By Brenda Lange
Germantown residents soon will have the option to buy fresh,
organic, locally grown produce throughout the summer as part of a new buying
club, or community …
By Brenda Lange
Germantown residents soon will have the option to buy fresh, organic, locally grown produce throughout the summer as part of a new buying club, or community supported agriculture (CSA), getting ready to launch next month. At this time, the program is for residents of the 19144 zip code only.
Germantown Grocer is one part of the urban design consulting firm, Sally Blagg, owned and operated by David Rose, a Germantown resident since 2016. Sally Blagg, which employs five people, took its name from Rose’s grandmother “five times removed,” who came from the Carolinas. Rose describes his work as “asset-based community development and creative problem solving.” Through their work, Sally Blagg works with individuals who bring their talents and skills to the table, creating the assets on which the community will be developed.
Germantown’s rich history — in part, housing President George Washington during the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 when Philadelphia was under quarantine — attracted Rose, 35, who earned a degree in urban and public policy with minors in architecture and environmental design from the University of Buffalo. He studied in a historic preservation program at the University of Pennsylvania and worked with Partners for Sacred Places, whose mission is to protect church communities, and has found a lot of local support for historic preservation as he builds his network.
“Originally, I thought that Germantown needed food options and co-op access, and I wanted a full-scale grocer,” said Rose, “but after looking at market trends and talking to many people, I decided we needed something new school that was also old school.”
Rose says that, generally, it’s next to impossible to find fresh produce on a regular basis in Germantown, and part of his larger plan is to build to a point that that will no longer be true. Starting on June 21, residents of the 19144 area code who sign up either at sallyblagg.com/grocer or 215-436-5126 will receive a list of produce from which to place their order for a $30 box of seasonal, fresh, organic vegetables and local fruits. Buyers will be given a time slot for curbside pick-up, or in the case of certain residents, will schedule a home delivery. The program will run for 13 weeks.
Rose says that he has commissioned wooden, reusable produce boxes from local craftsmen for Grocer members to transport their orders. They also may bring their own reusable grocery bags. No plastic or paper packaging will be used in Germantown Grocer.
“We have developed relationships with local urban farmers, many of whom farm for their families and maybe extra for their neighbors. But there is a gap. Not everyone is farming, and that is our demographic,” said Rose. “We would love to teach everyone to farm on the many vacant lots around the city, but for now, we’re providing a service to the local farmers who are looking to get to market and to those who want to consume their produce.”
Recipes will be available online and through direct mail for his clients to help home chefs learn how best to utilize what may be, in some cases, unfamiliar ingredients. Ultimately, Rose wants to include a teaching kitchen in the Sally Blagg headquarters at 5520 Germantown Ave. The 1900-square-foot space will be large enough for the Grocer, a kitchen and community spaces for meetings and educational uses.
For more information, visit sallyblagg.com or call 215-839-6732.
Brenda Lange is an award-winning freelance writer and former editor of the Chestnut Hill College alumni magazine.