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Local Food Journey

Location, location, location: Picking the right spot is a vital first step for new garden

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/29 at 01:09 AM

If you are starting a garden this year in your yard, the first step is definitely the mot important—choosing a proper location. While having the garden close to the house makes harvesting more convenient, the absolute most important thing to consider is sunlight.

Most fruits and vegetable are sun-loving plants, and need full-sun. Full-sun means at least six hours of sun a day. For full-sun plants, sun is the most important factor for successful growth, and no amount of fertilizer can help full-sun plants if they are not getting enough sun.

Next, you want to make sure that the spot you choose has good drainage. Pooling of water is not good for plants, and can lead to problems such as disease and rot.

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Local Food Journey

Local food notes for April 24

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/24 at 12:59 PM

Farmers markets are opening (despite the chill), Mt. Nittany Winery’s 25th Anniversary Dinner, Wine trail, learn how to grow herbs at Tait Farms, and Friends & Farmers looking for delivery drivers. Read on to learn more:

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Local Food Journey

Patience pays off later with garden plantings

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/21 at 01:37 PM

Every year around this time, I hear something that as a fairly experienced gardener, it makes me shake my head…“it was so nice this weekend I planted my entire garden!” Yes, when it was as warm as it was last Saturday, you can certainly be tempted to plant cold-sensitive plants and seeds outside. But, it’s just not a good idea. Here’s why:

- You live in Central Pennsylvania, not central Carolina: Weather here is highly changeable this time of year, and we do not follow a linear increase in daily temperatures in spring. So, while it was near 80 Saturday, guess what? The temperature Thursday and Friday probably will stay in the 40s, and drop around freezing at night. Not good for any tomatoes caught out in that environment.

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Local Food Journey

Gigi’s offers Southern-style food and cocktails with a local twist

Posted by Local Food Journey on 04/16 at 02:11 PM

By Emily Edling, Local Food Journey intern

Gigi’s Restaurant and Wine Lounge, located just two miles outside of downtown State College, gives its guests something different by offering a wide variety of menu items that take advantage of local food sources. I spoke with manager Rebecca Larsen to find out what local companies Gigi’s uses and how this affects the development of their menu.

Both Larsen and the chef are relatively new to the restaurant, coming in last year with a vision to create a southern inspired restaurant and bar. She said that her and the chef work together with local providers to see what fruits or vegetables they have and then figure out how they can incorporate that into a menu dish. For example, Tait Farm is one of Gigi’s food providers, and has had a lot of spinach lately. So a couple of weeks ago, the menu featured a petite filet with spinach.

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Local Food Journey

A visit to the farmers of Groundwork Farms CSA

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/14 at 12:26 PM

On April 2, a day that promised spring with mild breezes after a late-season snow, I visited two eastern Centre County farms at the invite of Nell Hanssen, the coordinator of Groundwork Farms CSA. The farms were Spring Bank Acres and Shady Locust Produce, both located in the beautiful countryside around Mlllheim, Aaronsburg, and Rebersburg.

First, a bit about Groundwork Farms CSA. The CSA offers food from the Penns Creek Watershed region to individuals, restaurants, and grocery stores in Centre and Union Counties. Originally limited to produce, the CSA now offers vegetables, berries, herbs, bread, flowers, dairy products, eggs, and meats. Even in the winter, CSA buyers can receive dairy products, bread, eggs, winter soups, and in-season produce. There are also opportunities to buy local fruit, flour, mushrooms, canned goods, and honey. Really, they offer a complete package of local food.

Among the local food producers in the CSA are Shady Locust Produce, King Family Farm, Halflinger Farm, Crystal Hollow Farm, and Spring Bank Acres. The two farms I visited, Spring Bank Acres and Shady Locust Produce, are Amish-run.

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Local Food Journey

Opening of outdoor farmers market season nears

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/10 at 12:43 PM

While you can find indoor versions of the State College, Millheim, and Boalsburg Farmers Market still going strong, the mild-ish weather recently has many people pining for the warm season and one big part of the friendly-weather months are farmers markets. Believe it or not, we are mere weeks away from the openings of our selection of farmers markets.

For those of you who want to mark your calendar, here’s a handy list of the markets that have announced their openings:

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Local Food Journey

Exploring local food at the 2015 South By Southwest: the food itself

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/08 at 11:31 AM

This is the second part of a two-part series on local food at South By Southwest, to learn more about the event and read about some programming related to local food at the event, please go here.

I’ve been to Austin twice. The South By Southwest vibe of Austin is quite different than the normal Austin vibe. The normal Austin vibe is laid-back artsy in a folksy Texas style, while the SXSW version of Austin is more frantic and teeming, understandable given the influx of people, including lots of celebrities. But one thing that never changes about Austin, and that’s the fact it is quite a culinary destination. In keeping with the rest of the country, local food is popular in Austin and I found several great examples of regional food in Austin.

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Local Food Journey

Exploring local food at the 2015 South By Southwest

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 04/03 at 11:53 AM

South By Southwest is quite an event. Held each year in Austin, Texas, SXSW is known for technology, music, film, and as a big party. But there’s another facet to SXSW, and that’s local food.

I had the opportunity to attend SXSW last month, and spent part of the time exploring the local food side of both Austin and SXSW. Part of SXSW was SouthBites, a platform of sessions, panel discussions, podcasts, and a food truck food court that enables connections between food artisans, farmers, entrepreneurs, and just plain regular people who love food. There was certainly a local food component to SouthBites, in keeping with the national trend of increased interest in local food. Sessions included discussion about local food from angles such as food production, entrepreneurship, and even new technology to help locavores find all the best local food sources.

Along with the programming, there’s also the food itself. Austin is an incredible town for dining, especially for Mexican, Tex-Mex, and barbeque, and this includes both standing restaurants . The SXSW “Trailer Park” food court featured local food trucks, serving up delicious products which are made with local ingredients in some cases.

Today, I will focus on the sessions, and Wednesday, the local food scene at SXSW and Austin itself.

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