Grocery Shopping at Broad Street Market: Guest Feature

by: Sara Bozich
December 12, 2017

The following is a guest post by Andrea Black, Friends of Midtown

“So, I can totally see why you love the Market.”

That’s what a recent transplant to the Harrisburg area told me after his first visit to Broad Street Market.

“That was an awesome experience, and I definitely will be going back there more often,” he said.

broad street market

With its two buildings bustling with diners, shoppers, and browsers, it’s pretty obvious that this friend and I weren’t alone in our love for Broad Street Market.

In the Market’s Stone Building, you’ll find lunch options for everyone, from Indian, Jamaican or Greek food to burgers, barbeque, and cookies. Plus, with the addition of Zeroday Øutpost at Broad Street Market, you can grab a beer with lunch!

Announcing: Zeroday Øutpost at Broad Street Market

In the Market’s Brick Building, you’ll find some prepared food vendors, but you’ll also find traditional market vendors selling produce, meat, cheeses and many other grocery staples. It’s where I do most of my grocery shopping. In fact, I haven’t shopped at Giant, Weis, Karns or Wegmans in at least two years.

What I can’t buy at Broad Street Market, I used to pick up a Rite Aid or Target, but now that Provisions is open at Strawberry Square, I can round out my Market grocery shopping with a quick trip to Provisions.

I do my grocery shopping at The Market on Saturday mornings, after doing a small group class at Next Step Performance (it’s just a couple of blocks down 3rd Street).

Post class, I’m usually starving, so my first stop is at Lil’s Pretzels for a sausage, egg, and cheese pretzel log. Yes, it is as delicious as it sounds!

Next stop is Elementary Coffee Co. for my dose of caffeine. The line for coffee is usually pretty long, so I have time to eat breakfast while I wait. After coffee time and some socializing, I head off in search of groceries. I’m a creature of habit, so I shop at the same handful of vendors every week.

I start in the back of the building at Peach Ridge Produce, where I pick up most of the fruits and veggies I need. Peach Ride has a good selection of basic fruits and vegetables, sometimes locally grown depending on the season, and they also have a pickle bar with dozens of options.

Next, I stop at JB Kelly Seafood Connection for some fantastic, wild Alaskan sockeye salmon. Like I said, I’m a creature of habit. If I weren’t, I’d pick up some sushi-grade tuna, or maybe homemade crab-cakes or smoked salmon spread. Maybe I’ll do that next week …

Hummer’s Meats is my next stop, where I buy all the meat, cheese, and eggs I need for the week. Lately, I’ve been really into their petite filets, which are the perfect size for topping a salad. Hummer’s also has the best chicken salad I’ve ever eaten. Seriously.

My last stop for groceries is at Radish & Rye Food Hub. This is the only place where I tend to buy totally different things every week. One week, I’ll pick up salsa, salad dressing, crackers, and carrots, and the next week I might pick up mushrooms, purple sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and bread. Fun fact: they’ll even slice your loaf of bread for you!

The absolute last stop I make during my Broad Street Marker shopping is at D. McGee Design Studio for a small bouquet of fresh flowers to perk up my living room.

Like I said, I’m a creature of habit. There are many, many, many other vendors where you could grocery shop, and they’re all listing on Broad Street Market’s website.

Take a look and make your shopping list. I’ll see you at the Market on Saturday!

Meet Andrea Black

Business Co-Chair, Friends of Midtown

Andrea Black is a midtown Harrisburg resident who spends entirely too much time at Broad Street Market. On non-Market days, you can find her practicing her unicycle riding or working out at Next Step Performance. She is also Business Co-Chair and candidate for president of Friends of Midtown.

A Day in the Life of Stuart Landon: Guest Feature

by: Sara Bozich
December 5, 2017

The following is a guest post by Stuart Landon, Open Stage of Harrisburg

In 2007, Donald L. Alsedek, co-founder of Open Stage of Harrisburg, cast me in their annual production of A Christmas Carol. Ten years later, I find myself not only directing that show but knee-deep in my first year as Producing Artistic Director at Harrisburg’s oldest professional theatre company. For nearly half that time, I have also served as Director of Community Engagement at Midtown Cinema, a place I adore, full of films I love. Every day is full of quirky twists. And lots of art. And coffee.

So, welcome to a Stuart Landon Day.

7:00 a.m. — Wake up.

7:01 a.m. — Go back to sleep.

7:22 a.m. — Wake up again. Begrudgingly.

7:36 a.m. — Coffee. Cats have been fed and watered. Still ungrateful. Dog seems to like me fine.

stuart landon

9:00 a.m. — Meeting at Midtown Cinema yields an exciting list of to-dos for our first-run films and upcoming screenings of holiday classics. I love Jimmy Stewart.

10:36 a.m. — Stop by Broad Street Market, where I pick up my Spiral Path CSA, along with groceries from Dusty and Julia at Radish and Rye. I grab a cup of coffee (with cardamom!) from Andrea at Elementary Coffee and a bite from Lil’s Pretzels. Yum.

10:58 a.m. — Phone call on my drive downtown: Midtown Cinema’s film buyer, a fantastic character named Steve (who I imagine sits in a smoky office, yelling into three rotary phones). We book Loving Vincent for a run at the cinema to complement the runaway hit Lady Bird. 

11:15 a.m. — Arrive at Open Stage. I greet my sister, Rachel, who is working on Open Stage’s Facebook Page. Rachel recently joined the company as Market Manager.

11:17 a.m. — Discussion with David Glasgow, Director of Music and Education, regarding sound design for The Santaland DiariesBrainstorm on the show’s tour to River City Blues.

11:27 a.m. — Matt Golden and Jennie Adams, who I get to sit next to as part of Midtown Cinema’s Down in Front! team, discuss our annual screening of Santa Conquers the MartiansI truly love riffing with these gooms every second Friday. It’s a great way to never get hours of your life back.

stuart landon

11:52 a.m. — Sarah Adams, the Office Manager, and I discuss dressing room organization for the 34 actors in A Christmas Carol, opening this weekend. As we clean up, we discover a strange array of lost items from shows past: an old wig, one shoe, styrofoam mermaid, a bottle of soy sauce from 1998, and a basket of candy with questionable origins.

2:22 p.m. — A cast member drops by to pick their script for Akeelah and the Bee, which we have just finished casting. I text Sharia Benn, Akeelah Co-Director, a longtime company member, and Managing Director of Sankofa African-American Theatre Company.

3:06 p.m. — I try to face down the pile of scripts on my desk I am looking at for next season. There are so many amazing shows out there, and OSH has a history of seasons packed with brilliant, awe-inspiring and thought-provoking plays. I get another cup of coffee instead. There’s a lot to do, and this will have to wait for another day.

3:16 p.m. — The spring semester calendar is decided on for the newly named The Alsedek Theatre School. Our class schedule for kids, teens, and adults requires a lot of juggling.

4:45 p.m. — I chat with Nick Hughes, who plays Scrooge and is a Board Emeriti, about the future of the theatre’s layout. For over 25 years, Open Stage has had one venue here on Court Street; I dream of adding a second studio to the space.

5:10 p.m. — Exchange texts with Harrisburg’s man about town, Adam Porter, who manages Midtown Cinema, runs st@rtup Harrisburg and is co-owner of Provisions. We are hitting record numbers this week at the Cinema. After a slow summer in Hollywood, it seems some indie hits are rolling in.

stuart landon adam porter

5:15 p.m. — Quick dinner at McGrath’s with my awesome boyfriend. I order the Reuben.

6:30 p.m. — After popping some Rolaids, I mentally prepare for tech rehearsal. One more cup of coffee.

6:41 p.m. — Usual rigmarole occurs as actors pour in and I am inundated with questions regarding costumes, entrances, and the location of the fake turkey.

6:49 p.m. — After a sweetly nudging reminder text from Sammi Leigh Melville, our resident movie reviewer at Midtown Cinema, I shoot an email to a film distributor to acquire a screener copy of a film next month.

7:13 p.m. — The run of A Christmas Carol begins. I sip my coffee and smile. The Angino Family Theatre disappears into a blur of haze, fog, snow and dazzling lights as the ghosts swirl across the stage in a danse macabre.

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10:17 p.m. — The actors have all left, and the last of the staff members are closing up Open Stage. We sweep, turn off the lights and lock the doors. Once again –not for the first or last time– as I check the front door on my way out, I find myself grateful. Grateful that I auditioned for A Christmas Carol 10 years ago. Grateful for the hours spent answering the phone at the box office, grateful for the dozens of shows, hundreds of actors and designers and directors and students who have been a part of my time at the theatre. I’m so grateful for the hectic days and sleepless nights, and grateful that the Alsedeks created such a beautiful theatre company. And I’m grateful for coffee.

Meet Stuart Landon

Producing Artistic Director at Open Stage of Harrisburg and Director of Community Engagement at Midtown Cinema.

Born an Okie, reared a Texan and schooled a Sooner, Stuart has been a proud resident of Midtown Harrisburg since 2007. He also directs the musical for Capital Area School for the Arts (CASA) and has also worked at Allenberry Playhouse, Millbrook Playhouse, Lyric Theater of Oklahoma City, Findlay Summer Stock, and Houston’s Theater Under the Stars.

Responsible Sourcing and Toy Tomatoes: Guest Feature

by: Sara Bozich
November 28, 2017

The following is a guest post by Kurt Wewer,
The Garlic Poet Bar & Restaurant and Grain + Verse Bottleshop

Welcome to the Holidays!

You’re probably shopping for your holiday get together(s), and hopefully, you’re finding new and adventurous recipes to try out.

With those new and adventurous recipes comes new and adventurous products you’ll be hunting down all over Central PA and beyond.

It’s the harvest season, and although the bounty of summer has come to an end, there is still awesome product available that is the epitome of autumn in the northeast.

Everyone is looking for that perfect butternut squash, broccoli rabe, pomegranate, or a bunch of sage, and I feel it’s time we had a little discussion about what exactly you’re looking for.

What to look for in produce

It’s time to rethink the common view of how food needs to appear for it to be the best, most flavorful, or just plain old “good.”

Somewhere we got caught up in the idea that raw ingredients are supposed to look like children’s plastic toys — blemish free and perfect.

I have been growing food my whole life, and the best tomato I’ve ever eaten — in my professional cook’s opinion — was the absolute ugliest thing I pulled out of my garden! I had to cut off huge chunks because they were actually rotten.

tomato kurt wewer

The rest of it, though, was absolute bliss!

I’ve never tasted a tomato that was perfectly red and impossibly shiny that had the same flavor.

This isn’t news to everyone who embraces farmer’s markets and local agriculture, but I shop in farmer’s markets, and I still see less than perfect produce getting left behind in the crates.

At the grocery stores, it’s even more pronounced.

That one craggy misshapen apple is still that local producer’s pride and joy, and the fruits of their hard labor and long hours. Let me tell you — it tastes just the same!

Shifting our paradigm and truly supporting these tiny businesses is hugely important to help fix the food system, and as a food service professional, I beg anyone who is not making a solid effort to shop locally: please start now!

Where to source locally

Maybe you already do that. Maybe I’m preaching to the choir.

At the risk of sounding like an advertisement (oh well) maybe you know that JB Kelly’s seafood is super primo quality, or that Mezza Cafe’s tabbouleh and stuffed grape leaves are kick ass. 

Maybe you know Elementary Coffe Co.’s coffee beans and drinks are just amazing, and that Radish and Rye holds down the best offering of actual small producer product from Central PA. Fantastic!

photo by Broad Street Market


From someone who is entrenched in the world of food –Thank you! You are making a difference in the availability and variety of Central PA-sourced-product, which makes it a lot easier for me to source what I need to make awesome, responsibly sourced restaurant fare. It’s really important.

Here’s the thing, whether you frequent your local producer or not, I ask you this question: Would you be willing to pay a little less and do a smidge more knife work for a bruised butternut squash that you know tastes better?

This is the question we need to start saying yes to. Saying yes to this is the key to the solution of so many problems that plague the current global food system.

Small farmers can grow better food with fewer chemicals if you’re willing to accept and love that hail-damaged apple.

Big farmers that are practicing monocultural agriculture can start growing more diverse food on more land if they know that they can sell you that less than perfect cucumber.

Demand for U.S. grown corn, soy, and wheat is down significantly, and I can imagine that if those farmers knew that you would still love, enjoy, and pay for bushels of bruised and tasty tomatoes every summer, maybe, just maybe, they’d diversify and embrace more responsible agriculture, but that starts with the consumer.

Say yes to ugly produce!

kurt wewerMeet Kurt Wewer

Executive Chef, Garlic Poet Restaurant & Bar, and Grain + Verse Bottlehouse, New Cumberland, Pa.

Kurt G. Wewer is a self-taught chef, butcher, forager, and farmer. Kurt helped to establish and now harvests from an urban, aquaponic micro-farm that provides fish, greens, micro-greens, and edible flowers for these award-winning restaurants. Responsible sourcing is at the heart of Kurt’s philosophy as a chef, where he maintains relationships with 60+ small local businesses throughout the year. During his time away from #restaurantlife he can be found doing numerous outdoor activities with his two children, playing music locally, or with his hands in the soil (water).

4 Things To Know About Coffee: Guest Feature

by: Sara Bozich
November 21, 2017

The following is a guest post by Peter Allan, Little Amps Coffee Roasters

If you’ve asked me “what’s up,” lately, and I said, “not much, you?” I lied. Sorry about that!

It’s just that I’ve been pretty into my work and totally stoked on it. If you’re a Harrisburger, you most likely know I’m team Little Amps.

What you might not know is that I am not a barista. I am many things, but I can’t take the credit for the awesome service and tasty drinks delivered by the friendly and hard-working baristas in our shops every day.

What I can take some credit for is the high level of coffee we are producing. Along with AC [owner Aaron Carlson], I buy our green coffee, help set roast profiles, and run quality assurance on all brewing parameters in our shops.

I also travel a lot, as we’ve been super lucky to build up an excellent wholesale program with like-minded coffee folks all over Central PA and beyond.

All of this action with our staff and other specialty coffee heads has been very stimulating, and I’m feeling energized to head into the new year, so please read my mind.

Coffee is a fruit

This is a real eye-roller for my peers, but I think the agricultural importance of this statement alone is enough to bear repeating.

Like a lot of fruits, coffee cherries grow on trees. Actually, they grow on little three-foot shrubs. These shrubs take about three to four years to produce fruit ripe enough for harvesting.

coffee puerto rico


This is a big reason why the recent hurricane in Puerto Rico was so devastating to their coffee production. Harvest season had just started when Maria completely wiped out the majority of the island’s coffee.

NPR ran a pretty compelling article on this for those who might want to dive deeper.

We also have a GoFundMe page to ensure the home community of one of our baristas receives some attention and resources.

Coffee is not immune to climate change

Remember, what we drink is the seed of a fruit. All the coffees we buy rely on consistent and particular altitudes, soil qualities and weather patterns.

As our world’s climate starts to shift, our industry needs to be prepared for the change.

It’s a little early to tell, but it’s possible that we’ll start buying specialty coffee from emerging places like China, Vietnam, or even northern California.

While this is exciting, we must also keep in mind the adverse impacts climate change could have on countries whose economies rely heavily on coffee, both specialty and commodity.

coffee process

Not to mention the possible economic impact on producer countries if and when things shift.

A lot of people work really hard to get that seed. Pickers harvest the coffee cherries and take them to washing stations, where more people use high and low technology to wash the cherries, sort the good from the bad, and strip the cherry flesh and mucilage away from the seed to dry and be prepared for shipment.

This gets pretty deep, and if you’re interested, I’d recommend reading the handy guide from Cafe Imports.

I’m okay with Starbucks!

I had to slide this in because honestly, specialty coffee owes a lot to the green mermaid. Way back when, S-Bux was one of the first companies to tag countries of origin to coffee.

It may seem standard today to say “oh yeah, I like Ethiopian coffee,” but 30-40 years ago consumers weren’t thinking too much about all that agricultural and origin stuff I brought up earlier.

In fact, coffee houses were hardly present before Howard Schultz set about on a mission to channel the espresso bar culture of Italy.

I honestly feel like the heat is wearing off, but when I first started in coffee 5+ years ago, customers and baristas alike were quick to bash “the bux.”

I think these days it’s kind of like enjoying a Pizza Boy Sour sometimes, and a Bud Light Lime other times. Right?

You can make better coffee at home

And you can do it pretty easily.

Sure, it requires some small equipment investments, but if you’re looking to brew for just a couple of people, you can get started in our shops or online with a Hario grinder, Beehouse ceramic dripper, filters and a scale.

But how do you make it?

pour over coffee

Start with a brew ratio, the amount of coffee to water. This gets pretty personal to your tastes, but I think to start with a 1:16 ratio is safe for all homebrew methods (unless you’re ripping espresso shots, then I’m just jealous!).

If you’re on the Beehouse or other dripper tips, this should look something like 22g coffee to 352g (12 oz.) water.

Most grinders will give you a starting point for your preferred brew method, but you can always skip that and go straight to the internet, which is full of resources.

Make sure your water is filtered and hot (205 degrees) and brew away.

There is a lot of opinion on technique, but I say start simple with two pours.

The first is your “bloom,” 60-70g water to saturate your beds. After blooming for 45 seconds, pour the rest of your water in with steady concentric circles and watch your beautiful brown liquid drop down.

Meet Peter Allan

peter allan little ampsCo-owner, Little Amps Coffee Roasters, Harrisburg, Pa.

Peter Leonard aka Peter Allan is a Harrisburg native with a passion for human connection and tasty drinks. He is a co-owner of Little Amps Coffee Roasters and manages the company’s wholesale program along with green coffee buying, Q.A. and Q.C. and a bunch of other jobs depending on the day. He and his family proudly reside in Midtown Harrisburg.

Categories: Guest Feature

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