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Local Food Journey

Your Local Food Weekend for September 28-29

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/27 at 09:00 AM

This weekend’s local food event list is highlighted by Oktoberfests at Tussey Mountain and Millheim, a new farmers market at the Grange Fairgrounds, Gamble Mill MusicFest, and last but not least, the WPSU International Wine Festival. Quite a slate of things to do! To learn more, keep reading…

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Local Food Journey

Mt. Nittany Vineyard & Winery hosts Winemakers Harvest Dinner Oct. 5

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/25 at 09:24 AM

September is harvest time in the fields, orchards, and, of course, vineyards in Central Pennsylvania. One of the area’s best-known wineries, Mt. Nittany Vineyard & Winery, is gathering the grapes that make their variety of signature wines, and each year this is a time to celebrate a good harvest. With this in mind, Winery Owners Joe and Betty Carroll are holding the Winemakers Harvest Dinner Oct. 5 at the Winery.

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Local Food Journey

Garlic lover? Then try this garlic pot roast recipe…

Posted by James Sechrengost on 09/23 at 08:30 AM

With the closing of the recent Garlic Festival in Pocono I was reminded of the many festivals I attended in Gilroy in SoCal. Now I am a garlic lover, not to the extreme I like garlic ice cream, but I do love the pungent little relative to the onion. What you didn’t know that PA had their own Garlic Festival? Check them out at http://www.poconogarlic.com/. We used to load up a van and head to the Gilroy Garlic Festival every year. You could smell the festival miles before you ever got there. Being the foodie I am I headed straight to the food booths. There was always some new and unique recipe I could pick up there.

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Local Food Journey

Slow-roasted tomatoes are a revelation of flavor

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/20 at 09:03 AM

Even this late in the season, you probably still have tomatoes in your garden, and if you’re not a gardener, probably still see good-looking tomatoes at farmers markets. If you are a serious tomato-lover, you’ve turned them into sauce, whipped up some salsa, canned them, frozen them, made some sort of pasta, made tomato salad, etc. You may think, like I did, that you’ve tried just about every use for those wonderful globes of deliciousness. But, I can recommend one way to use tomatoes that is positively amazing and yes, a revelation of flavor—slow-roasting them.

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Local Food Journey

Pierogi memories, plus great potato and cheese pierogi recipe

Posted by James Sechrengost on 09/18 at 10:08 AM

When I was but a wee lad…okay, who am I kidding I was never a wee lad. How about…when I was a young child my grandmother used to make pierogi by the dozens. She would make potato and cheese, sauerkraut, ones stuffed with meat, and even dessert ones. Being the ever inquisitive child I was (okay, okay, being the pain in the neck, nosy, kid that I was) I always wanted to help.

Finally, when they thought I was old enough, they put me on filing duty. I was supposed to place one heaping spoon of filling in the middle of each pierogi shell. Well, after the initial “one spoon for the shell, one for me” method I actually managed to do about two dozen pierogi. With my ever expanding stomach and boredom, the filling wasn’t quite in the middle anymore but I was still working at it.

After another dozen, I came to realize this was more like work than play and didn’t want to do it anymore. My grandmother made me stay and finish the job. I got the lecture about not starting something unless I was willing to finish it. I still have lesson ingrained into me.

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Local Food Journey

End of summer reflections…

Posted by James Eisenstein on 09/16 at 09:32 AM

Working on a farm ties you intimately to the earth’s rhythms like nothing else. Professors begin the new academic year in the fall, then start all over again in January. But what organic vegetable growers do changes dramatically with the seasons.

Usually, farmers are too busy to reflect on much beyond which 20 of the 30 essential tasks that need to be done right away they can do. But I have the luxury of being (supposedly) retired, working only half time, and this allows me to contemplate the passing of the seasons. So as we enter the fall, this is an appropriate time to review this summer, mostly in pictures.

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Local Food Journey

Your Local Food Weekend for September 14-15

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/13 at 09:44 AM

A quiet local food weekend last Saturday and Sunday, but not so this weekend. Some very cool events to check out tomorrow and Sunday. On a bit different note, you can make your Penn State tailgate or party a local food event by offering up some local food like Hogs Galore bratwursts, drinks mixed with Tait Farm shrub, an apple pie made with Harner Farm apples, etc. Anyway, onto the scheduled events for this week…

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Local Food Journey

How Buy Fresh Buy Local became a key part of local food scene

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/11 at 11:57 AM

Back in 2002, the wheels were set in motion to create an organization whose goal was to make it easier for people to find, choose, and enjoy great local foods and support the farmers and land that produces them.  This organization became the local foodie’s best friend—Buy Fresh Buy Local.

“The process actually began in early 2002, through a “learning community” of partners from across the country assembled by the FoodRoutes Network headquartered in Millheim,” said Brian Snyder, executive director of both the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) and also the FoodRoutes Network, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PASA that runs the Buy Fresh Buy Local® program nationally. “At the time, FRN was run by Executive Director Tim Bowser, now of the Elk Creek Café and this particular project was coordinated by Joani Walsh, a Centre County native who is now a Deputy Undersecretary for the Ag Marketing Service at the USDA.”

This meeting was a key moment in the local food movement history not just here in Pennsylvania, but nationally. In fact, the group represented four states—Pennsylvania, California, Louisiana, and Iowa. They wanted to learn more about consumer preference, and come up with a national brand identity for locally-grown food. 

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Local Food Journey

“Plow to Plate” Harvest Dinner to be Held September 11 at Mt. Nittany Winery

Posted by James Eisenstein on 09/09 at 09:19 AM

Fall in Central Pennsylvania brings the bounty, beauty, and variety of the fall harvest.  To celebrate the harvest, the Boalsburg Farmers Market in cooperation with the Mount Nittany Winery is sponsoring its “Plow to Plate Harvest Dinner” featuring the vegetables and fruits that ripen as the last of summer’s crops are replaced by those that thrive in the fall. Some of the best chefs in Happy Valley will prepare soups and side dishes from both summer crops, including eggplant, peppers, okra, garlic,  onions, melons,  and from fall favorites including acorn and butternut squash, pumpkins, kale, spinach, other fall greens, kohlrabi, and apples. They will also offer main dishes using pasture-raised, sustainably produced local meat, and deserts.
The dinner will be held at the beautiful Mt. Nittany Winery on Wednesday, September 11, and will gather a number of our area’s best chefs, including Jamie Steffen (Nittany Lion Inn), Charles Niedemyer (Nola’s Joint), Ben Stanley (El Gringo Tacos), Bob Ricketts (Fasta & Co), Nathan Brungarten (Mount Nittany Inn), Paul Kendeffy (Gamble Mill Restaurant and Brewery), Harrison Schailey (Harrisons), and Andy Rose (Elk Creek Café) to create a variety of dishes from ingredients from the fall harvest of Boalsburg Farmers Market vendors. 

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Local Food Journey

How to plan for frost in your garden

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/06 at 09:49 AM

Last night was quite chilly for a lot of people in central PA but it seems that many of us escaped frost. However, the slow march of the seasons are inevitable, and eventually there will be frost on the Happy Valley pumpkins. Frost or even temperatures below 40 are very bad for plants like tomatoes, basil, beans, cucumbers, etc. On the other hand, a lighter frost is okay for plants like beets, chard, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, etc.

Here are some tips for both figuring out when your garden might get hit by frost, and what to do when it does.

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Local Food Journey

Restaurant puts local food in your Green Bowl

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/05 at 08:20 AM

The Green Bowl is one of those interesting restaurants that let you build your own meal. The concept is simple. You choose your vegetables, fruits, noodles, etc.; then specify what sort of meat you want, if any; pick your sauce; then a staff member stir fries it for you. It’s sort of like being your own prep chef.

Some places refer to this sort of thing as Mongolian barbeque, although there are some difference such as a wider variety of sauce selections at the Green Bowl as opposed to other places like it. Along with the great flavor, one aspect of the Green Bowl that makes it stand out from similar establishments is inclusion of local food ingredients, thanks to owners Scott and Marley Wong.

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Local Food Journey

Pleasant Gap’s Village Eatinghouse celebrates local food and art

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/03 at 09:17 AM

The Village Eatinghouse has a fairly long history as a stalwart of the central PA food scene. It was originally started in 1985 in Boalsburg by Clay and Melanie Phillips as a small restaurant and catering service. However, in 1996 they decided to focus solely on catering and their line of food products. Then in 2006, they focused on specialty food products and out of catering, but that changed in 2012. “We realized that our lives worked better for us and our marriage when we worked together and we decided to re-open the Village Eatinghouse in the town that we live in, Pleasant Gap, in early Sept of 2012,” Melanie said.

Today, the Village Eatinghosue is a combination restaurant, catering business, specialty food market, and showcase for local artists. In the one year of their existence, they have become a must-go place for breakfast, lunch, or an early dinner. And local food certainly plays a part in their business. “The Marketplace and Cafe idea came about through our love of this area and its abundant local entrepreneurs producing everything from homemade salsa and jams to handmade arts and handicrafts,” Melanie said. “We believe in the local economy succeeding by utilizing the local resources and supporting locally owned small businesses.”

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