Tuesday, December 8, 2009
God Bless Harry G. Ochs Jr.
Harry Ochs is/was and has been the ONLY supplier of prime beef and spectacular veal and lamb at Reading terminal Mkt.
Harry died on Sunday. He was 80 and had been fighting cancer for a while. Harry's integrity, high standards and wit brightened my every visit to RTM.
Harry's knowledge of meats and butchering made him one of the rare living cultural treasures remaining at RTM. Harry had stories about butchering at RTM that could scarcely be believed in this time of phony and misleading signage, CryoVac, waterlogged, medicated 'natural' products. and 'butchers' aka unpackers.
Harry was crazy about Villanova basketball and the Boston Celtics. In 85-86 Harry was already in heaven. Villanova took the NCAA in 85 and the Celtics were in the NBA championship both years taking the title in 86. Harry also won Best of Philly that year.
Harry generously educated me at the butcher block, meat saw and grinder. He invited me over to use his tools anytime he had space. Harry shared his politics, sports obsessions and good judgment as freely as his smile.
RTM takes a big hit in the cultural capital vault with the loss of Mr. Ochs.
PHOTO: April Saul, Philadelphia Inquirer