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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

Penn State club offers support for those leading the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle

Posted by Local Food Journey on 02/25 at 08:00 AM

By Emily Edling
WPSU Local Food Journey Intern

The Penn State Vegetarian Club is just one of the 900-plus student organizations on campus, but they are doing some interesting things both on campus and throughout the State College community. They offer social support for those leading a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, sponsor food giveaways, host speakers from groups such as PETA, The Humane League and Vegan Outreach, and are currently working with the dining commons to get more vegan options on campus.

I spoke with President Keegan O’Donnell to get the inside scoop on where the best vegetarian options are both on campus and around State College. For on campus dining, he recommends West Commons, which features an entire vegetarian section, Veg Works, and Redifer in South Dining Commons, which offers a good selection of á la carte options. The HUB also offers some impressive vegetarian cuisine with the tofu bowls at Sushi by Panda Express and of course there is always Mixed Greens for a good salad (although they don’t label vegan salad dressings so vegans be wary).

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Local Food Journey

Local Food Notes for February 20

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/20 at 09:24 AM

Even with some of the coldest weather ever recorded in Centre County, there are still things happening in the local food world in central PA. While temperatures are subzero, there are some items below that might warm you with spring thoughts, so keep reading…

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Local Food Journey

Happy Fastnacht Day! Hey, wait…what’s a fastnacht?

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/17 at 10:04 AM

Today is Fat Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras. For many people who have grown up in a Pennsylvania Dutch area like myself (York), today is also known as Fastnacht Day.

Why Fastnacht Day? A fastnacht is a type of donut, made with potatoes, flour, sugar, yeast, and eggs. They are fried like a donut and while many are made today with a hole like a regular donut, a “traditional” fastnacht is hole-less and square.

The word fastnacht is German for “fast night” and the tradition of making them began as a way to get rid of lard, sugar, fat, and other stuff that are forbidden during lent. That way there were less temptations left in the pantry to lead hungry stomachs astray.

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Local Food Journey

Last-minute local food Valentine’s Day dinner options

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/13 at 09:57 AM

Uh-oh. Now you did it. You forgot to make dinner reservations for Valentine’s Day, didn’t you?

No worries…there are a lot of good options in the Central Pennsylvania area for Valentine’s dinner and other food activities, and that includes those which offer up local food and drink. Here’s several options for you, but keep in mind, there’s no guarantee they have open reservation times…good luck!:

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Events Our Town

WPSU’s “Our Town” series is set to visit Everett, PA!

Posted by Carley on 02/09 at 10:51 AM

WPSU and the “Our Town” television series is joining the Everett community this spring to kickoff “Our Town: Everett.” We are seeking stories from friends and neighbors within the Everett community. Our team is letting you decide what stories should be told about the people, places and happenings in your area! What makes Everett special to you? Whether you’re a longtime resident or recently joined the community there is a story waiting to be told.

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Local Food Journey

Webster’s Bookstore and Cafe offers up local food options for the literary inclined

Posted by Local Food Journey on 02/06 at 09:00 AM

By Emily Edling, Local Food Journey Intern

Webster’s Bookstore Café is known for its cozy atmosphere of used book and a broad selection of café drinks. But what sets them apart from the other coffee shops of downtown State College is their wide range of food, especially their vegetarian and vegan options, utilizing local sources to make these tasty meals.

Aside from specialty coffee and tea drinks, Webster’s does a lot of things with vegetarian ingredients such as hummus, paté, and portabella mushrooms all of which can be made in the form of sandwiches, salads, paninis, or wraps and that are all vegan unless you choose to add cheese. They also offer a soup of the day and other daily specials, which offer even more vegetarian options.

For non-vegan’s there are also many egg sandwiches and burritos available, each with a literature-themed name. In fact, with the exception of about two or three items, the entire menu at Webster’s is vegetarian friendly—it’s a dream come true! My personal favorite is the Spicy Bean Chili, which is a vegan dish that has the perfect amount of spice to warm up on these cold winter days.

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Local Food Journey

Warming greek-style pasta bake uses Boalsburg Farmers Market ingredients

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/03 at 08:36 AM

Farmers market season never really ends in Central Pennsylvania, it just shifts to a different season. The Millheim Farmers Market, Boalsburg Farmers Market, and the State College Farmers Market are all open until the opening of the “regular” summer farmers market hours.

They are, of course, all indoor, so you won’t have to worry about braving snow and bitter winds. Like in the spring and summer, I find it definitely a good idea to plan out your trip and perhaps look for ingredients for a specific recipe.

This particular recipe is for a tasty Greek-style pasta bake that is quite good with some Gemelli Bakers bread on a cold night. This recipe includes ingredients from Boalsburg Farmers Market vendors.

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Local Food Journey

Local Food Notes for January 30

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/30 at 10:33 AM

Sick of winter yet? Well, we DO live in Central Pennsylvania, where the winters are not exactly mild, but it seems like the last two weeks have been about as rough as it can be around here. Still, the local food community is active, and here’s a few things that are going on:

- The 24th Annual PASA Farming for the Future Conference will be held at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in University Park on Feb. 3-7. The event is a great way for those involved in local food to learn more about the latest innovations in sustainable agriculture, while celebrating the past year and looking to the future. For more information including registration, please go here.

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Local Food Journey

10 great varieties to add to your seed order list

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/27 at 10:15 PM

I follow the weather as a hobby, one that admittedly is as much of a passion to me as gardening and cooking. People I know are aware of this quirk in my personality and often ask me about the weather. Recently, they’ve ask if there’s any reprieve in sight from our recent descent into the winter doldrums, and unfortunately for spring lovers, it doesn’t appear that we are heading for mild weather anytime soon.

However, even in the greyest and coldest days of winter, we gardeners can find a reprieve in the seed catalog. Now’s the time to order seeds, as seed companies are becoming very busy with orders. You really want to have the seeds by March, because some varieties require you start them inside in March/April so they create ripe produce for your summer table.

One of the fun things about gardening is trying unusual vegetables and fruits to put on that summer table. Here are 10 varieties of unusual fruits and vegetables to grow this year (not including any vendors, you can find these easily via an online search):

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Local Food Journey

Being a vegetarian in State College

Posted by Local Food Journey on 01/23 at 10:07 AM

Local Food Journey has a new writing intern, Emily Edling. She’s a Penn State English major, and is also a vegetarian. Her first contribution to Local Food Journey is a piece on her experiences being a vegetarian in State College.

Being a vegetarian can be difficult regardless of where you live. When I first made the decision to give up meat I was in my hometown of Boyertown, PA, where I was struggling to find options that were both delicious and adequate substitutes to meat. Along with this, I also had the burden of enduring endless discussions with friends and family members in defending my choice to abstain from meat, in assuring them that it doesn’t offend me when they eat meat, about where I am getting my protein from, and so on. 

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Local Food Journey

Upcoming events for wine enthusiasts in February and March

Posted by Linda Weaver on 01/20 at 09:13 AM

On Saturday, Feb. 7, Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery will hold a Walk-Around Tasting from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. During this special wine and food pairing event, we will be featuring gourmet appetizers by Brown Dog Catering paired with our award-winning wines.  And while you sip and savor, enjoy the soulful acoustic guitar music of Laura Boswell. Cost is $25/person; a credit card number will hold your reservation. You can make a reservation by calling (814) 466-6373. This is just one event at the Winery in February and March, keep reading for a few more:

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Local Food Journey

Cream of cauliflower soup fights the winter chill

Posted by LacCreta Holland on 01/16 at 09:34 AM

The weatherman says there will soon be a “January thaw.” Really?? Somehow I don’t believe it as I wake up to the temperature, yet again, in the single digits or teens. That’s when I know that I will make soup for dinner!

I have read a lot of blogs and Facebook pages about soups lately. So many look so good and I want to try them all. Maybe that is how I will make it through until spring this year. We do like soup in our house.

But for now, I will tell you of a soup that has a long history in our family. Yes, another food/family story! When my husband and I were dating we decided to spend the weekend at his childhood home for me to “meet the parents.” My future mother-in-law, a wonderful cook, served us Cream of Cauliflower Soup on a hot summer day. She said it was a new recipe that she wanted to try. Was she trying to impress me? She did not have to—-I liked her right away!

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Local Food Journey

Food court featuring local food? Find it at the Farm Show

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/14 at 12:45 PM

One of the reasons to head down to the Pennsylvania Farm Show is the food. A lot of it is from Pennsylvania sources, so it’s more or less a locavore’s dream: a food court full of local food.

There’s a main food court in the Weis Exposition Hall and an additional food court in the Main Exposition Hall. Both of them have a rather charming town square motive. But what to get?

Well, there’s plenty of choices, and no matter if you are a carnivore, a vegan, or a picky five-year-old, everyone can find something to nosh on. My personal favorites include milk shakes that are ALMOST as good as the Creamery’s; maple sundaes made with real maple syrup from the Pennsylvania Maple Syrup Producers Council; an excellent mushroom soup made by the Pennsylvania Mushroom Growers Cooperative; and for those looking for something very healthy, a broccoli-cauliflower salad from the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association. Not only are these things tasty, the money raised by sales of the food items go to good causes.

Here’s the full list of all the amazing selections:

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Events Our Town

Our Town Project Announces Upcoming Community Visits & Programs for 2015!

Posted by Mike D on 01/12 at 11:38 AM

The Our Town project will be visiting EVERETT, GEISTOWN, PORT ALLEGANY, SOMERSET, and BROCKWAY this season.

You can be a part of your town’s story by collecting video and being one of the storytellers! Help document the people, places and happenings in your community. Spread the word to the local organizations. No experience is required—just enthusiasm! WPSU is ready to spotlight your town, but we need YOUR help. For information about joining the project in your town, call Producer Whitney Chirdon at 814-863-6634 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Local Food Journey

Local Food Notes for January 9

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/09 at 10:04 AM

Here’s a quick look at the local food world in Central Pennsylvania on this snowy and cold January Friday morning:

- Tomorrow the Pennsylvania Farm Show kicks off for the public and runs through Jan. 17. The Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the nation, with nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits, but one of the biggest attractions is about the best food court you’ll ever visit. It features a variety of foods prepared by various Pennsylvania farming associations using local ingredients, including their famous milk shakes.

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Most recent entries

Local Food Journey's avatar Penn State club offers support for those leading the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
By Local Food Journey in Local Food Journey
Jamie Oberdick's avatar Local Food Notes for February 20
Friday, February 20, 2015
By Jamie Oberdick in Local Food Journey
Jamie Oberdick's avatar Happy Fastnacht Day! Hey, wait…what’s a fastnacht?
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
By Jamie Oberdick in Local Food Journey
Jamie Oberdick's avatar Last-minute local food Valentine’s Day dinner options
Friday, February 13, 2015
By Jamie Oberdick in Local Food Journey

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