Eighteen Philly-area farmers’ markets are operated by Farm to City, a Philadelphia-based program that works to bring locally grown food to families and local eateries year-round by uniting communities and farmers at grocery stores, restaurants, schools and outdoor markets. These markets provide close-by, nutritious options for families and individuals who otherwise might need to travel several miles to find supermarkets with fresh, affordable foods. Like supermarkets, some of these local markets accept SNAP (food stamps), credit and debit cards, and most accept Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program vouchers issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to WIC recipients and seniors.
Many people buying from these markets seek foods that are naturally or organically produced. Some of the farmers’ markets offer IPM (Integrated Pest Management) produce. These fruits and vegetables are raised using a sustainable approach to pest management through a combination of tools and methods that minimize environmental, economic and health risks. Another consideration for those interested in sustainability is antibiotics and hormones in meats, eggs and dairy products.
In order to supply foods to these markets, vendors must produce a food-related product and either be a primary producer of the crops going to market or a “value added” producer who uses main ingredients sourced from farms within 150 miles of Philadelphia. While many of these local markets are seasonal, those listed here are open year-round.
Suburban Station Farmers’ Market
Open Thursdays from noon until 6:30 p.m., the Suburban Station Farmers’ Market is located in the 16th Street concourse between JFK and Market. This market accepts Pennsylvania Access, Visa and Mastercard. The market sells IPM produce – fruits and vegetables – as well as beef and eggs from pastured animals.
Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market
Open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the winter, the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market is located at Walnut and 18th Streets. This market offers cheeses made from cows’ and goats’ milk, eggs and meats from pastured animals, sustainably caught seafood, gluten-free breads, locally produced honey and wine, locally cultivated mushrooms, IPM and certified organic, chemical-free fruits and vegetables and much more, including body care products and more.
Chestnut Hill Farmers’ Market
Open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the winter, Chestnut Hill Farmers’ Market is situated between Germantown Avenue and Mermaid Lane on Winston Road. Products sold include vegetables, fruits and berries that are IPM and chemical-free, European-style breads, sustainably caught fish, meats and eggs from pastured livestock, cows’ milk cheeses as well as locally produced mushrooms and honey.
Bryn Mawr Farmers’ Market
This local market is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon during the winter, starting in December. Bryn Mawr Farmers’ market offers organic and IPM produce, eggs and meat from pastured animals as well as gluten-free bread, baked goods, honey and an assortment of other products including hummus, gelato, soup and freshly made pasta.
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Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.