Next week is Local Foods Week!

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/31, 2013 at 01:00 PM

Next week is Local Foods Week!

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. 

The importance of celebrating our local food economy has long been acknowledged by the Centre County Board of Commissioners, which has officially declared a Local Foods Week each year since its inception. They announced Local Foods Week 2013 at their meeting on July 30th. This is done in recognition of the abundance of fresh, wholesome food produced in the county and the wish of consumers to access healthy foods while supporting local farmers. By declaring Local Foods Week, the Board of Commissioners helps provide an avenue to build strong relationships between farmers and consumers throughout the county, bringing growers and consumers together to celebrate the harvest and rich agricultural heritage. This year, they will issue in a week filled with lots of great events!

Local Foods Week will kick off with Pennsylvania Certified Organic’s (PCO) Farm Fest on August 2nd and 3rd at the Grange Fair grounds. This community-building event will include educational sessions on organic agriculture and sustainable living, live music, a silent auction, a Homemade & Homegrown market, children’s activities, a 5K Run &  Fun Walk, and delicious local food. Learn from the expert keynote speakers including Gary Zimmer, co-founder of Midwestern BioAg, a consulting company focused on biological agriculture; Jerry Brunetti, founder of Agri-Dynamics, a holistic product supplier and consultant for livestock and crops; and Brian Snyder and Susan Beal of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). Both days of FarmFest are free and open to the public.

After learning about the area’s sustainable and organic environment, see it for yourself—by bicycle! PASA’s Bike Fresh Bike Local will take place here in Centre County for the first time, and you won’t want to miss out. The ride, your choice of 25, 50, or 75 miles, will start and end in Millheim, PA, and encompass the farmscapes, woodlands, and villages of Penns and Brush Valleys. After the ride, sit back and enjoy a sumptuous locally sourced, seasonal lunch provided by event partner Elk Creek Café + Aleworks, including a brew for riders over 21 years of age. Bike Fresh Bike Local will take place on Sunday, August 4th and is open to beginner and advanced cyclists. The cost of this event is $40 for advanced registration, or $45 for walk-ins.

Fresh air and exercise are enough to boost anyone’s appetite, and what better place to stock up on fresh grown foods than a farmers market? If you’ve ever brought home a bag of market goodies but been at a loss for what to make from them, come learn from the experts at the Boalsburg Market Golden Basket Chef Competition. Watch nine chefs from local restaurants compete to prepare the best main dish and two sides out of ingredients they find right there at the market. Judges will score each dish on taste, texture, presentation, and creativity, then declare a champion. Be sure to get there early to watch the chefs at work—and snag some samples! The competition will take place at the Boalsburg Farmers Market on Tuesday, August 6th from 2:00 to 4:00pm, and is free to the public to watch.

Once you’ve learned about organic farming, pedaled through valleys, and tasted market-fresh culinary masterpieces, it’s time to experience the farms themselves. Join us for PASA’s 8th Annual Farm Tour, when seventeen farms will be open to the public on Saturday, August 10th from 12:30pm to 5:00pm (some farms will be open earlier for visitors who have purchased a Farm Tour Pass, available for pre-sale only and not on the day of the tour). Each farm will offer unique opportunities to get up close and personal with agriculture: meet the farmers, see sustainable growing in action, get hands-on farming experience, interact with animals, and take home tasty items straight from the fields. Stop by the Buy Fresh Buy Local® table at a farmers market or a BFBL partner business to purchase a Farm Tour Pass. Passes are $15/car and $10/bike, are good for entrance at any of the listed farms, and include special deals for dining and shopping at BFBL partner locations. Don’t have a pass? Don’t worry—non-pass holders will be asked to pay $5 per vehicle at each farm visited.

Details about the week’s events can be found at http://www.pasafarming.org/localfoodsweek.

{name} Author: Jamie Oberdick

Bio: Editor, Local Food Journey | Passionate about supporting local food in Central PA

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