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Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show adds ‘farm’ to the mix

Candy Williams
| Wednesday, February 27, 2019 12:00 a.m
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Phil Tompkins, co-founder with Jenn Tompkins of Rent The Chicken of Freeport, which partners with affiliate farmers to provide them with a source for fresh eggs, will be at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show March 1-10.
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More people are becoming accustomed to purchasing items – from grains, flours and snacks to coffees, spices and pasta – in bulk at the East End Food Co-op, says Kate Safin, one of the speakers at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show March 1-10 at David Lawrence Convention Center.
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Antiques and collectibles appraiser and TV personality Lori Verderame will talk with visitors about their treasured heirlooms, collectibles or antiques at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show March 1-10 at David Lawrence Convention Center.
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Randy Gilson, creator of the Randyland outdoor art exhibit on Pittsburgh’s North Side, (shown in photo) will provide his first Pop-Up space for kids and adults to create colorful art on fences at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show March 1-10 at David Lawrence Convention Center.
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Farm to Table exhibitors showcased a variety of “Eat Fresh, Buy Local” food products at last year’s conference.
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Kids enjoyed the fun of chicken races at a recent Farm to Table conference.

The countdown is on. Winter will soon be a fading memory (but not soon enough) and spring is less than a month away, officially arriving on March 20.

It’s time to think about remodeling, painting, gardening and all those home improvement projects we’ve put off since last year. The 38th Annual Duquesne Light Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show March 1-10 at the David Lawrence Convention Center, downtown Pittsburgh, is a good place to start.

There’s an added bonus at this year’s event: The 2019 Farm to Table Conference has partnered with the Home and Garden Show, featuring more than 60 local food vendors and 10 days of speakers and demos, all related to supporting local farms, food producers, wineries, distilleries and breweries.

About the show

John DeSantis, executive director, has been steering the direction of the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show as executive director since it started 38 years ago with 133 exhibitors.

The show now features more than 1,800 exhibits spread over 10 acres. DeSantis calls it a one-stop shop for great home and garden ideas – and products and services to make them happen.

“We’re now the largest home event in North America,” DeSantis said, “and because of that, it’s difficult to see everything in one visit. By dividing it into categories, you don’t miss what you’re looking for.”

Treasures from home

Lori Verderame, an art, antiques and collectibles appraiser on History Channel’s TV show “The Curse of Oak Island” and Discovery Channel’s “Auction Kings,” will be on the Antiques Home Show Stage talking with visitors about their treasured heirlooms, collectibles or antiques.

“Dr. Lori” has a PhD in art, antiques and architectural history from Penn State University. One item per person may be brought for review. Show times are noon, 3 and 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, noon and 3 p.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The Shady Lane Family Activity Center will offer kids activities, working toy trains from the Train Collectors Association Kids Club and live entertainment. Also, local folk artist Randy Gilson, creator of the Randyland outdoor art exhibit in the Mexican War Streets neighborhood of Pittsburgh’s North Side, will provide a Pop-Up space for kids and adults to create colorful art on fences wrapped around the children’s area.

About the Farm to Table Conference

The 13th annual Farm to Table Conference is bringing its networking and educational opportunities to this year’s Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show, offering seasonal cooking demonstrations, gardening and information about the nutritional value of local food presented by local experts.

Erin Hart, executive director of Farm to Table Western PA, said the conference will include more than 60 local food vendors and 10 days of speakers and demonstrations on a variety of topics related to its “Eat Fresh, Buy Local” theme.

Among the many presenters will be Jenn and Phil Tompkins of Freeport, co-founders of Rent The Chicken, which partners with affiliate farmers to provide them with a source for fresh eggs; John and Sukey Jamison, who sell all natural, pasture-raised lamb products from their farm in Unity, and Penn State Master Gardeners Barb Cline and Pat Morgan, with tips on starting a vegetable garden and straw bale gardening.

Kate Safin, marketing and members services manager at East End Food Co-op, will speak on how to “Embrace Zero Waste Shopping” by shopping in bulk departments and reusing jars and containers.

A cooking demonstration of food prepared with healthy ingredients from the co-op’s bulk department and fresh local produce will follow the presentation.

“We want to educate and empower consumers that there’s a better way to shop and save money,” Safin said.

Hart will have free copies of the inaugural Western PA Local Food Guide, a resource guide to farmers markets, CSAs, restaurants, dairies and retail outlets at the event.

A schedule of Farm to Table speakers and demonstrations at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show is available at farmtotablepa.com.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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