People driving by the Coventry Mall on a Tuesday afternoon may notice a big, colorful truck parked in the lot near the First National Bank with a line of people carrying bundles of fruits and vegetables.

The Fresh2You Mobile Market brings affordable healthy produce to the community by visiting several locations throughout Chester County on a weekly basis.

The truck stops at the mall location in North Coventry, which is right outside of Pottstown, every Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m. Other stops in Chester County include Phoenixville, Coatesville, Kennett Square and more.

The public can visit the food truck throughout the growing season until Nov. 23.

“You can’t beat the prices,” said Christine Allen, of Pottstown, who was one of the first customers to arrive at the fresh food truck when it stopped in North Coventry this week.

“It’s helping me because it’s cheap and affordable,” Allen said adding that she hopes more people living in Pottstown become aware of the truck and its offerings.

The mobile market accepts all forms of payment and there is even an incentive for those shopping with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) benefits.

There is a dollar-for-dollar match for the two programs. People who use their benefits to purchase produce at the food truck will receive “veggie bucks” for every dollar spent; then, the next time they visit the market, they’re able to use that money for even more food.

“We’re basically doubling their buying power,” said Alex Steinmetz, Fresh2You Mobile Market assistant manager.

Steinmetz said the reception at the North Coventry location has been amazing and that they could tell the public really wanted them there since it started adding the stop to their schedule in 2018.

“It’s just been incredible this year,” she said. “The word is really getting out.”

Not only do customers get to buy fresh produce at the mobile market but they also learn how to use the food with a recipe demonstration. A new recipe is provided to customers every week and an intern or volunteer with the Chester County Food bank then demonstrates how to make the recipe. If after trying the sample, people like the dish then they can buy a bundle with all the recipe’s produce ingredients for $5.

Allen said the recipe demo allows her to try new dishes that she wouldn’t have an opportunity to taste otherwise.

“It’s forced me to try things that I have never eaten before,” she said. “Every single time that I have come, I have bought the bundle.”

This week’s recipe was a chilled cucumber soup. Along with the recipe, the printed handout also included information about cucumbers including storage tips which has been provided below.

ALL ABOUT CUCUMBERS

Fun Fact: Cucumbers are 96 percent water. Cucumbers contain ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, which prevent water retention and is why some people use cucumbers to help with swollen eyes, burns and dermatitis.

Choose cucumbers with a bright even color skin. The skin should also be firm with no soft spots. Avoid cucumbers that are too big! The bigger they are, the less flavor and more seeds they will have. Small- medium is the way to go.

Uses: Cucumbers are best in their raw form! Try eating them as a snack, add to your favorite salads, or even make a soup out of them!

Storage: Try to avoid storing cucumbers in the refrigerator as they are sensitive to the cold. They will fare much better on the countertop but be sure to use in less than 3-5 days. Also avoid storing near fruit (especially melons, tomatoes and bananas) as this will cause cucumbers to yellow and deteriorate quickly.

CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP RECIPE

Servings: 4 -6

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup Great Northern beans,

cooked and drained

3 1/2 large cucumbers, peeled and

seeds scooped out (save half

cucumber for topping)

1 garlic scape

3-4 small sprigs fresh dill

1/2 cup water

2 tsp salt

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Topping:

1/2 cucumber, diced, with peel on

1 ear of fresh corn, cut from cob

1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

1-2 scallion greens, thinly sliced (save bottoms for another recipe)

Preparation:

1. In blender, add all ingredients.

2. Blend for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour to chill, or substitute 1 cup of ice instead of water to blender.

For the topping:

3. Mix diced cucumber, corn, dill and scallions in a bowl. Add or substitute any other ingredients (hot peppers!) you desire. Just keep it fresh and crunchy!

4. When ready to serve, put chilled cucumber soup in a bowl and add 2-3 tbsp of topping. Serve immediately and enjoy!

For a full list of healthy recipes including those that have been demonstrated at the fresh food truck, visit chestercountyfoodbank.org/recipes/

For more information about the Fresh2You Mobile Market and its weekly stops throughout Chester County, visit chestercountyfoodbank.org/programs-education/nutrition-education/fresh2you-mobile-market/

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