All the Best of All Things Local

Inside Scoop

  1. Do you love Local? Be a Local Goodness explorer!

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    Whether traveling or at home, we are always on the quest for all the best of all things local…trying to ferret out local treasures. Does this sound like you, too?

    Because we can’t continuously travel to all corners of the 50 states, just like we rely on family, friends and locals to clue us in to where we can find the best, we rely on those who like to seek and explore to tell us some of their personal favorites.

    So, as a traveler, or even at home, you likely have found your personal “local” favorites. We’d love to know about them!

  2. Preserving the Harvest…options beyond canning

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    Making Sauerkraut

    It’s that time of year.  Bountiful harvests, cooler weather and shorter daylight hours all trigger my nesting instinct.  I begin to gather (some say hoard) the last of the season’s produce hoping to make it through the winter months with shelves and fridge and freezer stocked full of picked-in-season produce.  But how to tackle the preservation of that bounty?  I admit I do love canning, but often the thought of the entire process is daunting.  Fortunately, there are other ways of preserving the harvest that are much more simple and far less time consuming (and some, like making fermented sauerkraut, are nostalgic and worth the wait) .  I joined Paul Guggenheimer on WESA’s Essential Pittsburgh to run through some of my favorites.

    You can listen HERE as well as find tips, some of my favorite resources and a few recipes to get you started.


  3. Farmer’s Markets are opening!

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    Markets are open for the season!

    Markets are open for the season!

    It’s spring!  Farmers’ Markets are springing up like mushrooms after a heavy rain.  We talked about tips for making the most of the season on today’s Essential Pittsburgh.

    Listen HERE

  4. It’s Maple Season!

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    Listen HERE

    Cold winter days are when the sap starts flowing and the sugar shacks heat up with the sweet scent of maple.  Check out local maple festivals across the Northeast US … and especially in the great state of Pennsylvania!

  5. Holiday Entertaining Local Goodness Style!

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    Makings of a Perfect Local Bloody Mary

    Rhonda joined Paul Guggenheimer on Essential Pittsburgh (WESA 90.5 FM) to talk about bringing local flavor (and spirits) to your holiday entertaining.

    WESA recently updated their website, so this link is currently not available…sorry!

  6. Eating Locally all Winter Long

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    Roast Vegetable Stew in Pumpkin

    Rhonda joined Paul Guggenheimer on Essential Pittsburgh (WESA 90.5 FM) to talk about eating locally throughout the long, cold winter months.

    WESA recently updated their website, so this link is currently not available…sorry!

  7. Foodie Gifts — Local Goodness Style!

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    Whether a stocking stuffer, host(ess) gift or THE BIG item, it’s easy to fill your foodie gift-giving needs from local sources — even at the grocery store!!  Had a blast finding items for all the foodies on my list.  Check out our finds in our Local Foodie Gifts Shopping List where we found tasty treats and gifts of good taste that are not onlyfabulous gifts, but support local farms, producers, merchants and companies.

    Happiest of Holidays … may the spirit of the season be with you now and throughout the New Year!

    Be sure to watch again on December 15 for a special Local Goodness segment on Gifts that Give Back!


    Our Shopping List & Links

    Gifts of Food

    Isadore Foods- Fresh from the Farm – gift of an Isadore Foods one-time box or CSA Subscription

    Pittsburgh Public Market

    Giant Eagle Market District – Robinson

    • Italian Dinner – Fede pasta, DelGrosso sauce, Mediterra bread and Delallo bruchetta spread

    Gifts of Good Taste

    Ceramic Grillworks:

    • Grillin’ & Chillin’ – Small Grill Dome, perfect for tailgating or steaks on the patio!  Medium and large sizes also available!

    CRATE Kitchen Store and Cooking School:

    • Kitchen Must-Haves – All Clad, USA Baking Pans, Fiesta tableware + gift certificate for a cooking class or other goodies

    TABLE Magazine:

    Check out our special segment from last year — Gifts from the Strip — for more tasty gift ideas!!!

  8. Tis the Season…For Brussels Sprouts & Chestnuts!

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    One of the first to be planted and of the last to be harvested, Brussels sprouts are truly the holdout crop for local farmers!  Best picked after the first hard frost, Brussels sprouts come into season just as the holidays begin to roll around…and they pair nicely with another fall and holiday favorite – the chestnut.

    Seasonality, freshness and proper cooking techniques make the difference between the nasty sprouts of your childhood and ones that you will look forward to on your dinner table.  On today’s segment we cook up two tasty Brussels sprout recipes, one a Simple Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts dish from our friends at Harvest Valley Farms(where we also got our fresh Brussels sprouts) and a more elegant side dish of Bronzed Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Shallots & Chestnuts.

    Luckily in Pennsylvania, there are still some chestnut trees on local farms where we can get fresh, American-grown chestnuts.  We took advantage of some from Enon Valley Garlic’s chestnut tree an cooked up a silky Roasted Chestnut Bisque.

    Stock up on these two seasonal treasures for YOUR holiday festivities!

    Brussels Sprouts – Buying-Storing-Preparing

    Chestnuts – Buying-Storing-Preparing

  9. Time to Preserve the Harvest-before it’s too late

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    Watch today’s Local Goodness segment HERE.

    Peaches and tomatoes are still aplenty at farm stands and farmers’ markets….but not for long!  Stock up and use two simple preservation techniques to have these farm-fresh, local ingredients available until there back next year.  Check out McConnells’ Farm for the best peaches ANYWHERE!

    Water bath canning and freezing are two methods perfect for these summer fruits (yes, botanically tomato is a fruit!).

    On today’s Local Goodness segment we gave you a sneak peek at these two techniques. To delve further into these and other preservation methods, join me at the Market District Cooking School on Sept 13 and 20 for my “Preserving the Harvest” classes.  Come to one or both…each will be different, but will show you a variety of methods for preserving seasonal ingredients to enjoy during the cold months ahead.



    Water Bath Canning Method — How-to

    Canned Farm-fresh Peaches in Light Syrup

    Raw-Packed Canned Farm-fresh Tomatoes


    For Peaches visit McConnells’ Farm

    For Tomatoes visit Dillner Family Farm

    USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

    University of Missouri – Guide to Freezing Fruit

    University of Missouri – Guide to Freezing Vegetables


  10. It’s MAPLE Time!!!

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    Tapped for Maple


    One indicator that that spring is just around the corner is when maple trees are tapped to capture the sweet sap that flows when frigid nights awaken to warming days.

    It’s maple season in Southwestern Pennsylvania and the sap is flowing abundantly.  In Brady’s Run State Park in Beaver County they are rapidly collecting sap, the sugar shack is open, the evaporator is steaming along and fresh, local maple syrup will be the reward at the 34th Annual Beaver County Maple Syrup Festival the first weekend in April.

    If you don’t want to wait that long, you can stop by Fern Hollow Nature Center in Sewickley, PA on March 5 for their Pancake Breakfast and Maple Sugaring Festival, featuring maple Syrup from Brady’s Run.

    Pennsylvania’s largest maple festival, held in Somerset County, runs for three weekends beginning in late March.  And in northwestern Pennsylvania, you can tour a number of independent sugar shacks during their annual “Taste & Tour” event.

    So, get out for a fun (and tasty) adventure and find a maple festival (or two) to learn all about the maple production process from tree to table and enjoy the the many uses of this gift from Mother Nature.

    Maple Festival Links:

    Annual Beaver County Maple Syrup Festival (Beaver County, PA)

    Annual Pennsylvania Maple Festival (Somerset County, PA)

    Northwest Pennsylvania Maple Association Taste & Tour (Erie County, PA)


    Cooking with Maple:

    Maple Cooking Tips

    Spinach Salad with Maple-Orange Vinaigrette

    Maple & Black Pepper Poached Salmon

    Fun with Maple – from Cornell