There's lots to do on a Saturday at Penn: eat bagels and unpack your previous night's shenanigans, twiddle your thumbs in the Van Pelt reading room to mimic the feeling of productivity, or maybe even walk into Center City.
Sure, you could spend another Saturday aimless and routineless—or you could take a short stroll to Clark Park. The Clark Park Farmers Market is located at 43rd and Baltimore and occurs every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Good music, gorgeous greenery, and plenty of vendors make for good vibes all around. With a variety of thrift pop–ups, food, art, vinyl records, and jewelry, there's no doubt you'll walk away with something tasty, or even cool.
From soaps to mushrooms and pound cake, here's a quick and dirty guide to the booths at Clark Park:
Donna Mary’s Soaps
Donna Mary’s soaps and candles look good enough to eat. With aromatic smells—or flavors—like cucumber melon, white tea and pear, and peaches and cream, and an aesthetic reminiscent of small town bakeries, it's easy to leave with a baker's dozen. Owner Nicole got interested in soaps after her daughter enticed her into buying the materials. When her daughter lost interest, Nicole says, she decided to make the soaps herself. “I just started researching and learning and now I make all–natural soaps with body butters and 100% sweet candles,” says Nicole.
Even if you're not a candle person, Nicole's larger–than–life personality warrants a visit anyways.
Pound Cake Heaven
Pound Cake Heaven is a Black and female–owned business serving West Philly a slate of homestyle desserts. With pound cakes, cupcakes, and pies in flavors ranging from carrot cake and strawberry to German chocolate, there's something for everyone at this booth. When Street chatted with one of Heaven’s employees, she recommended a layered pound cake in the sour butter flavor, a sticky–sweet concoction that always sells out.
Celebrating a birthday or a job offer that doesn't suck? Pound Cake Heaven also offers custom cakes.
Primordia Mushroom Farm
If you’re looking to fill your kitchen with something beyond sad frozen pizzas, buy some funky–looking mushrooms from Primordia Farms. This family–owned business is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania and brings lots of country flair to Baltimore Avenue. With lots of spindly, earthy–tasting 'shrooms, Primordia Farms will elevate your standard salad or stir fry.
Not sure where to start? Sahd Batista, one of the employees, says that the best seller are the Hon Shimeji mushrooms.
That’s My Jam
New to the Clark Park scene with only two months under their belt, That’s My Jam is a sneaky famers market fan favorite. The stand features delicious breakfast accoutrements—think jams, custards, and a marmalade or two. Street got to try the lemon custard, which was creamy with a slightly tart punch.
Are you a bagel for breakfast devotee? That's My Jam also offers more classic options, like strawberry and raspberry jam, for you to spread on your morning carbs.
Turk's BBQ has everything for a hearty meat lover. At his booth, the line never seems to end. Street tried the pulled pork sandwich, and its tender meat, slightly smoky flavor, and price had us obsessed. Vincent, the owner and a chef of 20 years, got into cooking because he “liked to eat.” He said that's he's only been running Turk's for the past eight months, and has built a following by being candid. His favorite dish on the menu? All of them, he says.
“We have lamb sausage, chicken, sausage, pork ribs, chicken. We have everything that you need to fill your belly,” Vincent says.
All in all, the Clark Park Farmers Market is one part destination, one part grocery store, and an essential part of the West Philly community. Come for the mushrooms (or the jam), and stay to meet your neighbors.