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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.”
Continue Reading: Friends & Farmers Co-op’s next big step
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/27, 2014 at 11:48 AM
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.
Continue Reading: Believe it or not, gardeners, it’s soon time to start seeds
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/20, 2014 at 01:24 PM
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:
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/17, 2014 at 09:33 AM
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.
Continue Reading: Local food fans: Join Friends & Farmers Coop starting March 2
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/14, 2014 at 11:11 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.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/07, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Food Entrepreneurs Will Find Wealth of Resources at Annual PASA Conference
Farmers and other food entrepreneurs are set to acquire tools for success at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s (PASA) 23rd Annual Farming for the Future Conference, Feb. 5-8 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, PA.
On Feb. 6, PASA hosts “Raising Dough: Financing Your Food Based Business,” an intensive, day long track aimed at farmers looking to amass capital for farm-based businesses.
Continue Reading: Farmers Get Down to Business
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/30, 2014 at 09:14 AM
Below is the first of many posts on Local Food Journey by our new intern, Penn State student Jordan Reabold. We’re excited to have Jordan aboard, and in the coming weeks she will be exploring the local food scene, including profiles on local food people, stories about various local food offerings in our area, and more.
One of the things I love most about State College, being that it reminds me of home, is the farmland. I’ve come to appreciate the cultivated fields where wooden barns nestle among the hills of Happy Valley, peacefully enveloping the bustle of the University. While the farms of State College certainly have aesthetic worth, they serve a more practical purpose as well—food, of course! And what better way to show your appreciation for these farmers than to choose local produce over large-scale food systems. In doing so, you support not only the farmers, but the local economy as a whole, and yourself.
Continue Reading: Why Eat Local?
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/28, 2014 at 10:00 AM
The following is a press release for the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s 23rd Farming for the Future Conference. Look for more about this event on Local Food Journey in the next several weeks, as this is a major happening for our local food community…
MILLHEIM, PA January 6, 2014 – The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) hosts the 23rd Annual Farming for the Future Conference next month, February 5-8 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, PA. Farmers, foodies, artisans, activists and other members of the sustainable agriculture community will gather around the theme “Letting Nature Lead” as the debate over the future of agriculture continues to garner widespread attention, from dinner tables to the halls of Congress.
Continue Reading: Sustainable Ag Community to Reflect, Rally at Premier Gathering
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/23, 2014 at 09:15 AM
Hosting a dinner party can be a real challenge. You want to hit a home run with your guests, especially with the main course, but what if your cooking skills are limited? You don’t have to look far for a solution; in fact, it’s right up the road near Philipsburg, at one of our region’s local food gems, Hogs Galore.
Continue Reading: Hogs Galore pork loin a dinner party winner
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/20, 2014 at 09:45 AM
Editor’s note: The following is a press release regarding a fundraiser by Friends & Farmers Cooperative. Please help support what is a very worthy cause for our local food community.
Friends & Farmers Cooperative, which is working to open a member-owned cooperative grocery that will specialize in local, sustainably-produced products, is holding a fundraising event at Spats at 5-7:30 p.m, January 26.
Entitled “Local on the Menu,” the event will offer community members a behind-the-scenes look at the local food scene and an opportunity to hear firsthand how Spats owner, Duke Gastiger, and others are turning local into a point of Pennsylvania pride.
Continue Reading: Eat local, support local at fundraiser for Friends & Farmers Cooperative
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/17, 2014 at 09:11 AM
Earlier this week, the coldest air in 20 years overspread Central Pennsylvania, dropping temperatures below zero. While shivering through a cold snap like that, it’s hard to imagine doing garden work. But there are still some chores you can do, either in the comfort of your living room or during one of our inevitable thaws that we have most every winter and will have this weekend. Getting them done now can help ensure a better harvest this spring and summer.
Here’s 10 garden chores you can do this winter:
Continue Reading: 10 garden chores you can do in the winter (and probably should)
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/10, 2014 at 08:50 AM
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.
Continue Reading: New Year’s traditions in Pennsylvania: why pork and sauerkraut?
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/31, 2013 at 12:01 PM
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.
Continue Reading: Recipe: Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas cookies
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/24, 2013 at 10:02 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:
Continue Reading: Some great sources for last-minute local food gifts
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/19, 2013 at 10:33 AM
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.”
Continue Reading: Sweeten up the holidays with desserts from Gemelli Bakers
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/18, 2013 at 12:01 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.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/12, 2013 at 11:35 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.”
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/09, 2013 at 09:04 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.
Continue Reading: Co-owner of Way Fruit Farm shares three favorite apple recipes
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/05, 2013 at 10:13 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.
Continue Reading: Friends and Farmers Cooperative Meet and Greet Dec 10
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/04, 2013 at 08:30 AM
Traditionally, unless of course you are vegetarian or vegan, turkey holds top billing at the Thanksgiving table. We’ve all seen the classic “Freedom from Want” painting by Norman Rockwell, an image that quickly became the template for our truly American holiday, Thanksgiving. Grandma lowers the giant golden-brown bird onto the table, as all the relatives ooo and ahh.
But really, the sides are the co-stars of this culinary production, and rightfully so. While there is certainly nothing wrong with tradition, they don’t have to be sugary sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole, or “cranberry sauce a la Bart” direct from a can (Simpsons reference). With local ingredients, they can have flair and pizzazz that almost steals the show from the big turkey (not your one annoying uncle, I mean the main course).
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 11/26, 2013 at 09:25 AM
The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced they awarded 71 grants in 42 states to help the schools connect their cafeteria with local farmers. The grants are part of the “Farm to School”
program. In Pennsylvania, the School District of Philadelphia won one of the awards and will use the money to launch a pilot local food project, offering local blueberries to students at two schools. The second year, they will expand this to collard greens.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 11/20, 2013 at 09:46 AM
As per the weather forecasts, this weekend we end our winter preview and get some mild weather to enjoy. For this Local Food Weekend weekend, we have the Bellefonte Farmers Market, Santa’s arrival plus a chance to unwind at the Winery at Wilcox store at the Nittany Mall, and great music to go with great local food and beer at Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks.
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for Nov. 16 and 17
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 11/15, 2013 at 09:08 AM
All good things must come to an end, and if you are like many of us local food foodies, tomorrow will be a melancholy day as two of the local Saturday farmers markets end their 2013 run. However, others will soldier on as the cold air blows and the first snowflakes fly.
Continue Reading: Farmers market season not over quite yet
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 11/08, 2013 at 09:52 AM
When central and eastern Europeans emigrated to Pennsylvania in the 19th and 20th Centuries, one of the dishes they brought with them was haluski (or as some spell it, halusky). The dish is a simple one with some variations. Traditionally, haluski referred to the homemade noodles/dumplings, which were potato based much like gnocchi. However, today you can either purchase dried haluski noodles in any grocery store, or use any medium-wide egg noodle.
Growing up in York County, which is Pennsylvania Dutch country, I had very limited exposure to haluski, but when I went to Pittsburgh for college and eventually to live, I was introduced to the dish at a Polish Catholic church fish fry, which is just about the best place to have your first taste of haluski. Haluski has just a few ingredients, and the one I learned to make includes noodles, cabbage, onion, bacon, butter, salt, pepper..and that’s it. You can also make a vegetarian version by leaving out the bacon and a vegan version by using vegan-friendly noodles and olive oil instead of butter.
The flavors combine to make a fantastic dish, especially if you are a gardener like me and use a fresh-harvested garden cabbage that has been sweetened by frost. And speaking of frosty weather, this is a great cold-weather dish that’s a snap to make.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 11/06, 2013 at 08:52 AM
Editor’s Note: The fall season brings food that features flavors and ingredients that are unique to the season, and this may raise some challenges for those who want to pair wine with these autumn dishes. Linda Weaver of Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery has some suggestions to help you make the best wine/food pairing call.
Continue Reading: Wines that match well with the unique flavors of fall
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/31, 2013 at 07:24 AM
Kale is a superstar in the fall garden. The plant is tough as nails, able to take some very cold temperatures. In fact, myself and many other gardeners have harvested kale from under the snow.
Along with its toughness, kale has many other good properties. It’s very easy to grow, can grow in part shade, and is quite tasty. It is best after a couple of good frost/freezes, which give the leaves a sweet flavor and cuts down on the bitterness.
There are many varieties of kale, and here are a few of my favorites:
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/28, 2013 at 07:15 AM
There always seems to be something to do on an October weekend, and this last October weekend is certainly no exception. This weekend you can help make apple butter, meet some retired greyhound racers (and maybe give one a good home), carve a pumpkin at the Central PA Flea & Farmers Market Harvest Season Event, enjoy wine in a beautiful fall setting at the Mount Nittany Winery, and explore the Halloween Trail for kids at the Shaver’s Creek Fall Harvest Festival. Learn more by continuing to read:
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for Oct. 26 and 27
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/25, 2013 at 08:25 AM
The Mount Nittany Winery is holding their annual Harvest Fest Saturday, Oct. 26 from noon to 5:00 p.m. at the winery in Centre Hall. In their beautiful Mt. Nittany-side setting, you can enjoy free wine tastings, take a winery tour, try free samples (and then buy) local food from vendors, and enjoy live music by Richard and Papa (aka long-time State College musicians Richard Sleigh and Gary Brubaker).
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/24, 2013 at 08:06 AM
This Local Food Weekend includes a few ways to use (or abuse) pumpkins in ways other than eating. Our events for Saturday and Sunday include the Howard Fire Company Punkin’ Chunkin’ Festival, the Penn State Arboretum Pumpkin Festival, and the Harner Farm and the Terrace at Brookline Fall Festival. Continue reading to learn more…
Continue Reading: Local Food Weekend for October 19-20
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/18, 2013 at 08:01 AM
On yesterday’s NPR show All Things Considered, correspondent Martin Kaste had a story on a food controversy that is growing—GMO labeling. This idea is growing steam especially in the Northeast, where Maine and Connecticut have already passed laws that require labeling on any foods that contain GMO (genetically modified organisms). From the story:
Continue Reading: How might GMO labeling affect our local food community?
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/17, 2013 at 09:23 AM
It’s fall festival time in Central Pennsylvania, and these events offer fantastic opportunities to sample local food and make some discoveries of new products. This weekend we have the Wasson Farm Fall Fest, Black Moshannon Cranberry Festival, and the Way Fruit Farm Fall Festival to tell you about. Keep reading for more…
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for Oct. 12-13
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/11, 2013 at 07:28 AM
We are getting an extended summer, with temperatures that feel more like August. Looks like our run of summer weather ends today, but the threat of a killing freeze that ends the growing season for tender plants still seems at least a week or more away as per the weather forecast, which is quite unusual for October. Of course, as any gardener in Central Pennsylvania knows, that will not last forever. So, here’s a list of tips to help you prepare for when the ground is coated in frost and your tomato plants finally succumb:
Continue Reading: Take advantage of extra time and plan now for killing frost
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/07, 2013 at 07:55 AM
Okay, so the weather right now isn’t exactly fall-like. However, there are still plenty of fall-ish things to do this weekend that are local food related, including the Aaronsburg Dutch Fall Festival, State College’s Fall Fest, and the Mt. Nittany Vineyard & Winery’s Winemakers Harvest Dinner
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for Oct. 5-6
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/04, 2013 at 07:39 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…
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for September 28-29
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/27, 2013 at 08:00 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.
Continue Reading: Mt. Nittany Vineyard & Winery hosts Winemakers Harvest Dinner Oct. 5
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/25, 2013 at 08:24 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.
Continue Reading: Slow-roasted tomatoes are a revelation of flavor
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/20, 2013 at 08:03 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…
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for September 14-15
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/13, 2013 at 08:44 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.
Continue Reading: How Buy Fresh Buy Local became a key part of local food scene
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/11, 2013 at 10:57 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.
Continue Reading: How to plan for frost in your garden
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/06, 2013 at 08:49 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.
Continue Reading: Restaurant puts local food in your Green Bowl
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/05, 2013 at 07:20 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.”
Continue Reading: Pleasant Gap’s Village Eatinghouse celebrates local food and art
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/03, 2013 at 08:17 AM
It’s the semi-official end of summer and with it, the end of summer festivals. This week, there are two local festivals to check out that involve local food as part of the attractions.
Continue Reading: Local Food Weekend; Labor Day edition
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/30, 2013 at 07:51 AM
Labor Day already? Seems like the start of summer was about two weeks ago. Time truly does fly, and soon the focus here on Local Food Journey will turn to autumn-y things like pumpkins, apples, winter squash, soups, etc. All the things we like to have when the weather gets frosty and footballs replaces baseballs.
But let’s not bury summer yet. There’s plenty of warm weather to go, including September. Here’s three great recipes that together make for a fantastic Labor Day grill meal.
Continue Reading: Local Food recipes for Labor Day
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/29, 2013 at 08:16 AM
Last night I went to the Grange Fair. One of the more unique events in Pennsylvania, the Grange Fair celebrated its 139th year. The event has humble origins, beginning as a picnic event in 1874 in the rather scarily named Leech Woods just west of Centre Hall. It has evolved into today’s version, featuring an encampment that visitors often find sort of puzzling (but seems like fun for the campers), a dazzling array of food stands that at times makes choosing a snack or meal rather overwhelming, and, of course, various agricultural exhibits. It really is one of those things that offer something for just about anyone in the area. I think if you live in this area it’s something you should attend at least once.
So, what’s the connection that the Grange Fair has with the local food scene? One is, of course, obvious—the focus on agriculture. But there are a few things that seem to be missing as far as local food.
Continue Reading: A visit to the Grange Fair, and the connection to local food
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/28, 2013 at 08:55 AM
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) may say it’s about imported food, but the new rules proposed to govern the growing, harvesting, shipping, and storing raw fruits and vegetables have raised some concerns for the small farmers who make up the backbone of the local food movement. Recently, FDA representatives have embarked on a multi-state tour to visit farms and to discuss the new rules with the public.
Continue Reading: Will new FDA food safety rules hurt the local food movement?
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/26, 2013 at 07:55 AM
This weekend is a Grange Fair weekend, so that’s what dominates the schedule for our Local Food Weekend. Billed as the “Nation’s Most Unique County Fair”, I’d say it lives up to that title just by the encampment alone, which is a series of large tents where families basically spend a week living at the fair. So, it sort of makes for an interesting version of people watching. I can imagine for the kids, living at the fair is a dream come true.
The Grange Fair is an agricultural event, so if you are a local food enthusiast, it’s definitely worth a trip. Along with livestock exhibits, they also have a variety of produce exhibits, including canning. My wife was mortified by the sight of a whole chicken canned in a large Mason jar. I admit that the sight of a whole chicken in a jar, which is something most of us are used to seeing frozen or in a roasting pan, is rather unusual but this is an old way of preserving meat. You can also find freakishly huge pumpkins, unusual tomatoes, and more.
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for August 24-25
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/23, 2013 at 07:00 AM
I know that lots of people turn their thoughts to football and raking leaves once the days getting shorter and mornings are foggy and cool, but fall is really a good time to grow certain vegetables. While a lot of vegetables thrive in summer heat, there are a fair amount that prefer fall’s cool weather. And it’s not too late to plant; if you plant this weekend, you have anywhere from 37 to 52 days before this area’s average first freeze, depending on where you live.
Continue Reading: You can still plant fall crops for a tasty end to the garden season
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/22, 2013 at 08:26 AM
It’s mid-August already? Don’t lament that we are this late in the summer, celebrate that we are in what I think is the peak period for local food. And there’s lots to do that has a local food angle this week! Go celebrate tomatoes at Tait Farm, attract butterflies at Rose Franklin’s Perennials, get artsy/crafty in Bellefonte, learn how to survive The End with really local food, and/or have a tasty cold one at the State College Brew Fest. Keep on reading…
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for August 17-18
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/16, 2013 at 09:35 AM
Billed as one of the largest outdoor farm-related shows in the East, Ag Progress Days continues today and tomorrow out at the Russell E. Larson Agriculture Research Center on State Route 45 near Rock Spring. The festival of farming runs opens today and tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. Today the show runs until 8:00 p.m., giving those of us with a day job an opportunity to head out after work and perhaps have supper at one of the food vendors at the event.
While some may have the idea that it’s just for farmers and farm machinery enthusiasts looking for a Tractorpalooza, Ag Progress Days has something for everyone, including kids’ activities. The event is put on by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
Continue Reading: Something for everyone at Ag Progress Days
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/14, 2013 at 07:57 AM
This weekend I was at a very nice event, a barn dance. In between promenades, I was chatting with some people about gardening, one of my favorite small talk subjects. As often happens when talking gardening, tomatoes came up. And as often happens when talking tomatoes, concerns about fruit not ripening came up. So, are there any ways to speed up the process?
Continue Reading: “Why won’t my tomatoes ripen?”
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/12, 2013 at 08:42 AM
A look at various local food-related events being held this weekend around the area. The headline event is the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s 2013 Centre County Farm Tour which will be held tomorrow. You can find a four-part preview series on this farm tour here, here, here, and here. To find more local food-related things to do this weekend, keep reading.
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for August 10-11
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/09, 2013 at 09:44 AM
I recently was asked by the folks at the Boalsburg Farmers Market to serve as a judge for the Market’s Golden Basket Awards, an annual event held as part of Local Foods Week here in Centre County. For those not familiar with the Golden Basket Awards, chefs from the local area compete for the prize by creating a full entree with ingredients found at the Boalsburg Farmers Market. Having to use local ingredients probably is the easy part of the contest. I mean, the chefs do their cooking in an area in the middle of the market and are surrounded by local meats, cheeses, eggs, dairy, sauces, and of course fresh produce. That’s a pretty formidable pantry.
So, I got to judge their end result. It was a challenge to be presented with creative and delicious dishes made by professional chefs and then eat them, but I persevered. Seriously, though, the food coma I was in by the end of the event really was a bit of a challenge, but it was a happy feeling.
Continue Reading: Tough job but someone has to do it: being a local food judge
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/08, 2013 at 09:37 AM
Eight of the best local chefs from the area’s finest restaurants will compete for the Boalsburg Farmers Market Third Annual Golden Basket Award to be held from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Part of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s “Local Foods Week,” the event will feature the chefs preparing a main dish and two sides from ingredients produced by Boalsburg Farmers Market vendors. This will be the largest judged competition among chefs in the State College Area, and it has been described “as the culinary Olympics of Centre County.” The chefs will gather their ingredients at the start of market, then prepare their plates for submission to the judges in front of market goers.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/05, 2013 at 08:07 AM
From our friends at Buy Fresh Buy Local Centre County Chapter, an announcement about Local Foods Week, a celebration of the amazing bounty we have right here in the Centre Region
August is a month of cookouts, family gatherings, and finding creative ways to beat the heat. Did you realize that all the ingredients you need for your next summer get-together—mouthwatering burgers, juicy watermelons, crisp salads, and refreshing ice cream—are produced right here in Centre County? They’re closer than you think, and the growers are eager to meet you in person. Buy Fresh Buy Local® Centre County Chapter is presenting Local Foods Week from August 3rd through August 10th, which will offer events for the whole family to explore and connect with the county’s vast agrarian offerings and sustainability practices. The week’s happenings will appeal to anyone with an interest in local foods at any level, from backyard gardening, homesteading, or cooking with sustainable ingredients right up to larger scale farming. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, Local Foods Week will help you and your family appreciate and understand what it takes to bring your meals from the farmers’ fields to your fork.
Continue Reading: Next week is Local Foods Week!
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/31, 2013 at 01:00 PM
Way Fruit Farm apples and apple products are among the Centre Region’s favorite local foods. As something of a cider
snob connoisseur due to having grown up in the Appleland that is southcentral Pennsylvania, I am picky about cider but have found Way’s cider to be one of my personal highlights of a Happy Valley autumn. However, Way Fruit Farm is so much more. They offer a wide variety of local fruit, and vegetables, almost year-round. They also have a pleasant cafe for breakfast and lunch, a gift shop, and provide a one-stop shop for other local food items such as meats, cheeses, sauces, etc. You can build a heck of a meal in one visit to Way Fruit Farm.
I recently had the pleasure to talk to Jason Coopey, co-owner of Way Fruit Farm, about what fruits are in season now and in the near future, why local food is so fantastic, and when they will again offer cider this year.
Continue Reading: Interview with Jason Coopey of Way Fruit Farm
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/31, 2013 at 11:12 AM
You may have heard about rumors about a new business called Nittany Mountain Distillery opening up in Happy Valley. You may have even seen and liked their Facebook page. Yes, there really is a spirits distillery coming to Centre County, joining our area brewers as a local source for “adult” beverages.
Of course, our overall region, the Appalachians, has a long history of distilleries, many of them illegal (think: “moonshiners”). But this one is perfectly legal. In fact, the licensing process is one of the reasons they aren’t in operation as yet. To learn more about the future Nittany Mountain Distillery, I recently talked to one of the founders, Fred Volz.
Continue Reading: Interview with Fred Volz of the soon-to-be Nittany Mountain Distillery
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/24, 2013 at 09:31 PM
If you are a gardener, a friend of a gardener, or frequent farmers markets, chances are pretty good that soon you will be awash in tomatoes. It’s that time of the year, and it’s hard to imagine summer without fresh tomatoes. This is, at least to me, the only time to eat fresh tomatoes. Local summer tomatoes are simply the best, and supermarket tomatoes in January with their bland flavor and waxy consistency do not even come close.
Not only are tomatoes tasty right now, they are abundant. So, what to do with all those tomatoes? Here are some recipes.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/24, 2013 at 06:56 AM
Originally published on the WPSU blog and broadcasted on WPSU-FM:
A new gardening concept is sprouting in Central Pennsylvania. Woody Wilson, a graduate of Penn State, took an idea he entered in an agriculture competition and made it his business. Wilson’s Home Farms gives State College area residents another way to bring local vegetables to their kitchen tables. WPSU intern Jessica Paholsky went along with Wilson to find out more.
Continue Reading: A startup gardening service makes getting fresh vegetables easy
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/23, 2013 at 09:04 AM
This summer has definitely been a wet one so far, and gardeners and farmers alike across Central PA know that wet weather also means plant diseases. Cloudy, humid, and downright wet conditions provide ideal conditions for these diseases to strike. However, if your plants are under the disease gun, there are ways to save your plants and ensure a good harvest, even in a less-than-ideal year like the one we are currently having. Here are some tips:
Continue Reading: Fighting the good fight against garden diseases
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/22, 2013 at 08:03 AM
This is part II of the Centre County Farm Tour preview, by Maya Althouse, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture intern
As Local Foods Week gets closer, it’s time to mark your calendars for August 10th and plan where you want to stop on the Centre County Farm Tour! There are seventeen farms on the Tour, all of which are eager to welcome you to their world and share their livelihood with you. Since most people make it to only four or five farms depending on how long they spend at each location, it’s good to look ahead in order to make the most of the day. To help you out, here is a preview of the next four farms on the tour—check back next week to read about more!
Continue Reading: Preview of Local Food Weeks Farm Tour, Part 2
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/10, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Post by Maya Althouse, PASA intern
With our calendars now turned to July, that means that Local Foods Week is just a month away! August 3-10 are the dates of a week-long celebration coordinated by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) and Buy Fresh Buy Local (BFBL) to connect consumers with all of the agricultural wonders found right here in Centre County. The week will end with PASA’s most anticipated event, the Centre County Farm Tour. This is your chance to visit local farms to meet the farmers and learn how they produce healthy, sustainably raised foods!
**A Farm Tour Pass can be purchased for $15 at BFBL Partner locations (the IngleBean Coffee House, Webster’s Cafe, Tait Farm, and Nature’s Pantry), as well as at weekly farmers markets. Some of the farms will open early to pass holders, and the pass also gives you access to special promotions during Local Foods Week from our Partner businesses.
Continue Reading: Preview of Local Foods Week Farm Tour, Part 1
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/03, 2013 at 10:10 AM
This is part two of a two-part post on local food Fourth recipes that you can serve friends and family at Independence Day gatherings. You can see the other recipes in the post right below this one. As an added bonus, today we’ve added some summer cocktail recipes as well.
Continue Reading: More great Fourth of July recipes (including cocktails!)
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/03, 2013 at 08:07 AM
July 4th is a fun time, almost as much of a celebration of our American summer as it is a celebration of our American freedom. As a general rule, the gatherings of friends and family take place outside (weather permitting, of course) and take the form of the cookout/backyard barbeque. I am sure other culture do this, but the American version is unique to us. We play a variety of lawn games like horseshoes, ladder toss, etc., hang out with friends and family, and enjoy a variety of summer foods. This is the time of the year when local food really shines; and I asked a sampling of local food vendors and Local Food Journey vendors to offer some favorite Independence Day recipes that will dazzle backyard diners. In fact, I got so many I decided to do this in two parts. Today, we offer you part one.
Continue Reading: Fantastic Fourth recipes that will rock your holiday cookout
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/02, 2013 at 09:15 AM
Oh, man! A rabbit ate half your annual bed…your tomato plants got trashed by a storm…the neighbor’s dog dug up your favorite herb plant…too late to plant something new now, right? Actually, that’s not the case. You can can still plant flowers, vegetables, herbs, etc. and still get beauty and flavor from your 2013 garden.
Continue Reading: Not too late to get plants in the garden
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/28, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Despite last night’s deluge that soaked many a garden and farm around the area and a forecast for a lot more rain, summer almost always has at least a few dry spells. Those are the days when the sun bakes the soil to a crispy golden brown dry, and your plants sometimes do things in desperate self-defense, like curl up leaves in the case of corn. You really have no other alternative but to give your plants the life that only good old water can give them.
Continue Reading: Water your garden the right way during next dry spell
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/26, 2013 at 01:58 PM
This Saturday, June 22, Tait Farm Foods will hold a Summer Solstice Celebration out at the farm to benefit the Centre County Farmland Trust. On a beautiful day last Saturday I went out to Tait Farm to talk to Kim about this event, and why farming and supporting our local farms is a vital to our community. To listen, click on the “play button” below.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/20, 2013 at 12:29 PM
Editor’s Note: Nick Benard of Bellefonte is a new writer with Local Food Journey. Nick has a local food blog called the Culinary Pen, and is interested in home cheese making with local raw milk, curing meat from local farms, gardening, and home butchering. With this post, he talks about his love of a real Pennsylvania food, scrapple, and offers a recipe to make your own.
I love scrapple. Not just for the savory taste, but also for what it represents: a need to use up every part of an animal and stretch the meat as far as possible. For the uninitiated, scrapple is a mixture of cereal grains cooked in broth with pork meat. The grains can vary, depending on the region. The Philadelphia region is famous for buckwheat scrapple, oats are preferred in Ohio, and rice is traditional in the Carolinas. For me, I prefer the classic Pennsylvania Dutch use of dried corn, particularly Brisner’s Best, which is traditionally dried, roasted corn milled in Pennsylvania.
Continue Reading: How to make your own scrapple
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/18, 2013 at 10:16 AM
Editor’s Note: This story is by one of our new Local Food Journey bloggers, Jim Sechrengost, a Penn State employee who prior to entering the tech world was a chef in restaurants ranging from diners to Chinese places in Southern CA. He grew up in the Somerset/Johnstown area so he has a lot of local recipes from all types of ethnic backgrounds, and will be sharing them with us in the months to come.
When I was young I lived in Somerset County and my uncle introduced me to camping and all the wonders of nature at an early age. We used to go camping as much as his work would allow and he showed me how to live off the land hunting and gathering edible plants. When I joined the military I carried this love of the outdoors with me and every chance I got I would explore and find the new plants that were edible where ever I happened to be. This turned into a love of cooking and trying to find new ways to prepare some of these edible delights. I have cooked in almost every type of restaurant you can think of from Mom and Pop Diners to Chinese.
Continue Reading: Morel madness!
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/12, 2013 at 09:42 AM
Kids Day at the Boalsburg Farmer’s Market will occur Tuesday, June 11. The event will feature Tony Sapia of Gemelli Bakers demonstrating to children how to prepare simple dishes from products available at the market. This will happen at 3:00 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Military Museum. After the demonstration, farmers and other vendors will be available to talk to children in attendance about what they do.
Continue Reading: June 11 is Kids Day at the Boalsburg Farmer’s Market
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/10, 2013 at 09:08 AM
Singapore is known for its food. For those who have been there, Singapore is a world of delicious and unique flavors. Much of this food is trucked in, but an entrepreneur has come up with a vertical farming idea that uses limited energy and may enable Singapore to grow more local food for its residents and visitors.
Continue Reading: Local food innovation in Singapore is something you can look up to
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/06, 2013 at 08:13 AM
Tucked into a beautiful slice of Pennsylvania known as the Big Valley, Belleville is a small town around 25 miles to the southeast of State College in Mifflin County. Belleville is a community with a variety of different Amish and Mennonite groups. One of the groups of Amish are known as the Peachey or Renno Amish, also known as “black-toppers”. Named after the Peachey family, the Peachey folk are industrious with a variety of businesses in the general Belleville area carrying the Peachey name. Two of my personal favorites are local food related—Peachey Greenhouse and the famous A.J. Peachey and Sons. This past Saturday, I decided to take a drive and pay a visit to both of them.
Continue Reading: Things are just Peachey in Belleville
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/03, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Local Food Journey is pleased to announce that Penn State student and WPSU Multimedia Intern Jessica Paholsky will be producing videos for us that will cover a variety of local food topics, places, businesses, and more. These will generally run every Friday. The first one looks at a few of the challenges of being a goat dairy farmer with Three Belle Cheese General Manager Darren Rhyne.
Continue Reading: Video: Three Belle Cheese…Milking past financial and cultural limits
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/31, 2013 at 01:00 PM
This edition of At the Dinner Table (a conversation with someone involved with local food), is with Shellie Mierwald, founder/owner of Sweet Heat Gourmet, a State College-based sauce company that uses local vendors for the ingredients.
Continue Reading: At the Dinner Table: Shellie Mierwald, founder of Sweet Heat Gourmet
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/28, 2013 at 01:08 PM
Post by Jamie Ryan, Wine Consultant & Educator, Mt. Nittany Winery
In wine and food pairing, the fundamental goal is balance. The flavors found in both the wine and the elements of a dish should be balanced and neither should overpower the other. A well-matched pairing should enhance the existing elements of each and ultimately bring out new flavors that are not detected in the wine or food when they stand alone. As a wine educator, the most frequent questions my students always ask how they can make safe pairing choices when they are on their own, either at home or dining out. Here are some basic guidelines that are fairly universal in the world and I find that they are a great place for beginners to dive in and start playing with their pairings.
Continue Reading: Fundamentals of Pairing Wine with Food
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/23, 2013 at 11:17 AM
Article by PASA Staff
Back in the early ‘90s a small gathering of Centre County “kindred spirits” came together around the idea of founding an organization that focused on a variety of sustainable farming practices, addressed issues family farmers faced, and filled a need for those who wanted to support “alternative” agriculture, as some may have called it back then. Through the dedicated efforts of this group (many of whom still live, work, and farm in Centre County), the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) took root over 20 years ago and today continues to flourish throughout Pennsylvania.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/20, 2013 at 08:58 AM
Continue Reading: LFJ Farm Report: Mud season at Green Heron Farm
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/17, 2013 at 08:22 AM
A few weeks ago, WPSU ran a story by Kate Lao Shaffner during Morning Edition on the new Friends & Farmers organization. We wrote about them back in early April. Their goal is to establish a co-op grocery store with local food here in State College.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/15, 2013 at 09:39 AM
Hi everyone! We are looking for volunteer writers for Local Food Journey. If you have a passion for local food, the philosophy behind local food, and enjoy writing, then we would love to have you join us as a contributor. This blog has always been about the local food community and having the community contribute to content we believe makes perfect sense.
Continue Reading: Want to become a food blogger? Write for Local Food Journey!
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/14, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Editor’s Note: This is part 1 of a two-part look at summer food and beer pairings with Centre County brewers - today, Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks, and next Friday, Otto’s Pub and Brewery. Traditionally, pairings of food and drink has usually been about wine. But over the last decade or so, as craft beers and ales have become more and more prevalent, beer and food pairings have come to the forefront. Everybody knows how well a nice cold glass of beer goes with wings or burgers, but what about more adventurous pairings? I recently talked to Tim Yarrington, the brewer responsible for the excellent libations that Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks puts out on a regular basis, about some beer food pairings that will make you want to head to Millheim and grab a growler or two.
Continue Reading: Elk Creek brewer offers summer beer/food pairings
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/10, 2013 at 10:35 AM
I grew up in York, PA, which is part of what is considered the most famous of our state’s “Pennsylvania Dutch” country. While York doesn’t attract the throngs of tourists that Lancaster does, Pennsylvania Dutch cooking has had a big influence on the area’s local eating. Because of this, I consider myself a bit of a Pennsylvania Dutch food “purist”—for example, I know that if a book has a recipe for “Pennsylvania Dutch pot pie” and it includes a crust, then it’s not an authentic recipe. So, I was quite thrilled to stumble upon an NPR blog post about a new book by a Pennsylvania Dutch food expert, William Woys Weaver.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/08, 2013 at 01:05 PM
Plant sales are a fairly common sight in and around Happy Valley in May. They are a boon for gardeners who want to find unusual or native plants to add to their garden. They are also a good way to keep your garden a more “pure” source of local food, since instead of buying plants that were shipped to a big box store, you buy plants from a local vendor or organization.
Continue Reading: Local plant sales offer variety of food and ornamental plants
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/06, 2013 at 02:15 PM
While a few farmer’s markets in central PA operate indoors during the cold months, the warmer weather of May means it’s time for outdoor farmer’s markets. Here’s a general guide to what you can expect at an outdoor farmer’s market.
Continue Reading: Farmer’s market season gets underway in Centre County
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/03, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Editor’s note: At the Dinner Table is a new series on Local Food Journey. The concept behind this feature is a type of conversation you might have at dinner with a friend. I am sure many of you have talked local food at dinner, while having local food on the table (how meta is that?), so this series will feature members of the local community talking about local food and the role it plays in their lives. This is the first in the series, and in this inaugural At the Dinner Table I talked to Sandra Rosseau, a PhD student at Penn State from France. She came to Penn State in 2007. Her research interests now focus on the roles that humor plays in the context of Franco-Algerian memory. In her free time, she enjoys music, photography, and as you will soon see, cooking.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/02, 2013 at 09:00 AM
Local food has many benefits, from supporting local businesses to just plain tasting good. But did you know that local food has potential to enhance diversity and improve race relations in the local community? A student from Stanford makes his case on the Huffington Post.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/01, 2013 at 10:02 AM
I didn’t care how many times Popeye beat Bluto after downing a can of spinach, as a kid I just plain HATED spinach. But as my culinary horizons broadened as I grew up, I quickly learned that spinach didn’t have to be a lifeless splatter of lumpy green on a plate. In fact, spinach has become my favorite salad green, and since it is a spring crop, we are in spinach season here in Central Pennsylvania.
Continue Reading: Recipe: Spinach salad with bacon and smoked cheese
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/29, 2013 at 11:42 AM
Otto’s Pub and Brewery finds a lot of what they serve both on the plate and in the pub glass from local vendors, but one source can be best described as hyper-local—a couple of onsite gardens. These onsite gardens may entail some work—when I talked to Pete Herncane, head chef of Otto’s, for this post he had just came in from weeding their garden—but they offer a source of very fresh herbs and vegetables for their local food menu.
Continue Reading: Otto’s spring/summer menu includes food grown in on-site garden
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/25, 2013 at 11:37 AM
You just made a big pot of soup with all sorts of stuff you got from the farmer’s market. Now you have carrot tops, potato peels, yellowed greens, etc. Throw them in the garbage? No way! You have compost, not trash.
Continue Reading: Five Reasons to Compost
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/22, 2013 at 02:01 PM
As our Unpaid Field Hand pointed out yesterday, the local food scene here in Central Pennsylvania is growing as rapidly as a tomato plant in June. One of the pioneers and advocates of local food is Harrison’s Wine Grill and Catering, located within the State College Hilton Garden Inn. They do local food and they do it quite well, as evidenced by multiple awards for both their restaurant and their catering. This Local Food Journey post will take a look at how Harrison’s built relationships with local farms and other vendors to become a go-to source for innovative dishes made with Central Pennsylvania ingredients.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/18, 2013 at 01:48 PM
Saturday was the first day of trout season in Central Pennsylvania, and thousands of anglers hit Pennsylvania waterways in hopes of catching their own local food. While many fish for trout due to the fish’s delicious flavor, there is another group of Pennsylvania fish that are as tasty and like trout are often caught in the spring - panfish. Panfish such as crappie, yellow perch, and bluegill may offer small fillets, but their sweet, mild flavor make them a welcome addition to the local food table.
Continue Reading: Recipe: Oven-fried Pennsylvania panfish a surprisingly tasty dish
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/15, 2013 at 08:00 AM
Participating in Community Support Agriculture - you probably know it as a “CSA” - is a lot like subscribing to a farm like you might a newspaper or magazine. You buy a subscription, or as it is better known, a share, at the beginning of the year. This helps participating farms, as they can establish their operating budget for the year, and gives the farm a known market for the produce, meat, eggs, dairy, etc. that their farm will produce that year. In turn, people with CSA shares get a regular source of the best food their local farm can offer. So, how do CSA farms manage this system? How do they plan the growing season and work with the community each year to give them a bounty each week or month? To find out, I talked to Kim Tait of Tait Farms.
Continue Reading: How one CSA plans planting with you in mind
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/11, 2013 at 10:30 AM
The Vermont-based local food advocacy Strolling of the Heifers, has released its second annual Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index, ranking all 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of commitment to local food. Where does Pennsylvania rank?
Continue Reading: Pennsylvania moves up in 2013 Locavore Index
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/10, 2013 at 07:38 AM
Well, what do you know. During the last several days the weather finally began to resemble spring after what was a pretty cold March, followed by a chilly start to April. Yesterday was especially nice and really got me thinking spring, a time of year that I just plain love.
There are two local-food related things that I love about spring time—the first fresh greens of the year and breaking out the grill. While a spring greens salad with a grill burger made from local beef is a nice way to kick off the spring season, I decided yesterday to try to combine greens and grilled meat in one dish.
Continue Reading: Tasting spring with grilled chicken with lemon-garlic arugula
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/08, 2013 at 09:00 AM
Some good news to report for those looking for more local food sources. Friends & Farmers, a food cooperative in State College committed to showcasing the best local products in support of a strong local economy, has taken several important steps toward opening a member-owned community grocery store that is open to the public, seven days a week.
Continue Reading: Newly incorporated Friends & Farmers to hold local food potluck April 16
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/05, 2013 at 12:20 PM
Even though winter is hanging around this week like a lazy brother-in-law who just won’t get off the couch, those of us who garden turn our thoughts to planting seeds. While many gardeners have already started seeds indoors in trays under artificial light, we are really one warm spell away from being able to plant seeds outside.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/03, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Hello everyone. My name is Jamie Oberdick. You may (hopefully? maybe?) recognize my name as one of the gardening bloggers here at Local Food Journey. I am the new editor of Local Food Journey.
Continue Reading: Local Food Journey announces new editor
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/01, 2013 at 08:57 AM
Recently, several fellow gardeners and I discussed something that ended up being very interesting: how do you define a successful garden year?
We came to a conclusion—it’s all subjective. When you garden, you go into it with a variety of goals in mind. These might include fresh-grown herbs and veggies, saving money, or just making the yard look prettier. These are the yardsticks to measure a good garden year.
Continue Reading: Measure of garden success?
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/24, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Tons of zucchini are a garden cliche. They are so easy to grow that’s it’s almost impossible to not have more zucchini than you need. By this time of the year, all your friends politely turn down your offer of free zucchini because everyone in their family, at work, and in their circle of friends has given them about 1,000 zucchinis.
Continue Reading: Too Much Zucchini? Try Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/17, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Right now, people are beginning to harvest all sorts of stuff from the garden. Some of it is conventional stuff, like tomatoes. However, there’s a lot of food in gardens that many people ignore. Some of these may sound outright, well, weird—but give them a shot. They are the “best kept secrets” of the garden.
Continue Reading: Five Unusual Edibles from the Garden
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/18, 2012 at 07:50 AM
I have heard before that a mild spring means a lot of rabbits the following summer. 2012 seems to be proving this true, as we have had both a warm spring and seemingly, a lot of rabbits.
Continue Reading: Rabbit vs. Gardener
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/25, 2012 at 10:50 AM
Beans are a popular garden plant, with good reason—they are one of the tastiest vegetables in the garden. They are also pretty easy to grow, and with a little bit of TLC you can get quite a yield of tasty pods or shelled beans that can be used in all kinds of recipes. Beans are also a perfect garden crop for vegetarians because of their high protein content. What’s not to like?
Continue Reading: Diverse Beans a Warm-Weather Garden Star
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/31, 2012 at 08:31 AM
It’s mid-May, which is peak time for “putting in the garden,” an old saying that means planting your frost-sensitive plants now that we are mostly past the risk of frost. (Although not completely, more on that later.)
Whether you started tomatoes from seed or bought the plants at your favorite garden center or farmer’s market, transplanting them the right way is very important.
Continue Reading: How to Transplant Tomatoes Now for Great Harvests Later
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/23, 2012 at 08:43 AM
Despite some recent backsliding into winter, spring weather is mostly here to stay. If you are like me, you are steadily spending more and more time in the garden, getting things growing to start the season. A good start is very important for a successful gardening season, as your plants are very young and tender at this point.
Here are ten tips, in no particular order, to get your garden off and moving toward a big harvest.
Continue Reading: Ten Tips to Get Your Garden off to a Great Start
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/07, 2012 at 12:45 PM
In my last post I talked about planting seeds indoors. And given that we are four to six weeks away from the last frost as I write this, you should have seedlings growing somewhere in your house.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/20, 2012 at 08:00 AM
As you probably noticed, the weather in mid-March was more along the lines of early June. This caused some absolutely incredible early spring scenes as spring growth is about a month ahead of schedule—blossoming trees, daffodils in full display, and perennials peaking out of the dirt at a much earlier date than normal.
For us gardeners, it was so tempting to get out there and plant something. So I did. I planted several rows in my garden, knowing full well that they would need protection later from the inevitable cold snap. If you still haven’t planted, no worries—you still have lots of time to plant cold-hardy vegetables in your garden.
Continue Reading: Planting Cold-Hardy Veggies for Spring Crops
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/05, 2012 at 02:18 PM
If you followed my last blog post, you should be ready to plant some seeds indoors. First things first, fill your cell flats with moistened potting soil or seed starting mix. You want it moist, not saturated.
Next, plant the seeds. This is by far one of the most important tasks of your gardening year, and you need to make sure you do it correctly because, well, you want them to germinate.
Continue Reading: Starting Seeds is Easy: How to Plant the Seeds
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 03/23, 2012 at 12:07 PM
The weather has been warm lately, warm enough to start thinking about gardening. However, while the mild weather is great for daffodils, crocuses, and forsythia, it’s still too chilly to plant vegetables, especially frost-sensitive types like tomatoes and beans. You want to hold off planting those outside until early-mid May.
Continue Reading: Starting Seeds is Easy: How to Set Up
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 03/16, 2012 at 08:00 AM
In my last post, I talked about the benefits of freezing vegetables to use in the winter. Now let’s look at another way of preserving your garden harvest—canning.
Canning for me brings back memories of my mother and grandmother, who both canned. They canned stuff like pears, green beans, tomatoes, etc. Pretty much straight up, old-fashioned canning.
Continue Reading: Take a Jar of Summer off the Shelf
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/22, 2012 at 01:50 PM
During my garden harvest season, which stretches from summer through much of fall, I preserve a lot of what we get from our backyard in two ways—canning and freezing.
I like to do both because of cooking flexibility. You can do a lot of great things with canning: sauces, relishes, pickles, etc. But freezing for me tends to be about just the vegetable/fruit.
Continue Reading: Pulling Summer from the Freezer when it’s Freezing Outside
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 02/07, 2012 at 10:09 PM
We are in the heart of winter, so buying garden seeds may not be the first thing on your mind. However, if you are planning on ordering seeds online (you will more choices online than you will in a store), now is the time to do so.
Continue Reading: Don’t wait to make online seed orders for 2012 garden season!
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/18, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Looking to buy a holiday gift for that special gardener in your life? Here are five great suggestions:
Continue Reading: Five Gift Ideas for the Gardener in Your Life
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 12/12, 2011 at 01:58 PM
I grew up in York, PA. Christmas and Easter were at my grandma’s, but Thanksgiving was at my parents’ house. There was typically a crowd of 12-15 relatives, but it always felt to me, as a kid, like 50 people because my childhood home is pretty small.
Continue Reading: First National Thanksgiving and York County Filling
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 11/22, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Going to go a bit off-topic here, but I had to share this story with everyone who reads this blog. Gardening is something that often is done together by couples and who knows how many relationships are sparked at a plant sale or garden center. However, gardening is not really thought of something as romantic, per se.
Continue Reading: Sowing the Seeds of a Great Marriage
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 11/16, 2011 at 09:00 AM
While we haven’t quite yet had a true killing frost, it’s inevitable - at some point, your 2011 garden will be covered in frost, and soon after, snow. The garden will go to sleep until it warms again, but there is some work yet to do on your garden that will make things easier next spring. Time to put it to bed.
Continue Reading: Get your garden ready for a long winter’s nap
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/21, 2011 at 06:00 AM
The humble pumpkin at one time was known for being just two things - a front porch decoration and a pie. Also, unless you lived in Pennsylvania Dutch country like I did as a kid and saw “neck pumpkins,” pumpkins were always orange and round.
Continue Reading: Pumpkins - not just for pies and front stoops anymore
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/14, 2011 at 07:00 AM
While the weather in recent days has been more like summer, the changing leaves are a definite sign that it is autumn and gardening season is coming to a close. While much of central Pennsylvania hasn’t seen the first frost as yet, that soon will change. It’s definitely frost season.
Continue Reading: Frost looms in the garden, but that’s not always a bad thing
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/29, 2011 at 07:20 AM
Just 20 years ago, the selection of produce was nothing like it is today. Iceberg lettuce, round red tomatoes, green bell peppers, regular orange carrots, and plain potatoes ruled the supermarket shelves.
However, today the expansion of the American palate is quite evident. Sushi is found in supermarkets. An imitation of a latte can be found at a convenience store. Ethnic restaurants such as Indian, Thai, Austrian, and Korean can be found in central Pennsylvania. And the broadening selections for the home chef have expanded culinary horizons, as well.
Continue Reading: Broaden Your Culinary Horizons
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/16, 2011 at 09:52 AM
Okay, you got some fantastic heirloom tomatoes, among the best you’ve ever had. You may have bought them at a farmers market or received them in a CSA box, or perhaps they were gifted to you by a friend. But you’re not sure of the variety so you can’t buy the seeds, right? No worries—saving tomato seeds is actually quite simple.
Continue Reading: Saving Seeds from Tomatoes
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 09/09, 2011 at 12:12 PM
Home vegetable gardens are an ideal and super-local way to get fresh, delicious produce, but they can also be a beautiful addition to your yard. Many vegetable plants not only taste great, they look great, too—and not just on a plate.
Continue Reading: Useful Beauty
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/23, 2011 at 12:29 PM
Please welcome Jamie Oberdick to the Local Food Journey! Jamie is an enthusiastic home gardener who grows a variety of plants from around the world in his Centre County backyard. Take it away, Jamie!
A lot of people think of vegetable gardening as a spring/summer thing, and you shut it down in the fall with the exception of the last pumpkins. Actually, there are plenty of different vegetables that thrive in the cooler conditions we have in fall in central Pennsylvania.
Continue Reading: Plant Now for Garden-Fresh Fall Harvest
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 08/19, 2011 at 12:40 PM
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