Fresh in Fox Chapel: Farm market offers plenty
Vine-ripened blackberries make their debut next week at the Fox Chapel farm market, joining fresh-picked strawberries, locally harvested honey and organic cheese available for purchase.
“The strawberries are so ripe that you can smell them from the parking lot,” said Nate Sturgess, whose family orchard in Beaver County has for 25 years supplied turkeys, homemade jam and 12 acres of apples.
The farm market opened earlier this month for its fifth season at Shady Side Academy's senior campus in Fox Chapel.
More than a dozen vendors turned out for the market opening earlier this month, but the size is expected to increase throughout the season to more than 20.
All will feature locally-sourced food and specialty items from farms and vendors within 120 miles of Shady Side Academy, said Sarah York Rubin, executive director of programs at the school.
Matt Jenkins, a second-year apprentice from Blackberry Meadows Farm, manned a table featuring beet greens, lime basil and purple radishes grown at the 85-acre, certified organic site in Fawn. They also offer local greens that grow wild.
“We do foraging,” he said, showing off lamb's quarters and other spring greens that might be mistaken for weeds. “These are really high in vitamins and you can find them in your own back yard.”
Nearby, Lauren Saggio was pouring samples of Innergy juice — a mix of carrot, pineapple, orange and ginger. The GOODLife Juices, bottled in a commercial kitchen in Sharpsburg, have no added sugar or preservatives. There are two pounds of vegetables in a 16-ounce bottle, Saggio said.
Jodi Griswold, owner of North Woods Ranch in Marshall, talked to shoppers about her grass-fed beef.
“You get the best meat when a cow is fed grass,” she said.
Not all of the vendors sell food. Some people sell hand-made jewelry, natural cleaning supplies and perennials.
Sarah March and Rachel Barnyak plan to sell vintage jewelry and hand-painted silk scarves. Barnyak offers scarves that resemble a watercolor painting.
“The result is a beautiful one-of-a-kind piece,” she said.
Craig Jahnke, a beekeeper from Fox Chapel, sat nearby showing people a slice from one of the 20 hives he tends to in O'Hara and West Deer.
There were about 500 bees inside the crate but he said a typical hive might hold more than 30,000 bees.
Jahnke encouraged people to taste the raw honey.
“It's a completely different taste from what you get at the store because it's not heated in the process,” he said. “It has much more flavor.”
Retired Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers Lori Sammartino and Melinda Suzensky set up a booth called Re-stARTistry filled with take-and-make crafts.
“We want to create and inspire,” Suzensky said.
“We want to show them that it doesn't take a lot of money to have something nice,” Sammartino said.
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.