The List: Fall Flavors at the Farmers’ Market

Photo by Courtney Apple

Photo by Courtney Apple

Forget Whole Foods. Who wants to pay $75 for a bunch of bantamweight transcontinental bananas that are going to rot before you even get them home? The city has a wealth of excellent farmers’ markets, and while the glorious excesses of summer may be past (and some markets might be looking at shutting down for the winter soon), here are a few that are still overflowing with autumn’s hardier bounty, and that stay open straight through to the holidays (or all year round).

Clark Park Farmers’ Market
43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue, West Philly • Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

At this end of the growing season, look for potatoes, rutabagas, radishes and other root vegetables to be dominating the stands. But on good days (and depending on the weather), you might also be able to score some late-season broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts, and greenhouse greens like spinach and arugula, from the likes of Landisdale Farm (which also offers grass-fed beef), Pennypack Farm and Livengood Produce.

Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market
18th and Walnut streets, Rittenhouse • Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mushrooms from Kennett Square, chocolates from John & Kira’s, pastries from Market Day Canele, and a lot of prepared foods, from hummus to Green Aisle Grocery’s local items.

Fitler Square Farmers’ Market
23rd and Pine streets, Rittenhouse • Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It’s a smaller market, but Fitler Square covers the bases with produce from Highland Orchards, meats and eggs from B&L Grassland Farms, and a long list of lettuces, produce, microgreens and fresh herbs from Brogue Hydroponics. And if 9 a.m. on a Saturday seems a little early to you, there’s coffee from Philly Fair Trade Roasters to wake you up.

Fair Food Farmstand
Reading Terminal Market • Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Think of the Fair Food stand as a curated selection of all the best stuff from all the best markets in the region. On the upside, this is a kind of one-stop shop for local produce, meats, poultry and dairy products from more than 90 sustainable producers in the area (plus, you know, cheesesteaks right on the other side of the aisle). The downside? Come too late and pickings can be seriously slim.

Headhouse Farmers’ Market
2nd and Lombard streets, Society Hill • Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (until December 21st)

In its eighth year, the Headhouse Farmers’ Market is one of the larger markets in the city, with more than 40 vendors operating during the high season and a fair share hanging in through the fall harvest. Check out the Birchrun Hills stand for excellent cheeses, Root Mass and Blooming Glen farms for produce, and Culton Organics, which brings rare, strange and heirloom varietals to the party — many of them doled out of Tom Culton’s bag straight to the chefs who frequent this market.

Originally published in the November, 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.