Friday Arts

Quirk Books, Greening Philadelphia, Tea Time



May 5, 2017

Quirk Books
Producer: Michael O’Reilly

Quirk Books is headquartered on a quiet cobblestone street in the historic Old City district of Philadelphia. Quirk publishes just 25 books per year and every title seems to be a labor of love. Some of their more popular recent titles include classroom favorite William Shakespeare’s Star Wars — plus cookbooks, children’s books, art books, gag gifts, pop culture titles, and more. Books produced by Quirk have been turned into movies, TV shows and other media properties including the bestselling YA (young adult) series Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (directed by Tim Burton) and the legendary Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Friday Arts sits down with the founder of Quirk and team editors to glean how they produce these books.

Greening Philadelphia
Producer: Monica Rogozinski

On November 24, 1827 a group of gentleman farmers, botanists and other plant enthusiasts held a meeting to create the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. There, it was resolved, “to establish a Horticultural Society in the City of Philadelphia for the promotion of this interesting and highly influential branch of Science.” At that time, PHS boasted 80 members. Today, the PHS family includes 21,000 member households.

Community, innovation, and a passion for plants and gardening all describe PHS, and interwoven throughout is tradition, and the tradition that looms in most minds is the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, held each year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Proceeds from the Flower Show support the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s efforts to transform lives and communities through horticulture and greening projects. PHS and its thousands of volunteers and partner organizations apply horticulture to help build stronger, more equitable, more sustainable, and more beautiful communities. The model is simple: engage a diverse community of supporters and volunteers and work with them to create and sustain green projects. In turn, these projects lead to positive outcomes in social equity, environmental sustainability, public health, and urban livability.

Friday Arts visit the 2017 Flower Show, themed Holland: Flowering the World. We talk to one of its guest exhibitors from the Netherlands, garden designer Carrie Preston. She explains how the Netherlands is leading the way to a more efficient plant production system, innovative landscape design and helping create a more sustainable world.

Tea Time
Producer: Karen Smyles

While tea has always been a part of our lives, it has never reached the popularity of coffee here in the United States. Most of us drink tea when we have a cold or some other illness. But, throughout the world, it is the 2nd most consumed beverage after water, and an important part of everyday life. Here, tea is becoming trendy and more widely appreciated, and considered to have certain health benefits.
In recent years, tea shops and restaurants focusing on tea, have been popping up all over, even in shopping malls, and while you can get good teas in tea bag form, many are opting for more traditional loose leaf teas. This is the form that many around the world have always used. It may take a little more effort, but the quality and taste are winning people over.

Friday Arts travels to The House of Tea on South 4th Street in Philadelphia, to talk to owner Jessica Litt. In 1991 her father, Nathaniel Litt opened the shop after studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, one of the first cities where you could find a shop to actually purchase tea, not to just sit down and have a cup. He decided to open a store here in Philadelphia committed to selling the most exceptional teas from around the world. Jessica gives a brief history of tea and talks about the almost 250 varieties of loose leaf teas that you’ll find on the shelves.

Then we travel to Wayne on the Mainline, to A Taste of Britain to experience all of the deliciousness of a British tea. Owner, Debbie Heth and partner, Edward Pierce, take us around their beautiful shop and restaurant, and chef Lisa McNutt shows us the art of making tea sandwiches.