An Oasis on Market Street

Marcie Turney and other city chefs are harvesting homegrown ingredients with the help of PHS

Courtesy of PHS

The farm-to-table concept is within even closer reach thanks to a new partnership between the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and several local chefs. The organization – perhaps best known for producing the gay-friendly International Flower Show each year – has turned a vacant lot at 20th and Market streets into a garden of earthy delights as part of the “PHS Pops Up” initiative that brings awareness to locally grown food.

The temporary oasis is not only growing vegetables, herbs, grains and flowers, but it will also provide ingredients for several local chefs this summer, including Daniel Stern of R2L, Guillermo Tellez of Square 1682, Chris Scarduzio of Table 31, Michael Schulson of Sampan and Lynn Rinaldi of Paradiso. Marcie Turney of Barbuzzo, a popular chef among the LGBT community thanks to her partnership in helping to transform 13th Street, will also be adding the fresh ingredients to dishes on her menu. In fact, each of the chefs will create special dishes using the garden-fresh ingredients with a portion of proceeds benefiting City Harvest.

Out chef Marcie Turney

“This unique project brings together an amazing team of corporate partners, great chefs, landscape architects, academics and urban farmers,” says PHS President Drew Becher. “Our goal is to engage residents and visitors in the beauty and impact of community gardens, and inspire them to support programs that build healthy communities.”

The transformed landscape, covering nearly 32,000-square-feet, includes an herb and vegetable production area, flower beds, blue spruce, topiaries, and patches of found art from the site’s excavation – enough to dazzle any horticultural-loving homo. A meadow of red clover, grasses, grains and corn are also planned this summer.

Fortunately for Philly, chefs aren’t the only ones who will be able to visit the new garden through late October. Free on-site events are also being offered, including horticultural workshops on container gardening, flower arranging and organic pest control. Visitors are also greeted by an “écolibrium,” an exhibit of sustainable building and gardening, that was created by Temple University Ambler. It was first seen at this year’s Flower Show (to rave reviews) and combines classic French garden components and the art of Piet Mondrian with sustainable design. The PHS tells us Mondrian’s geometric grid compositions inspired the pattern of the entire Pop Up landscape.

Check out a slideshow of the Market Street garden:

Pop Up Garden, 20th and Market, Wed.-Thurs. (noon-2 p.m.).