Some major changes are afoot for the Glen Foerd estate, most notably inside the kitchen.
The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation has not renewed the the contract of longtime in-house caterer Jack Conroy and selected a new one through a recently completed bidding process. Jamie Hollander Gourmet Foods of New Hope will be the new food service provider for the publicly owned 19th-century mansion and popular banquet facility at 5001 Grant Ave.
During the monthly meeting of the East Torresdale Civic Association on March 10, Glen Foerd’s Executive Director Meg Sharp Walton said that Conroy Catering had been the site’s exclusive caterer since 1994. But with the Fox Chase-based firm’s contract due to expire this year, the Philadelphia City Charter required an open bidding process for a new contract. Conroy and Hollander were the two finalists.
The expiration of Conroy’s contract coincided with the expiration of the Glen Foerd Conservation Corporation’s 20-year lease of the site. The GFCC pays a nominal annual fee to the city to occupy and manage the 18-acre park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. GFCC recently signed a new 20-year lease, Sharp Walton said.
The GFCC’s stated mission is to educate the public about the site through programs in the arts, nature and history, as well as to protect the buildings and landscape of the estate. Catering remains a critical component of the site’s financial viability. Three-fourths of the site’s funding comes from catering operations, Sharp Walton said. In the future, the nonprofit GFCC hopes to diversify its funding streams through its membership initiative, other public programs and private-sector campaigns.
Glen Foerd will relocate its catering tent from the south side of the mansion to another portion of the property to accommodate a new garden restoration effort.
Sharp Walton hopes to recreate the gardens as they appeared a century ago when the site was the private home of Robert H. and Caroline Foerderer and their family. The GFCC’s collections include detailed plans of the historic gardens.
Starting April 25, visitors to the estate will benefit from a new public tour format and schedule. The new Upstairs Downstairs Tour will be offered at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
In addition, the estate will host the Emerging Artist Music Series, photography workshops, an Easter Egg Hunt, Sunrise Easter Service, Gardens of the Jazz Age lecture, bird walks and the Detox & Retox: Wine and Yoga day this spring.
Monthly riverfront concerts will be held during the summer, along with the Roaring 20s Regatta, Little Ugly Dog Walk/Run and another bird walk. Visit www.glenfoerd.org or call 215-632-5330 for information.
During all of that, Glen Foerd will also serve as the Northeast’s lone pick-up point for the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative’s Community Supported Agriculture Program. The program lasts 25 consecutive weeks from May through October. Participants will visit Glen Foerd each week to pick up freshly grown vegetables, fruit, herbs or flowers. Meat, chicken, eggs and cheese are also available.
Participants must pay in advance so that farmers know how much produce to deliver each week. Visit lancasterfarmfresh.com or call 717-656-3533 for information. ••