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The opinions expressed in these blogs are solely those of the people who wrote them, and do not represent the views of WPSU or Penn State University.

Local Food Journey

Friends & Farmers Co-op’s next big step

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/27 at 12:48 PM

If you read Local Food Journey, you are probably well aware of the Friends & Farmers Cooperative project, which is a food cooperative in State College committed to showcasing the best local products in support of a strong local economy. The good news is you can finally join Friends & Farmers at the Membership Kickoff Celebration to be held Sunday, March 2, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County. You can RSVP here.

Along with signing up founding member/owners, the Celebration will have a lot to offer attendees. It will feature performances by local musicians including Andy Tolins, Scott Mangene, and Paul Brigman & Friends; opening remarks by State College Mayor and local food advocate Elizabeth Goreham; local food donated by various local vendors such as Webster’s, Harrison’s Wine Grill, Tait Farm, Byler Goat Dairy, Katz Raw Foods, Stone Meadow Farms, and Sweet Sunrise Bakery; kids activities led by the Penn State Community Food Security Club, and more. “The whole setup of this event is ‘drop-in,’ meaning you don’t have to come and be there the whole time,” said Michele Marchetti, local freelance writer and Friends & Farmers board member. “The idea is you come when you want, you hear some music, you get some food, and of course, sign up to be a member.”

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Local Food Journey

Even in a tough winter, Greenmore Gardens offers community fresh, local produce

Posted by Jordan Reabold on 02/25 at 11:04 AM

Referring to this winter as “freezing” would be an understatement. The snow was relentless, not to mention temperatures were lower than I had ever experienced. Nevertheless, as brutal as Pennsylvania winters may be, I try to remind myself, while laboriously scraping the ice off my windshield, that spring will arrive in just a short while. In fact, farmers in the area are also anticipating warm weather by planting their spring harvest right now! Greenmoore Gardens, an organic farm located just outside of State College, began planting this week in hopes of a healthy spring harvest.

Laura Zaino, an employee of Greenmoore Gardens, gives the ins and outs of preparation. “We seed onions in mid-February, which is the first of the spring crops to get seeded.” Using their own potting mix, the seeds are planted in a greenhouse where the seedlings germinate and begin to grow. “Then we either put them into bigger pots or transplant them outside in the fields. The larger pots are for plants like tomatoes that need warm soil to grow,” explains Laura.

She goes on to further explain that the bigger pots allow for longer time in the greenhouse, hence, more growth before being transported outside. “Other crops, like turnips, carrots and beets, we seed directly into rows in the fields,” she says.

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Local Food Journey

Believe it or not, gardeners, it’s soon time to start seeds

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/20 at 02:24 PM

Despite the relatively mild weather outside melting the snow, if we are being truly honest with ourselves, we know that winter is not over. Far from it, based on where we live. We know that it can snow into late April and even early May here in Central PA.

The good news for gardeners is that despite the snow-covered yards, it’s soon time for us to start gardening. We need to start certain things from seed inside, giving the plants adequate time to sprout, grow, mature, and produce fresh goodness by the time summer ends. In fact, certain things can be started very soon or even right now, depending on your last frost date.

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Local Food Journey

Six local food things to do to get you through the rest of this tough winter

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/17 at 10:33 AM

Without a doubt, this has been one really rough winter here in Central Pennsylvania. Below-zero temperatures and lots of snow has made this the worst winter we’ve had in this area in 20 years, and right now it seems like spring will never come.

But we all know that soon enough, we will get warmer, and the grass will reappear and turn green, the flowers will pop out, and all of our moods will likely get better. In the meantime, here are six things that involve local food that can make you perhaps feel a bit better about our current weather situation:

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Local Food Journey

Local food fans: Join Friends & Farmers Coop starting March 2

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/14 at 12:11 PM

Friends & Farmers Cooperative, which is working to open a member-owned cooperative store that will specialize in local, sustainably-produced products, will begin taking members on March 2 at its Membership Kickoff Celebration at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County.

Founding members will help build a store that will stock produce and products grown and prepared right here in Happy Valley, promote real food, and serve as the central hub of the local food economy. Simply stated, it’s a store that will feed our community.

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Local Food Journey

PASA conference is basically “a huge family reunion” for local food community

Posted by Jordan Reabold on 02/10 at 10:37 AM

For twenty-three years, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, otherwise known as PASA, has been gathering for its very own Farming for the Future Conference. Last week vendors from all over the country congregated at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center to attend workshops, participate in auctions, listen to guest speakers, receive awards, and to simply share their appreciation of farming as a whole.

Lauren Smith, director of development for PASA, says her favorite aspect of the annual conference is that it’s like “a huge family reunion.” Indeed, the majority of farmers and businesses in attendance have previously come to the conference, so many of them are familiar with one another. Lauren explains, “We have an amazing community of farmers. They become a network of ideas and inspiration.”

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Events Our Town

WPSU “Our Town” Project Returns to Ebensburg!

Posted by Whitney on 02/07 at 11:31 AM

The “Our Town” project will return to Ebensburg this March to capture stories about the people, places and happenings in your community. This is your opportunity to be a part of your town’s story—and WPSU needs volunteers to videotape, photograph and talk about your hometown.

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Local Food Journey

Recipe: Sausage, carrots, and potatoes an easy comfort food solution for cold winter nights

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/07 at 11:00 AM

With plenty of mornings with temperatures below the zero mark and plenty of snow and ice to go with it, the winter of 2013-2014 has been a fairly harsh one compared with recent years. Such weather calls for a hearty meal, and I have the perfect solution that I brought up to Central Pennsylvania from my childhood growing up in York, Pennsylvania. And it’s easy to prepare, too, and something the whole family will enjoy.

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Local Food Journey

Taking it inside: Boalsburg market sets up shop in St. John’s Church in winter months

Posted by Jordan Reabold on 02/06 at 10:04 AM

Winter certainly takes a toll on us here in Happy Valley. From below freezing temperatures to painfully bitter winds, winter weather conditions require us to adapt and prepare accordingly. While you may think that the months of December through March leave local farmers with little to harvest, this is not the case. In fact, farmers throughout Centre County are finding innovative ways to grow vegetables during the winter months, despite the chill that would typically inhibit certain plants to grow. Plus, you don’t have to look far to find these vegetables available to you, for they’re being sold every Tuesday at the Boalsburg Farmers Market!

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Local Food Journey

Harrison’s Wine Grill to share the love for local food on Valentine’s Day

Posted by Jordan Reabold on 02/03 at 11:17 AM

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and love is certainly in the air at Harrison’s—love for local food, that is! Harrison Schailey, owner of Harrison’s Wine Grill on E. College Ave, came all the way from California as an organic farmer, hoping to bring some Left Coast influence to State College when he opened the restaurant. “After a while, I realized people didn’t go for that.”

What Harrison found was that people didn’t want a taste of California—they wanted a taste of State College. And why wouldn’t they? With the abundance of farms around the area offering a variety of options, it would be a shame not to take advantage. “It just made sense,” he says.

Of course, the winter climate here in Central Pennsylvania is nothing like California, but Mr. Harrison has adapted. When it comes to vegetables especially, winter takes a toll on local produce. “It is difficult during the winter, especially now that it’s been so cold, but we get what’s available.”

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