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Local Food Journey

New Year’s traditions in Pennsylvania: why pork and sauerkraut?

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/31 at 01:01 PM

Many people are aware of the New Year’s tradition of eating pork and sauerkraut, including the supposed good luck and wealth it brings. This tradition is part of our Pennsylvania German heritage; the idea of sauerkraut symbolizing wealth for the new year comes from Germany. Before having the New Year’s dinner, each diner wishes the other as much wealth as there are shreds of cabbage in a pot of sauerkraut.

What about pork? Interestingly enough, the actions of a pig give us this New Year’s tradition.

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Local Food Journey

Recipe: Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas cookies

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/24 at 11:02 AM

I grew up in York, part of the original Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Therefore, there are several things that say Christmas to me that most others have no idea about. One is Der Belsnickel, a sort of nasty fellow who’s job it is to make sure children are good in the weeks before Christmas by, well, beating them with a stick. Think of him as Santa’s muscle.

Another, more benevolent aspect of Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas is some of the traditional cookies that families bake for the season.

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Local Food Journey

Some great sources for last-minute local food gifts

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/19 at 11:33 AM

Looking for a perfect last-minute gift for someone on your holiday list, but are stumped as what to get them? Our area’s local food community has a lot of fantastic options. I mean, who doesn’t love a food gift? And thankfully, we have a plenty of local food vendors who provide a lot of wonderful gift options.

Here’s just a few gift ideas, and some places to find them:

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Local Food Journey

Sweeten up the holidays with desserts from Gemelli Bakers

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/18 at 01:01 PM

Gemelli Bakers has made a name for itself by baking wonderful bread. However, they also make some fantastic desserts. Gemelli is not as well known as a source for great baked desserts, but more and more people in the area are becoming aware of the sweet goodness that they offer at their downtown State College location, or at area farmers markets.

“We’ve been making desserts from day one,” said Tony Sapia, owner of Gemelli Bakers. “A few examples of what we bake include Italian cookies like biscotti and macaroon, American-style cookies like oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip, apricot fruit bars, pies…there’s quite a list.”

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Local Food Journey

The natural beauty of a local farm

Posted by James Eisenstein on 12/16 at 11:07 AM

Editor’s Note: While some of us enjoy snow around the holidays, the recent harsh weather might make some long for warmer times. Local Food Journey writer James Eisenstein takes us back to last spring and summer and shares the beauty he sees around Jade Family Farm.

In my previous life when in worked three jobs rolled into one at Penn State, I was especially attuned to the natural beauty surrounding us. To be sure, I admired the blossoms on my fruit trees at home, appreciated the beautiful flowers on my tomato plants, and admired Mt. Nittany from afar. But for the most part, I was preoccupied with thinking about everything I had to do, and spent more time than I should have staring at computer screens. A colleague with whom I did research brought this lifestyle to my attention when he suggested that an appropriate tombstone engraving would read: “Wishes he had spent more time in the office.”

That all changed when I switched careers to that of an unpaid field hand. I spend close to half of my time outdoors at the farm. I make it a point to stop fairly frequently to appreciate the stunning beauty all around me there.

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Local Food Journey

Friends and Farmers Cooperative grocery store getting close to becoming reality

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/12 at 12:35 PM

This past Tuesday night, the Friends and Farmers Cooperative held a Meet and Greet at Whiskers in the Nittany Lion Inn. The event featured some local food created by Andrew Monk, who is the executive chef of the Nittany Lion Inn and big supporter of both local food and the Co-op. The event also was a way to inform the community about the progress the Co-op has been making, including the building of a Co-op grocery store.

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Local Food Journey

Reedsville man turns his passion for spicy heat into Red Hawk Premium Peppers

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/09 at 10:04 AM

If you love the kind of heat that only a great hot sauce can provide, then Red Hawk Premium Peppers offers your kind of product line. The Reedsville company offers a variety of rubs, sauces, powders, and other condiments such as hot pepper jelly.

The owner of Red Hawk Premium Peppers is Dan Lowenstein. Dan notes that the love of hot spice is in his blood. “I was very fortunate to inherit my love of heat from my little Irish Grandmother,” he said. “She was very well known for carrying her own shaker of red pepper flakes or Tabasco sauce in her small purse. Ever since I was a child, I have loved a little fire in my food.”

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Local Food Journey

Co-owner of Way Fruit Farm shares three favorite apple recipes

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/05 at 11:13 AM

Way Fruit Farm offers all sorts of things that are good to eat; from different types of fruit to a variety of local food products from places like Tait Farm Foods and Hogs Galore. But their bread and butter, what put them on the map, is of course apples.

As a big fan of Way Fruit Farm, I can tell you that I see a lot of people buying huge amounts of apples for all sorts of recipes. I met a woman there last year who was baking apple pies for recipes, planning on giving them as gifts…a total of 25 pies! Apple pies certainly are a great way to use Way’s apple bounty, but I recently had the opportunity to talk to Megan Coopey, who with her husband Jason are co-owners of Way Fruit Farm, about some other recipes for apples. Jason and Megan are two reasons to visit Way Fruit Farm, always friendly and helpful, and Megan was glad to help by giving me several fantastic recipes that would make a fantastic addition (or additions) to the Holiday table.

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Local Food Journey

Friends and Farmers Cooperative Meet and Greet Dec 10

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/04 at 09:30 AM

Special to Local Food Journey by Carolyne Meehan

The Friends and Farmers Cooperative Meet and Greet at Whisker’s in the Nittany Lion Inn on Tuesday, December 10 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. will be a fun, delicious, and informational evening. Chef Andrew Monk will be serving up light appetizers prepared with local ingredients and a cash bar will be open for refreshments. Chef Monk has been a big supporter of the cooperative’s goal to make more local produce, meat and dairy more accessible to all. He has been making big changes as the executive chef of the Nittany Lion Inn - serving up local grass fed burgers that come from a single steer and introducing folks to local kale and beets as the stars in his main dishes. He is also big into the concept of “nose to tail” cooking, a method that involves serving up dishes to incorporate all cuts of meat.

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Local Food Journey

Recipe: Venison chili a great way to serve up results of this year’s hunt

Posted by James Sechrengost on 12/02 at 09:30 AM

When I was still a young man my father handed me his rifle and one bullet. He said “bring a deer home or don’t come home.” Now to some that might seem cruel. To me it was a challenge. By the time my father said that, I was good with a rifle, actually very good. He was actually kidding. Well, sort of kidding, we really needed the meat.

So I traipsed out into the snow to get some meat. I came home a few hours later dragging a buck behind me. I always enjoyed hunting. The time in the woods by myself, the skill in tracking the game, testing myself, pushing the limits. After I got older and served and did some other things I lost my taste for hunting but not for venison. So when I can get my hands on some I love to make it in new and interesting ways. Here I have included my recipe for venison chili, crockpot style.

 

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