A few quick things:
- Want to receive this list via email each week? Sign up here.
- If you’re not going to read the whole newsletter this week, at least read this article from TheBurg.
- Just a reminder: you can purchase R&R gift cards on the website or in-store.
- This week’s Staff Pick: Spicy Okra from Epic Pickles, selected by Veronica.
Scroll down for the full list of what we’ll have this week!
Well, friends. I’ve been thinking about this post for years now, but now — I’m finding myself somewhat at a loss. I always imagined that, when the time came, we would make the first announcement via this newsletter. But when Larry Binda of TheBurg asked for an interview, well, you don’t say no to that!
Dusty and I are thrilled(terrified) to announce that we are beginning work on a standalone store, to be open seven days a week, with an anticipated opening of Summer 2019.
The project will be aided, to no insignificant degree, by a federal USDA grant specifically designed to increase access to local foods — a pretty great fit, we think. Before we begin build out of the actual store, though, the building will need a lot of work, which remains the big question mark in our timing. That part of the project is not grant-eligible, so we’re also finalizing the additional funding we’ll need to complete the necessary renovations. Once that’s done, we can begin buying and installing equipment and shelving and coolers, configuring a new register system, finalizing product layouts, ordering and stocking initial inventory, and then, finally — open the doors.
Although we’ve been working towards this for almost two years already (or more, depending on what “work” you count), it is still very early days. Our tenant, Alyce & Tre’sures Hair Gallery, is now in the process of moving out, to her new spot just a couple of doors up the block (we’re so happy we get to keep her as a neighbor!). Dusty’s been poking some holes in the walls and ceiling to see what lies behind and above, and this morning he walked through the space with a city codes inspector to get a firmer sense of just what we’re talking about here. Yesterday he talked me through a dizzying equation of plaster and wheelbarrows and dump trailers and drives to the quarry. At one point he said something like, “So, 260 wheelbarrow loads — that’s totally do-able!” I’m grateful he thinks so.
But, while wheelbarrow loads are what we’re thinking about right now, that’s probably not the kind of detail most folks are wondering about. So here’s the deets as they exist so far —
- We’ll be at 1308 N 3rd St, between the LGBT Center and Shining Light Thrift Shop (that’s two doors up from the Midtown Scholar). We will also maintain our stand at the Broad Street Market.
- The tentative plan is to be open 8am-8pm, every single day (or, as I keep saying, “Eight to eight, eight days a week!”) except some holidays.
- We will continue to be an all-local grocery, but both the depth and breadth of our selection will be expanded. More options in produce, meat, dairy, cheese, pantry items, and just about everything else we currently carry. If space allows as we finalize our layout, we may include a nook of “Marco Polo” items — non-local pantry staples, so-named because they are shelf-stable and transportable enough that they could have made a journey on Marco Polo’s ship. The grant money can go only toward things related to the sales and marketing of local foods, and with Sayford Market across the street and open very similar hours, we will not be trying to duplicate anything already available from them.
- We’ll also be adding a full kitchen (equipment largely paid for by the grant), which will allow us to preserve produce for off-season sales (canned tomatoes; frozen green beans), and offer an array of ready-to-eat and heat-and-eat options for your convenience. I imagine we’ll start small-ish with that stuff, while we get the hang of it, but I think it’s the part Dusty’s most excited about!
- We will be hiring for additional staff positions, but not for a few more months!
I won’t lie — I’m a little intimidated by the work ahead of us. Mostly, though, I am so so so excited that I can hardly stand it. Despite everything we’ve put in so far — buying a building, working a hundred plus hours on the grant application, spending more hours than I can count dreaming and doing preliminary planning before we knew if we got the grant, not to mention all the work we’ve done in the couple months since we learned our project was funded — the article hitting Facebook yesterday and inboxes today, and the crazy amazing overwhelming support we’ve gotten in response has made this project feel Real. For real real.
I think Dusty said it best in his personal Facebook post yesterday:
An enormous thank you to everyone who’s gotten us to this point, especially our amazing crew, the tireless farmers and producers who make it all possible, the behind the scenes folks who’ve been instrumental in supporting this project (you know who you are), and most importantly our incredible customers, without whom we would be, well, not actually a business — just some sad, weird people with way too much food on our hands.
We love you all, and are so excited to begin the next chapter with you. Also, we’re a little nervous. I mean, this is really going to be a lot of work. But we’ll get it done with your support. To the moon!
Thanks for being here with us, and thanks for all the love. To the moon, indeed! (Or at least to some nearby farms!) <3
This week’s Staff Pick from Veronica
Epic Pickles Spicy Okra
Normally $7, this week $5.95
Okra is a polarizing vegetable, causing rifts in friendships and families. Some folks, here in our Pennsylvania climate, wait all year for its brief summertime season and buy as much of it as they can while it’s here. Others cringe at the thought of its slimy texture, and dread the Green Eggs and Ham-esque dialogue that ensues when they see an okra-lover at the height of okra season. I am the former, an unabashed okra lover.
I admit, I can understand why not everyone is a fan. It is a little slimy, and its raw skin has a light fuzz that sometimes makes me wonder what exactly it was about this vegetable (fruit, really) that called out, “Eat me!” to its very first harvesters. However, Epic’s processing, starting from the freshest ingredients (though not necessarily local, depending on season), resolves both of these issues. I absolutely love all the Epic Pickles products, but Spicy Okra may just be my favorite because the brine soaks into the pods, packing them with flavor — perfect for a Bloody Mary, used as an exciting substitute for a pickle spear next to a sandwich, or as a snack while standing in front of the fridge.
Epic Pickles Spicy Okra is the perfect solution for us okra-lovers out there who spend all year waiting for the weather to get hot enough for okra to make its brief appearance. We can eat delicious and fresh-tasting okra all year round! For non-okra-lovers, 1) maybe try pickled okra? (Have you tried it on a plane?), or 2) if you have made up your mind, this product makes the perfect gift to give your okra-loving friends, bridging the okra gap once and for all.
- Baby Bok Choy
- Young Green Curly Kale
- Fuji Apples
- Granny Smith Apples
- Lions Mane
- Red Onions
- Yellow Onions
- White Onions
- Blue Potatoes
- Red Potatoes
- Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Sweet Potatoes
- Japanese Sweet Potatoes
- Red Beets
- Gold Beets
- Daikon Radishes
- Red Radishes
- Sweet White Turnips
- Purple Top Turnips
- Baby Red Russian Kale
- Mesclun Mix
- Pie Pumpkins
- Butternut Squash
- McGrath’s Original
- Sesame Original
- Multigrain Pan Bread
- Peppercorn Cheese (Cacio e pepe?)
- Cranberry Pecan
- Baguettes (fresh Saturday only; available frozen every day)
- Ciabatta (frozen only)