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Local Food Journey
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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
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
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
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
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 United States Department of Agriculture recently announced they awarded 71 grants in 42 states to help the schools connect their cafeteria with local farmers. The grants are part of the “Farm to School”
program. In Pennsylvania, the School District of Philadelphia won one of the awards and will use the money to launch a pilot local food project, offering local blueberries to students at two schools. The second year, they will expand this to collard greens.
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 11/20, 2013 at 09:46 AM
As per the weather forecasts, this weekend we end our winter preview and get some mild weather to enjoy. For this Local Food Weekend weekend, we have the Bellefonte Farmers Market, Santa’s arrival plus a chance to unwind at the Winery at Wilcox store at the Nittany Mall, and great music to go with great local food and beer at Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks.
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for Nov. 16 and 17
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 11/15, 2013 at 09:08 AM
This Local Food Weekend includes a few ways to use (or abuse) pumpkins in ways other than eating. Our events for Saturday and Sunday include the Howard Fire Company Punkin’ Chunkin’ Festival, the Penn State Arboretum Pumpkin Festival, and the Harner Farm and the Terrace at Brookline Fall Festival. Continue reading to learn more…
Continue Reading: Local Food Weekend for October 19-20
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/18, 2013 at 08:01 AM
On yesterday’s NPR show All Things Considered, correspondent Martin Kaste had a story on a food controversy that is growing—GMO labeling. This idea is growing steam especially in the Northeast, where Maine and Connecticut have already passed laws that require labeling on any foods that contain GMO (genetically modified organisms). From the story:
Continue Reading: How might GMO labeling affect our local food community?
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/17, 2013 at 09:23 AM
It’s fall festival time in Central Pennsylvania, and these events offer fantastic opportunities to sample local food and make some discoveries of new products. This weekend we have the Wasson Farm Fall Fest, Black Moshannon Cranberry Festival, and the Way Fruit Farm Fall Festival to tell you about. Keep reading for more…
Continue Reading: Your Local Food Weekend for Oct. 12-13
Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 10/11, 2013 at 07:28 AM
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Love it or hate it? The great cilantro debate heats up as scientists start pinpointing cilantrophobe genes. Read more on NPR’s food blog.
Continue Reading: The Great Cilantro Debate
Posted by Emily Wiley on 09/14, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Today we are faced with a laundry list of considerations when shopping at the market. Is this an organic apple? Does it come from a sustainable farm? Is this beef from grass-fed cattle, and are these eggs from free-range poultry?
In an attempt to simplify the elusive terminology of the farming world, we have created a what’s what of words and phrases to make your local eating experience a more informed one.
The following ten terms are the most important ones to consider when browsing markets and buying from local farmers.
Continue Reading: A Market Dictionary
Posted by James Gherardi on 08/27, 2010 at 08:34 AM
The first rule of food safety is “keep it clean.” In a close second to that basic food safety tenet is “keep it cold.”
The principles of safe food handling haven’t changed much from the basics my great-grandmother taught my mother. Those tips that were passed down from a 1900 southern Missouri homestead came from a simpler time, before the modern efficiencies of modern agriculture (and their unfortunate associated skepticism) were known.
Continue Reading: Keep it Clean, Keep it Cold
Posted by Chris Raines on 08/23, 2010 at 10:55 AM
Planting and nurturing your own food can be hard work—especially from a canal boat.
Continue Reading: Slow Food on a Slow Boat
Posted by Emily Wiley on 07/13, 2010 at 01:15 PM
What’s going to end up on your grill this July 4th weekend? We’re having lamb burgers and pork chops at my place.
Continue Reading: What Are You Grilling?
Posted by Chris Raines on 07/02, 2010 at 01:21 PM
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