Just a note to say how much I enjoyed "The Original Farmers Market and its bounty have been drawing crowds for nearly a century" ["This is Pittsburgh Food" by Gretchen McKay, Food & Flavor, Aug. 2]. I remember the old markets well, especially the Downtown one on the cobblestone wharf.
I was a small child then and loved to see the boats go past and the signs on the hill across. Especially the Iron City Sign and the clock.
Our farm was just outside Bridgeville, and my father and mother had a stand at the market at the Wharf and later on the North Side. They would take turns leaving the stand to go to the Diamond Market and buy food to take home that we didn't have available at home.
Our parents went to sell at the market twice a week. They had regular customers. One was an old lady I called "Gravel Gertie" -- she looked just like the one in the comics. Mom always gave her a little extra produce. She said she swam the Allegheny River many a time. Sometimes a buyer from the Strip would buy our parents' whole load.
There was a second-hand shop next to the market that my mother loved to go to. She'd come back with all kinds of things. Those were wonderful memories.
I couldn't find my dad in your photograph. I do remember some of the farmers' names.
MARION CAMPBELL GRAFE
My wife and I enjoyed Bob Batz Jr.'s article announcing that Church Brew Works won national recognition for its excellent beer products ["Church is national Large Brewpub of Year," Food & Flavor, Oct. 18]. I really want to try that Heini's Hootch ale and some others I haven't experienced yet.
My darling and I had our first date shortly after I arrived here eight years ago -- at Church Brew Works -- so the article caught my eye immediately. We -- how shall I put this? -- average 71 years of age and rarely take advantage of the South Side beer scene. But we enjoy going to Church, and it has been too long since we last joined that congregation.
We are very proud of Pennsylvania's craft breweries and decided a while back not to buy anything else. The selection and quality are quite splendid. Keep up the good work -- Bob and the breweries.
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