New food service provider is named at Glen Foerd estate

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.glen­ 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 lan­caster­farm­ or call 717-656-3533 for in­form­a­tion. ••

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