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Kimberton Whole Foods in Downingtown
By Carol Revak

CSA members living near Downingtown are thrilled that Kimberton Whole Foods now has a location very near to them! Terry Brett, owner of Kimberton Whole Foods, opened a second location of his store at the Milltown Square complex in the center of Downingtown. Milltown Square is an exciting redevelopment project: Karen and Andy Hicks of Tripoint Properties renovated the property that formerly housed a SuperFresh grocery store at the corner of Pennsylvania and Wallace Avenues (kitty-corner from Kerr Park). Their overall concept was to create a high-quality market space shared by multiple vendors, similar to the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. Other stores include a produce shop, bakery, cafe, wine shop (serving PA wines), butcher/deli, and a sushi place. There is also a seating area plus a small stage, which can be used by local groups for community programs and entertainment (check the website at www.milltownmarket.com for daily events). Milltown Square is large enough to accommodate multiple vendors, yet small enough to retain its 'home-town community' feel.

Kimberton Whole Foods is the largest tenant at the Milltown Square complex, occupying about 4,000 sq. ft. of retail space. (This is about 80% the size of their Kimberton location.) All of the great products you find at the Kimberton store are available in Downingtown.

Kimberton Whole Foods' mission is to support sustainable environmental practices and the individual's quest for a healthier lifestyle while also building strong community ties. The expansion to Downingtown is in keeping with that mission, Terry says. Terry wants to support organic farming in the U.S., and — whenever possible — support the small farmer. Large corporate-based whole food chains can push out the small farmer because of the higher fees and/or larger quantities that they require. Smaller stores and distributors are more geared toward serving the needs of the farmers in their communities. But, he added, larger stores can sometimes obtain better pricing due to the volume of business they do. By growing Kimberton Whole Foods and moving to a second location, he is able to take advantage of some quantity price breaks while still remaining true to his philosophy of supporting the small farm. In addition, he said, moving to the Downingtown area brings Kimberton Whole Foods closer to a group of constituents who were finding the drive to Kimberton an onerous expenditure of time and fuel.

Terry Brett, owner of Kimberton Whole Foods
True to his stated philosophy, Terry has been very supportive of Maysie's Farm since its inception. In the two years that Sam spent learning how to grow vegetables and preparing the farm for large-scale vegetable production, Kimberton Whole Foods was his most reliable market. Recognizing the value of just-picked, local, organic produce, the store would generously offer Sam a better price than it was paying its other suppliers. And in 1997, when Sam started the CSA, instead of treating it as a competitor, Kimberton Whole Foods helped promote it with a very supportive article in the store's newsletter. Nowadays, Terry supports the educational programs of Maysie's Farm Conservation Center by speaking at the Teacher Training Workshops and donating delicious lunches for them.

I asked Terry how he got started in this business in the first place. Terry, who described himself as a "former hippie who preferred wandering through the woods reading philosophy books" said he is probably more surprised than anyone that he ended up on the business/retail management side of farming. But, he is certainly successful at it!

Terry and his wife, Patricia (Pat), originally became involved with the store about twenty years ago, when they were hired by Kimberton Waldorf School to work on the Seven Stars Farm. Terry's main responsibility at that time was making the Seven Stars Yogurt. He recalls pouring the yogurt mixture by hand into cups, and then capping each one of them, again by hand. This is certainly a far cry from the packaging methods used today for that product, which is now shipped across the country. While Terry made the yogurt, Pat ran the store, which operated out of a section of the dairy barn. Through the passage of time, Kimberton Whole Foods Store became its own entity, and it has now been in operation for 17 years at its downtown Kimberton location. Terry presently handles the business management side of the store, and Pat has recently taken over the operation of the Café, formerly known as the Sunflower Café, which is located within the store.

The Café at the Kimberton location has truly been growing in popularity, and it is rare to find an empty seat there during the lunch hour. In addition to items made to order at the Café, Kimberton Whole Foods has recently begun packaging their own prepared foods, such as sandwiches, soups and salads. These can be picked up to-go from the cold cases on the store floor. The pre-made items are available at the new Downingtown location, as well. Terry sees this as a growing market and he may be looking at expanding their ready-to-eat food offerings in the future.

And — for those of you who are searching for organic restaurants — about 95% of the food items at Kimberton Whole Foods Café are organic. Terry says that the only times they must use non-organic is when the price of organic ingredients would be truly cost-prohibitive. We will review of the Café at Kimberton as part of our "Search for Organic" restaurant series in an upcoming Maysie's Farm CSA Newsletter.

In the meantime, be sure to visit the new location of Kimberton Whole Foods at 150 E. Pennsylvania Avenue in Downingtown. Hours are Wed.-Thurs. from 9am-7pm, Fri.-Sat. from 9am-8pm and Sun. from 10am-6pm.

We Need Your Help!

With the 2004 CSA season just around the corner, we're once again putting out a call for volunteers at Maysie's Farm. Those of us who already volunteer can attest to the fact that the more you put into the farm, the more you'll get out of it! There are many different opportunities:

  • Join the Core Group — this is the team that organizes the potluck dinners and picnic and helps the CSA run smoothly.
  • Become a Distribution Manager — stay a little longer on your pick-up day to help in the barn, keep the vegetable bins stocked, and direct people to the pick-your-own beds.
  • Help in the garden — the herb beds and Children's Garden especially need help from us! And then, of course, there's always weeding and mowingÉ!
  • Take on a project — build a biodiesel production system, create a sign for the farm, organize a MFCC team for the "Walk for Your Watershed" event, write a column in our newsletter...
There's absolutely NO EXPERIENCE required to become a volunteer! Why not consider it? For more information, contact Carol Revak at 610 942-2204 or at crevak@comcast.net.

Restaurant Review: Crocodile Café in Wayne
by Ken Wittle

As it turns out I eat at the Crocodile Café almost every day I am in town. I always recognized that their food is fresh and "homemade." When I asked if they were "Organic" I was told that they buy fresh and will attempt to use organic products when available. Their web site states: Crocodile is committed to serving the most flavorful, authentically prepared food you'll find anywhere. All menu items are prepared from the freshest ingredients — many purveyed from specialty food producers and organic farmers. You will taste the difference!

You have probably seen their white trucks with the Crocodile and their web site www.Croccater.com on the side. Crocodile caters many breakfast functions, luncheons and corporate affairs. In the Café they offer at least three soups and chili on a daily basis and a daily special, which is usually a wrap or salad. Over the past five or more years I have probably tried everything on the menu. You can never go wrong eating their soups (chicken noodle to turkey stuffing) and the chili is excellent, either in a bowl or on the taco salad. Sandwiches range from Turk-O-Dile (which currently includes sliced turkey, guacamole, pepper jack cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, olive oil and red wine vinegar. The name, Turk-O-Dile, never changes but what's inside does) to the always great smoked salmon BLT.

I am hooked on their salads — either a Cobb or Mediterranean — grilled chicken, roasted peppers, hummus, artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, red onion and fresh parsley — with the house-made balsamic vinegar. The Crocodile Café is located at Suite 2001, 940 West Valley Rd., West Valley Corporate Center, Wayne, PA 19087. When you get lost trying to find it, call 610-971-9993. It's just down the street from the Southeastern Regional Post Office. Crocodile Café is open Monday through Friday 10:30am to 2:30pm. Kurt Linneman, owner of Crocodile Café, and his family, became members of Maysie's Farm CSA last year.

Crocodile Café
940 West Valley Road, Suite 2001
West Valley Corporate Center
Wayne, PA 19087
Phone: 610-971-9993 / Fax: 610-971-9739
Store Hours: Monday-Friday 10:30am -2:30pm

Wed., May 26, 2004, 2-7 PM

Fri., May 28, 2004, 12-5 PM

Tues., June 1, 2004, 2-7 PM
(on Tuesday because of Memorial Day holiday)

Some of the "Core Group"

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