Apple Pie Baking Contest?!? Where’s my apron?

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Way Fruit Farm will once again host the Annual Apple Pie Baking Contest on October 25th, 2014.  The event is sponsored by First National Bank.

 

Prizes and bragging rights for the top three pies.

1st place:                $50 gift certificate to WFF & gift basket

2nd & 3rd place:  $25 gift cert. to WFF & gift basket

Guidelines for this year’s contest:

All entries should be baked at home with fresh apples (hopefully from Way Fruit Farm:)- no store-bought crust or pie filling allowed.

Entries may be from individuals or families.  All customers of Way Fruit Farm may enter; no Way Fruit Farm employees or family may enter.

Entries should be dropped off at Way Fruit Farm from Friday, 10/24/14 during normal business hours (8am-7pm) to Saturday, 10/25/14 by 10am.

Judging will be conducted by local representatives of First National Bank and Way Fruit Farm and a local “guest” judge.

Judging will begin at 10:30 am on October 25th and winners will be announced at the conclusion of the judging.

Listen-in and Learn up on National Organic Standards

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From our friends at:

On Thursday, October 16, 2014 from 3:00-5:00 PM Eastern Time, the National Organic Program (NOP) will host a listening session focusing on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a federal advisory committee that provides recommendations to USDA. The NOP is seeking comments on NOSB administrative procedures including public participation opportunities, the petition process, and sunset review process. More information on NOSB administrative procedures can be found in the  NOSB Policy and Procedures ManualNational Organic Standards Board PresentationPetition Process, and Sunset Review Process.

The NOP will open with a short presentation; afterwards participants will be able to provide comments to the NOP. Participants wishing to provide comments will then indicate to the call operator their interest in speaking. Each person will be given 3 minutes to share his or her comment. We will take as many comments as we can until the call ends at 5 PM Eastern Time.  The NOP will issue a summary of the listening session after the call.

Pre-registration is not required for this listening session. To participate:

Thursday, October 16, 2014 – 3-5 PM Eastern

Step 1: Dial-In
Audio Conference Dial-In Number:
U.S. & Canada Toll-Free 800-732-8470

Step 2: Web Login          
Click here to join the meeting online.

For Technical Support:
U.S. and Canada: 800.843.9166
International: 303.209.1600
Web: http://www.readytalk.com/support 

3rd Thursdays Farming Classes at Stoney Brook Valley Farm

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From Katie College at www.coolbeanscsa.com

Toying with the idea of earning some income by producing food on your land, or just interested in maximizing the potential to grow nutritious food for your own family? Want to find your inner farmer and connect with like-minded people? How about joining us for the first series of “Third Thursday” classes at Stoney Creek Valley Farm (Dauphin, PA)?

Follow this link for more information.

Butchering Workshop

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Interesting in learning how to butcher?  Then this is the workshop for you…

 

Sponsored by Loaves and Fishes Farms:

 

JOIN US on Saturday, October 18th 2014

FOR AN INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP ON POULTRY BUTCHERING

(NOT SLAUGHTERING)

Instructor: Steven Bookbinder, Chef and Penn State Food Science Student
Learn the theoretical and practical skills needed to carve meat from a whole animal or primal parts down to serving sizes, then produce value-added products.  The first class will focus on poultry.  No prior experience needed.

EACH PARTICIPANT WILL TAKE HOME EVERYTHING

YOU BUTCHER, SO BRING AN APRON AND A COOLER!

 

Times:       10 AM – 3 PM  Lunch will be provided

 

Cost:     $130 per student per session; $15 discount for members of Slow Food, PASA, the PA Women in Ag Network, and Loaves and Fishes Facebook Friends.

 

For more information:  email  or phone (717-221-1125) Jen Briggs (1810 York Road, Dover, PA 17315)

Friends & Farmers Co-op Developing Online Market

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From the September 8 Friends & Farmers Co-op E-Newsletter:

At the Sept. 3 Friends & Farmers board meeting, the directors reviewed the results of the recent survey and the information gathered by the online market task group, and unanimously voted to launch Friends & Farmers Online as a stepping stone to a brick and mortar store. The task group will determine the operating details and report on progress to the Board monthly, and is authorized to spend up to $6,000 to establish and operate the market for one year. In October 2015 the board will then evaluate the project and determine next steps.

The Friends & Farmers Online task group is open to board members, co-op members, and producers; if you’re interested in joining the group to help launch the market, please contact Jim Eisenstein.

Key Survey Results:

“Interest in strengthening the local food economy” was cited by 42% of Friends & Farmers Co-op owner-members as one of the key reasons they decided to join. Another 39% cited “increased access to local food.” 68% of the respondents either supported or strongly supported the idea of a Friends & Farmers online market as a step toward a physical grocery store, with another 24% “neutral or unsure.”

Here are a few of the questions we’ve been hearing, and our responses.

How would starting Friends & Farmers Online affect the goal of opening a physical store?

We believe the online market is a good intermediate goal for the cooperative, with the potential to engage members; offer pre-ordering of locally produced food products in a meal planning and food shopping format more convenient for working adults and Penn State students; build co-op momentum and grow membership; engage producers; help co-op members better understand how cooperatives grow and thrive; and provide a tangible benefit to the community. We aren’t the first cooperative to use an online market—there are online markets all over the country (read more below).

What products will be available through Friends & Farmers Online?

Members of the Friends & Farmers online market task force have talked to about 14 vendors who are interested in participating. These vendors offer a broad range of products:  dairy, fruit, baked goods, meat, eggs, and vegetables – although we haven’t yet located local vendors for dry beans and grains. The task group will continue to recruit participating producers as the market gets more established and our market management skills improve.

Why not just go to the farmers market or join a CSA?

We don’t anticipate drawing customers away from strong, existing local customer-farmer networks like farmers markets and CSAs. For shoppers who enjoy and have the scheduling flexibility to browse farmers markets, and for producers who are selling all their available goods at farmers markets and CSAs, those business models are working well.

But with busy schedules and work/school demands, many people are unable to get to a farmers market or conveniently use CSA shares. Friends & Farmers Online is primarily intended to expand the local food customer base beyond its current borders, serving shoppers who would prefer to plan ahead and pre-order a week’s worth of local food for a single pick-up trip on the weekends, and providing another retail marketplace for farmers with additional production capacity.

Would you need to be a co-op member to shop?

No. The online market will be open to everyone, but co-op members will pay less (or not pay an initial fee to shop), and we will have incentives for non-members to join the co-op.

Would there be support or someone to contact with questions?

Yes. In addition to the online market task group, there will be a market manager or two co-managers who will act as points of contact to help customers learn how to use the online ordering system, help vendors learn how to post their available products at the site, supervise at the weekly food distribution site, and handle emerging issues as they arise.

Would there be an incentive to volunteering?

This is very likely, but at this stage the operational details are still being worked out. We encourage interested co-op members to join the task group to help make these decisions.

Will Friends & Farmers be the first food cooperative using an online market as a stepping stone to a brick and mortar store?  

No. There are online markets all over the country, some of which have been in operation for more than 10 years. Like Friends & Farmers, these cooperatives are dedicated to strengthening the local food economy in their communities and supporting local farmers by sourcing food from local farms. And like Friends & Farmers, they believe that online markets offer an excellent way to establish vendor relationships, build the local customer base, and deepen co-op leaders’ business skills.

In developing the Friends & Farmers Online proposal, the task group identified and consulted with managers at four “clicks-to-bricks” co-ops, including Purple Porch Cooperative (South Bend IN); Macomb Food Cooperative (Macomb IL); Prairie Roots Cooperative (Fargo ND), and Local Roots Cooperative (Buffalo MN). Other online markets we contacted include Hershey Farmers Market (Hershey PA); Gomarket Durham (Durham NC), Iowa Valley Food Cooperative (Cedar Rapids IA); Red Hill Food Cooperative (Tallahassee FL); Lake to River Cooperative (Youngstown OH), and the Oklahoma Food Cooperative based in Oklahoma City.

Jean Davenport, Market Manager for the Macomb Food Cooperative online market, explained the value of the clicks-to-bricks development model:

“People are only interested in something for so long if they do not see anything happening. I had been doing outreach for two years to sign up owners so we could move towards opening a brick and mortar store, and it was getting harder to sell the idea because people did not see anything for their money…

Having the online market gave us more credibility with our owners and with the community. We now have a local-foods business…we have made many partnerships with producers as well as with customers. We have learned a lot about marketing, packaging, and pricing. We have worked with the Health Department and know the regulations we need to operate a food business. We feel this makes it much easier for us to transition to a store…While we are not making a ton of money from the market, it has been a great learning experience and a valuable one.”

Can Friends & Farmers Online be simultaneously profitable for the co-op and affordable for customers?

Most of the online market managers we’ve consulted have reported that their online markets either break even or make a small profit within about a year. Our goal will be to set up the market and then manage it so that it breaks even or makes a small profit. But we also highly value the online market opportunity as a lower overhead, lower risk way to expand the local food customer base, develop vendor relationships and help co-op leaders gain key business management skills – all of which are essential as we prepare to open a successful, full-service, brick-and-mortar grocery store.

Here’s what Tony Ricci, farmer at Green Heron Farm, and a founding member of Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative, Pennsylvania Certified Organic, and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture has to say about the co-op’s initiative:

“…Increasing cost arbitrarily will only narrow that field of potential customers to a small demographic range. The real goal is to increase our customer base. I think of this every time I drive up to State College and see the thousands of people driving, walking, shopping, and I wonder how I can sell my produce to them. As a farmer and businessman I know I will make more money with more sales (higher volume) rather than higher prices…

Friends & Farmers can compete with the big guys because you are filling a niche that is not being served on both ends of the spectrum – local production and consumption…As long as you follow basic business principles and make that connection between farmers and consumers your main goal, I think you’re going to succeed. No one is really doing that on a grand scale in Central PA. Just don’t try to reinvent the wheel or get distracted by the minutia of pricing before you figure out how you’re going to get produce delivered to your dock on a consistent basis. Pricing will become a mundane task once you’re established.”

Please contact Jim Eisenstein, Online Market Task Group Coordinator, for more info or if you are interested in joining the task group.

 

Third Annual Plow to Plate Dinner Wednesday

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(From Jim Eisenstein)

Fall in Central Pennsylvania brings the bounty, beauty, and variety of the late summer and fall harvest. To celebrate it, the Boalsburg Farmers Market in cooperation with the Mount Nittany Winery is sponsoring its “Plow to Plate Harvest Dinner” featuring the vegetables and fruits that ripen as the last of summer’s crops are replaced by those that thrive in the fall.

Some of the best chefs in Happy Valley will prepare main dishes from sustainably produced local meat and poultry, soups and side dishes from tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, okra, garlic, onions, melons, acorn and butternut squash, pumpkins, kale, spinach, lettuce, fall greens, and apples.   Guests will also enjoy a variety of wonderful deserts.

The dinner will be held at the beautiful Mt. Nittany Winery on Wednesday, September 10th, and will gather a number of our area’s best chefs, including

  • Duke Gastinger (Spats Café)
  • Jonathan Forshey (Gamble Mill)
  • Harrison Schailey (Harrison’s Wine Grill)
  • Jeremiah McClanahan (Fasta Pasta)
  • Andy Rose (Elk Creek Cafe)
  • Ben Stanley (El Gringo)
  • Tony Sapia of Gemelli Bakers
  • Samantha Doan (Nola’s Wood Fired Oven)

Each will each have a food station featuring ingredients obtained from Tuesday’s Boalsburg Farmers Market, and prepared fresh for the dinner on Wednesday.

Tickets ($35 per adult, kids under 12 free) are available at the Boalsburg Farmers Market (Tuesdays, 2:00 to 6:00 at the Pa Military Museum in Boalsburg), at Webster’s Café, 133 E. Beaver Ave. in State College, and at the Tait Farm Store on Route 322 East of Boalsburg.

Vineyard and Winery tours begin at 5:00 PM, with dinner starting at 6:00. The Winery is located at 300 Houser Road, off of Brush Valley Road.

In addition to tours of the vineyard and winery, guests will be able to talk both with the chefs and some of the Boalsburg Farmers Market farmers throughout the evening about their farms and the joys and challenges of growing food for the local community. Guests will receive a complimentary glass of Mt. Nittany wine, and Picker and Papa will be playing and singing.

Speaking of the event, market co-manager Tony Sapia observed:

“This will be a celebration of local food and wine, a tribute to the quality and variety of the local food available at the Boalsburg Farmers Market, and an opportunity to meet some of our best local chefs AND farmers.”

Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Boalsburg Farmers’ Market Learning Kitchens, State College Area School District Elementary School Teaching Gardens, and the Friends and Farmers Food Cooperative.

PSU Student Farm Planning Potluck Thursday

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Student Farm(From Leslie Pillen)

A Penn State student-centered Sustainable Food Systems minor and Student Farm are now under development through funding from the Sustainability Institute.

This new initiative will serve as a nexus for engaged, integrated and experiential learning about sustainability challenges and solutions. An integrative planning process during 2014 and 2015 will engage the university and surrounding community to create a shared vision and design for this new farm and minor.

You are cordially invited to a fall kick-off potluck on Thursday, September 11 from 7 – 9pm for conversation about the Penn State Student Farm Project, hosted by the co.space (244 East Nittany Ave.). Please RSVP and indicate what food item you plan to bring on this online potluck signup form.

During the evening, we will enjoy facilitated conversation at each table about the guiding principles, character and features of the space that are essential to support experiential learning about our food system, for all Penn Staters and the surrounding community.

Please forward this email and attached flier to others who may be interested. Questions can be directed to Leslie by email.

We look forward to seeing you there!

  • Leslie Pillen, Penn State Student Farm Design Coordinator
  • Hayly Hoch, Penn State Plant Sciences student
  • Johanna Jackson, Leadership and Team Development Facilitator, PSU Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center

Mission: The Sustainable Food Systems minor and Student-Centered Farm at Penn State will strategically link classroom education with experiential education and research to provide transformative learning opportunities in sustainable agriculture and food systems that foster leadership, teamwork, critical thinking and positive change among the Penn State and surrounding communities. It will be an educational, research and outreach program open to interested students, faculty and staff from all programs. (More information)