I was assigned to cover the Farm to Table Conference and Friday Night Food Tasting event for Boring Pittsburgh, which meant I was given the opportunity to do my two favorite things – eat and write about it.
There were enough vendors at the tasting to make your head spin. From local cheese, hummus, beer, wines, as well as milk and local beef franks. One could gorge oneself on all the different choices of food and drink!
I sampled almost all of the tables, and I picked some stellar examples of businesses that best exemplified the concept of local entrepreneurship. One business I would highly encourage every yinzer to check out is Greek Gourmet, located in Squirrel Hill. Their table was a Mecca of hummus with at least 10 different varieties. Their prices are very affordable and the hummus is made in-house, which ensures maximum freshness and quality. You also have the satisfaction of supporting local Pittsburghers in their quest to provide us with delicious Greek fare.
Clarion River Organics is a local farm worth mentioning for two reasons: firstly, they provide farm shares to the city of Pittsburgh and secondly, they make their own cheese! As a girl who loves her cheese, I was pleasantly surprised at the taste of their aged goat cheese with Herbes de Provence. Rich, creamy, and aromatic, the cheese would be a perfect treat at a casual dinner party that would surprise guests at its subtle flavor.
As I mentioned, they also sell farm shares. I appreciate the way their prices are set up, in which the consumer can choose between a large CSA bag ($25/week) or a small bag ($15/week). Both bags are a decent size and provide a great variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and greens. You can also choose to have break and eggs added to your bag for an additional $5/week. Clarion River also includes recipes akin to your bag and tries to pair foods that make sense with cooking and eating. Another nice factor to consider, if you’re thinking about buying food locally this season is that CRO delivers to most Pittsburgh neighborhoods, so you can conveniently receive your bag fresh each time. Check our their site to learn more, and I’d highly encourage you to at least try the small CSA bag and get accustomed to some new foods this year, as well as support a local farm business.
- Clarion River Organics is at the Pittsburgh Public Market all year round!
- More on Farm to Table 2012: Local Food, Local Business, Local Living!
Penn’s Corner is another local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) I would encourage Pittsburgh to check out. They are set up a bit differently than Clarion River Organics, but still comparable in price ($610 for 24 weeks) and includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, cheese, eggs, and even homemade pasta. They have a wide range of delivery spots and you have the assurance that your food is coming from mainly Southwestern Pennsylvania county farms. Expect more from me this summer on CSAs, I’m very energized to be part of the local flavor.
One can’t have a conference celebrating local Pittsburgh business without some locally brewed beer, cider, and wines. Great Lakes of Cleveland showed up with some great beer selections. I had the Burning River Conways Irish Ale, which was refreshing and different from my normal go-to of IPAs. North Country Brewing also brought some great choices to the table from Slippery Rock, such as the Heather Ale.
There was a host of other vendors that offered a variety of food and beverages, so the convention was successful in highlighting the availability of local businesses. Many vendors are based in Western PA, so hop on the Farm to Table website and check it out! Get yourself psyched up for next year’s seventh annual conference.