When I saw that First Person Arts was sponsoring a tour of my beloved Reading Terminal Market featuring our beloved wordsmith . . .
The market is undergoing another round of improvements which will allow room for 4 more vendors, upgrade the women’s bathroom, and add a community room to be named for Nichols in honor of his tireless efforts in the 1990s as a food writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was a part of an effort to persuade this city’s leaders to lend support to the ongoing viability of the market. It is hard to imagine today, as one tries to negotiate the conventioneer bloated aisles at lunchtime, that Reading Terminal Market was ever in danger of dying away. Uncertainty as to whether this treasure would survive was in question several times in the last couple of decades, so we are very fortunate.
My favorite stand at the market is the Fair Food Farmstand. It was started on a folding table in 2001 by Judy Wicks, with the hope of connecting the local farmers who supplied the White Dog Cafe, with retail customers. Today they represent some 90 local farmers and producers at the farmstand, and nineteen of them are now making cheese.
Bassetts Ice Cream started serving ice cream in 1893 and is the oldest purveyor at Reading Terminal Market. Today Roger Bassett (seen above) and his cousin Michael Strange, are the fifth generation to keep their 40 flavors of premium ice cream churning.
Pennsylvania General Store, opened by Michael and Judy Holhan in 1987, is the best source for locally made foods and crafts. Outside of Lancaster County, they are one of the only places you can find Cope’s dried corn. Cookies, chocolates, apple butter and pepper jam are just a few of the foods they carry here.
Michael Holahan of the Pennsylvania General Store was one of the founders of the markets Forgotten Foods Festival. Shown here as one of the vendors.
Old friends! Rick bumps into Jack McDavid, chef/owner of the Down Home Diner in the market, who are also both Forgotten Food instigators.
To be continued . . .
Reading Terminal Market
12th & Arch Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Monday to Saturday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Sunday 9:00 am to 5:oo pm