Wyck farm stand gives new meaning to ‘buy local’

The weekly farmers market at the historic Wyck house on Germantown Avenue features two things every Friday: 300 years of on-site agriculture, and food that comes from not very far away at all.

A hundred and fifty feet,” said Emma Morrow, the home farm manager at Wyck, about the distance her produce has to travel to make it to the farm stand. “We don’t have cold storage in terms of a walk-in refrigerator, so the only option is to pick [the vegetables] and then sell them as soon as possible, so they’re very fresh.”

Every Friday afternoon through November, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the corner of Germantown Avenue and Walnut Lane, the Wyck Farmer’s Market offers a wide selection of truly local produce. Starting by about noon every Friday, Morrow is in the backyard garden harvesting for the sale.

The market has much of what you’d find in the produce aisle at the grocery store, and then some – from farm fresh eggs to Amish and vegan baked goods.

As a part of the Philadelphia Food Trust, shoppers at the market can now use EBT/food stamps to pay for these fresh ingredients, just as easily as they could at the supermarket.

Laura Keim, curator at Wyck and frequent shopper at the market, thinks that it’s an important way to educate the public about what goes on at the historic house.  The farmer’s market, according to Keim, “literally brings what’s behind the fence [of Wyck] out onto the street.”

Morrow said that’s all part of the Wyck mission, “One of the purposes the farm serves is to be a kind of outdoor classroom.”

To that end, she invites anyone who patrons the Friday farm stand, to have a look around the garden before they go, and to get involved with some of the many nature education programs produced through the site.

Currently, the market consists of three vendors: Buckview Produce from Lancaster County, Earth’s Elements, a local vegan bakery, and produce from Wyck’s own home farm, a property that has been in continuous use for agriculture since the 1690s.

Morrow oversees all of the planting, growing and selling on the farm and says it can keep as many as eight volunteers busy during different times of the harvest season.

Located in the backyard of the Wyck historic house and homestead, the farm is relatively small but has a wide variety of fruits and veggies, a chicken coop, beehives, and herb and flower gardens.  The farm has 9 chickens that lay about 1 ½ to 2 dozen eggs a week, which are usually one of the first items to sell out at the market.

Every Friday morning, Morrow and her volunteers hand pick the produce that will be sold at their stand in just a few hours.  They stock the usual summer veggies – string beans, carrots, cucumbers, squash – but then some others that many customers have never heard of.

Kohlrabi, a bright purple root vegetable that looks something like an alien orb, is one example. Despite it’s exotic appearance, Morrow says Kohlrabi is a crisp summer vegetable similar in taste to broccoli and is good sliced and served with dip.

But, her favorite under appreciated vegetable is senposai, a hybrid Japanese cabbage that she sautés like spinach.  For many of the customers who are curious about these offerings, Morrow and her crew will offer cooking tips.

One, for farm stand shoppers unsure of how to use all the fresh veggies the season provides, is ratatouille, according to Morrow. It is a simple stew made from tomatoes, onions, eggplant, carrots, or just about any vegetable that is grown at the Wyck home farm.

As a part of the Wyck Association, the profits made by the home farm at the market go right back into programs and historic preservation at Wyck.

 

For more information about the farmers market, visit the Wyck website.

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