Brimming with locally-sourced meats and produce and the city's best selection of Pennsylvania cheeses, Philadelphia's Fair Food Farmstand is a must-see site for foodie visitors to the City of Brotherly Love, and a must-shop stop for natives.
Founded in 2001 as an arm of the sustainability-oriented nonprofit, Fair Food, the Farmstand serves a double mission: it seeks to shorten supply lines by connecting area farmers with hungry consumers; and it seeks to make local food available to the masses by pulling it out of boutiques and farmer's markets, and placing it squarely in the realm of affordability.
Offering approximately 50 cheeses from more than 25 producers, the Farmstand's cheese counter is a testament to the region's culinary diversity. Asked for comment on a single favorite, Farmstand product manager Alex Jones replied, "it's like you're asking me to choose a favorite child!"
Farmstand workers are "happy to suggest pairings with some of our other products," she continued, "like fruit and spreads." And on the third Thursday of every month, the Farmstand offers tastings paired with local beers.
But for denizens of the city, cheese is the bare tip of the iceberg. The Fair Food Farmstand is well-stocked with dry goods, verdant vegetables, and ripe seasonal fruit from ground cherries, to cranberries, to quinces. Their goose and duck eggs are a rare delight in the spring. And their honey from Urban Apiaries is so local it comes with a zip code attached.
Flashy and ostentatious it is not, but the Fair Food Farmstand is as much a Philadelphia culinary institution as any of the crowded Italian-Market fromageries. Its watchwords are fresh and local. Its feel is slightly off the beaten path. And for a taste of real Philadelphia, it simply cannot be beat.
The Fair Food Farmstand is located inside Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market, and is open seven days a week.