Eating Locally: Philly Foodworks

Now that I’m settled in Philadelphia, I’ve had more of an opportunity to start developing routines and to explore all the things city life has to offer. While it’s awesome to be able to walk everywhere (I’m a sucker for a good parking spot, and then never moving my car), I’ve been having even more fun exploring all the different food options.

At some point after my adolescence, Philly became a bit of a foodie spot. There are so many really good restaurants. Just in our neighborhood, we’ve hit upon top-notch cocktail bars (with pretty amazing snack foods, too), Lebanese and Greek cuisine, a ramen bar, and one of the best bakeries I’ve ever been to.

But what about food at home?

A bowl full of local greens.

Since I recently started eating meat, I’ve given even more thought than usual to my own brand of ethics and how to incorporate that into my day-to-day life. In other words: if I’m going to eat animal products, what’s the best way for me to make that as humane, sustainable, and ethical as possible?

Since I’m in a position these days where I don’t need to budget too heavily for my food, I started looking into local farmer’s markets and butchers. Turns out, in its transformation into a foodie scene, Philly also developed some pretty impressive farm-to-table resources, too.

One of those resources is Philly Foodworks. Unlike a traditional CSA, where you subscribe to receive regular harvest (usually through only certain parts of the year, Philly Foodworks acts like more of a year-round farmer’s market. They have an online shop where you can buy almost any guide of product you can think of: fruits and veggies, dairy products, local baked goods and coffee roasters, meats and cheeses from nearby farms, and even things like tinctures and spices.

Home grown coffee and cake.

They also have some subscription options (like a CSA) for some more affordable options. For the past month, I’ve signed up for a regular subscription to eggs and their Harvest Box, which includes about 6-8 different and seasonal vegetables and fruits. It’s $40 every two weeks and has generally supplied enough fruits and vegetables to hold me over without needing to make any stops at the grocery store until my next delivery arrives.

We’ve also gotten some local meats, yogurt (yes!), breads and pastries (pumpkin bread!), and I’m finally trying my first batch of locally-roasted coffee beans. Every other Friday I scan through the Market on their website to keep an eye on seasonal items, new products, and, better yet, sales. It’s been able to fit really well into my monthly food budget and I’ve seen a big difference in my approach to eating.

While it’s an option I looked into because I wanted to buy food that was more in line with my values, it’s also had a big impact on how I approach my diet and nutrition. I hate to waste food, so it’s forced me to explore new fruits and vegetables and meal prep so that I actually use them. I also always struggle to understand what’s actually in season since my usual grocery store is Shop Rite, which has the same fruits and veggies year-round. By letting local farms decide what kinds of produce I get, I’m naturally eating more in-line with the seasons.

PA peanut butter and jelly.

We’re lucky. I know this isn’t an option everywhere, nor is it an option for every budget. Because the folks behind Philly Foodworks designed their site with convenience in mind, they’ve made it almost as easy as ordering on something like Amazon Fresh – and they keep things pretty affordable.

It’s been really fun to explore these different food options and, on a more metaphorical level, feel more connected to the land on which I currently live by eating locally grown foods. It’s been a healthy and unique way to explore a new connection to this place by literally feeling nourished by it.


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