Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance Thrilled to be Moving on Up
Pittsburgh – June 7, 2016 – Just as the restaurant and farm-to-table scene in Pittsburgh continues to grow, so too does the need for businesses and infrastructure to source local food items. Accordingly, Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance is proud to announce a move to a bigger facility at 150 54th Street in Upper Lawrenceville. As of July 1, 2016 the farmer-owned co-operative, formed in 1999, will leave behind their home-base on Hamilton Avenue in order to expand their working space. With their current lease in Larimer coming to an end after four years, the move into the approximately 6,000 square foot facility will create up to 50% more operating space.
Penn’s Corner was founded by five farmers in collaboration with Bill Fuller, the Corporate Chef at big Burrito. The concept was for farmers to work together in order to realize helpful economies of scale. The family farms did not have the time to add a restaurant delivery route each week on their own. So they created a co-op where they could delegate the responsibilities of sales, delivery, and other logistics off of their plates. Of course, it relied heavily on the farmers’ volunteer labor for many years in order to get it started.
Over the years, business has been good. As more individuals, families, and businesses want to know where their food is coming from, Penn’s Corner has become a place many in the region have turned to. Eventually the farmers of the co-op were able to hire staff members to carry out the duties of the business, which allowed the growers to spend more of their precious time on their farms.
While Penn’s Corner originally focused just on wholesale and restaurant sales, now almost half of the total sales come from retail programs that were added over the last ten years. The retail programs include a multi-farm CSA that runs year round as well as an Online Farm Stand that operates like a web-based farmers market. Both retail programs focus on delivering farm fresh products to neighborhoods all over Allegheny County and the surrounding areas.
When faced with the decision to move facilities, Penn’s Corner strongly weighed the importance of being a presence in the city as opposed to a potentially more distant location out of town. “Both wholesale and retail customers have come to rely on Penn’s Corner as a Pittsburgh food hub that conveniently links together rural farms and urban markets. And we love that identity. So we are thrilled to find a new home right here in the city,” says Penn’s Corner General Manager, Neil Stauffer.