Something was cooking yesterday at the Reading Terminal Market, but it wasn't just DiNic's roast pork.
The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. launched the Philly Homegrown project inside the market to get more people to buy locally grown food.
Philly Homegrown was created to help the region become known for more than just cheesesteaks, said Jeff Guaracino, vice president of communications for GPTMC.
"People don't normally think of Philadelphia as this place with lots of healthy, home-grown food," he said. "We're trying to change that. . . . It's just another way of showing people locally grown food is all around them."
The effort includes a website, www.visitphilly.com/food, where visitors can find out where to buy locally produced food and which restaurants serve it.
A study by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), released in January, found that there are 45,000 farms in the region's foodshed, an area within a 100-mile radius of Philadelphia. Only 21 percent of consumers usually seek out locally grown food, according to a survey by the DVRPC, GPTMC and the William Penn Foundation.
"Philadelphia has great public markets," said Paul Steinke, general manager of the Reading Terminal Market. "And we look forward . . . to trying to recruit new visitors to our markets because we always appreciate people leaving with full bags."
Deirdre McDermott, business manager of the White Dog Cafe in West Philadelphia, said that the cafe likes knowing how its food is treated before it's cooked.
"Almost all of our food is locally grown," she said. "We like to support our local farmers, and we believe the food is fresher and better because it's not trucked across the country."
Philly Homegrown will gauge the success of its effort by monitoring restaurants that use local food and by keeping track of the number of unique visitors to its website, said Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive of GPTMC. But, mostly, GPTMC aims to make Philadelphians a little more spontaneous.