At The Ta­ble With Jack Foresta

The Phoenix - - NEWS - Bette Ban­jack

Re­cently I had a nice chat with Jack Foresta about the Foresta fam­ily’s long his­tory in the meat in­dus­try.

Young Jack (Vince John Foresta) was born 90 years ago on the north­side of Phoenixville. The fam­ily, in­clud­ing his par­ents and two sis­ters, Marie and Shirley, lived at 121 High St.

His grand­fa­ther had a small home­style neigh­bor­hood slaugh­ter­ing busi­ness lo­cated in a small build­ing away from the house that led to the open­ing of a shop at 214 St. Mary St. In 1939, Jack’s fa­ther, John Foresta, moved the shop to Church Street. In the early 1940s, the fa­cil­ity was turned over to Un­cle Bill Foresta.

Fa­ther John opened a slaugh­ter­ing house on West Bridge Street at Pot­house Road called Foresta Abat­toir. A house for the fam­ily was built on the prop­erty. The abat­toir was sold and stood va­cant for 20 years, at which time the Forestas bought back the slaugh­ter­ing prop­erty.

Jack was work­ing for Un­cle Bill on Church Street and also deal­ing with some slaugh­ter­ing on Bridge Street. Un­cle Bill con­fronted Jack, ask­ing which place did he re­ally want to work.

Jack an­swered the fa­cil­ity on Bridge Street, so Un­cle Bill fired him on the spot. Jack went home and told his wife, Mary Jean, he did not have a job. So he de­cided to de­velop a busi­ness. In bits and pieces, the Foresta Mar­ket was started.

Jack and Mary Jean Keen from Spring City were mar­ried in 1950. There are three chil­dren, six grand­chil­dren and six great­grand­childen, with two more ex­pected in April.

Over the years and in be­tween, Jack worked for lo­cal meat pack­ing houses. Along with Un­cle Bill, there were M.W. Roberts and A.C. Roberts.

Ten years ago, Jack turned the busi­ness over to son Scott. To­day, Scott and his two sons, Chris and Mark, are in charge. Along, with the very pop­u­lar mar­ket, they have been de­vel­op­ing a cater­ing busi­ness.

Jacks likes to cook; Mary Jean is the cleaner-up­per per­son. He cooks all kinds of foods. He is fond of seafood and shell­fish, as well as meat. In fact, to cel­e­brate his 90th birth­day, there was a clam­bake in his honor.

Jack tells a funny story about when the mar­ket car­ried seafood and shell­fish. When he com­plained to the sup­plier that there were bugs all over, the sup­plier told him par­a­sites are com­mon with seafood and shell­fish. Well, that was the end of the Forestas sell­ing them as he was not fond of bugs in prod­ucts sold in his mar­ket.

When­ever I am in Phoenixville, I stop by the mar­ket for lunch meats, as well as other meats and items I may need. At times, the lunch meat counter gets very busy. There is no num­ber sys­tem; each cus­tomer pa­tiently waits their turn. I have never seen any­one jump in be­fore their turn. If it hap­pens, it is usu­ally by mis­take.

Jack likes to cre­ate new dishes. The other day, he stuffed mul­ti­col­ored mini bell pep­pers with ground sausage and baked them in the oven. He stated, “Boy, they were good.”

Let Bette hear from you: ban­[email protected]­i­ Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cook­ing with Bette Ban­jack,” as well phoenixvil­ (search bar: Ban­jack) for this col­umn. Find Bette on Face­book by search­ing “Bette Ban­jack’s Down­town Kitchen.” Her book, “2 Cups of Yes­ter­day,” is avail­able at Gate­way Phar­macy or by con­tact­ing her.

Jack Foresta

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