PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Organizers have announced a roster of 120 participants for this year’s Restaurant Week, coming up in center city Philadelphia during the middle two weeks of September.

Officials say they are making the announcement two months in advance because some of the popular restaurants sell out quickly.

And now, more center city dining has a green side dish to go with it.

You know that empty tract of land next to theIndependence Blue Cross building, at 20th and Market Streets (photo)?  The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has transformed 32,000 square feet of it into a thriving herb and vegetable garden.

Six restaurants incorporate the bounty from the “Pop-Up Garden” — including arugula, basil, and peppers — into their menus.

“You go to the restaurants, you’ll see a tree on the menu,” says PHS president Drew Becher.  “It’ll explain the program and that proceeds from the meal go to support the City Harvest program.”

City Harvest makes fresh, locally grown produce more widely available in underserved neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

“I’ve been using a lot of the baby arugula they’re growing,” says Guillermo Tellez, executive chef  of Square 1682.  “The basil is incredible.  I can’t wait for the tomatoes.”

Daniel Stern, owner-chef of R2L, chuckles about renewed interest in eating locally produced food and the “locavore” movement.

“It’s funny that all of a sudden it’s a movement.  It used to be just the way people ate, you know what I mean?”

Restaurant Week runs September 12th-16th and 18th-23rd.  You can make reservations online at

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060

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