Apollo Heidelmark, Manager at the Weavers Way Co-op Mount Airy store reports that sales of beef have grown tenfold in recent years. Your correspondent was intrigued by a notice in the co-op’s E-News that the store was giving away beef fat for free so stopped in to find what that was all about! Ideally, Heidelmark would like to sell the fat but the store just has too much of it on hand. The store currently buys two cows a month from a local farmer. The cows, which are born and grow up to between 900 and 1200 pounds within six months to a year are strung up after slaughter to age. The cow is then halved and shipped to the store as a “primal” along with the beef fat. The staff cuts the beef into popular steak portions. Since flank steaks are popular but there are only two per cow, the store needs to buy additional flank steaks separately from a larger cooperative Also, to meet demand for meat, the store has acquired meat grinders to convert trimmings into ground beef. Heidelmark attributes the dramatic increase in demand to the protein value of the meat and great desirability among co-op shoppers for the meat of grass-fed cows. (The meat the coop sells comes from cows that may be “finished off” with grains.) Heidelmark anticipates coop members will render the beef fat for cooking, use it to make candles or soap or feed it to birds, squirrels and raccoons. Watch video here.
UPDATE TO DEVELOPING STORY: PHILADELPHIA GUIDELINES ABOUT SIX FOOT SPACING WERE INCONSISTENT WITH STATE, BECAME CONSISTENT and ARE NOW INCONSISTENT AGAIN, APPLYING A LOOSER STANDARD.
On October 9, Pennsylvania updated May 27 guidelines but still required 6 feet between passersby and diners.
On October 15, Philadelphia revised the guidelines again to only require a 6 foot passageway, not a 6 foot distance between diners and pedestrians. This is no longer consistent with state standards.
October 22, 2020 Several restaurants in Chestnut Hill appear compliant with state standards, more appear to exceed current city standards as shown in the photo on the left.
Documentation on extended pages.
BUT then at least one restaurant proprietor must have friends in high places. It blocks the sidewalk.
ORIGINAL STORY: Approximately July 21, 2020
Living a block and a half away from Germantown Avenue we like to stroll up and down. It's enjoyable and it's healthy. It's one of the reasons we live here.
We understand Chestnut Hill restaurants, several which we patronize (and now do more take out from) are just trying to stay financially afloat. Due to Covid19 many have added extra outdoor seating both next to the building and at the curb. But If you were to walk past a few of these restaurants you might be 2-3 feet away from open-mouthed diners, a delicious opportunity to spread the corona-virus.
In his July 17 Inquirer article,"Eating out during the pandemic is a dilemma. Outdoor dining appears to be the most safe," Craig LaBan writes "It’s nonetheless unrealistic to expect customers hungering for a taste of quarantine escape to consistently respect boundaries, just as it’s naive to expect restaurateurs, with so little guidance or oversight to suddenly become altruistic public health experts, and not try to squeeze in a few more seats than they should."
No, Mr. Laban, there may be little oversight but the guidance is clear. Pa Governor Wolf's Covid-19 *mandate* about outdoor restaurant seating is clear. "Spacing must also allow for physical distancing from areas outside of the facility’s control (i.e. such that pedestrians on a sidewalk can pass with at least six feet of distance to customer)." Source www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19/restaurant-industry-guidance
Here's the math. The average width of an adult is 1.25 feet so a pedestrian would need 6 feet distance from a table on their left side and 6 feet on the right for a restaurant to be in compliance: In other words the width of the walkway to keep both pedestrians and diners safe is *13.25* feet.
I conducted a little informal survey of how wide the pedestrian passage is at Chestnut Hill establishments with outdoor seating. The most ample passage was outside Iron Hill Brewery with a width of 9 or more feet and staggered tables. The general manager was kind enough to pose to provide a sense of scale. Outside Campbell's Place, the pedestrian passageway is 6 feet or less and similarly so at establishments at the top of the Hill. Without addressing the governor's 6 foot mandate, Campbell's owner Rob Mullen writes that according to the City's Health, L&I and Streets Department Campbell's outdoor seating is in complete compliance. (It is not clear what seating arrangement the inspectors saw when they made their inspections.) October 23, 2020 update: the city now appears to have been enforcing its own looser standards, inconsistent with state standards).
Perhaps we should just cross the street, as a friend suggests, to avoid the restaurants. Perhaps the restaurants could take away just a few tables to be closer in compliance with the law. Perhaps I should watch the next episode of "Breaking Bad" on our daughter's NetFlix account and sulk about how the only real thanks health care workers want is the one they're not getting- people and businesses uniformly embracing good public health practices and regulations. Photo gallery here Crowded outdoor restaurant seating puts diners and walkers in danger of catching Covid-19
Documentation follows about changing and conflicting Pennsylvania and Philadelphia 6 foot distancing requirement.
The "Two Fish.Five Loaves" ministry of the New Covenant Church of Philadelphia gives out free food to the neighborhood and beyond. Many volunteers help with the distribution of nearly 1000 free boxes of food each week. During these pandemic times, demand is growing according to Minister Sandra. (Volunteers are welcome to sign up for either packing or distribution tasks at https://nccop.church/2fish5loaves ) People arrive in cars, on foot and on the bus to pick up food, no questions asked. The food is provided by Common Market, a non-profit food distributor sourcing product from sustainable local farms and Caring for [Friends], also a non-profit organization. This past Saturday, boxes were brimming with fresh peaches and blueberries. Separate packages contained dry goods and meat. For the recipient, the different food items are considered one box. "Two fish, five loaves" references a Bible story in which two fish and five loaves were brought to Jesus; with it, he fed thousands with food left over. Minister Sandra says the ministry is following out Jesus' instruction to Peter to "Feed my sheep." "That's what we are doing every Saturday, feeding his sheep." Watch video interview here.
Calvary Church of Wyncote Associate Pastor Tom Tweedle and some church youth were on the front lawn of a home in East Mount Airy making a video. The finished video will encourage teens to get active in the church's youth group which is restarting in September. As one young woman pointed a hose in the air to create a gentle arc of rain over the pastor's head, another took a video of him talking into the camera. "Baby Come Back" the 1978 song by Player played aloud in the background. Expect to see the video on the Church's website calvarywyncote.com/youth/and perhaps, also, on TikTok. Watch video Watch video here
Nicole Schillinger, a registered dietition who prepares meals for her clients, was situated by a table in the back yard of Weavers Way grocery coop, Chestnut Hill, fielding questions from any comers. She's a member of the coop's Nutrition Team which holds free workshops for the public on a variety of topics. She recently conducted sessions on intermittent fasting, detoxing, making your own smoothies and, at the Weavers Way Farm at Saul High School, on essential oils. The Nutrition Team also makes itself available for on-the-spot nutrition consultations at the Weavers Way stores including Mount Airy and Ambler. Your correspondent was reassured by Schillinger that his dinner plan of pesto and rice was sound because the nuts in the pesto would complement the rice to provide a complete protein. A balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat she recommends for the main meals of the day. And, for a certain someone with a predilection for potato chips, she cautioned against exceeding 2000 milligrams of sodium that could happen with an intake of high sodium canned foods or cheeses and meats and even their alternatives. Watch video interview of nutritionist offering free healthy diet consultations at the food coop here.
Jonathan Shaw hunts with hawks and falcons from horseback at his 467 acre farm in Queenstown on the eastern shore of Maryland. At the World Horse Expo 2019 at the Farm Complex in Harrisburg, he had two prey birds, his horse and two assistants. His avian hunter is Geronimo, a gyrfalcon, which will hunt ducks and pigeons. His Harris Hawk goes for rabbits, squirrels and, he adds tongue in cheek, “small children.” Historically, Shaw says, falconers would ride horses because they could catch up with the falcon which otherwise would eat the falconer's dinner! The tradition didn't die out until the invention of the gun, the first of which was named after a sparrow hawk, a "musket." Shaw goes on to tell about all the now common expressions that come from falconry like "hoodwink", "under my thumb" and "wrapped around her little finger." Shaw's ideal horse is a pasofino because of its even gait. It won't jostle the falcon up and down when it's sitting on the falconer's glove before release. Prior, he had hunted with American Paint horses but when he was trotting around the farm his "hawk would think I was shaking a cocktail." Watch video interview of falconer describing how he hunts ducks and rabbits with his hawks and falcons while riding horseback."
A New Jersey van packed with fresh Atlantic seafood did a brisk business its first time out at the Chestnut Hill Farmers Market last Saturday. They plan to come every other week, alternating with the market they do in Bryn Mawr. Justin Hetrick introduced eager new customers and your correspondent to the fresh fish operation. "We are called Local130 Seafood [A large patriotic painting on the side of the van shouts it out] We are out of Asbury Park, New Jersey. The "130" stands for the amount of New Jersey coast line. All the fish that you see here today, with the exception of halibut which comes from New England, is coming right off the coast daily. Sea scallops out of Point Pleasant. You know Barnegat Light, Long Beach Island? We are Asbury Park, only 20 minutes from Point Pleasant and we can go the day they come in off the boat and get everything fresh that day. There’s a fleet of commercial boats that run out of there. Arguably, I think it’s the third largest port in New Jersey next to Barnegat Light and Cape May. They go out in all kinds of weather to catch us the fish that we need. We are pretty lucky and blessed to have that. Nothing here is ever frozen. Nothing that we sell in the shop is frozen. We pack it fresh and we put it on ice so it keeps the temperature nice and cold without ever actually freezing it. So it’s still soft to the touch. Here are some of the information cards that I didn’t put out yet - we have skate wings, the black sea bass, sea scallops, weakfish, fluke, A lot of people know it as flounder but we like to call it fluke. The only thing I don’t have a card for today is cod.” Watch video interview of fishmonger at Chestnut Hill farmers market in Philadelphia of fish caught fresh from Atlantic Ocean here.
A couple blocks away from the Alexandria Virginia Archaeological Museum, sea biscuits were found at the site where a bakery stood in the early 1800s. Also known as hardtack, the biscuits were food for long distance travelers and sailors because flour mixed with water then baked dry could last without spoiling (for a long time) At the museum on New Year’s Eve day, archaeologist Hilary Huley, helped visitors like your correspondent mold and imprint our own sea biscuits to take home for baking (but not consuming) Watch video making hardtack in historical Old Town Alexandria Virginia
Shortly after noon on a frigid New Years Eve day a Thai food truck owner with help from his wife and parents prepares for a long day work day in old town Alexandria, Virginia. The town hosts a “First Night” celebration with entertainers performing at several venues. The food entrepreneur expected to be serving up traditional Thai dishes along with his signature Thai tacos, funnel cake and hot chocolate until the midnight fireworks, nearly 12 hours after your correspondent spoke with him. Watch video interview of Thai food truck entrepreneur who sells Thai Tacos.
Hearing that WAWA convenience stores were giving out free coffee in celebration of International Coffee Day, on Friday morning your correspondent headed over to the Mt Airy store to grab a cup. The scene in the coffee area was crowded, festive- and a touch frenzied. The barista, who was refilling large coffee canisters non-stop, expected the store would serve about 4000 free cups that morning and said WAWA observes NATIONAL Coffee Day each year. He wasn't sure where WAWA coffee is sourced from but assured me all l needed to know was that it is the "best possible quality." It tasted just fine to me but, actually, I did want to know more so a little bit later that morning I visited the High Point Cafe in the Allen Lane train station Their barista wasn't acquainted with the unofficial holiday but quipped that every day is International Coffee day at High Point and comped me a delicious cup. He elaborated that High Point's "ethically sourced - locally roasted" coffee comes from small farms in Guatemala, Ethiopia, Sumatra and elsewhere. Watch customers crowd store for free coffee on National Coffee day and interviews.
Save A Lot grocery stores will drive you home after you shop and, as one sly driver pointed out, will drive your groceries home, too. The driver says he's back at his store for another trip every ten minutes. A $60 minimum purchase is required to hop aboard and your destination should not be more than 2 and a half miles from the store. Your correspondent conducted this interview at the Chew Ave and Washington Lane store, formerly home to a Bottom Dollar food store, where cherries were on sale for $1.99 a pound and tasty they were but cannot vouch for whether they were ethically sourced. Watch video here.