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Sample and learn how to make pickles at Tait Farm, learn how to get your baby started on solid foods at Mt. Nittany Medical Center, see inspirational art of local farmland at Centre Furnace Mansion, and enjoy local food, beer, and great folk-rock at Elk Creek Cafe…
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for July 26-27
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/25, 2014 at 08:37 AM
When I was stationed in Southern California I went to my first Renaissance Fair. It was held on the fairgrounds where the US Festival back in the 80s was held in the Cajon Pass near San Bernardino CA. It was later the Blockbuster Pavilion and then something else. It was at the Renaissance Fair that I was introduced to Scottish Eggs.
I know, I know, the recipe is for Armadillo Eggs but you need a little background. This is the first time I ever had anything wrapped in sausage and fried. I mean who wouldn’t like a complete breakfast all in one item. Imagine a hard boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, rolled in bread crumbs, and deep fried or baked. So when I was visiting a friend in Texas he took me out to dinner. It was here I was introduced to Armadillo Eggs.
Continue Reading: Recipe: Armadillo Eggs put a deliciously spicy twist on Scottish eggs
Posted by James Sechrengost on 07/24, 2014 at 12:08 PM
Video by WPSU intern Kelly Tunney
Micah and Bethany Spicher Schonberg like to know who their vegetables are going home with. As the founders of Plowshare Produce, a CSA (for community-supported agriculture) near Huntingdon, Micah and Bethany know their members. The farmers greet their members by name; one of them is even the doula who delivered their son Ben.
A CSA is a subscription model for produce. Members pay in advance to have a weekly or biweekly delivery of fresh, organic vegetables. On their appointed day–Tuesday in State College, Friday in Huntingdon–they pick up their share of whatever ripened that week. At a recent distribution in State College, that included kohlrabi, garlic scapes, strawberries, beets, carrots, chard, and sugar peas.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/22, 2014 at 10:57 AM
Editor’s Note: The following is a letter sent out by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Executive Director Brian Snyder. This is wonderful news for an organization that is a big part of the local food community. The letter was sent July 3 but we figured it was never too late to share such good news!
Every once in a while we get to celebrate the unique character of the PASA community in a special way. This is one of those times. Having been notified in early June of an impending budgetary shortfall and increased annual fundraising goal, our members and other supporters came through in a big way, contributing over $50,000 in the last month of our fiscal year!
Continue Reading: PASA meets fundraising goal for 2013-2014 fiscal year
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/18, 2014 at 07:00 AM
Jason Lilley and Jackie Bonomo demonstrate how to build a hügelkultur garden bed. This type of gardening promotes sustainability, as the beds keep the soil fertile for up to 30 years. Hügelkultur beds need less water and the decomposing organic materials keep the soil warm. Newspaper suppresses weeds and the beds control soil erosion.
Continue Reading: Local Food Video: Building a hügelkultur garden bed
Posted by Danielle Matalonis on 07/16, 2014 at 07:00 AM
Just about everybody knows the health benefits of eating fresh, local vegetables and fruits. But actually eating them is another matter. Often the reason for this is not knowing how to prepare them in creative and easy ways. To remedy this, The Boalsburg Farmers Market is sponsoring a “Vegetable Festable” on Tuesday, July 15 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Boalsburg Farmers Market, located at the Pennsylvania Military Museum on Bus. Route 322 in Boalsburg. The event is designed to demonstrate how to use the fresh vegetables and fruits available at our local farmers markets and to inspire creative cooking at home.
Posted by James Eisenstein on 07/14, 2014 at 07:00 AM
This weekend, check out the local food part of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and the Peoples Choice Arts Festival, enjoy wild blueberries, and discover the local food growing right in the Pennsylvania wilds.
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for July 12 and 13
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/11, 2014 at 07:30 AM
Pasta has to be one of my true passions. I love it in all the shapes and forms it takes, from the lowly elbow macaroni to the lasagna noodle. Maybe this is because when I was small child we lived in a neighborhood that was predominantly made up of people of Italian descent. All my neighbors, including the parents of the kids I played with, introduced me to pasta at an early age. I learned all the wonderful things that you could do with pasta from the mighty lasagna to simple, yet elegant, fettuccini carbonara.
One of my favorite and fun pastas has to be the farfalle or bow tie pasta. It is firm and holds up well to cooking and has many hidden creases to hold on to the sauce. I love this pasta for different pasta salads as it holds up to being in dressing for hours without losing any of its chew and texture. Below is a recipe for kale and pasta salad that I hope you will enjoy.
Continue Reading: The perfect summer side: kale and pasta salad
Posted by James Sechrengost on 07/09, 2014 at 08:12 AM
While many of us have a full garden by now, there may still be holes to fill due to rascally rabbits, devious deer, disastrous disease. Or, you just haven’t had a chance to get out and plant certain parts of your yard. No worries, believe it or not, there’s still time to plant summer vegetables (and soon time to plant fall vegetables, more about that in a future post). And there are bargains to be found at local garden centers/greenhouses.
For vegetables, we basically have about 80-90 days left in our growing season, depending on where you live. So, any plant that matures by that time, you can plant and harvest.
Continue Reading: Believe it or not, still time to plant summer vegetables/herbs/flowers
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/07, 2014 at 08:25 AM
I love baked potatoes. I love potato skins. I just don’t love the time it takes to make them when grilling. So my friends and I, while sitting around after a day of grilling, tried to come up with a recipe that would give us what we wanted without the hassle. I don’t drink and they do so as the beer flowed so did the ideas.
Posted by James Sechrengost on 07/03, 2014 at 07:11 AM
WPSU’s recent episode of “Our Town” featured a visit to Ebensburg. Part of the episode looked at the food scene and featured an interview with Penn State Altoona employee and part-time pastry chef Julie Fether. I recently chatted with Julie and learned more about a growing local food movement in Blair and Cambria Counties.
When Julie Fether moved back to her hometown of Ebensburg from Oregon, she wasn’t anticipating a thriving local food scene like she had in Oregon. But what she discovered was a growing local food community in her old stomping grounds.
Fether has become part of that local food scene herself. Along with her role as a project coordinator for the Center for Community-Based Studies at Penn State Altoona, she works part-time as a pastry chef at the Ebensburg destination restaurant, Amichi’s Ristorante. She notes that Amichi’s is not only a fantastic fine-dining experience but also a place to eat local. “They work very closely with couple of local farms,” Fether said. “They also buy from the Johnstown Farmers Market and the Ebensburg Farmers Market. The perk of working there is local farmers will come with produce and give out samples.”
Continue Reading: Ebensburg and surrounding area’s growing local food scene
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 07/01, 2014 at 07:56 AM
Pesto tastings at Tait Farm, a real live bison at the Bellefonte Farmers Market, the final June free wine and cheese tasting at Mt. Nittany Winery, and great live music at Gamble Mill Inn.
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for June 28 and 29
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/26, 2014 at 09:45 PM
Two members of the Mount Nittany United Methodist Church have led an effort to create a “Giving Garden” on the church grounds to help address the issue of hunger in our community.
Robert and Joanna Jones of State College got a double dose of inspiration from the documentary “A Place At the Table”, about food shortages in the United States, and a TED Talk by fashion designer and activist Ron Finley about guerrilla gardening in South Central Los Angeles. So, they decided to take action themselves and help address our local food shortages here in Central Pennsylvania with local food from a garden on the church grounds.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/26, 2014 at 10:00 AM
When I was stationed in Southern California I became interested in martial arts. In my quest for a good teacher I met a man named Pu Gill Gwon. Now to look at him you would not be impressed. He was barely over 5 feet tall and maybe 110-120 lbs. soaking wet.
But there was something about him though that grabbed my attention. A calm self-assuredness that seemed to express itself in everything he did. I got to know him and the more I knew the more impressed I became. I never became a student I became something better. I became his friend.
Continue Reading: Recipe: Cucumber kimchi a tasty variation on traditional Korean favorite
Posted by James Sechrengost on 06/25, 2014 at 08:00 AM
This weekend you can enjoy a summer celebration at Tait Farm, experience a garden via your five senses, meet PBS Kids’ very own Daniel Tiger, enjoy free wine and cheese tastings, and go back in time musically with The Dustbowl Revival.
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for June 21-22
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/20, 2014 at 08:44 AM
Three local chefs will demonstrate how to prepare dishes using fresh ingredients obtained at the Boalsburg Farmers Market on Tuesday, June 24. Mark Johnson, chef at Zola New World Bistro is sharing a pork rillettes recipe whose ingredients can be obtained at the market and that’s easy to replicate. He’s also demystifying pesto making using the wonderful seasonal herbs and produce available. Sc’Eric Horner (Fuji & Jade Garden restaurant) & Chris Young (Happy Valley Brewing) will demonstrate making “Cocktails from the Garden” using garden-fresh and local ingredients to create exciting summer drinks. The demonstrations begin at 2:00 p.m. at the market, which is located on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Military Museum on Bus. Route 322 (South Atherton Street) in Boalsburg.
Continue Reading: Learning Kitchen at the Boalsburg Farmers Market June 24
Posted by James Eisenstein on 06/19, 2014 at 09:40 AM
WPSU radio’s Kelly Tunney ran a great story this morning about the importance of native plants in your garden, as they provide an important link in the ecosystem.
Continue Reading: It starts in your backyard: Help the environment via native plants
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/16, 2014 at 10:15 AM
This weekend, you can enjoy pick-your-own strawberries, a Strawberry Festival in Lemont, wine and cheese tastings, and blues and soul to go with your local beer at the Gamble Mill Inn.
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for June 14-15
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/13, 2014 at 08:38 AM
One of the more frustrating things in gardening is taking time to prepare a garden bed, plant seeds, and then have them not germinate. The good news is, you have time to replant many vegetables in the garden.
So, when you do replant, here are some tips to help you avoid germination issues in the new planting:
Continue Reading: Why your seeds didn’t germinate
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/10, 2014 at 08:30 AM
Students from Corl Street Elementary school have been invited to attend a cooking demonstration at the Boalsburg Farmers Market on Tuesday, June 10. The highlight of the event will be a “learning kitchen” cooking class conducted by Tony Sapia of Gemelli Bakers that will show children how to make simple dishes using ingredients obtained from the market. He will be assisted by noted local food writer and chef Anne Quinn Corr and her students from Penn State’s nutrition program. After the demonstration, the vendors at the market will answer questions from the children about how they grow and make the products sold at the market, and Corl street students will be able to use a voucher worth $5 to purchase items themselves.
Continue Reading: Kids Day Learning Kitchen at Boalsburg Farmers Market June 10
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/09, 2014 at 08:05 AM
This Local Food Weekend features a Pink Day, Millheim Mayfly Festival, wine and cheese at Mount Nittany Winery, and a Friends and Farmers Coop fundraiser at Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks.
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for June 7-8
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 06/05, 2014 at 09:04 PM
To celebrate June as “National Dairy Month,” Mount Nittany Vineyard and Winery will host free wine and cheese tastings every Saturday in June from 12 noon until 5pm.
On Saturday, June 7, local cheese artisan Stone Meadow Farm will be available in the winery tasting room to provide samples and sales of their products. Stone Meadow raises milking and beef cattle in the beautiful pastures of Centre County, Pennsylvania. Their cheeses are made directly on the farm from fresh, whole unpasteurized milk which is dense with nutrients due to their farming practices and breed of cows. Stone Meadow makes a variety of hard cheeses: Cheddar, Swiss, Colby and Jalapeno Jack. In addition, seasonally they offer soft cheeses such as Camembert and Taleggio, as well as smoked cheeses.
Posted by Linda Weaver on 06/04, 2014 at 10:42 AM
I love BBQ. I can’t deny it. People will tell you Kansas is best, others will tell you Memphis is best, others will say Carolina is best. You know what? They are all right. Each type of BBQ has its own particular something special to offer. So don’t be afraid to try a type you haven’t before. You may be surprised. I’ve cooked over wood fire, used smokers, gas grills, charcoal grills, you name it. Now I am not going to sit here and tell you one is better than the other. We each have what we have and use what we are used to. The only thing I have to say is don’t be afraid to try something different if you have the chance.
Food should be an adventure. Trying new foods and types of cooking is like a culinary journey. Taking you to faraway lands and experiencing new cultures through their foods and cooking styles. Food is one of the few things I can think of that crosses racial and ethnic boundaries. So go, try, experiment, and enjoy.
Continue Reading: Recipe: BBQ ribs, a summer classic
Posted by James Sechrengost on 06/03, 2014 at 08:54 AM
Eggs are cheap and plentiful in the grocery store, so one might wonder why you’d venture out to a local farmer’s market to buy pastured eggs. An egg is an egg, right? Well, as it turns out, there are vast differences that all go back to how the chicken is raised.
I raise laying hens on pasture just outside of State College, and I just love selling that first pastured dozen to someone who tells me they’ve only bought eggs at the grocery before. I know exactly how much of a surprise they are in for! (I should note that “free-range” at the grocery store means that the hens are not caged and have access to the outdoors at least part of the day. How much space they have outdoors or what the surface is made of is not specified. “Cage-free” hens are raised entirely indoors, but are not confined to cages.) Here are a few surprises you might encounter if you’ve never tried a pastured egg before.
Continue Reading: Five very good reasons to buy pastured eggs at farmers markets
Posted by Kim Chase on 05/29, 2014 at 08:32 AM
I am really fed up. And it isn’t just because I am an increasingly irascible, old curmudgeon.
I’m fed up with the behavior of government agencies like the FDA, the USDA, and the EPA, dancing like puppets in the hands of Monsanto, ConAgra, Dow, Big Pharma and their ilk. The FDA dilly-dallies by continuing to allow antibiotics in animal feed to promote “efficiency” and profits, when it is clear that the practice promotes the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten our health.
I’m fed up with the EPA constantly approving new pesticides that are known to kill pollinators. (Who needs insects anyway?)
Continue Reading: I’m Fed Up With Industrial Food
Posted by James Eisenstein on 05/27, 2014 at 08:52 AM
I love to make beef stew. On a rainy, blustery day, nothing is more comforting than sitting at the table eating beef stew and watching the rain. I used to freeze it so I had some on hand just to cheer me up when it would seem to rain for days on end.
When I used to go camping in the mountains with friends I would take along a big bag of frozen stew. By the end of the day there was nothing to do but throw it into the pot and wait until it had heated.
Continue Reading: Recipe: Beef stew, a great answer for our rainy days
Posted by James Sechrengost on 05/22, 2014 at 06:40 AM
Centre County is the home to five of the country’s almost 2500 craft breweries. Maria Bryant takes us on a video tour of them and finds each one is offering something a little different.
Continue Reading: Local Food Journey Video: A tour of Centre County’s craft brewers
Posted by Maria Bryant on 05/20, 2014 at 08:48 AM
After our May monsoon, looks like a cool but decent weather weekend coming up. This weekend, there’s two plant sales, the Blair County Arts Festival, The Big Spring Festival, and live acoustic music to be found. Continue reading to learn more and plan your weekend.
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for May 17-18
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/16, 2014 at 08:01 AM
We recently had a story on here about the Penn State Community Food Security Club. The organization is run by Penn State students that has a mission which states that their goal is to “spread conscious eating habits to the Penn State and State College communities, to assist in the support of a local food system, and to raise awareness and support for food security.”
Recently, WPSU ran a radio story during Morning Edition about another Penn State student-run effort that addresses an issue that many may not be aware even exists—University students who struggle to feed themselves.
Continue Reading: Penn State students work to create a food bank for students
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/15, 2014 at 08:57 AM
While most of you were able to enjoy winter in February, my wife and I had to go to Mexico for three weeks. I knew we would miss experiencing the well below zero temperatures that promised to devastate our stink bugs population. I also wondered how much I would miss the fresh organic food available here.
But when we arrived in San Jose del Cabo near the tip of Baja California, I was delighted to find the organic food movement thriving. We were able to walk from our motel in the city’s arts district to an organic farmers market, chock full of vendors selling fresh organic vegetables, meat, and eggs. Almost everything you can find at the Boalsburg Farmers Market in mid-summer was available and all of it organic.
Continue Reading: Unpaid Field Hand travels to Mexico and samples their local food scene
Posted by James Eisenstein on 05/14, 2014 at 10:15 AM
When I was a young man I helped a friend build him and his wife a log cabin. It wasn’t one of the sprawling cabins you see on some of these new reality shows but it had three bedrooms, indoor plumbing, and electricity. I did most of the electrical work and a lot of heavy lifting moving the peeled timbers into place. Thank goodness we had chainsaws as I don’t see how those pilgrims ever got the work done using axes and hand adzes.
His wife brought us lunch every day and then stayed around and helped where she could. I look back fondly on that house, which is still standing in the San Bernardino Mountains, and the meals she prepared. One of the dishes she made was potato salad. I never was a huge fan of it, could take it or leave it, but when I tried hers I was hooked. She said to let them steam in the pot, which stopped the potato salad from being soggy and mushy. She gave me the recipe when I left and every time I make it I think of that log cabin and my friends.
Continue Reading: Recipe: Potato salad raises home-building memories
Posted by James Sechrengost on 05/13, 2014 at 08:45 AM
This weekend features Way Fruit Farm’s Apple Blossom Festival, Centre Furnace Mansion Plant Celebration, Harrison’s Wine Grill & Catering special Graduation Dinner, and Webster’s Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet.
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for May 10-11
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/09, 2014 at 07:39 AM
While we are most certainly not Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, we here in Central Pennsylvania are not living in a good-food black hole. We have some excellent restaurants and other vendors of prepared meals/snacks using local food ingredients in our area. You can find local food in fine dining establishments, taverns, diners, festivals, and, of course, farmers markets. Here are five great local food items that we think you must try:
Continue Reading: Five must-have local food bites
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/07, 2014 at 07:30 AM
Do you like to write and love local food? Well, we’d love to have you help us tell Central Pennsylvania’s Local Food Stories! We are looking for writers to post on Local Food Journey about anything local food related, including:
Continue Reading: Local Food Journey looking for writers to share their local food stories
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/05, 2014 at 07:31 AM
This is a really exciting time to be a local foodie, as the warm season is finally here (even though most mornings we still need a jacket). Because this is the time of farmers markets, outdoor festivals, etc. we are bringing back the Local Food Weekend feature. Each Friday we help you plan your weekend by highlighting some of the local-food related events going on Saturday and Sunday.
Our first event is put on by one of our hubs of local food, Tait Farm, which is holding their Gardener’s Open House. Click the link below after “Continue Reading” to find out more about that event and others…
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for May 3-4
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/02, 2014 at 07:59 AM
Friends and Farmers Cooperative is nearing their goal of 200 Founding Members by Thursday, May 2, but they still need your help if you already haven’t signed up. Please note that you can fill out the member application form online, then mail your check to the Co-op. As long as you fill out the form by Thursday, you’ll be considered a Founding Owner-Member.
One of the first perks of membership is the Local Loyalty program. Owner-members will be able to use their brand-new membership card at 35 local businesses to receive discounts, and this list of businesses is growing and not limited to food!
The Local Loyalty Program includes businesses that offer food, acupuncture, book, clothing alterations, massage, jewelry, and more. Along with this, there are a lot of other benefits of membership. You can find the form to fill out here.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/30, 2014 at 09:00 AM
It’s almost May, and garden preparations are in full swing. Like anything else, a successful garden can really rely on a good start. There are multiple mistakes that can set your garden back that can be easily avoided. Here’s some tips to help you avoid five of the most common early season garden mistakes:
Continue Reading: Five tips to help you avoid early season gardening set-backs
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/28, 2014 at 08:43 AM
State College is chock full of restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, and countless other businesses, and it’s become easy to forget that the busy college town is surrounded by vast, peaceful farmland. Thankfully, the Centre County Farmland Trust (CCFT) was formed to preserve this land, ensuring that there will never come a day where green fields become nothing but blacktop and neon lights. Sarah Walter, executive director of the CCFT, puts it this way: “Once farmland has been converted, it is very difficult if not impossible to bring it back into agricultural production, especially if the land has been covered with asphalt or concrete.”
The trust was formed in 1994 as a private non-profit organization to give landowners the opportunity to protect their land, ensuring that it will not undergo any development, despite future owners. The process required to do so is referred to as an “agricultural conservation easement.” Thus far, the CCFT has preserved over 1,000 acres belonging to 11 farms. According to the trust’s president, Pete Schempf, “All landowners need to do to preserve their land is have the desire to never let it be developed. CCFT will take care of all the rest and set up an agricultural conservation easement at no cost to the land owner.”
Continue Reading: Farmland trust plays crucial role in preserving Centre County farmland
Posted by Jordan Reabold on 04/23, 2014 at 08:30 AM
To many, the image above may cause anger because the dandelion is considered one of the worst lawn and garden weeds to control. However, to many of the Pennsylvania Dutch persuasion, dandelions are good to eat and are a staple at the Easter table. They are, as we all know, quite plentiful and are ready to harvest right now so you can gather enough for Easter dinner.
There are two key points to remember when harvesting dandelions. First, perhaps most importantly, make sure you are not harvesting greens from ground that has been hard hit with herbicides and other chemicals. In fact, there are cultivars of dandelions that you can grow in your garden. Second, you must harvest the greens before the flower head appears. Once that happens, they become so bitter they are inedible.
Continue Reading: Recipe: Dandelion salad with hot bacon dressing a PA Dutch Easter staple
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/18, 2014 at 10:04 AM
It seems as though Penn State has a club for everything—The Clown Nose Club, Beekeepers Club, Glee Club— the list goes on. While they all vary in their size, purpose, and popularity, I think it’s safe to say that each club plays a significant part in helping the community. One club I hadn’t heard of, until now of course, is the Community Food Security Club. Their mission “is to spread conscious eating habits to the Penn State and State College communities, to assist in the support of a local food system, and to raise awareness and support for food security.” It’s no surprise that college students don’t have the best reputation for eating habits (Ramen noodles, anyone?), so the Community Food Security Club exists to prevent bad eating habits, not only for students, but for the community as a whole.
To begin, it’s important to address what exactly “food security” is. The club describes it in this way: “Food security is having continuous access to nutritious, affordable food in order to live a healthy life.” The club exists to ensure that dining halls across campus offer an array of healthy options for Penn State students. When it comes to the community, the club promotes the use of farm-grown foods by restaurants as well as people in their homes. Caroline Meehan, the Community Food Security Club president, says, “The club started a few years ago to raise awareness on food insecurity in America and to show support for sustainable agriculture and the local food system.”
Continue Reading: Penn State food security club promotes healthy, local eating
Posted by Jordan Reabold on 04/15, 2014 at 08:27 AM
Tomorrow is practically a Central Pennsylvania holiday—first day of trout season! Our area is known across the country as a prime area for trout fishing, boasting legendary trout streams like Spruce Creek, Penn’s Creek, Bald Eagle Creek, and Black Moshannon Creek. Saturday these streams will be filled with anglers trying their luck.
There are three different species of trout to be caught in our streams, including brook, brown, and rainbow, and all are quite tasty. This recipe allows the trout’s flavor to stand more or less on its own, with assistance of two other tastes of spring, the grill and fresh local spinach.
Here is the recipe for Grilled Butterfly Trout Over Spinach (good luck tomorrow and hopefully you’ll catch something that will allow you to try this recipe!):
Continue Reading: A perfect recipe for your first day of trout season catch
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/11, 2014 at 08:30 AM
In 2011 Fair Food Philly and PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) teamed up to create a new annual marketplace for farmers and local food producers. The shared goal was to assist small businesses in growing their bottom line by providing a low-cost venue accessible to a diverse audience of potential customers. The event is the Philly Farm and Food Fest, and it is happening this year on Sunday, April 13 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex.
Fest is also a fundraising event for Fair Food and PASA, with proceeds going to support our non-profit educational and technical assistance programs for food producers. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.
Continue Reading: Philly Farm and Food Fest a showcase of Pennsylvania local food
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/08, 2014 at 09:07 AM
There is no doubt that Anthony Hopkins is one of the finest actors of all time. In fact, he is so good, he actually managed to ruin the reputation of one tasty vegetable—fava beans.
Even if you haven’t seen his role as the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lector in the film The Silence of the Lambs, unless you live under a rock you’ve probably heard Hopkins’ character’s infamous quote about one of his devious meals, and how he accompanied it with fava beans and a nice Chianti. To this day, I’ve noticed that whenever you mention fava beans, that scene is mentioned. However, fava beans are not a horror, they are a tasty vegetable that has a long history as a food, going all the way back to the Romans and Ancient Greeks.
Continue Reading: Taking back the reputation of fava beans
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/03, 2014 at 07:45 AM
One of the best early season treats for the locavore is a fresh salad made with the first greens of the season. While some might be surprised to hear this, there are three farmers markets going on right now that offer delicious and fresh greens: Boalsburg Farmers Market on Tuesdays 2:00-6:00 p.m. at the Boalsburg Fire Hall, the State College Indoor Farmers Market on Fridays from 11:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the State College Municipal Building Lobby, and the Millheim Indoor Farmers Market on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Bremen Town Ballroom.
Continue Reading: Early spring is salad time at indoor farmers markets
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 03/31, 2014 at 08:03 AM
If there’s one piece of advice people get when they visit State College, it’s this: go to the Berkey Creamery. There’s a reason why Penn State fans are lined up around the block during football weekends, willing to wait as long as they must for a cone of Peachy Paterno or a half gallon for the road. In fact, every time I visit home, I bring two half gallons with me; my family and friends can’t get enough of it. While people from across the country can get Creamery ice cream delivered to them, it’s a business that we’ll always be proud to call local.
As often as we visit the Creamery, there’s so much that a lot of people don’t know about it. For instance, the proceeds from all sales contribute toward research, education, and extension programs in the Department of Food Science and the College of Agricultural Sciences. They make all dairy products on site—70 percent of the milk used comes from PSU cows, and the rest is from local farms. The milk arrives via tanker truck, and it is immediately tested for antibiotics, butterfat, and bacteria. Over 4.5 million pounds of milk is used every year on an assortment of cheeses, spreads, milk, yogurt, frozen yogurt, sherbet, and of course, ice cream. In order to ensure safety in the plant during any manufacturing process, all employees must follow the Good Manufacturing Practices.
Continue Reading: The story behind your Creamery cone
Posted by Jordan Reabold on 03/27, 2014 at 08:33 PM
The ongoing debate for all latte-sipping, caffeine-craving coffee snobs (myself included) seems to be “which is better?” Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts? Coffee has become a necessity for so many people; we wake up, skip breakfast, grab a cup of joe to go, and get on with our day. But if you’re tired of the Starbucks employees misspelling your name, or the line at Dunkin Donuts has you fed up, try a change of pace at Café Lemont. After all, owners Michael Beck and Jodi Hakes McWhirter make it a point to stand out from the rest. “There really isn’t any other place quite like ours around.”
While Café Lemont is unique for its special events and entertainment away from the downtown State College bustle, what makes this café special is its menu. Starting with coffee, they roast organic beans on a weekly basis, and their tea is specially blended with loose leaves by Pantheon Teas, a business nearby. If that isn’t enough to pique your taste buds, their menu features light breakfasts and lunches made with ingredients from several other local businesses including Meyer Dairy, Green Heron Farm, Hogs Galore, Ye Olde College Diner, Gaffron’s Sunrise Bakery, Suzie Wong’s, and Belladonna Herbs. “All the rest is made from scratch by us,” Michael said.
Continue Reading: Cafe Lemont offers local food and great java
Posted by Jordan Reabold on 03/25, 2014 at 08:30 AM
Harrison’s Wine Grill and Catering has established itself as a go-to place for outstanding dining with a local food focus, but they also conduct one of the most-delicious and well-respected fundraising programs in the state. Harrison’s Eat Well Fundraising program has been awarded the National Restaurant Association’s 2010 Good Neighbor Award and the CBICC’s 2010 Philanthropy Award.
State College’s Easterly Parkway PTO and Harrison’s are once again teaming up for an Eat Well fundraiser. From today though Sunday, March 30, if you mention to your Harrison’s server that you are a supporter of Easterly Parkway PTO, Harrison’s will donate 20 percent of your check before taxes and gratuity to Easterly Parkway PTO. But that’s not all.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 03/21, 2014 at 09:13 AM
Recently, Anne Field, a contributor with Forbes, wrote about a way for restaurants and grocery stores to meet the growing demand for local food.
Direct Local Food is an online wholesale market place for local food. It helps farmers find new buyers, manage their inventory, update buyers on product availability and new products, and track their sales. For buyers like chefs and grocers, it helps them find and order the best products, find special deals, discover and maintain relationships with new farmers, and track their orders.
Continue Reading: Online platform makes it easier for grocers, chefs to source local food
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 03/18, 2014 at 08:42 AM
From Friends & Farmers Co-op, an update on their recent membership push and other news:
The Friends & Farmers Co-op membership kickoff was a tremendous success—more than 200 people attended the event. The co-op now has 88 Founding Members and sufficient capital to fund its marketing study.
Membership in Friends & Farmers requires an equity payment (you can read more about that payment under “How and Why of Signing Up” here). The equity payment is not a fee, nor is it dues. It is not an annual charge. It is a one-time investment that brings with it ownership in a community-owned enterprise—in this case, a grocery store—that is democratically controlled.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 03/14, 2014 at 08:39 AM
Believe it or not, it’s time to plant peppers…indoors, that is. Generally, you want to start pepper seeds inside about 6-10 weeks before last frost to give the plants time to grow and produce peppers. If you haven’t bought seeds yet, area stores have seeds in stock now, and if you want more variety, you can go to any number of online seed vendors to make your order and get the seeds in time to start.
As for what to plant, there are countless varieties of hot peppers out there to try. Here are six varieties that are sure to spice up your life this summer:
Continue Reading: Bring the heat this summer with hot peppers in your garden
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 03/12, 2014 at 08:47 AM
March is often a tease to those of us weary of winter’s cold, snow, and ice. One day we may have pleasant mild weather, the next, biting wind and snow.
But really, we’re entering the end-of-life phase for Old Man Winter. As the glacier that was covering Central PA continues to shrink, and mild days become more frequent, the harbingers of spring become more frequent. Here are five signs of spring, local food style:
Continue Reading: Five local food related signs of spring
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 03/10, 2014 at 09:02 AM
While there are plenty of restaurants in State College that pride themselves in their use of locally-made ingredients, the list continues to grow. Recently, the highly revered Nittany Lion Inn made the switch to use local ingredients in their menu with hopes of supporting other local businesses, expanding their menu, and of course, pleasing the palates of customers.
Andrew Monk, executive chef of the Nittany Lion Inn, explains the process that was necessary in order to begin serving local food. “We had to change the thought process on menus and make a list based on our needs,” he said.
Specifically, Andrew addresses the importance in valuing the different needs and preferences of all customers alike, including vegetarians, vegans, and guests visiting the hotel from all over the world. Everyone has their own personal taste, and the restaurant offers an array of options. He stresses, “You want to please their needs, and you have to take as many steps as you can to get there.”
Continue Reading: On the menu at the Nittany Lion Inn: Local food
Posted by Jordan Reabold on 03/05, 2014 at 10:46 AM
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
Referring to this winter as “freezing” would be an understatement. The snow was relentless, not to mention temperatures were lower than I had ever experienced. Nevertheless, as brutal as Pennsylvania winters may be, I try to remind myself, while laboriously scraping the ice off my windshield, that spring will arrive in just a short while. In fact, farmers in the area are also anticipating warm weather by planting their spring harvest right now! Greenmoore Gardens, an organic farm located just outside of State College, began planting this week in hopes of a healthy spring harvest.
Laura Zaino, an employee of Greenmoore Gardens, gives the ins and outs of preparation. “We seed onions in mid-February, which is the first of the spring crops to get seeded.” Using their own potting mix, the seeds are planted in a greenhouse where the seedlings germinate and begin to grow. “Then we either put them into bigger pots or transplant them outside in the fields. The larger pots are for plants like tomatoes that need warm soil to grow,” explains Laura.
She goes on to further explain that the bigger pots allow for longer time in the greenhouse, hence, more growth before being transported outside. “Other crops, like turnips, carrots and beets, we seed directly into rows in the fields,” she says.
Posted by Jordan Reabold on 02/25, 2014 at 10:04 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
For twenty-three years, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, otherwise known as PASA, has been gathering for its very own Farming for the Future Conference. Last week vendors from all over the country congregated at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center to attend workshops, participate in auctions, listen to guest speakers, receive awards, and to simply share their appreciation of farming as a whole.
Lauren Smith, director of development for PASA, says her favorite aspect of the annual conference is that it’s like “a huge family reunion.” Indeed, the majority of farmers and businesses in attendance have previously come to the conference, so many of them are familiar with one another. Lauren explains, “We have an amazing community of farmers. They become a network of ideas and inspiration.”
Posted by Jordan Reabold on 02/10, 2014 at 09:37 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
Winter certainly takes a toll on us here in Happy Valley. From below freezing temperatures to painfully bitter winds, winter weather conditions require us to adapt and prepare accordingly. While you may think that the months of December through March leave local farmers with little to harvest, this is not the case. In fact, farmers throughout Centre County are finding innovative ways to grow vegetables during the winter months, despite the chill that would typically inhibit certain plants to grow. Plus, you don’t have to look far to find these vegetables available to you, for they’re being sold every Tuesday at the Boalsburg Farmers Market!
Posted by Jordan Reabold on 02/06, 2014 at 09:04 AM
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and love is certainly in the air at Harrison’s—love for local food, that is! Harrison Schailey, owner of Harrison’s Wine Grill on E. College Ave, came all the way from California as an organic farmer, hoping to bring some Left Coast influence to State College when he opened the restaurant. “After a while, I realized people didn’t go for that.”
What Harrison found was that people didn’t want a taste of California—they wanted a taste of State College. And why wouldn’t they? With the abundance of farms around the area offering a variety of options, it would be a shame not to take advantage. “It just made sense,” he says.
Of course, the winter climate here in Central Pennsylvania is nothing like California, but Mr. Harrison has adapted. When it comes to vegetables especially, winter takes a toll on local produce. “It is difficult during the winter, especially now that it’s been so cold, but we get what’s available.”
Posted by Jordan Reabold on 02/03, 2014 at 10:17 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
The object pictured above doesn’t look much like barbed wire, but if you stretch it a bit, there is a connection.
What you see is an Osage orange I picked up this fall on the road near Jade Family Farm. You can find Osage Orange trees from the Great Plains to here and beyond.
Continue Reading: Osage oranges to provide natural fence for Jade Family Farm
Posted by James Eisenstein on 01/14, 2014 at 09:09 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
Winter offers unpaid field hands like me respite from the daily toil that spring, summer, and fall days require. It is a good time to reflect on the past year. And when I begin these reveries, the first word that comes to mind is . . . pears.
Continue Reading: Winter is a time of some rest, reminiscing for local farmers
Posted by James Eisenstein on 01/06, 2014 at 09:58 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
Editor’s Note: While some of us enjoy snow around the holidays, the recent harsh weather might make some long for warmer times. Local Food Journey writer James Eisenstein takes us back to last spring and summer and shares the beauty he sees around Jade Family Farm.
In my previous life when in worked three jobs rolled into one at Penn State, I was especially attuned to the natural beauty surrounding us. To be sure, I admired the blossoms on my fruit trees at home, appreciated the beautiful flowers on my tomato plants, and admired Mt. Nittany from afar. But for the most part, I was preoccupied with thinking about everything I had to do, and spent more time than I should have staring at computer screens. A colleague with whom I did research brought this lifestyle to my attention when he suggested that an appropriate tombstone engraving would read: “Wishes he had spent more time in the office.”
That all changed when I switched careers to that of an unpaid field hand. I spend close to half of my time outdoors at the farm. I make it a point to stop fairly frequently to appreciate the stunning beauty all around me there.
Continue Reading: The natural beauty of a local farm
Posted by James Eisenstein on 12/16, 2013 at 10:07 AM
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
When I was still a young man my father handed me his rifle and one bullet. He said “bring a deer home or don’t come home.” Now to some that might seem cruel. To me it was a challenge. By the time my father said that, I was good with a rifle, actually very good. He was actually kidding. Well, sort of kidding, we really needed the meat.
So I traipsed out into the snow to get some meat. I came home a few hours later dragging a buck behind me. I always enjoyed hunting. The time in the woods by myself, the skill in tracking the game, testing myself, pushing the limits. After I got older and served and did some other things I lost my taste for hunting but not for venison. So when I can get my hands on some I love to make it in new and interesting ways. Here I have included my recipe for venison chili, crockpot style.
Posted by James Sechrengost on 12/02, 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
For me, fall always means changing colors, cooler temperatures, and soups. When my wife was alive we would love putting together a soup or stew, throwing it in a crockpot and heading out to enjoy the fall season. When we got back the whole house smelled of soup. We would warm up by the fire with our bowls of soup and a big slice of bread smothered in butter. To this day those are some of my fondest memories. So to me fall is soup and soup is love and comfort. Here is one of the recipes we used to make on those blustery days, squash and corn soup:
Continue Reading: Squash and corn soup perfect for blustery fall days
Posted by James Sechrengost on 11/18, 2013 at 09:37 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
The first time I had apple dumplings I was seven. My uncle loved camping and this was the first time he asked me to go along. Now, he was my favorite uncle (shhhhh don’t tell the others) and getting to go with him had me excited for weeks before the trip. It was fall and the weather was turning colder so he wanted to get one last camping trip in before it started to snow. My uncle taught me all kinds of things about the woods and surviving and just enjoying nature. What I didn’t know was he had a favorite uncle too. Uncle Lloyd was old school and knew more about hunting and wood lore than I ever will and I’m a survival specialist. He did things around a camp without thinking that I never would have thought of to make life easier.
So when we went to go camping my uncle always made sure to stop off and visit with Lloyd before and after a camping trip to talk over where he was going and what he had seen. So we stopped off and they visited for an hour then we headed out to go camping. After a week in the woods I was ready to go home. I had learned a lot and had a lot of fun but the rock and twigs under my bed were winning and I wanted a real bed. So on our way home we stopped off to visit Lloyd. Now, I didn’t want to stop, I just wanted to go home. I didn’t want to not get invited back so I didn’t say anything but I fidgeted a lot, as kids will. Now his wife Dot noticed this and took me out to the kitchen for a bite.
What she sat before me was this large golden brown bowl of pure delight. APPLE DUMPLING! Why had I never seen one of these wonders before or even heard of them? I took my first bite and was hooked. The golden flaky pastry, the sweet glaze, the tender juicy apple and all the spices filled my mouth. Before I knew it my bowl was empty and like Oliver Twist I held out my bowl and said, “Please may I have another?” She laughed and put another in my bowl this time with a scoop of ice cream. How is it possible it was even better? Of course my uncle learned why I had never had one before. That much sweetness and an enclosed car combined with a long trip are not good combinations. I still love them and have included a recipe for them. Enjoy.
Continue Reading: Recipe: Apple dumplings warm the autumn soul
Posted by James Sechrengost on 11/12, 2013 at 08:35 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
A friend introduced me to this grain and I was curious as to what kind of recipes I could come up with. He loves quinoa but how many times can you eat the same thing the same way. I sat down and came up with a few. The first is a version of rice pudding using quinoa. The second is a good vegetarian version of tacos.
Continue Reading: Not sure what to do with quinoa? Here’s two great recipes
Posted by James Sechrengost on 11/04, 2013 at 09:59 AM
A friend introduced me to this grain and I was curious as to what kind of recipes I could come up with. He loves quinoa but how many times can you eat the same thing the same way. I sat down and came up with a few. The first is a version of rice pudding using quinoa. The Second is a good vegetarian version of tacos.
Continue Reading: Not sure what to do with quinoa? Here’s two great recipes
Posted by James Sechrengost on 11/04, 2013 at 09:59 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
When you live in Southern California you start to miss some of the things from home. The thing I missed the most was the seasons. So-Cal had two seasons Hot and less hot. For the winter season they had some cooler days with occasional rain. So for Spring we had green. For summer it was brown. For fall more brown. Winter was brown and dreary.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to shovel sunshine, so, I was happy for the most part. I did miss fall though. I love fall with its brilliant colors and cooler temperatures. It also has my favorite holiday, HALLOWEEN! Now I like the things that become available in fall for making pies such as apples, pears, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins. As you can imagine fresh apples were hard to find.
One day a friend of mine and I were talking about food, of course, when she asked me if I had ever been to Yucaipa. The blank look on my face must have told her everything she needed to know. So the next weekend she drove me over to Yucaipa, CA. Now Yucaipa has grown a lot since but back then they had apple orchards and had a fall festival celebrating apples. I was in my glory. Here was a place close by that had not only apples but seasonal leaf changes. For her help in finding this gem of the high desert I made her my Apple Cheesecake. I have included my recipe below but when ever I look at an apple my mind drifts back to that high desert city and it’s hidden treasure.
Posted by James Sechrengost on 10/21, 2013 at 08:29 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
Now, you probably shouldn’t ask how these patties came to be. It’s one of those stories that you only tell the people you really know won’t judge you. Let’s just say too much time+ abundance of produce + friends + late night hunger = Spicy Pumpkin Patties
Posted by James Sechrengost on 10/15, 2013 at 10:09 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
A number of years ago a friend of mine had a daughter who was battling cancer. She was going through a very hard time with treatment and became depressed. Now this young lady absolutely loved the movie “Ratatouille.”
So one day I stopped by with a bag of ingredients and two chef’s hats. On hers I had printed “REMY” with “Little Chef” in small letters right below it like the movie. On mine I had printed “GUSTEAU.” We spent the entire afternoon in the kitchen recreating the recipe for the title “Ratatouille.” Her and her mother both still bring up that day whenever I stop by to visit. So you see, it doesn’t take a lot of money to make a difference to someone. Just some of your time and willingness to make a difference in someone’s life. Here is the recipe that we came up with:
Continue Reading: Rataouille recipe a tribute to a young girl’s cancer battle
Posted by James Sechrengost on 10/02, 2013 at 08:38 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
With the closing of the recent Garlic Festival in Pocono I was reminded of the many festivals I attended in Gilroy in SoCal. Now I am a garlic lover, not to the extreme I like garlic ice cream, but I do love the pungent little relative to the onion. What you didn’t know that PA had their own Garlic Festival? Check them out at http://www.poconogarlic.com/. We used to load up a van and head to the Gilroy Garlic Festival every year. You could smell the festival miles before you ever got there. Being the foodie I am I headed straight to the food booths. There was always some new and unique recipe I could pick up there.
Continue Reading: Garlic lover? Then try this garlic pot roast recipe…
Posted by James Sechrengost on 09/23, 2013 at 07:30 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
When I was but a wee lad…okay, who am I kidding I was never a wee lad. How about…when I was a young child my grandmother used to make pierogi by the dozens. She would make potato and cheese, sauerkraut, ones stuffed with meat, and even dessert ones. Being the ever inquisitive child I was (okay, okay, being the pain in the neck, nosy, kid that I was) I always wanted to help.
Finally, when they thought I was old enough, they put me on filing duty. I was supposed to place one heaping spoon of filling in the middle of each pierogi shell. Well, after the initial “one spoon for the shell, one for me” method I actually managed to do about two dozen pierogi. With my ever expanding stomach and boredom, the filling wasn’t quite in the middle anymore but I was still working at it.
After another dozen, I came to realize this was more like work than play and didn’t want to do it anymore. My grandmother made me stay and finish the job. I got the lecture about not starting something unless I was willing to finish it. I still have lesson ingrained into me.
Continue Reading: Pierogi memories, plus great potato and cheese pierogi recipe
Posted by James Sechrengost on 09/18, 2013 at 09:08 AM
Working on a farm ties you intimately to the earth’s rhythms like nothing else. Professors begin the new academic year in the fall, then start all over again in January. But what organic vegetable growers do changes dramatically with the seasons.
Usually, farmers are too busy to reflect on much beyond which 20 of the 30 essential tasks that need to be done right away they can do. But I have the luxury of being (supposedly) retired, working only half time, and this allows me to contemplate the passing of the seasons. So as we enter the fall, this is an appropriate time to review this summer, mostly in pictures.
Continue Reading: End of summer reflections…
Posted by James Eisenstein on 09/16, 2013 at 08:32 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
Fall in Central Pennsylvania brings the bounty, beauty, and variety of the fall harvest. To celebrate the harvest, the Boalsburg Farmers Market in cooperation with the Mount Nittany Winery is sponsoring its “Plow to Plate Harvest Dinner” featuring the vegetables and fruits that ripen as the last of summer’s crops are replaced by those that thrive in the fall. Some of the best chefs in Happy Valley will prepare soups and side dishes from both summer crops, including eggplant, peppers, okra, garlic, onions, melons, and from fall favorites including acorn and butternut squash, pumpkins, kale, spinach, other fall greens, kohlrabi, and apples. They will also offer main dishes using pasture-raised, sustainably produced local meat, and deserts.
The dinner will be held at the beautiful Mt. Nittany Winery on Wednesday, September 11, and will gather a number of our area’s best chefs, including Jamie Steffen (Nittany Lion Inn), Charles Niedemyer (Nola’s Joint), Ben Stanley (El Gringo Tacos), Bob Ricketts (Fasta & Co), Nathan Brungarten (Mount Nittany Inn), Paul Kendeffy (Gamble Mill Restaurant and Brewery), Harrison Schailey (Harrisons), and Andy Rose (Elk Creek Café) to create a variety of dishes from ingredients from the fall harvest of Boalsburg Farmers Market vendors.
Posted by James Eisenstein on 09/09, 2013 at 08:19 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
How might the proposed Friends and Farmers Food Co-Op Store contribute to making my local food fantasy a reality? (My fantasy envisions a future in which much of the food we eat comes from local farms and producers. The first four installments include Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four. As a member of the interim board of Friends and Farmers, I’ve been thinking about this question off and on for almost a year.
Continue Reading: Local Food Fantasy Revisited: Part V
Posted by James Eisenstein on 08/21, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I’ve been revisiting my 2011 “Local Food Fantasy” piece describing how much of what we eat could be produced locally. The last installment described how the growing demand for local food can be accelerated. Here I want to explore the question of how supplies might rise to meet increasing demand.
Continue Reading: My Local Food Fantasy Revisited Part IV
Posted by James Eisenstein on 08/19, 2013 at 07:00 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
When I was a young lad I was in Sicily in the city of Palermo doing the tourist thing checking out the castles. After much walking around viewing the sights my tired feet and grumbling stomach reminded me I had not had lunch. I stopped in a small ristorante and had a dish similar to the recipe below. Years later I remembered the dish and recreated it from what I remembered. This recipe comes from a lot of trial and error, mostly error, until I got it to the point it closely matched my memory of the dish.
Continue Reading: Here’s two recipes to give you something to do with all those zucchinis
Posted by James Sechrengost on 08/15, 2013 at 08:19 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
This is a very good question, one I was asking myself during three or so hours back in mid-July hand-weeding this year’s patch. It was hot! Last year we had no parsnips to sell or use, so I volunteered to take responsibility (with help from John). Most organic farmers don’t grow them. I have no idea how commercial, non-organic large scale growers grow them for a profit, but they evidently do. While we like to farm, it is necessary from time to time to get more money for a crop than you spend in time, effort, and inputs. If I weren’t unpaid, parsnips wouldn’t make the cut. They still might not.
Continue Reading: Why Do We Grow Parsnips?
Posted by James Eisenstein on 08/07, 2013 at 09:12 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
El Gringo’s cook, Ben Stanley, talks about how he uses local foods in Mexican dishes to sell at farmers markets. Stanley uses the seasonal produce of central Pennsylvania to practice what he learned in Mexico about cooking.
Continue Reading: Local Food Video: El Gringo Taco Truck
Posted by Jessica Paholsky on 08/02, 2013 at 08:05 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
This is a great farmers market recipe. I got this recipe when I was working in a restaurant in Sun Valley, CA. The restaurant is long gone but this recipe carries on with me.
Continue Reading: Gazpacho, that famous summery cold soup
Posted by James Sechrengost on 07/28, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Dejay Miller, the pasta maker at Fasta & Ravioli Co., talks about the difference between supermarket and fresh pasta. Fasta & Ravioli Co. offers a variety of pasta types and flavors for easy meals.
Continue Reading: Local Food Video: Fasta & Ravioli Co.
Posted by Jessica Paholsky on 07/26, 2013 at 08:17 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
July is winding down, meaning Local Foods Week will be here in no time! August 3rd-10th will bring a week-long celebration of Centre County’s agricultural bounty. The week will end with the highly anticipated Farm Tour on Saturday, August 10th, a day when 17 farms open their doors to visitors to explore, taste, and experience first hand what each farm grows and produces.
Farm Tour passes are on sale at Buy Fresh Buy Local partners Tait Farm, Webster’s Cafe, Nature’s Pantry, and the IngleBean Coffee House, as well as at farmers markets throughout Local Foods Week. A pass is $15/car or $10/bike, and contain special deals for shopping and dining during Local Foods Week. Passes won’t be available the day of the tour, so be sure to get one soon! If you don’t get a pass—don’t fret! Non-pass holders will be asked to pay $5 at each farm visited.
Here is the last sneak-peek of farms on the tour. If you’d like to read previous previews, you can find them here (link to early previews). Hope to see you on the tour!
Continue Reading: Preview of Local Foods Week Farm Tour, Part 4
Posted by Maya Althouse on 07/24, 2013 at 09:23 AM
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
Brian Futhey talks about how his method of making cheese benefits him and his cows. Stone Meadow Farm uses seasonal farming to produce raw milk cheeses.
Continue Reading: Local Food Video: Stone Meadow Farm cheese
Posted by Jessica Paholsky on 07/19, 2013 at 08:13 AM
Farm Tour passes are officially for sale! Look for them at Buy Fresh Buy Local partner businesses: Tait Farm, Webster’s Cafe, Nature’s Pantry, and the IngleBean Coffee House.
There are 17 farms throughout Centre County waiting to show off what they do for consumers like you. For $15 a car (or $10 a bike), get your ticket to spend the day exploring farms around the county. Whether veggies, cheese, fruit, or meat, there are farms that will bring you and your family up close with what you love to eat—growing right here in our county! Mark your calendars for August 10, and get ready to get local.
Added bonus: Buy Fresh Buy Local partner businesses are offering exclusive deals for Farm Tour pass holders. Be sure to check the back of your pass for details, and bring it along when you dine or shop during Local Foods Week (August 3-10) to get the most out of going local.
Here are four more farms that are on the Farm Tour. If this is your first time reading the Farm Tour Previews, be sure to check out the last two installments here and here. (link to Farm Tour Preview Pt1, and Farm Tour Preview Pt2). Check back next week for more!
Continue Reading: Preview of Local Foods Week Farm Tour, Part 3
Posted by Maya Althouse on 07/17, 2013 at 07:45 AM
When I was a little kid our family didn’t have a lot of money and things were tight. My mom was a single mother and struggled to make ends meet like a lot of single mothers do. We lived near a farm and the farmer got to know us kids as we wandered over hill and dale exploring and just being kids. Sometimes he would give us odd jobs for which he paid us in eggs and vegetables out of his truck patch. The one thing I remember most was that he grew corn for feed. If he was out plowing and I knew he was going to be in the fields all day I would bring him some iced tea in a thermos or jug if I was heading out that way in my explorations. He started to leave a small corner of his field unplanted with field corn. He instead planted sweet corn or bread and butter corn there. He told us to pick as much as we needed. We never took advantage of his generosity but only took enough corn for a meal or two.
Continue Reading: Corny memories
Posted by James Sechrengost on 07/16, 2013 at 09:00 AM
On Tuesday, July 16, two local chefs will demonstrate how to prepare dishes using fresh ingredients obtained at the Boalsburg Farmers Market. Grace Pilato, an accomplished Italian chef, cookbook author, and teacher of popular cooking classes, will be joined by Nate Brungarten, executive sous chef de cuisine at Zola’s New World Bistro, for the event. Pilato, a local cultural food expert, will present “Farm to Fork,” showing how to incorporate unusual vegetables into everyday menu preparation and Brungarten will utilize fresh garden ingredients to make summer entertaining burst with fresh, local flavor.
Posted by James Eisenstein on 07/15, 2013 at 07:30 AM
Janet Robinson talks about how she went from teaching to growing hot peppers in her backyard. The Piper’s Peck uses local produce to make jellies and salsas that provide the tastes of ripeness year-round.
Continue Reading: Local Food Video: The Piper’s Peck offers a year-round fresh flavor
Posted by Jessica Paholsky on 07/12, 2013 at 07:26 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
This year I’ve revisited my 2011 local food fantasy by describing recent developments that are moving us to a vibrant local food system and sketching the outlines of what it could be like given the variety (but limited quantities) of locally produced food already available. To become a reality, the demand for local food here must grow, but some formidable obstacles loom. Part III identifies the major obstacles and sketches ways to overcome.
Posted by James Eisenstein on 07/08, 2013 at 08:48 AM
Garfield Mathis talks about the tradition of local farming in Centre County. Hogs Galore, a family-run business, has continued this tradition in the meat industry for more than three decades.
Continue Reading: Video: Hogs Galore—Processing pork locally for holidays and all days
Posted by Jessica Paholsky on 07/05, 2013 at 07:00 AM
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
When I was growing up one of the things my mother used to make was Porcupine Meatballs. I think one of the reasons I liked them so much is they were sort of a rite of passage. We knew that when we were allowed to help make the meatballs we were on our way to being grown up.
Continue Reading: Local Food Recipe: Porcupine meatballs
Posted by James Sechrengost on 07/01, 2013 at 10:15 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
Bill Clarke talks about the importance of understanding the process of coffee production, from the country where beans grow to the coffee mug. The Cheese Shoppe, named after its original product, allows customers to see the roasting process while serving themselves to a selection of flavors from around the world.
Posted by Jessica Paholsky on 06/28, 2013 at 10:56 AM
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
Post by Nick Benard
Living in Bellefonte, I love tracking the progress of spring to summer with the Bellefonte Growers Farmer’s Market. Located in the Gamble Mill Parking Lot at 160 Dunlap St, the market runs every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon. This market is akin to a self-regulated cooperative, ensuring that the people you buy your food from are the ones who actually grow it. Did you ever wonder why some farmers markets will be flush with corn and beefsteak tomatoes for Memorial Day, even while our PA gardens are just taking root at the end of May? Chances are they’re buying from farms in the South and California.
Continue Reading: Guaranteed local at the Bellefonte Grower’s Farmers Market
Posted by Local Food Journey on 06/25, 2013 at 10:21 AM
Three local chefs will demonstrate how to prepare dishes using fresh ingredients obtained at the Boalsburg Farmers Market Tuesday, June 25 at 2:00 p.m. Mark Johnson, head chef at the Elk Creek Cafe, will showcase dinner ideas for entertaining friends and family, while Sc’Eric Horner and Chris Young (master cocktailians from the Fuji & Jade Garden restaurant) will demonstrate making “Cocktails from the Garden” using garden-fresh and local ingredients to create exciting summer drinks.
Continue Reading: Learning Kitchen #1 at the Boalsburg Farmers Market June 25
Posted by James Eisenstein on 06/24, 2013 at 11:00 AM
I grew up drinking raw whole milk from a dairy farm that was literally a stone’s throw away from my childhood home. On occasion I was annoying enough to garner the attention of the farm workers. On these days I was able to help in the entire milking process. At the time, I had no idea what raw meant and even if I did I’m not sure it would have mattered. My habits changed over time and I became a skim only kind of guy. Recently however, I have made the switch back to raw milk as a result of some research that I’ve been doing.
Continue Reading: Thoughts on raw milk
Posted by Brad Yeckley on 06/24, 2013 at 07:00 AM
Heather Emminger talks about the uses of bees and their honey. The Yard is Emminger’s part-time job through which she takes honey, vegetables, and cut flowers to the Bellefonte Farmers Market.
Posted by Jessica Paholsky on 06/21, 2013 at 09:00 AM
It’s getting to be that time of year. You know that time when you are out hiking and you’re keeping your eyes peeled for them, or waiting patiently at your local farmers market for them to arrive. It’s that time that strawberries can be found.
Continue Reading: Strawberry fields producing now
Posted by James Sechrengost on 06/21, 2013 at 07:30 AM
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
During this first annual Happy Valley Culinary Week, chefs demonstrate and celebrate the art of cooking local food. Chef Harrison Schailey of Harrison’s Wine Grill and Catering demonstrated how to make gazpacho during the event. His restaurant, Harrison’s Wine Grill and Catering, was one of several in State College and Bellefonte to offer a discounted, fixed-price menu that featured local options.
Posted by Jessica Paholsky on 06/19, 2013 at 09:26 AM
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
Owner and baker of Cottage Confectioner Samantha Doan talks about how her artistic background has helped her as an entrepreneur. Trends toward veganism inspire Doan to incorporate her creativity into making tea cookies.
Continue Reading: Local Food Video: Cottage Confectioner
Posted by Jessica Paholsky on 06/14, 2013 at 10:24 AM
Children watched Tony Sapia of Gemelli Bakers demonstrate how to prepare local food at the Boalsburg Farmer’s Market during Tuesday’s Kid’s Day. They share their favorite food and other experiences at the farmer’s market.
Continue Reading: Local Food Video: Kid’s Day at Boalsburg Farmer’s Market
Posted by Jessica Paholsky on 06/13, 2013 at 09:18 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
Gemelli Bakers owner Tony Sapia talks about the role bread has played in the everyday lives of people worldwide. An international cook and national award recipient, he strives to meet the demands of locals in downtown State College and at farmers markets.
Continue Reading: Video: Talking bread with a real expert—Gemelli Bakers’ Tony Sapia
Posted by Jessica Paholsky on 06/07, 2013 at 07:05 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
Editor’s note: You can read Part One of this post here.
What would a local food system look like? Unless really hard times come when we are unable to import anything, we are likely to continue to draw upon distant sources for such things as olive oil, citrus fruit, avocados, pistachios, and high fructose corn syrup (just testing to see if you are paying attention on that last one).
Continue Reading: My Local Food Fantasy Revisited: Part Two
Posted by James Eisenstein on 04/19, 2013 at 01:20 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
Several years ago, I shared what I called my “local food fantasy,” one of the results (besides soreness and sweat) of performing repetitive tasks on the farm that require little thought (think weeding and digging carrots). Could we move to a “local food system” here? We live in a rich agricultural setting, have an educated population and some large institutional purchasers of food (Penn State, the hospital, schools, retirement communities), a supportive media, and a small but growing supply of locally grown food. “Why not?” I concluded But this was, as my title indicated, just a daydream.
Continue Reading: My Local Food Fantasy Revisited: Part One
Posted by James Eisenstein on 04/17, 2013 at 03:51 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
The premise behind the Volumetrics Diet, created by Dr. Barbara Rolls, is that people like to eat. Her solution is to eat more food that is less dense, like non-starchy vegetables, and to sneak them in to the dishes we’re already eating. Dr. Rolls is a professor of nutritional sciences and the Helen A. Guthrie chair in nutrition at Penn State. She’s creator and author of The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet, a #1 New York Times Bestselling Diet book. Listen to her interview with WPSU’s Patty Satalia.
Continue Reading: Sneak More Veggies Into Your Recipes
Posted by Frosty on 03/22, 2013 at 08:46 AM
It’s February. There’s nothing I can really say that’s redeeming about local eating in February in Pennsylvania except that we’re one month closer the return of good local veggies than we were in January.
Okay, there’s one other thing I can say. It’s a good time for soup, and I love soup. Far and away my favorite soup of all time is a Portuguese chorizo, kale and potato soup. I don’t know where the recipe is from, unless “my mother” is a suitable answer. This soup is flavorful and hearty and a good way to use any potatoes you have put up from last year that are getting all wrinkly and soft.
Continue Reading: Hearty Chorizo, Kale and Potato Soup
Posted by Emily Reddy on 02/08, 2013 at 10:57 AM
Tis’ the season to break out those crazy holiday recipes, and let’s be thankful for the ones that work!
Every year, cranberries are the one ingredient that I can’t seem to find a place for. I love them, but can’t bear the sight of that cylindrical slab or goopy sauce. After a myriad of berry-big failures, I’ve vowed to take a lighter, simpler approach: a salad.
Continue Reading: Cranberry Walnut Salad
Posted by Brittany Smith on 11/27, 2012 at 10:48 AM
Think back to your very first impressions of Thanksgiving. What were they like? Your young mind probably formulated heartwarming images of pilgrims smiling with Native Americans over warm, delicious food that they’d harvested and cooked together. Both parties truly thankful and dressed to impress; the natives in their tribal best, and the pilgrims in those oddly buckled hats and shoes.
Now think harder, what did the turkey look like? It was beautiful, of course, and looked just like your hand that you’d traced and colored in class: a sizeable bird, wild with full plumage and deep natural colors that was just large enough to feed the small village.
So, what’s different?
Continue Reading: Go Natural and Go Local: Heritage Turkeys
Posted by Brittany Smith on 11/20, 2012 at 07:00 AM
Thanksgiving Day can be daunting for even the most experienced cook. PBS Food is ready to help you pick out your Thanksgiving recipes, plan ahead to stay on track, and remember what Thanksgiving is really about – being grateful and spending time with family.
Continue Reading: Thanksgiving Recipes from PBS Food
Posted by Emily Wiley on 11/19, 2012 at 02:15 PM
The smell of baking bread and the clatter of bakers working in the kitchen creep up to the still empty, sunlit front room of the Gemelli Bakers, where owner Anthony Sapia drinks his morning coffee on a wooden stool.
“I say I’ve been retired since I was 26 because I wake up with the same question as a retired person. What am I going to do today? If I want to watch birds I watch birds, if I want to drink 10 cups of coffee I drink 10 cups of coffee,” Sapia said, lifting his cup.
Continue Reading: Community Profile: Tony Sapia
Posted by Jessica Illuzzi on 11/15, 2012 at 08:52 PM
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Central American coffee farmers are facing off against a deadly fungus that has wiped out thousands of acres of crops. Coffee companies like Starbucks are pooling money to support them in the fight.
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Goat — it's the other red meat! And it's easy to mess up. Kenyan-born Kevin Onyona reveals the secrets to a tender yet hearty stew: You've got to break down that meat, and you've got to give it love.
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In Shadows in the Vineyard Maximillian Potter tells the true story of the legendary Romanée-Conti vineyard — and how it was held up for a 1 million euro ransom.
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