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Archive for ‘Harrisburg’ posts
Jan 14 2011
Food Courts usually don’t thrill me. I’ll walk on the other side of the mall just to avoid the little chicken teriyaki sample that’s handed out at the Food Court. But, oh, the Food Court at the 2011 PA Farm Show was different. Filled with booths that were staffed by various food agricultural organizations in Pennsylvania, and designed to highlight PA food products, the offerings included pulled pork sandwiches, milk shakes with milk from Pennsylvania cows, apple dumplings, and more. In attempt to not bore readers who are getting tired of my Farm Show rants, I am just listing my top two selections from the Food Court. It was hard to list only two, but here they are.
1. Potato Donuts. There’s nothing like a freshly made cake donut. And the Pennsylvania Co-operative of Potato Growers not only make these fluffy treats on site, but the recipe includes Pennsylvania potatoes. FANTASTIC. (About 20,000 dozen donuts were sold at last year’s show.)
2. Maple Cotton Candy. My mother claims that when I was two years old, and being pushed in the stroller on the boardwalk at the shore, I cried and cried for cotton candy until they bought it for me. Supposedly, I then got it all over my clothes and made a real mess. I doubt this story. First, my parents never caved to crying. Second, they weren’t into junk food at all. And third, I have never liked cotton candy. At all. Until now. The cotton candy at the Pennsylvania Maple Syrup Producers Council area was made from PA maple syrup and cane sugar. Although it looks a bit like insulation, the flavor is maple-y and wonderful. Ha ha, mom and dad. I can buy my own cotton candy now.
If you missed this year’s Farm Show, next year I will remind everyone ahead of time. It’s a ton of fun for everyone.
Jan 12 2011
Prize winning apple pie, first place celery root and a blue ribbon camo wedding gown. All to be found at the 2011 PA Farm Show. Great stuff.
But what I enjoy most is meeting local folks who own small food related businesses. The one who make jams, hot sauces, spice rubs and cheese. So, for me, the Main Hall of the 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show was a bit of heaven.
Here are some of my favorite products from the commercial exhibits.
Christina Maser - I first found her soy candles at Lilypad in Lititz (34 East Main Street) and I’ve been swooning over owner Gretchen Maser’s products ever since. Her White Bean Chicken Chili mix, Mediterranean Spice Rub and Blueberry Basil Lemon Jam are just a few of the flavor filled offerings (and the packaging is sharp and contemporary.) Gretchen was at the show with her son Neil and she found out yesterday that her space at the show won Best Market Place Display. Congrats, Gretchen!
Kelchner’s Horseradish – I’ve been a fan of this horseradish for a long time. It’s second only to my dad’s hand grated horseradish. Sorry, dad has to hold the first place position. I was so excited when Kelchner’s became a staple at the Good Taste! Pittsburgh show and thrilled to come across their booth at the Farm Show, where they were giving samples of their goodies, including the new creamy Horseradish Sauce. Yum.
Miller’s Mustard – It’s not just the name that I like ( Miller, get it?), but the mustard is darn good. It won first place at the 2010 Fiery Foods International Gourmet Food. And it’s made right here in Western PA in Gibsonia.
Farmstead Fresh Cheese – Made from organic raw milk, from grass fed cows. If you’re new to raw milk cheese, the Colby, Yogurt or Mozzarella varieties are good starting points. The Baby Swiss is a winner too. Did you know that Pennsylvania is the second largest US producer of Swiss, at 10.7 million pounds per year? Holey moley!
And last, but not least . .
Torchbearer Sauces – Spicy hot sauces right out of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Not for the timid, these sauces have a real kick and have won national awards. With names like Zombie Apocalypse and The Rapture, Torchbearer’s goods would make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your favorite “hottie.”
Stay tuned for Part 3. The Food Court.
Jan 10 2011
There was a little cow poo on the floor and there were lots of chickens (not good for my avian phobia.) But those were the only negatives that I came across all day today at the 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. A few weeks ago I drove past the old Allegheny County Fairgrounds at South Park and felt a real sadness for the old days when my dad would take me out to the fair to see the prize winning animals, perfect pies and giant tractors. Today, I relived those days and was so excited to see that thousands ( literally tens of thousands, I think) of others get a kick out of this kind of thing, too. Farming is hot in central PA.
So now, Part 1 of my farm show highlights . . .
The Butter Sculpture
Enclosed in its own temperature controlled glass box, Jim Victor’s masterpiece took over ten days to sculpt and used 1,000 pounds of butter. After the show, the butter will be made into bio-diesel fuel. (Pennsylvania ranks second in US butter production. Who knew?)
Prize Winning Produce
Look at this Best in the State Butternut Squash . . .
And at these prize-winning jams and jellies . . .
And this beautiful friend was charming the crowds!
The show runs through next Saturday and it is a wonderful way to spend a day. Free admission, but parking is $10. It’s a real bargain. Tomorrow, I’ll fill you in on some of my favorite PA made food products at the show.
A food adventure might be sleuthing out the juiciest June strawberries at a farm market, learning about gone but not forgotten area food treasures, working with a chef during a hands on cooking class or touring Pennsylvania’s artisan cheesemaker’s farms (and meeting a few cows along the way) . . or any of a zillion other fun ways to explore foodie things within a day's drive of Pittsburgh.