by Paula M. Riley
When most Chestnut Hillers visit the Top of the Hill Farm Market, they expect to see Andy Peszka. For the past three decades, Peszka has been a fixture at the market with his friendly demeanor, extensive product knowledge and great fishing stories.
Over the years, many assumed that Peszka was the owner of the market since he was always there, interacting with customers. It wasn’t until last Monday, however, that he officially gained this title.
Peszka purchased the market from founder and owner Bill Markloff, whose family has owned the market since 1971. Markloff will remain owner of Top of the Hill Café, and Peszka will continue to provide produce and other fresh products from the market.
“We are under old management,” Peszka said. “Nothing is going to change. You will still get our great quality and excellent customer service. We will continue to give Chestnut Hillers the freshest and the absolute best fruits and vegetables.”
There will be no staff changes, and Peszka, as he has for the last few years, will be working alongside his brother Chris, who manages the prime meat market. The two brothers both began working when it was a seasonal market with farm stands located throughout Chestnut Hill.
Andy was just 13 when he sold fresh corn, tomatoes and peaches at the farm stand in the parking lot on Bethlehem Pike. He worked for Markloff every summer during high school and college. When Markloff opened the Top of the Hill Market at its present location in 1994, Andy was there.
Over the next 20 years Peszka worked his way up to manager of the market. During this time, Peszka’s workday began in the early hours of the morning when he would pick up fresh produce at farms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The same farms have been providing fruits, vegetables and flowers to the Top of the Hill for years, and Peszka likes them because they use what he calls “old fashioned farming” techniques with old-fashioned seeds and no chemically engineered methods.
In 2007, Peszka, an avid fisherman and a Master Officer in the Coast Guard, worked with Markloff to open a seafood market. Local day boats provide the wide selection of fish available at the seafood market
“Like all our products, we get the freshest we can,” Andy said.
The prime meat market was added in 2010, and offers high quality, all natural (no hormones, no antibiotics, no preservatives) meats that are fresh daily. Chris, who oversees this market, has worked in various restaurants and catering business in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He received training in Cajun and Creole Cooking at the New Orleans School of Cooking in Louisiana and in French Pro at The Cooking School at La Campagne.
“We utilize the freshest ingredients to make creative dishes,” Chris said as he described his seafood chowder, flounder with stuffed crabmeat and butterfly pork loin stuffed with spinach, sausage, and Parmesan cheese. With butcher services on the premises, all meats can be cut to order, and specialty items, such as duck or goose, can be ordered upon request.
The holiday season begins at the market, as it always does on Black Friday, with a shipment of freshly cut Christmas trees. Andy and his team will be there day and night to provide Hillers with fresh Pennsylvania trees, wreaths, roping and swags.
As always, Chris and Andy are ready to take your holiday orders, including “Seven Fishes,” filets, shrimp cocktail, lobster tail and more!
The brothers look forward to many more years of serving the people of Chestnut Hill at the Top of the Hill Farm Market.
“We love the people here – they are great,” Andy said. “When customers leave our market, they will have received great quality at competitive pricing with exceptional service. That’s how it’s always been and that’s how it always will be.”
The Top of the Hill Farm Market is located at 186 East Evergreen Ave. and is open seven days a week. For more information, contact 215-248-4170.