it is less likely to melt. I can't imagine it being warm enough to melt chocolate right now, so I guess we'll have to see. Again, nothing locally sourced.

Fine Family Apiary
These folks are from Monogahela, PA. He is always happy to talk about his honey, what kind it is (wildflower? spring bloom? golden rod? ), its flavor, when it was bottled, and more. He offers many different sizes as well as raw honey, honey comb, etc. We have a 5lb. jug that my kids drink from. Well, not exactly, but sort of. I know there are a lot of bee enthusiasts around here, but he can definitely be counted on for a wide variety of a very, very good product.

Good L'oven Cookie Shop
Even though these are not locally sourced, my kids have been eating and loving these for years. I have to admit that I enjoy the ginger "snap" cookie every once in a while. It is not a snap, though, but is instead chewy, just as it should be.

Pickled Chef
Chef Greg Andrews is the "pickled chef" and this for sure is a locally sourced vendor. They run a farm to table restaurant in Greensburg called The Supper Club. It looks pretty awesome to me. They currently have pickled asparagus, ramps, green garlic, and garlic scapes from this season. They work with a number of local farms, but one of the chief ones recently is Let it Grow Farms in Scotdale.

They also use Zeke's Coffee in their Espresso Bar B Q sauce and Natrona root beer in their Root Beer Bar B Q sauce. In addition to the many sauces, and lots of other pickled vegetables, they carry several fermented foods, such as kim chee, sriracha, sour dill pickles, and sauerkraut.

As soon as locally farmed fruits and vegetables become available, they will use and sell them. If you like pickled and fermented foods, you should definitely pay them a visit.

Brenckles Organic Farm
This is an organic farmer who used to sell at the Farmers@ Firehouse market in the strip district. I have had a lot of their produce and it is for sure excellent. I picked up some spinach from them on Monday and it was lovely. As you may be able to see from the picture, they had flats of annuals and hanging plants as well.

This is a family farm, and the farmer I met has been running the farm for too many years to count. He has quite a sense of humor. I hope you will stop by to pay him/ them a visit.

Family Farms Creameries
Carries lots of local cheeses, milk, ice cream, and yogurt, all from local dairy farms and/ or locally made. I've purchased two cheeses so far, the goat milk feta from River View Dairy and the Royer Mountain from Clover Creek Cheese Cellar. Their products can be found at Market Street Grocery, and for those lucky enough to have a Harvest Valley Farms, Clarion River Organics, or Who Cooks for You Farm CSA, a cheese subscription is a choice to add on.

Pie Place
Pies, fruit ties, bars, brownies, crisps, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and pepperoni rolls from Bethel Park. They are new to the East Liberty Farmers Market this year. They may use local farms for fruit as it becomes available.

Mediterra Bake House
This is a high quality bakery based out of Robinson, PA with lots and lots of choices for bread. It is locally made and they source their rye from Washington County. They often sell muffins, scones, and/ or some other type of bakery treats along with the bread.

I'm afraid I can't tell you too much about this stand/ truck. I'll get back to it when I bring my fifteen year old meat-lovin son. Nothing I've seen seems to indicate that anything is locally sourced.

Woolf Farms
This an Ohio farm that usually sells a lot of fruit and corn in addition to other vegetables. In fact, last Monday they had a few cartons of strawberries! I got there right behind the woman who got the last pint. I will not be missing out on those this week. They often have lots of peaches during peach season. And their apples are great. On Monday I bought Fuji apples from them which were still crisp and juicy. They are a pretty large operation as far as I can tell and go to farmers markets all over Ohio in addition to Peters Township, Market Square, and Bloomfield around here.

Mill Creek Trout Farm
I wrote about these folks a couple of weeks ago. They sell frozen and smoked trout as well as frozen beef, pork, and goat. We have bought two types of pork sausage from them and have really enjoyed both types. Their rainbow trout was AMAZING! It was caught and frozen the day we bought it. I bought a filet, brought it home, thawed it in cool water, and grilled it with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. It was soooo good. I am only recently a fish eater, and I only like fresh fish that is not "fishy." When I opened the package, it smelled like. . . nothing. But it tasted like like all it should have.

Harvest Valley Farms
This is my go to vendor. Art King and his family, located in Valencia, farm sustainably and are active members of PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture). We have gotten the HVF CSA for years and have always loved it. Their vegetables are high quality every time. I have written about them on this blog many times. This week I got green onions, beautiful greenhouse grown little tomatoes from Yarnick's Farm (which were so good -- I just ate them out of hand) and a lovely, delicate, and so tasty spring mix.

Schramm's Farm and Orchards 
These Harrison City farmers have been regulars at the East Liberty Farmers Market for years. They can always be counted on for a good selection of tasty vegetables and fruit.

Sand Hill Berries
Another long-time vendor in East Liberty. They grow their own berries, many, many kinds, that they sell at their stand. They even have frozen berries available year round. However, I think they are most known for the pies, sauces, jams, and jellies, which are top-of-the-line.

Bluebird Organic Farm 
is an organic farm that carries many specialty vegetables. Their eggs are always great, and I often get ours from him. He also has many, many varieties of garlic, so if you are a garlic nut (like many of us are), you should plan to visit him later in the summer. Lettuce varieties galore, kale, greens, and other heirlooms tend to populate his coolers and counters. Come here for the vegetables you love, but in a slightly different, more interesting form because he will usually offer multiple varieties that you won't find elsewhere.

Billy's Country Smokehouse
is a very popular stand at the market. They give out samples, which I think helps. Also, it seems that lots of folks like smoked meats. Billy's gets their meats from local distributers and then create their products. They have the following smoked products: kolbassi, bacon, hot dogs, pepper sticks, summer sausage, salmon, and steak jerky. They also have fresh sausage. I don't believe the meat is sourced locally. They only know which distributors they use.

City Fresh Pasta 
was formerly known as Ohio City Pasta. They sell fresh/ frozen ravioli and fresh pasta as well as gnocchi by special order. They say they source their ingredients locally. We purchased gnocchi last week. It cooked a little too fast for me! I accidentally let it turn into goo. Let that be a warning for you if you try it. Cook for only two minutes, is my guess.

Cinco de Maya Salsas 
has delicious salsas and chips that you can sample. I did not get a chance to quiz them about sources (I am a pain about it, believe me), but I can promise we have had their salsa and chips before and they are great.

Enrico Biscotti Company 
is the famous biscotti company in the Strip District. I don't think anything is locally sourced, but they are a Pittsburgh institution. They also have cookies and bread in addition to many flavors of biscotti.

Hello Hummus 
sells mostly vegan (except for honey in some products) hummus and greens and grains salads. I purchased the veggie hummus and it was mildly flavored but delicious. They will be using local ingredients as soon as they are able. They are in many farmers markets around the area, so I hope you get a chance to stop by and try some samples to discern what you like.

anchors the base of the farmers market and offers lots and lots of produce in addition to flowers. I haven't ever been able to find out too much about them and their growing practices and after some disappointments with their products years ago, I am not a regular patron.

Who Cooks for You Farms 
is a certified naturally grown farm in Armstrong County. They had tons and tons of seedling for May Market, some of which are growing in planters on my porch right now. They offer the vegetables you are probably used to seeing as well as some you may not have seen. I tasted ground cherries there for the first time, for example. Last week, they had nettle (along with seedlings and lettuce and green onions), which needs to be cooked just a bit because it has thorns.

Please write in if you have anything to add about any of these vendors. Be sure to make it to the market on Monday.

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