Buying from a local farmer > Buying from a supermarket.
There's more ownership, more confidence, more of a connection in buying from a local farm. I feel better knowing not only that my produce hasn't traveled too far, but also that I am helping to stimulate the local economy.
Not to mention that the pricing is more reasonable than the local supermarket. $3.99/lb. for jicama at Giant Eagle vs. $0.89/lb. at Stan's Market in the Strip District? Big difference when those suckers weigh between 3-4 pounds!
|Clarion River organics|
|Clarion River Organics|
My fondest memories of visiting farms are mostly tied to Halloween and pumpkin picking at either Trax Farms or Triple "B" Farms - hay rides, pumpkin picking, and most recently, apple picking. However, James has made me many meals lately with meat, cheese, and vegetables from Clarion River Organics in the Pittsburgh Public Market, and the quality of their foodstuffs is unlike that of any supermarket's.
Just yesterday, James made a tagine for dinner with some of the most amazing ingredients from the Pittsburgh Public Market: Clarion Farms Beef flank steak, marinated in East End Brewing Chocolate Cherry Stout; fingerling potatoes and carrots from Clarion River Organics; (and an Asian pear leftover from Costco - sorry, not from a farm).
|Our tagine meal, after being pressure-cooked. Soooo tasty!|
Look at this beef. I wish you could have tasted it! It. Was. Fabulous:
|Photo courtesy of James. Beef courtesy of Clarion Farms. Marinade mostly courtesy of East End Brewing.|
|Olio Fresca Display at Pittsburgh Public Market|
I was also excited to purchase my first oil and balsamic vinegar from Olio Fresca, another participating vendor at the conference. Lime-infused oil and wild cherry balsamic vinegar will be a great combination on salads, avocado dishes, chicken...
I can't wait to experiment - and tell you all about it!
The Pittsburgh Public Market does a great job of bringing local merchants, farmers, dairies, etc. to one central location for even the biggest city-goers to enjoy. Don't get me wrong - I have no problem going to the actual farm, etc. to purchase their products, but the public market makes it that much more convenient, especially in the winter months, when farmer's markets are scarce.
If you want to learn more about buying local, fresh, farm-produced goods, or even if you'd just like to sample local foods, this next opportunity is for you:
The 6th Annual Farm to Table Pittsburgh Conference will be held on Friday, March 23rd and Saturday, March 24th at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. This event will feature speakers, demonstrations, and kids' activities, as well as a food tasting on Friday night (23rd) from 5:00-8:00 PM.
I'm going. AND YOU COULD GO, TOO - FOR FREE!
I am giving away two tickets to the food tasting (a $50 value!), thanks to the Revive Marketing Group, a conference sponsor. Here is how to enter:
*Leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite local farm or dairy experience - whether it be purchasing the ingredients there for an incredible meal you made, or milking a cow yourself for the first time, or your preschool field trip to the farm that you remember more vividly than your 5th grade field trip to...wherever that was. The possibilities are endless!
*Please include the name of the farm/dairy that you visited in your comment.
*All comments must be submitted by FRIDAY, MARCH 16TH at 11:59 PM. The winner will be announced and contacted on Sunday, March 18th. (NOTE: If you post anonymously, I cannot contact you!). The winner will be chosen at random via http://www.random.org and their random number picker. Odds of winning based on the number of entries.
*Any inappropriate or irrelevant comments will not be posted publicly and will not be considered as entries.
For a list of participating exhibitors and more details on the food tasting event, click here.
For more information on the Farm to Table Pittsburgh Conference, see their website: http://farmtotablepa.com/conference. I can't wait to hear about your farm/dairy experiences, so comment away!