on June 30, 2010
I love farmers markets, and with great excitement I visited the oldest one in country, Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market. The Reading Terminal Market is located at 12th and Arch Streets in downtown Philly. It’s directly adjacent to the Philadelphia Convention Center. It’s an old Reading Railroad train shed converted to a huge indoor market over 150 yeas ago.Once inside the huge indoor market, I was bombarded with all sorts of stimuli. There were fragrant aromas wafting from the restaurants and bakeries, the sounds of the hustle and bustle off all the people in the Reading Terminal Market, and the bright colors of the signs, to the colorful food and people in the market. There are around 80 or so shops in the Reading Terminal Market, selling fresh produce, meats, fish, groceries, flowers, baked goods, books, clothing, and specialty and ethnic foods, and ice cream.Upon first glance, the high traffic volume and sounds might make the layout of the Reading Terminal Market seem confusing, but it’s fairly simple. The middle had a large seating area where you can eat the food you just bought at one of the stalls. The stalls are arranged in quadrants, with specialty and ethnic foods, such as Pennsylvania Dutch food on one corner, fresh produce and other groceries in another corner, non-food in another corner, and so on.The Reading Terminal Market is a lot of fun just to browse. You’ll see all sorts of different things that give hints to the feel of Philadelphia, foods and crafts local to the area, and some of the most fresh and beautiful looking produce around. It’s a great place to help open your eyes and discover new things. As a foodie, I love this place, I could literally spend months just coming to the Reading Terminal Market for every meal and gradually eating my way through it. There is a lot of good food and ingredients to be found here, from fresh produce, to cheeses, sausages, butchers with meat trimmed to order, and eateries of all sorts. The food here is good too, as it would have to be in order to stay in business here. Over half of the stalls in the Reading Terminal Market are ready to eat food stalls and restaurants. You can find all sorts of good food, such as pizza, pasta, Asian food, Italian food, sandwiches, Philly's signature cheesesteaks, deli food, Pennsylvania Dutch food, a lot of different desserts, and all sorts of snacks. People even come here just to eat.While roaming the Reading Terminal Market, I found the Bassetts ice cream stall and was in heaven. I’ve been reading about Bassetts ice cream and was looking forward to trying some in Philly. I ordered a cup of their famous Gadzooks ice cream and was hooked. Their Gadzooks ice cream is chocolate ice cream with pieces of brownies, peanut butter, chocolate chunks and a rich caramel swirl. It’s nice and thick, a heavy and solid ice cream, not the sissy stuff with air whipped into it. Bassetts has been in operation since 1861, and in the Reading Terminal Market since 1893. Tasting their ice cream, I could tell why they’ve been in operation for so long.The Reading Terminal Market has been in operation since 1860, and you can feel the history and tradition when roaming the stalls here. To me, this is a happy place, a place to discover, a good place to eat, and a place to people watch. When I come back to Philadelphia, I’m definitely planning on spending more time at the Terminal Reading Market. I wholeheartedly recommend visiting the Reading Terminal Market when in Philly.
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