Alvernia University students are getting a hands-on education on what it takes to grow and market vegetables at the Penn Street Market this year. The university’s farm is called Bog Turtle Creek Farm and is located near Mohnton.
“Bog Turtle Creek Farm is a program designed to make healthy, fresh produce available to families in the City of Reading,” according to Jay W. Worrall, director of the Holleran Center for Community Engagement. “The farm is a student-led response to food deserts and the effects of a lack of healthy, affordable food options on low-income families in our community.”
Alvernia students, under the direction of Nora Lundberg Kahler, manage the farm and sell the produce every Friday at the Penn Street Market, located outdoors in the 800 block of Penn Street in Reading. Kahler is part of the Sustainable Food Access VISTA, meriCorps. Market hours are 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Friday until Oct. 3.
Farmer vendors’ tables are brimming with sweet corn, cantaloupes, sweet cherries, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, green and yellow string beans, new potatoes, hot peppers, sweet bell peppers, red beets, kale, swiss chard, onions, zucchini, basil and other herbs, cut flowers, eggs, and pastured poultry and pork, and cheese. Shoppers can still get a canvas shopping bag with a minimum $5 purchase of produce or honey at the Penn Street Market, courtesy of the Berks Agricultural Resource Network which sponsors the market.
Participating at the market are: Bog Turtle Creek Farm, Glenn Hoover of Railside Produce, Reinholds: Bee-utiful Harvest/ Griesemer Beekeeping of Wernersville; Country Lane Farm of Denver; Gayatri Wellness of Bernville; and Bog Turtle Creek Farm of Reading. Josefina’s Bakery, Reading, is a weekly vendor at the Penn Street Market bringing delicious Dominican pastries to tempt everyone’s appetite. And Michelle Lorah and her Perk-Up Truck sells delicious smoothies, along with hot and cold beverages.
Penn Street Market has a wireless electronic benefits machine so customers can use Supplemental Nutrition Access Program funds and other cash assistance on eligible food. This week’s restaurant is Callowhill Café and Music in the Market is provided by Pastor Steve Ohnsman from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information about Penn Street Market, visit the website at www.pennstreetmarket.org, or call 610-898-5482.
From Berks County Agricultural Coordinator