Northeast Philly Food Feed: Be a Northeast foodie

Hello, my name is Ben and I like food.

For those of you who know me, this admission shouldn’t come as much of a shock. I have been described as husky, broad and most impressively, portly. At home I am talking about tomorrow night’s dinner while I’m eating tonight’s dinner.

I used to think of my eating as almost a badge of honor. I still do, but now I don’t wear the badge. I use the pointy part on the back to prick my finger at least once a day to check my blood sugar. Type 2 Diabetes is a bummer, I have to say.

There will be no more Lee’s Hoagies for me. Whenever I walk past a Philadelphia Pretzel Factory, I can smell the carbolicious bounty inside, but I cannot stop and partake. I haven’t had anything at Dunkin’ Donuts besides coffee in more than a year and a half. I could go on (believe me, I could) but I’m sure the point has been made.

I have a wife and a young son so I want to be here for a while. Drastic changes needed to be made to my diet.

Why is this relevant? Well, I am a Northeast Philly guy. I like the Phillies, the Eagles, Country Club Diner and Steve’s Steaks. I don’t make a huge amount of money, although I do have a pool. It cost me 12 dollars, I think, at Target. My car is 10 years old. I don’t own an iPhone, iPod or GPS, and I buy most of my clothes at the thrift store. I am not rich – not even close.

However, I am a foodie.

I eat seasonally. I don’t buy vegetables and fruit at the grocery store unless it’s something I absolutely couldn’t buy in this country (bananas). I buy 90 percent of my produce from farmers markets. Now, when I talk of farmers markets, I’m not referring to places like Produce Junction. I’m referring to the ones with local food from local purveyors. For a variety of reasons, I prefer to keep as much as my money in America as possible. The closer to my house, the better. With the economy in shambles and jobs disappearing at an alarming rate, I think it’s important to keep people in America employed.

I try to buy locally because the farther away produce has to travel to get to your plate, the fresher it ain’t. In order to get around that, fruits and vegetables are picked earlier and earlier and not given time to ripen. Taste = bad.

When you buy locally at a farmers market, chances are the food you are buying was picked the day before. It didn’t need to be picked early and won’t quickly spoil.

When you have to eat healthily, at least it should taste good. And when you are on a tight budget, getting more than two days out of a pint of strawberries (unless you eat them first) means less food you have to waste. If you have never really been to a farmers market like the one I have described, you should try it once. I did and it has literally changed my life. I lost about 30 pounds (one of the farmers from a local market asked, “How big WERE YA?”), and I have many farmer friends and I know how to make a ton of different things.

Plus I was able to go off of one of my diabetic medications and am on the lowest dose of the one I still need to take. I am a foodie. A Northeast Philly Foodie. Give it a shot.

Ben Bergman writes the Philly Food Feed He lives in Parkwood and grew up in Castor Gardens. Check out all the Northeast Philly Food Feed entries here.



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