Sunday, March 4, 2012

...CONTEST: Farm to Table Pittsburgh


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!

7 comments:

  1. hrkenner2@gmail.comMarch 5, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    My favorite local farm experience was working on a family farm back at home during the summers, Wynnorr Farm in Chester county. The farm has been around for almost 90 years! Working on the farm allowed me to experience the process of farm to table. I saw the crops grow, got to pick the crops, sell them, and hear the feedback from the customers. Many of the customers had been coming all their lives and it was always something they looked forward to in the summer. There is nothing better than eating locally, knowing where you food comes from, and getting a friendly hello from the farmer himself! I credit Wynnorr Farm with my passion of organic, local, and green way of life I try to live today!

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  2. When I was growing up in Maryland it was a tradition in my family to go to farms and pick you own fruit. We would pick strawberries in May, Blueberries in July. My mom and I would have an amazing time spending a few hours together. Now that I've grown up and moved away, I take my boyfriend with me to experience it. We've picked apples, strawberries and peaches. Mostly at Simmons Farm and we have a great time!

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  3. Strawberry picking at TripleB farms last year :)

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  4. Picking out our Halloween pumpkins at Trax when we were kids! That's where we went every fall for pumpkins and every summer to pick strawberries! Now we get our local produce from Penns Corner CSA or Rte 50 Farmers Mkt.

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  5. When I was in the 3rd grade I visited Old Economy Village with my class. I think we all had a bit of culture shock as naive 9 year-olds with limited experience with homesteading or a 19th century village with blacksmiths, butter-churners and one-room schoolhouses. We all thought it was strange and didn't eat the food they served us as we longed for our packaged goods and processed foods in front of the TV at home. Now that I think back on it, I wish I had more exposure and access to these simplicities and natural food processes growing up. I'm glad that I have the choice to join a CSA and make educated decisions about where my food comes from as an adult.

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  6. Where to start. Every year we pick strawberries at TripleB Farms, and my children and I make strawberry jam, butter and salsa. We also buy local . One of our favorite is Emerald Valley Artisans. Fresh , locally made cheese. Their feta and fromage blanc are wonderful!
    Liz @ Fresh Plate
    lanzaelizabeth77 at gmail dot com

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  7. Thanks to everyone for your stories! I really enjoyed hearing them, and they really show that local farms make great memories! Random.org picked #6 - so Liz, having the 6th comment makes you the winner! Thanks SO MUCH to everyone, and please come to the Farm to Table Conference and Food Tasting next weekend!

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