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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The frost hit hard last week, which did a few crops in, but made others perk up a bit. Anything in the cabbage family just got sweeter.
Continue Reading: Greenhouse Woes
Posted by Tony Ricci on 10/17, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Last night I attended a Local Harvest banquet put on by the Student Food Initiative at Juniata College where we feasted on the bounty of many of our local farms including our own. The students also invited me along with other farmers to talk about farming. Of course I lied out of my teeth because I didn’t want to dampen the enthusiasm these folks have for the idyllic life style which they believe we lead.
We really need young people to get involved in farming if we want to continue enjoying fresh local food. A little deception is necessary to keep the tradition going, so I avoided talking about the first 15 years on the farm.
Continue Reading: Real Life on the Farm
Posted by Tony Ricci on 10/07, 2012 at 07:06 PM
It’s official. The “we’ve crossed the threshold of the autumn equinox and stepped into what should be a leisurely stroll towards winter.”
Most people think this is the end of the growing season, but for farmers, it’s really the busiest time of year.
Continue Reading: It’s the Busiest Time of the Year
Posted by Tony Ricci on 09/26, 2012 at 07:13 PM
I’ll wager that when most folks buy green beans, radishes, tomatoes, or nearly any other vegetable, they don’t think much about how they were harvested. Gardeners, of course, know better, but even they can forget that almost every vegetable is harvested by hand, usually one at a time.
Continue Reading: Harvesting Tomatoes
Posted by James Eisenstein on 09/04, 2012 at 02:30 PM
It’s hard to keep focused on a farm in the middle of August. Most people think of it as the beginning of harvest time, with smooth sailing into bucolic fall days as we stuff our coolers, barns and root cellars with nature’s bounty.
In reality it’s always harvest time on a vegetable farm and August poses a special challenge because after months of ceaseless activity fueled on the previous winter’s lethargy, the farmer has to pull out of some unmentionable orifice the energy and enthusiasm that made spring planting seem so appealing.
Continue Reading: Potato Patch
Posted by Tony Ricci on 08/22, 2012 at 09:14 PM
The Ides of August are upon us, which as everyone knows has no particular historical significance other than the looming advance of summer into fall.
Continue Reading: Ides of August
Posted by Tony Ricci on 08/14, 2012 at 02:01 PM
The inevitable finally happened. Late blight has taken most of our tomatoes.
Continue Reading: The Inevitable
Posted by Tony Ricci on 08/09, 2012 at 07:00 AM
Many Americans have lost touch with the land and food production, and know little about what the folks who grow vegetables actually do. A student of mine on a class visit to a farm was amazed when she pulled a carrot out of the ground. So this is where they come from!
People around here often either grew up on a farm or have gardens, and know how carrots grow. Still, I suspect few know the details of growing less common vegetables. Today’s discussion reveals the shocking truth about life in the eggplant patch at harvest.
Continue Reading: Harvesting Eggplant
Posted by James Eisenstein on 08/08, 2012 at 12:42 PM
We’re finally on the brink of the much anticipated tomato avalanche. Months of preparation and anxiety over late blight has brought us to the place we’ve been waiting for since last fall when frost finally took the patch to the great compost pile in the sky.
Continue Reading: Tomato Avalanche
Posted by Tony Ricci on 07/17, 2012 at 07:44 AM
One of my fondest childhood food memories was frequenting local farm stands in the summer to get fresh fruits and vegetables. I remember our dinners often consisting of sweet corn, green beans, sliced tomatoes, and peaches for dessert. I was fascinated that the fields growing the food were right there, sandwiched between the rapidly expanding housing developments of Southern California. But it was that experience that developed my true appreciation for the taste of fresh food and I have never looked back.
Continue Reading: Field Notes: Early July
Posted by Kim Tait on 07/05, 2012 at 02:16 PM
The rain has finally let up, but not before it brought imminent danger to certain crops. The word in the farmosphere is that late blight has been sighted in certain central Pennsylvania counties.
Continue Reading: The Disease That Must Not Be Named
Posted by Tony Ricci on 06/15, 2012 at 07:00 AM
It’s raining again. The intermittent stream that runs by our house is so full I could kayak down to the pond. Nothing like a little white water rafting after a brief interlude of weeding the beets. That’s just the way it is on a farm, you go with the deluge.
Continue Reading: It’s Raining Again
Posted by Tony Ricci on 06/06, 2012 at 07:00 AM
You may think that spending some 20 hours hand weeding asparagus would be an onerous task, but only because you haven’t had to slog through grading a big stack of blue books or papers. I’d much prefer the weeding, though my knees and back provide a dissenting view.
Continue Reading: The Zen of Weeding
Posted by James Eisenstein on 05/14, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Last week brought with it a roller coaster ride of weather events – one day sweating into the black plastic as we lay out the onion crop; the next day freezing in an arctic wind as we try to tack down row covers to protect tender seedlings from impending frost.
And, of course, there was the freak snow storm that came and went like a gaff from presidential candidate. It was horrible at the time, but we were over it by the next day, having forgotten what all the fuss was about as we went on with the daily task of surviving in an uncertain world.
Continue Reading: Roller Coaster Ride of Weather
Posted by Tony Ricci on 04/30, 2012 at 08:33 AM
Mid-April felt more like July. We had full irrigation running on the crops in the fields since the beginning of the month, as we took turns waiting for the next available hose to water a greenhouse. It was dry, dry, dry!
Continue Reading: April Weather and Asparagus Salsa
Posted by Kim Tait on 04/26, 2012 at 09:21 AM
Thank goodness the weather seems to be back to normal for this time of year. The past few weeks of warm weather had us moving around at warp speed trying to get fields prepared and planted.
In all my years at Tait Farm, I have never seen anything quite like this spring. We already have kales, chard, beets, Asian greens, and head lettuce seedlings planted out, as well as peas, carrots, and lettuce mix seeded in the fields.
Continue Reading: Field Notes: An Unusual Start to Spring
Posted by Kim Tait on 04/12, 2012 at 08:33 AM
Most people know that pruning does not consist of attaching prunes to fruit trees and bushes, despite what Amelia Bedelia understood it to mean. But beyond that, I’ll wager that most folks who read Unpaid Field Hand only know that it involves some sort of cutting and thinning of fruit trees and canes.
Of course, you can learn all about it by going on the web and googling “fruit pruning.” But even after reading the 7,280,000 results available, you might be forgiven for still not knowing just how to do it. And for good reason. That’s because even the most knowledgeable experts sometimes give contradictory advice. Even Michael Phillips, whose book The Apple Grower is considered an authority to many apple cultivators, confesses that he hopes to know how to do it by the time he is eighty.
Continue Reading: Farm Diary: Pruning in March
Posted by James Eisenstein on 03/30, 2012 at 09:13 AM
For over 25 years, the CSA movement has been gaining popularity with small to medium size farms across the country. In its simplest form, a group of individuals become paying members of a farm and in return, the farm grows fresh produce for the members. In this mutual partnership, the farm and the members share in both the abundance and short falls associated with farming.
Continue Reading: Why Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?
Posted by Kim Tait on 03/19, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Is mighty Marcellus squeezing the milk industry? That’s the finding of a new Penn State study. The Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier set out to find why dairy farms are folding amidst the gas boom.
Continue reading to hear Frazier’s audio story.
Continue Reading: Why are Dairy Farms in the Marcellus Shale Closing?
Posted by Emily Wiley on 03/14, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Spring has established a strong foothold in spite of some chilly mornings. The distinct smell of thawing earth has brought on the irresistible urge to roll shamelessly in the grass – or at least to get my boots muddier.
Continue Reading: Muddy Boots
Posted by Tony Ricci on 03/13, 2012 at 08:14 AM
The feel of early spring is already in the air. The smell of sleeping soil waking up, the reddening tips of the trees as the sap begins to flow upwards, and the songs of robins are just a few of the early harbingers of spring. We are continuing to stay busy seeding in the greenhouse, spreading compost on the fields, finishing up the new high tunnel and generally trying to get all the winter
Continue Reading: Field Notes: Early March
Posted by Kim Tait on 03/08, 2012 at 08:00 AM
Seeding is a critical component of farming. No seed flats planted in February means no crops later. It is a laborious and painstaking, but oddly, satisfying task that I tackled two weeks ago. Here is how it works.
Continue Reading: Farm Diary: Seeding Fun in Late February
Posted by James Eisenstein on 03/07, 2012 at 09:00 AM
Every occupation has its rhythm. The rhythms of farming are special because they coincide with earth’s yearly swing around the sun. January and February provide an opportunity to contemplate the prospects of the upcoming growing season. So my unpaid field hand’s diary for 2012 begins with news from winter.
Continue Reading: Farm Diary: Late Winter on the Farm
Posted by James Eisenstein on 02/29, 2012 at 10:40 AM
Signs of spring are appearing a little early this year, as can be seen from the picture above showing new garlic shoots poking through the soil. Garlic is always the first crop to make an appearance and has more credibility in predicting the beginning of spring than pampered rodents.
Continue Reading: Early Signs of Spring
Posted by Tony Ricci on 02/23, 2012 at 05:34 PM
The mild February temperatures are allowing things to roll along pretty smoothly these days. We have made great progress on the new high tunnel and should have the ends completed, the roll-up sides installed and the plastic cover on within a couple weeks. Once this is complete, we will lay in compost and seed an early spring greens mix, which we plan to be eating come April!
Continue Reading: Field Notes: Mild February
Posted by Kim Tait on 02/17, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Green Heron Farm still has a nice supply of greens this week, but order early for those items – they fly off the shelf this time of year:
Baby Chard – Green, Red and Gold
Italian and Red Rib Dandelion
Continue Reading: Late January Greens
Posted by Tony Ricci on 01/23, 2012 at 08:20 AM
It is now late fall on the farm, and the last vegetables have been harvested. Time to sit by the fire, do our nails, and dream of spring, right? Yes? Shows how much you know about life on an organic vegetable farm.
Now is the time to plant next year’s garlic. Notice the nifty planting grid our intrepid intern Hannah is using to make sure the cloves are properly spaced. If you squint and look at the front of the wooden form, you’ll discover both some intact garlic bulbs and some individual cloves ready to stick into the soil.
Continue Reading: Fall Garlic Fun on the Farm
Posted by James Eisenstein on 11/14, 2011 at 09:00 AM
I had never belonged to a CSA before I came to Tait Farm. I read about them, knew of some, and had friends and coworkers who picked up their shares weekly and absolutely loved being a part of it. We, however, were lucky enough to have a plot of land large enough to grow more than enough of our own produce.
Continue Reading: Field Notes: Rainbow Carrots in November
Posted by Erin McKinney on 11/10, 2011 at 09:00 AM
We have lots of customers who buy lettuce, onions, carrots, and beets. Then there are many who merely stroll by and say, “Everything looks beautiful.” True Fact: People who say, ”Everything looks beautiful” really mean, “I’m not going to buy a single thing.”
What is this wonderful, under-appreciated vegetable?
Continue Reading: Unpaid Field Hand: Name this Crop
Posted by James Eisenstein on 09/14, 2011 at 10:38 AM
Last week’s flooding was an adventure—one that I would prefer not repeating once every 15 years or so. We got off easy by some accounts. Most of our crops are still in the ground, although about a third of our lane was redistributed to the entrance of our house.
Living on a slope has its advantages and as long as the water keeps flowing through the basement, we’re doing OK. Getting off the farm in a flood is the tough part.
Continue Reading: How Floods Affect Farms
Posted by Tony Ricci on 09/13, 2011 at 10:23 AM
The season is tilting decidedly toward fall, and the crops are shifting toward soup ingredients and fall fruit.
Continue Reading: Turning Toward Fall
Posted by Tony Ricci on 09/07, 2011 at 12:58 PM
I suspect that my faithful followers have been distracted from their routine activities wondering how the various “name this crop” vegetables are doing. Fear not! I have a few updates for you.
Continue Reading: Unpaid Field Hand: Mystery Crop Update
Posted by James Eisenstein on 09/06, 2011 at 12:55 PM
The week wouldn’t be complete without a natural disaster. Last week we hit the jackpot with two – an earthquake and a hurricane – although it was our eastern neighbors who were most affected.
Continue Reading: When Natural Disasters Strike
Posted by Tony Ricci on 08/29, 2011 at 10:07 AM
Chuck Mothersbaugh is a staple at the Friday market in downtown State College. It’s easy to spot his buckets of beautiful sunflowers on Locust Lane. Of course, he also sells a wide variety of produce—from cucumbers to tomatoes to onions to squash. Watch this short video interview to learn more.
Continue Reading: Mothersbaugh Farm in Spring Mills
Posted by Katherine Taylor Grofic on 08/26, 2011 at 09:00 AM
Clan Stewart Farm is a 160-acre farm located in Huntingdon. The Stewart family came to Pennsylvania from Ireland in the 1700s and began farming the land in 1793. Now in its seventh generation, the family continues to work together to keep the farm alive.
Hear about their popular whole hog sausages—from andouille to spicy chorizo to mild Italian—in this video interview.
Find them at the Boalsburg Farmers Market on Tuesdays from 2-6pm and at the North Atherton Farmers Market on Saturdays from 10am-2pm.
Continue Reading: Clan Stewart Farm in Huntingdon
Posted by Katherine Taylor Grofic on 08/15, 2011 at 01:54 PM
Greenmore Gardens CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is located in Port Matilda. The farm uses sustainable practices and recently became certified organic. Find out what they have available this month—from kale and cabbage to hummingbird cakes made with vegetables and honey—in this video interview.
Visit them at the North Atherton Farmers Market on Saturdays from 10am-2pm.
Continue Reading: Greenmore Gardens CSA
Posted by Katherine Taylor Grofic on 08/12, 2011 at 12:11 PM
There is a general consensus among marketers that an adjective can mean the difference between making a sale and bringing home ingredients for a gourmet compost pile. Flat parsley does not have the same resonance as Italian parsley. Without the appellation “French,” shallots would just be small, pale red onions. Then there is Red Russian kale which is neither truly red nor Russian (at least according to the Russian customers I’ve talked to who think it’s just another Ukrainian conspiracy). But who wants to say purple-stemmed blue-green, flat kale? It just doesn’t slide off the tongue with the same romantic flare. You can practically hear the balalaikas playing in the background when the words Red Russian are invoked.
Continue Reading: Heirloom Tomatoes
Posted by Tony Ricci on 08/09, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Student intern Katherine Grofic visited three farms on the soggy day and captured several photos from each. Continue reading to see the slideshow.
Continue Reading: A Rainy Day on the Farm
Posted by Katherine Taylor Grofic on 08/08, 2011 at 02:09 PM
For those of you who are having trouble falling asleep beset by curiosity over how farmers plan their workdays, this post is for you. Actually, it is a laughably simple two-step process. Step 1: List everything that absolutely must be done. Step 2: Rank the tasks in order of importance and do the work. Ready?
Continue Reading: How to Plan a Day’s Work on a Vegetable Farm
Posted by James Eisenstein on 08/04, 2011 at 01:49 PM
It’s Local Foods Week in central Pennsylvania! Celebrate the farms, markets, restaurants, and businesses that support our regional food system. Then wrap up the week with the 6th Annual Farm Tour sponsored by PASA and Buy Fresh Buy Local.
Pack your cooler, hop in your car (or on your bike), and explore our beautiful agrarian landscape this Saturday from 12:30pm-5:00pm. Continue reading for more details.
Continue Reading: 6th Annual Central Pennsylvania Farm Tour
Posted by Emily Wiley on 08/03, 2011 at 01:55 PM
Driving around central Pennsylvania, I typically see entire fields dedicated to neat rows of corn and soybean plants – all instantly recognizable. And photos from mega-agribusinesses show similarly uniform fields. Any media consultant smarter than a brick would advise a farmer client to only depict similarly pristine views of growing crops.
But what do you notice about the photo of this farm field?
Continue Reading: Unpaid Field Hand: Name this Crop
Posted by James Eisenstein on 07/25, 2011 at 01:22 PM
As luck would have it, July is National Ice Cream Month as established by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. He also appointed the third Sunday of this month as National Ice Cream Day because an estimated 90% of the nation’s population consumes ice cream.
Continue Reading: July is National Ice Cream Month
Posted by Kit Henshaw on 07/20, 2011 at 09:24 AM
Every once in a while I’ll get a question from someone who feels the need to engage me in agricultural discourse in order to spotlight my complete ignorance of farming. And quite honestly, I’m the first to admit that I don’t know everything about farming. That’s why I love this business – there’s something to learn every day.
Continue Reading: The Great Divide
Posted by Tony Ricci on 07/19, 2011 at 10:02 AM
If you bite into a tomato between the months of October and June, chances are that tomato came from Florida. And it tastes dramatically different than the varieties you might grow in your backyard or pick up at your local farmers market during the summer.
Freelance food writer Barry Estabrook looks at the life of today’s mass-produced tomato — and the environmental and human costs of the tomato industry — in his book Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit.
Continue Reading: NPR: How Industrial Farming “Destroyed” the Tasty Tomato
Posted by Emily Wiley on 07/13, 2011 at 10:32 AM
There are several milestones during the year that mark dramatic shifts in the growing season. For me, it’s always the garlic harvest, which coincides with the first full week of summer. The harvest brings to a close the long wait for the king of alliums that started back in November when the final clove was tucked in the ground for the winter.
Garlic is a precise, no-nonsense crop that sticks to its preordained schedule whether you like it or not. It’s not going to wait around for a distracted farmer to fit it in to his daily planner. Wait a week too long and tough luck, it’s on to its next phase of development without so much as a by-your-leave.
Continue Reading: Garlic Harvest
Posted by Tony Ricci on 06/29, 2011 at 11:07 AM
After the June harvest of strawberries, patches should be renovated in preparation for the following year. Penn State Senior Extension Educator Kathy Demchak explains why these renovations are important and how to complete them.
Continue Reading: Three Minute Gardener: How to Renovate a Strawberry Patch
Posted by Emily Wiley on 06/28, 2011 at 09:05 AM
Please welcome our newest contributor, Tony Ricci, of Green Heron Farm in southern Huntingdon County. Tony has been instrumental in bringing a year-round supply of local, organic produce to our area. He’s also the farmer who uses fryer oil to fuel his delivery truck.
Continue Reading: Welcome, Green Heron Farm!
Posted by Emily Wiley on 06/27, 2011 at 01:41 PM
Last Tuesday night, Emily Wiley posted a picture of her dinner to the Boalsburg Farmers Market Facebook page. The caption said: “Dinner tonight courtesy of the Boalsburg Farmers Market. Pork chops from Cow-a-Hen Farm. Snap peas from Jade Family Farm. Bread from Gemelli Bakery with lemon-artichoke pesto from Fasta & Ravioli Co. And strawberries from Way Fruit Farm. Happiness on a plate.”
Emily knew the peas she bought were grown at Jade Family Farm, but how did the green pods find their way to our farm and then to the market? Well, this unpaid field hand decided to tackle that question.
Continue Reading: Unpaid Field Hand: The Story of Peas
Posted by James Eisenstein on 06/21, 2011 at 12:20 PM
Do you belong to a CSA? Community-supported agriculture (CSA) connects farmers and consumers and offers advantages to both parties. Consumers purchase a share at the beginning of the season and receive a weekly box of fresh-from-the-farm produce. And because farmers receive payment early, they are able to more effectively manage their cash flow and their crops.
Addison Hoffman from Howard’s End CSA Farm, located about 1/2 hour outside of State College, runs a CSA. They offer everything from chickens and ducks to berries to honey and yogurt. You can also find him at the State College Farmers Market on Tuesdays.
Watch a video interview with Addison and learn more about CSA farms.
Continue Reading: Howard’s End CSA Farm
Posted by Katherine Taylor Grofic on 06/17, 2011 at 10:21 AM
Moser’s Garden in Centre Hall is a family operation. It began in 1976 as a half-acre garden with a few dozen fruit trees and grape vines. Today it has grown in both variety and acreage producing over 150 varieties of tomatoes, as well as berries, peppers, and sweet corn.
Watch a video interview with Barry Moser and find his produce at the State College Farmers Market on Tuesdays and Fridays and at the North Atherton Market on Saturdays.
Continue Reading: Moser’s Garden Produce from Centre Hall
Posted by Katherine Taylor Grofic on 06/15, 2011 at 02:23 PM
This year’s wet spring not only dampened your home gardening plans, it put farmers way behind schedule, too. Find out how this may impact yields and food prices in an audio interview with James Dunn, Penn State professor of agricultural economics.
Hear the interview conducted by WPSU’s Patty Satalia.
Continue Reading: Wet Spring Impacts Farmers
Posted by Emily Wiley on 06/14, 2011 at 12:39 PM
Welcome to Kit Henshaw from Harrison’s Wine Grill, another new contributor to the Local Food Journey blog!
What do baby lettuces, garlic scapes, micro sunflower shoots, French sorrel, rhubarb, greens … and used fryer oil have in common? They’re all wrapped up in the partnership between Harrison’s Wine Grill and Green Heron Farm run by the talented Tony Ricci and Becky Smith.
Continue Reading: From the Field to the Fryer and Back
Posted by Kit Henshaw on 06/09, 2011 at 01:05 PM
Visit Way Fruit Farm on Saturday, May 14th and Saturday, May 21st from 10am - 3pm for a “Taste of PA.” The afternoon will feature free samples from local vendors like Goot Essa cheese, Wild Mountain Gourmet mustard, Galliker’s ice cream, and Hogs Galore. Way Fruit Farm will also have apples, applesauce, pie, donuts, and more.
Continue Reading: “Taste of PA” at Way Fruit Farm this Saturday
Posted by Emily Wiley on 05/13, 2011 at 01:41 PM
There are two times during the asparagus season that I enjoy picking it: the first time and the last time. Don’t get me wrong; I love asparagus in every way, shape, and form on my dinner plate, but the tedious task of picking it twice a day can make a person jump for joy at the end of its season.
Continue Reading: Field Notes: Asparagus Season and Recipe for Vegan Hollandaise Sauce
Posted by Erin McKinney on 05/12, 2011 at 03:08 PM
We are pleased to welcome Kim Tait, co-founder of Tait Farm Foods and Tait Farm’s community supported agriculture program, Community Harvest to the Local Food Journey. What does Kim have to say about eating locally this growing season?
Continue Reading: Welcome, Kim Tait
Posted by Kim Tait on 05/09, 2011 at 02:36 PM
Nothing says Easter like a bowl full of brightly colored eggs! Whether you dip the eggs into blue or purple dye or paint them with pink polka dots and yellow stripes, consider buying local eggs this holiday season.
Continue Reading: Easter Eggs
Posted by Erin Donahue on 04/20, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Easter is just a few days away, and traditionally, most families feast on ham on this holiday. While the grocery store may seem like a convenient place to purchase your main course, those hams have probably been shipped across the country in plastic. Perhaps you should rethink your vendor this year.
Continue Reading: Easter Ham
Posted by Christina Barkanic on 04/20, 2011 at 12:06 PM
Erin McKinney is one of two full-time farmers at Tait Farm in Centre Hall who oversees the fieldwork for the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, Community Harvest. Find out from Erin what is “growing on” in the fields at Tait Farm this week.
Continue Reading: Field Notes: Cold, Wet Days
Posted by Emily Wiley on 04/15, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Last week Tait Farm’s Community Harvest won the Quality of Life Award at the CBICC Awards Gala. The award recognizes an individual or organization whose activities enhance the quality of life in Centre County. Tait Farm took home the award for its popular CSA and the relationship it fosters between the farmer and the consumer. Community Harvest provides a weekly supply of fresh, healthy, organic produce to subscribers and is committed to strengthening regional food systems.
Listen to an audio story recorded at Tait Farm last November, and view photos of the fresh produce available during that time of year.
And congratulations to Tait Farm!
Continue Reading: Congratulations to Tait Farm
Posted by Emily Wiley on 03/08, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Looking for quality homemade salsa and hot pepper jelly? Janet Robinson, owner of Piper’s Peck, started her pepper business in 1998. She grows nine different varieties of peppers at her farm in Bellefonte. Her products include salsas, pepper jellies, fruit jellies, sauces, relishes, and even fudge! Stop by one of the many local farmers markets to meet Janet, or order online at www.piperspeck.com.
Continue reading to see a video interview with Janet.
Continue Reading: Piper’s Peck in Bellefonte
Posted by Christina and Erin on 02/25, 2011 at 11:59 PM
Continue Reading: The Pennsylvania Farm Show (part 3)
Posted by Emily Wiley on 01/19, 2011 at 02:20 PM
Continue Reading: The Pennsylvania Farm Show (part 2)
Posted by Emily Wiley on 01/14, 2011 at 02:13 PM
The 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show concludes this Saturday after one full week of livestock contests, horticulture exhibits, wine tastings, country music, and culinary cook-offs. Mary Miller of The Fork and The Road reports from the annual event.
Continue Reading: The Pennsylvania Farm Show (part 1)
Posted by Emily Wiley on 01/13, 2011 at 10:47 AM
The days of fresh berries and sweet corn are long gone. Winter is right around the corner. So what is on the plate of a local foodie during this time of year? Emily Wiley visited Tait Farm in Centre Hall to find out.
Listen to audio and view a photo slideshow of November produce.
Continue Reading: Tait Farm in November
Posted by Emily Wiley on 11/19, 2010 at 02:19 PM
Support farmland preservation today with a toast in memory of one of its local patriarchs, Elton Tait. Visit Elk Creek Café + Aleworks in Millheim for a pint of Elton’s ESB. Fifty cents of each pint sale goes to the Centre County Farmland Trust. Cheers!
Continue Reading: Toast to Elton Tait
Posted by Emily Wiley on 10/27, 2010 at 09:09 AM
Last Sunday afternoon, while driving along unfamiliar roads in Centre Hall, my parents and I stumbled upon “The Garden.” Though small, this shed off of Old Fort Road was packed with the summer’s final fresh produce. There were shelves of jams and jellies, fresh packed dill pickles and beets, salsas and jarred tomatoes. The options were boundless; which is often rare for a roadside farm stand of this size.
Continue Reading: The Garden in Centre Hall
Posted by James Gherardi on 09/09, 2010 at 10:12 AM
If you really want people to think you’re weird, tell them you ate goat. Ever since my husband and I cooked up some goat sausages on the grill, I’ve been singing this meat’s praises. It tastes great. It has less fat and more protein than beef. But the conversation seldom goes any further. When the subject of goat arises, so does the red flag in our brain that controls what goes into our mouth.
Continue Reading: Goat: It’s What’s for Dinner
Posted by Michele Marchetti on 08/17, 2010 at 09:12 AM
Listen to audio and view a slideshow of photos from an afternoon at Way Fruit Farm.
Continue Reading: An Afternoon at Way Fruit Farm
Posted by Emily Wiley on 08/12, 2010 at 01:41 PM
I met these three kiddos on Saturday at Way Fruit Farm in Port Matilda. They were there with dozens of other community members—of all ages—in support of our local food system.
Continue Reading: Farm Tour Fun
Posted by Emily Wiley on 08/09, 2010 at 02:28 PM
August is here, which means cranberries and pumpkins will soon replace blueberries and tomatoes. But there’s still time to enjoy the final quiet days of Happy Valley’s summer before football season begins. Michele Marchetti, co-founder of Homegrown Happy Valley, shares her favorite picks.
Continue Reading: How to Enjoy the Remaining Days of a Happy Valley Summer
Posted by Michele Marchetti on 08/04, 2010 at 01:38 PM
Every Friday evening my housemate Kristen brings home a wooden crate overflowing with fresh-picked vegetables. This cornucopia is not from the grocery store.
Continue Reading: Fridays Mean Vegetables
Posted by Emily Reddy on 07/30, 2010 at 02:01 PM
At Cow-A-Hen Farm in Mifflinburg, Bill Callahan believes animals were given legs for a reason.
Continue Reading: Cow-A-Hen Farm in Mifflinburg
Posted by Emily Wiley on 06/28, 2010 at 06:56 PM
It started as a simple apple farm, but today Harner Farm has over 100 acres of apples, peaches, sweet corn, Christmas trees, and pumpkins. Watch the video and find out from Chris Harner, third generation farmer, why it is so important to buy local.
Continue Reading: Harner Farm in State College
Posted by Brittany Trott on 06/10, 2010 at 09:56 AM
Want to join the journey? Here are five ways to eat close to home:
Continue Reading: How to Eat Local
Posted by Brittany Trott on 06/03, 2010 at 12:43 PM
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