Community Events

Vegetables make a comeback at farm fresh grocery service in Pottstown

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Sam Bainbridge, 11, picks up his parents Tamans food order from the Pottstown YMCA Monday evening. Tamans is a fresh food service and has several healthy kid activities this month including a junior chef recipe competition.

By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury

POTTSTOWN >> The vegetables are back at Tamans, an online grocery service, and customers can now enjoy lettuce, spinach, cucumbers and more.

“A lot of people asked for dark leafy greens in the (Facebook) survey so we’re listening to our customers,” said Tamans founder Francine Way.

Tamans is an online farm fresh store that began in the Pottstown area this winter but its vegetable supplier’s greenhouses collapsed during Winter Storm Jonas. About a month ago, Butter Valley Harvest Farm in Bally started providing veggies to the service. The farm is a family-owned business and uses hydroponics to grow produce. Way said the vegetables are grown in nutrient-dense water.

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This hydroponic head of lettuce comes from Valley Harvest Farm in Bally. The farm grows vegetables in nutrient dense water and customers can keep the produce fresh by spraying water on the roots every few days.

“As the water circulates; the vitamins and the minerals get into the vegetables,” she said adding that as long as the roots stay wet then the produce will stay fresh for a week or two. “When you get them (the vegetables), it’s already moist. You can even see droplets of water in the package.”

Along with some healthy green vegetables; people can also order several other farm fresh foods through Tamans such as dairy products, meats and baked goods. People pre-order their groceries through the website pottstownymca.tamans.com then pick up the items at the Pottstown YMCA the following Monday evening. Most of the food available through the grocery service is grown using sustainable and organic methods.

“Farm foods taste different from mass-produced foods,” Way said.

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Many vegetables are now available through the Tamans food service. Butter Valley Harvest Farm in Bally provides lettuces, arugula, cucumbers and more.

Next week, families will have an opportunity to learn exactly how some of that farm fresh food is produced. A “Food Science for Kids” event will be held at the Pottstown YMCA Monday at 6 p.m. A presenter will come to teach children what it’s like to live on a farm and explain how they care for the animals. The event is free but people are asked to RSVP on the Tamans Facebook page www.facebook.com/tamansfood.

“They’ll learn where their food is coming from,” Way said. “I and our farmers look at ourselves not just as a grocery service; we also look at ourselves as educators.”

Way said Tamans is focusing on encouraging kids to eat healthy this month. They will be at the combined Pottstown YMCA Healthy Kids Day and PEAK Month of the Young Child celebration Saturday afternoon at the Pottstown High School. Tamans will have games and prizes for the kids as well as raffle giveaways for the parents.

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Sam Bainbridge, 11, picks up his parents Tamans food order from the Pottstown YMCA Monday evening. Tamans is a fresh food service and has several healthy kid activities this month including a junior chef recipe competition.

Another way Tamans is promoting healthy eating in children is through several online contests. Parents and grandparents can participate in the Healthy Kids Contest this month by buying a healthy item through Tamans then taking a picture of what they and their children do with the food. Customers then post the photo along with a short story to the Tamans Facebook page. Every Saturday; the post with the most shares, likes and comments wins a prize. The Junior Chef Recipe Competition is a contest designed for children between the ages of 4 and 12. Children can submit their healthy recipe and a photo to the email info@tamans.com before April 30. Three winners will be selected and notified in May.

Way said a lot of parents ask her for tips on how to get their kids to eat more nutritiously. She created the contests so parents could be an example of healthier eating. The theme for this week is “Make it Fun in the Kitchen” and Way said the website will have several blogs about how to make healthy foods fun.

Along with weekly recipes and blog posts, Tamans offers deals and discounts to their customers. There’s a customers’ appreciation program and a referral program that gives friends and family members 10 percent off their first purchase.

Tamans volunteer and customer Diane Shields was extremely excited when she learned about the online grocery service. In the past six months, she has been trying to purchase more farm fresh foods to stay away from preservatives found in some other stores.

“When this came up online, I went oh my gosh! This is exactly what I’m doing,” Shields said.

Shields said she really enjoys the yogurt products from Wholesome Dairy Farm and she definitely notices a difference in the flavor from the yogurt she purchases at other grocery stores.

Way said she encourages area residents to give Tamans a try and that there’s no order minimum so people can start off buying only one item. She said the grocery food service currently isn’t meeting their order minimums for the farms to be able to continue to provide their produce.

“The more people that try us out and use the service, the better we are with meeting that order minimum and staying here,” she said.

For more information about Tamans, visit the mobile friendly website www.Tamans.com or email info@tamans.com.

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