Harvest Tasting shows local farms' bounty
It's harvest time on the farm.
For Tara Rockacy, who works a sustainable third-generation family farmette in Baldwin called Churchview Farm, it's an exciting time for reaping the rewards of a busy growing season.
She plans to take a sampling of her fall and winter crops, which include assorted head lettuces and other fresh greens — arugula, tatsoi, radicchio, frisee and watercress — along with kale, rainbow chard, radish, onions, hot peppers, beets, herbs and eggs to the inaugural Harvest Tasting on Saturday at Bakery Square.
Sharing her table at the showcase of locally produced foods will be her partner, Kate Romane, chef and owner of e2 restaurant in Highland Park. Romane will have prepared dishes made from ingredients fresh from their farm.
Rockacy is making the most of her grandparents' farm. On less than 10 acres of land, Churchview produces a wide variety of heirloom fruits and vegetables. And it is home to an apiary from which seasonal raw honey is harvested. About 60 heritage breed chickens are raised on free-range pastures, and she says a new structure being built this fall will provide space for more chickens, ducks and a few dairy goats.
“We grow a wide variety of crops, almost entirely heirloom, and I tend to focus on more rare and unusual varieties,” she says. “Tomatoes are my passion, and this season we grew more than 90 varieties of heirloom tomatoes.”
Churchview Farm has partnered with Chatham University's food-studies program, offering as many as 10 graduate-student internships for a season.
Erin Hart, executive director of Farm to Table Pittsburgh and director of health-benefit services for American HealthCare Group, is the organizer of the Harvest Tasting. She says the event was created to showcase nearly 60 local farms such as Rockacy's, in addition to restaurants, wineries, breweries and food producers who will provide samples of local foods, recipes and products for sale.
“Our spring conference in March doesn't have a lot of produce because there isn't a lot in season at that time,” she says. “We wanted to host an event that would allow Pittsburghers to experience the harvest. The event is 12 days before Thanksgiving, our national holiday celebrating the harvest.”
Besides local exhibitors, the Harvest Tasting will feature entertainment by 2 Turntables and a Saxophone, and an acoustic performance by Jason Kendall. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.
Hart says area residents have made progress toward improving their eating habits, but there's still work to be done to keep the momentum going. By choosing local food, consumers are using ingredients that must be prepared and cooked, providing a healthier alternative to processed foods.
The Harvest Tasting is a good way for local food producers to share their products and talk about food and their relationships with area restaurants, according to Rockacy.
“People are often surprised at how easy it can be to gain access to high-quality local food, as well as the wonderful variety of small farms in Pennsylvania and what they bring to the community — great food, learning opportunities, rich histories and unique experiences,” she says.
Candy Williams is a contributing writer to Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Opposing defenses find success against Steelers by eschewing blitz
- Penguins forward Downie becoming a hit with teammates
- Steelers looking for Spence to step up game at inside linebacker
- Shale oil, gas finds put Mon Valley on path to renaissance, leaders say
- Western Pennsylvania residents chill about forecasters’ spat
- Large-scale batteries are integral in shift to renewable energy
- North Huntingdon church shaken by youth pastor’s child porn rap
- All signs positive for Pitt junior forward Johnson
- Pitt’s defense has not rested in post-Donald era
- Jobs are focus in 52nd District House race in Westmoreland, Fayette
- Water process eyed for 2 parks in Allegheny County