Well-Seasoned | Local Foods week offers host of activities, culminates in farm tours

August 3, 2013 

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Denise Kochersperger, of Boalsburg, pets a calf at the Bear Meadows Farm during last year’s Centre County Farm Tour.

CHRISTOPHER WEDDLE — CDT file photo Buy Photo

  • Grilled Moroccan Red Beets

    This recipe is from Nate Brungart and was created at the July Learning Kitchen at the Boalsburg Farmers Market. It serves four.

    Ingredients:

    10 small-medium beets with tops

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    3 tablespoons Moroccan seasoning (recipe below)

    12 ounces goat cheese or soft cheese of choice

    Half a red onion, sliced

    1/4 cup toasted almonds

    5 ounces ginger lime vinaigrette (recipe below)

    Directions:

    Trim and clean the red beets setting the greens aside for later use in a salad. If the beets are larger, cut them into smaller slices to keep the cooking times even on the beets. Place the beets into a bowl with olive oil and Moroccan seasoning. On a grill at medium heat (325 degrees) place the beets around making grill marks on the beets. Flip and cover for twenty minutes or until tender. Assemble some beets on a plate with 3 ounces of cheese, red onion slices and drizzle lime vinaigrette over the beets. Garnish with almonds.

    Moroccan seasoning ingredients:

    2 teaspoons cumin seed, ground

    2 teaspoons coriander seed, ground

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    1 teaspoon white pepper

    1 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon cayenne

    1/2 teaspoon curry powder

    1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

    1/2 teaspoon oregano

    1/2 teaspoon paprika

    Directions:

    Grind seeds and mix in a bowl with the remaining spices.

    Ginger-lime vinaigrette ingredients:

    1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

    1 lime, zested and juiced

    2 tablespoons cider vinegar

    1/2 tablespoon mustard

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:

    In a bowl add ginger, juice, cider vinegar, and mustard. Whisk the oils into vinegar blend and season with salt and pepper.

  • FOR MORE INFORMATION

    • For more information about FarmFest, visit the PCO website at http://farmfest.paorganic.org.

    Pennsylvania Certified Organic is a USDA-accredited organic certifying agency that educates and certifies growers, processors and handlers of organic crops, wild crops, livestock and livestock products in Pennsylvania and adjoining states.

    • For more information about the PASA farm tours on Aug. 10 and to purchase a $15 pass online go to www.pasafarming.org/events/pasa-events/centre-co-farm-tour. Passes can also be purchased at the PASA table at each of the farmers markets during Local Foods Week or at Webster’s Café, Nature’s Pantry, Tait Farm Harvest Shop, or at IngleBean Coffee House or the PASA office in Millheim. Passes will only be sold until Friday. If you decide to go on the day of the tours, you can pay $5 per vehicle at each farm that you choose to visit. Bring a cooler with some ice. Products will be for sale at the farms and you may want to keep them cold.

    Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture is a Millheim based organization that is dedicated to “promoting profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment.”

Local Foods Week has activities this week that encourage residents to get out and explore the different foods produced across Centre County.

Locavores in Centre County will be in hog heaven Saturday as Local Foods Week kicks off with a festival devoted to sustainable and organic farming. Day two of FarmFest, hosted by Pennsylvania Certified Organic, is in full swing at the Grange fairgrounds in Centre Hall, with a 5K race commencing at 9 a.m. and a 1-mile fun run/walk at 8:30 for less competitive physical fitness fans. Registration for both events starts at 7:30.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, FarmFest opens to the public with educational sessions on organic farming and sustainable living, live music, a homemade and homegrown market, children’s activities, a silent auction, art in action courtesy of the Farmland Preservation Artists, a book nook with author book signings, and plenty of delicious local food.

Local conservation organizations will be represented with displays and hands-on activities for all ages.

Spring Creek Homesteading will have sessions for the general public on cover cropping in the home garden, pollinator gardening, canning summer fruits and raising backyard chickens.

The National Center for Appropriate Technology-National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service will sponsor educational sessions for farmers that will feature small-scale equipment, intensive market vegetable production, soils that sustain crops and forages, and high tunnel production.

All sessions are free, and there is no admission or parking fee. The event is kid-friendly and dog-friendly, with multiple gluten-free, lactose-free and vegan food options available.

This year’s FarmFest is the second annual event. Last year’s festival attracted more than 2,000 attendees.

On Sunday, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture will sponsor a Bike Fresh, Bike Local ride through Penns Valley. Three different routes are available — 25-, 50- and 75-mile options — to suit all levels of experienced cyclists. The ride will end at the Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks, where lunch and refreshments will be served.

We are lucky here in central Pennsylvania, with seven local farmers markets to choose from on a weekly basis. Between Aug. 3 and 10, all the farmers markets will have special promotions to thank their loyal shoppers and to encourage more people to check them out.

The Boalsburg Farmers Market will host its third annual local chef challenge, the Golden Basket competition, once again this year on Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Nine chefs from local restaurants will compete to prepare the best main dish and two sides out of ingredients they find at the market. Judges will score each dish on taste, texture, presentation and creativity. The public is invited to come and see the creative juices flowing as chefs choose the best from the surrounding vendors’ tables to create their masterpieces.

There will also be a Buy Fresh, Buy Local table at each market selling $15 per vehicle passes for the Aug. 10 farm tours, which will be the grand finale of the week.

The tours take place between 12:30 and 5 p.m. for the general public, but early purchase of the pass allows you to visit the farms as early as 10 a.m.

This is a great advantage, as the farm tours are very popular and the crowds can be significant. It’s a good idea to take a look at a map and plan your outing so you can maximize the number of farms you can see. There are 17 farms on the tour this year, so don’t even think about seeing them all.

Interested in seeing the cave where Goot Essa ages its cheeses? Then you will be headed to Howard.

Care to catch the breathtaking view of Tussey Mountain from a fragrant, fruit-filled vineyard? Mount Nittany Vineyard and Winery will be on your list.

Want your children to see the cutest collection of chickens, dairy heifers and pigs? Over the Moon Farm in Rebersburg is over the top.

Check the list of farms on the tour and prioritize. You have a week to look at a map and make up your agenda.

Anne Quinn Corr is a former caterer and culinary educator who is the author of “Seasons of Central Pennsylvania,” a cookbook about regional foods. She writes this monthly Well-Seasoned column and can be reached at chefcorr@gmail.com.

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