by guest blogger Rich Baringer,
Last year I wrote a bit about some of our long-standing Easter traditions that center around food. They are based on the religious meaning of the holiday and date from pre-Christian days.
But come on. We really know what many people think of when they Easter food comes to mind: jelly beans and chocolate bunnies!
So here are some interesting facts about how these two confections became as big a part of Easter as lamb and eggs.
The exact origins of jelly beans are not exactly known, but most experts believe that they are descendents of two kinds of candies: Turkish delights, which date from biblical times and had a gel-based center; and Jordan Almonds, a candy from 15th Century France which used “panning” to create the shiny shell that they share with jelly beans.
The first appearance of “modern” jelly beans were during the Civil War when, in 1861, a Boston confectioner suggested that jelly beans be sent to Union soldiers as gifts. Perhaps because of the candy’s lack of nutritional value, in the early 20th Century, “jelly bean” became a term for a man with style and no substance. Jelly beans were the first candies sold by weight and originally were often sold by color.
It wasn’t until the 1930′s, though, that jelly beans became associated with Easter. Someone realized that the candy was shaped like the egg–a traditional symbol of Easter and rebirth–and they were marketed as Easter candy. Today, about 16 billion jelly beans are made for the Easter season.
In 1976, Jelly Belly started producing it’s famous gourmet jelly beans. Up until 1998, Jelly Belly reports that their most popular flavor was Very Cherry. But in that year, Buttered Popcorn took over as favorite. (I know, I don’t get it either.) But Very Cherry took over once again in 2003. Jelly Belly makes 50 regular flavors and some specialty flavors (including blueberry, which was created for jelly bean-lover Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981). You can see their list of flavors here.
Well, it’s no surprise that someone started making bunnies out of chocolate for Easter. The rabbit–a symbol of fertility–was long a symbol of Easter for that reason. And hey, pretty much everyone likes chocolate.
The first chocolate bunnies were made in Germany in the 19th Century. Whitman’s Chocolates started to produce them in 1842, but they didn’t really catch on that much. Around 1890, a Pennsylvania drug store owner, Robert L. Strohecker, displayed a 5-foot chocolate bunny in his store as an Easter promotion. (Try as I might, I could not find out where in PA he was from. If anyone knows, tell me!) Strohecker’s idea helped to popularize the chocolate bunny for Easter, where it really took off in the early 20th Century. By the way, Robert L. Strohecker chocolate bunnies are still available and are supposed to be some of the best you can find.
During World War II, cocoa was rationed, so to abide with these regulations, confectioners started making hollow bunnies. The process continued after rationing ended as a way for these businesses to save money by not using as much chocolate in their products. I don’t know. It’s always a little disappointing biting into a hollow bunny.
Today, there are more than 60 million chocolate bunnies produced each year for American Easter celebrations. And 76% of Americans say that they eat their bunnies ears-first. You’re not alone!
So there you go. Jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. Have a tasty and cavity-free Easter!
For buying your Easter candy, here are some local candy stores and chocolatiers:
Laurie’s Chocolates, Buckingham, PA
Newtown Chocolates, 66 Richboro Road, Newtown PA
The Painted Truffle, Stockton Market, Bridge Street, Stockton, NJ
Pierre’s Chocolates, 360 West Bridge Street, New Hope, PA
Raymer’s Homemade Candies, 21 East Oakland Avenue, Doylestown, PA
Skip’s Candy Corner, Peddler’s Village, Lahaska, PA
Oh my. There is so much going on this week. Where to start?
Tonight. This is the last day of the New Hope-Lambertville Restaurant Week. Still plenty of good restaurants out there to give a try for only $29.95 or $19.95 prix fixe. Also, this week is the next to last week (or in some cases, last week) for many of the Fish Frys going on in the area. See the calendar below for details on this Friday night Lent tradition.
Wine Tastings. All over the place! Tonight, the Washington House in Sellersville will be doing their monthly Friday Freestyle Flights of Wine. On Saturday, head up river to Alba Vineyards for “Wine 101 from Vine to Glass.” And/or stop by Villa Milagro Vineyards for “Bootcamp for Your Tastebuds,” where you’ll learn to discern fruit and other flavor notes, tannins, acids, and oaks, and even terroir. Also on Saturday you can head up to Spinnerstown for the Villa Calcinaia Wine Tasting at the Spinnerstown Hotel. All weekend, Old York Cellars in Ringoes will be pairing wine and cake at their Sweet Tooth Weekend. Then on Tuesday, the Old Bethlehem Road Hotel will be holding a wine workshop focusing on California wines.
Classes and workshops. On Saturday morning, Snipes Farm and Education Center will be teaching folks about “Successful Backyard Organic Gardening” at their farm in Morrisville. The Kitchen Garden Cooking School in Upper Black Eddy is holding a Cheese Making class also on Saturday morning. On Tuesday evening, Carlow Cookery will teach you how to pair Italian wine and food. Yum. At the Market at Del Val you can also explore the wines of Italy on Wednesday evening. Casa Casale in Lahaska has been focusing on St. Joseph’s Feast all month and will have another class Thursday evening. McCaffrey’s Supermarket will have a class on “The Whole Truth about Whole Grains” on Thursday morning at their Lower Makefield store. For more details on these events, go to our full calendar, Food Events in Bucks County.
Community meals. Lots going on Saturday, including a Pierogie & Bake Sale at St. Mark’s Orthodox Church in Wrightstown, a Prime Rib Dinner at the Trumbauersville Fire Company, a Spaghetti Dinner at the Doylestown Masonic Lodge, a Roast Beef Dinner at the Chalfont United Methodist Church, and a Pork & Sauerkraut Dinner at the First United Church of Christ in Quakertown.
Passover begins Monday night and if you’ve got no where to celebrate it on the second night (Tuesday), check out Kehilat HaNahar’s Annual Community Seder being held at the Lambertville Rescue Squad’s banquet hall. It’s a lot of fun and the food is always good.
Last, but not least, the Wrightstown Farmers’ Market will be holding another mini-market on Saturday morning from 10 – 11 am. Only another month to go until the regular season starts. For a list of 2013 Farmers’ Market season dates, go to the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance’s market page.
For more details on any of these events, please go to our full calendar, Food Events in Bucks County. Have a springy weekend. Follow Bucks County Taste also on Facebook and Twitter.
Continue reading »
Continue reading »
by guest blogger Robin Hoy, Bucks County Foodshed Alliance
Spring is here, with joyous signs of new life around Bucks County. Part of our annual Spring welcome is enjoying the classic symbol of new life – the egg. Candy eggs are one thing, but selecting eggs to dye for Easter and eat the rest of the year can be a conundrum. Cage-free, brown, white, free-range, organic or just plain cheap? Here’s a key to the differences.
Many believe brown eggs are better nutritionally, but an egg’s nutritional value is determined by the food the hen eats, not the color of the shell.
More than 90 percent of the eggs sold in the U.S. are from “battery hens” housed in stacks of cages holding 4 to 6 hens, each hen with less than a notebook paper-sized space. The hens are de-beaked and given prophylactic antibiotics that contribute to antibiotic resistance – theirs and ours. Their feed is genetically engineered corn and soybeans, with animal by-products and nutritional supplements added.
“Cage-free” eggs are from hens living in buildings holding thousands – no cages but with little more space. If not “certified organic,” the hen’s diet is no different from those in cages and their eggs no different nutritionally.
“Certified organic” eggs are from hens fed certified organic feed and no antibiotics. Organic feed has less pesticide residue and no genetically engineered ingredients. Even if not in cages and required to have access to the outdoors, in reality hens providing “free-range” and organic eggs are rarely outside.
The real difference in quality of life for the hen and nutritional content of her eggs comes when hens are raised with access to living, growing greens, insects, worms and grubs. Chickens are omnivores, NOT vegetarians. According to numerous studies, these lucky girls’ eggs are much higher in omega-3s, cancer-fighting carotenes, vitamins A, D and E, and are lower in cholesterol than battery-raised hens.
While eggs from pasture-raised hens are largely unavailable at local grocers, the good news is that farmers are raising them in Bucks County and selling them at farmers’ markets here. Just ask your farmer where her hens spend their days. It makes all the difference. Look for the deep orange yolks – the telltale sign of happy hens foraging in fresh air on rich, diverse pasture.
To find out where you can buy eggs from pasture-raised chickens, go to our list of local farmers’ markets. Birchwood Farms (Wrightstown/Newtown) and Milk House Farm Market (Newtown) also sell their eggs from pasture-raised hens at their onsite farm markets.
If you’re seeing green this weekend it probably isn’t the little buds of spring but St. Patrick’s Day celebrations! There are so many parties going on at area restaurants and bars (the holiday does seem to be made for drinking and eating, no?) that I can’t even list them all. Just go to your local drinking hole and celebrate, whether you’re Irish or not.
This Sunday begins the New Hope-Lambertville Restaurant Week. Twenty-two restaurants will be participating on both sides of the river offering a prix fixe of $29.95 at fine dining restaurants and $19.95 at more casual venues. See their website for a list of participating restaurants. Coming up in April is the first Doylestown Restaurant Week, beginning on Sunday, April 14 and continuing through Saturday, April 20. Go to doylestownmenus.com for more information and to book your reservations.
Speaking of Doylestown, Doc Baker’s Farmulations will be opening their doors officially this Wednesday, March 20, in the Doylestown Inn at 18 West Street. Doc Baker’s is a juice bar and restaurant, featuring all-organic, all-natural, all-vegan, mostly raw and nutritious fare. This is not going to be the familiar smoothie bar but something much better. Check it out.
The ACME Screening Room in Lambertville is showing BREWED IN BROOKLYN all this weekend. Produced by a local video company, Delaware Valley Video, the documentary explores Brooklyn’s past as the beer brewing capital of the world. Now with the renaissance of Brooklyn there has been a return of the beer brewing industry. The film contains many first person accounts about the brewing industry both past and present specific to Brooklyn and includes rare, long forgotten footage. Following the movie on Saturday evening, there will be a Beer Tasting Party at the Columbia Fire Company in Lambertville, that includes brewers, beer tour guides and Joshua Bernstein, author of “Brewed Awakening: Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the World’s Craft Brewing Revolution.”
If you want to support local beer and food, make your way over to the Yardley Inn on Thursday, March 21 for a River Horse Dinner, pairing the local brewery’s beers with a delightful menu created by chef Eben Copple. See their website for more information.
The Farm Fresh Film Series begins this Wednesday March 20. Sponsored by the Doylestown Food Co-Op, the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance and the County Theater, the aim of the series is to explore how what we put in our bodies impacts our health, our community, and our world. Food, Inc., by filmmaker Robert Kenner, reveals surprising – and often shocking – truths about what we eat, how it’s produced, and where we are going from here. The movie begins at 7:30 pm. See the Co-op’s website for a listing of the next films in June, September and December.
More families are turning to natural and organic foods far beyond their fruits and veggies, now looking for dairy, eggs, and meat products that are grass-fed, cage-free, and free from hormones and antibiotics. Numerous health benefits greet consumers who choose these products over the mass-produced, packaged meats and poultry that have long been the standard choice. At the Yardley Inn Restaurant & Bar they are going the extra mile – literally – to responsibly source all restaurant operations, securing only the best grass-fed beef for the inn’s steaks, burgers, and other dishes, among countless other smart choices in the menu and beyond.
The Mayo Clinic reports that grass-fed beef may have some heart healthy benefits as compared to other beef products, such as more omega-3 fatty acids, more antioxidant vitamins, and less overall fat, among others. Some research also suggests that lean beef can help to reduce LDL and total cholesterol, as well as overall calorie count in meals containing red meat. With this in mind, consumers’ choice of what and where to eat can impact their health in more ways than one. (For more information on the benefits of grass-fed beef click here.)
At the Yardley Inn they grind their beef fresh for burgers and meatloaf daily. The blend currently consists of chuck, sirloin, and brisket, all from grass-fed, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free sources. The health and satisfaction of all guests remain key focal points for the Yardley Inn. Each year in business brings along exciting advances in procuring fresh, flavorful ingredients and support for local agriculture in Bucks County and surrounding areas. (For sources of locally raised grass-fed beef and pastured pork see this post.)
Eben Copple, the Yardley Inn’s executive chef, has his own deep-seated beliefs about food freshness and flavor. Just a few years ago, he masterminded a farm-to-fork kitchen garden for the Yardley Inn, which continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The inn’s garden initiative includes the Riverside Garden, which is irrigated by the Delaware River, as well as a plot of farmland a few miles from the restaurant, where various other fruits and vegetables grow and food wastes develop into nutrient-rich compost. The long-term vision for these beds and fields is to one day become a fully functional, four-season garden. Right now, the garden does sustain some collard greens, kale, and purple cabbage during the winter months, but the future outlook aims at greater variety and volume. Springtime will make way for beans, beets, radishes, sunchokes, tomatoes in many varieties, and countless other vegetables, herbs, and even a few fruits.
“Usually the highest quality ingredients available are those grown closest to you,” Copple says. “The less those ingredients have to travel, the more likely they have been allowed to mature fully. A tomato allowed to ripen to almost bursting is always so much better than one that has been picked before its time. We will continue to grow and to search out and buy the best local ingredients we can, to be able to pass along the quality to our guests.”
In addition to bringing its own produce right off the vine and into the kitchen during much of the year, the Yardley Inn also supports local farmers for a wide array of poultry products, dairy items, and all pork products, including bacon, from Berkshire hogs. The inn partners extensively with Griggstown Quail Farm for chicken, eggs, quail eggs, turkey breast, and chicken wings. Much of the restaurant’s dairy needs—butter, dairy cream, milk—come from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, a co-op that helps to support a lot of farmers in Lancaster County.
The Yardley Inn’s entire cheese plate appetizer features fresh, local cheese from New Jersey, Lancaster area, and Bucks County’s own Ely Farm Products. All cheeses found in the restaurant’s dishes come from within 100 miles of Yardley.
“I intend to keep working toward the goal of having all the animal products we receive from honey to milk to bison be from sources I approve of and that fall into our responsible sourcing philosophy,” Copple says. “We make everything in-house and use nothing artificial or processed in our food. We don’t use anything with trans-fats. We have total control over what ends up on our guests’ plates. Much of our everyday menu is gluten-free for the rapidly growing segment of our society with a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. These dishes are clearly marked on the menu. Of course we also have our gardens, which continue to provide fresh herbs and some hearty greens into the winter months.”
You’ll find the Yardley Inn at 82 East Afton Avenue in Yardley, PA, overlooking the Delaware River. You can contact them at 215.493.3800 or at their website, www.YardleyInn.com.
Ah, March. Snow today, sunny and in the 50′s all weekend, high near 60° on Monday. Go figure.
It’s quite a weekend for firehouse and church breakfasts and suppers. Delaware Valley Fire Company in Erwinna will have their monthly Spaghetti Dinner on Friday evening. On Saturday afternoon there will be a Spaghetti Dinner at the Chalfont United Methodist Church. On Sunday both the Silverdale Fire Company and the Upper Black Eddy Fire Company will host their monthly breakfasts, and Sunday afternoon the Sellersville Fire Department will host a Ham Dinner.
And don’t forget the lenten fish frys. The Plumsteadville Grange will host one this Friday evening. Then every Friday until Good Friday, the Riegelsville Fire Company, the Columbia Fire Company (Lambertville) and the First Presbyterian Church (also in Lambertville) are providing fish fry dinners too.
Think you’ve got good cupcakes? See what the competition looks like at the Cupcake Decorating Contest at Peddler’s Village this Saturday and Sunday. There will be both professional and amateur cupcakes, decorated to the hilt. The display will be at Giggleberry Fair in Peddler’s Village (Sorry, too late to enter your own. The deadline was March 4).
St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, coming up next weekend. The Green Parrot will host the 3rd Annual Irish Festival starting on this Thursday evening and continuing through Sunday night. Lots of good music, Irish step dancers, Irish food, Irish beer and Irish whisky. What could be bad?
A couple of dates to put on your calendar. From Sunday, March 17 through Friday, March 22 the 4th Annual New Hope-Lambertville Restaurant Week will take place. Twenty-two restaurants will be participating on both sides of the river offering a prix fixe of $29.95 at fine dining restaurants and $19.95 at more casual venues. See their website for a list of participating restaurants. And in April, the Flemington Business Improvement District will host their restaurant week from April 7 through April 13. See their website for more details.
- Stockton Market – 19 Bridge St., Stockton, NJ [3 - 7 pm]
- Beer Tasting, Phillips’ Fine Wines, 17 Bridge St, Stockton, NJ [4 - 6 pm]
- Fish Fry @ Riegelsville Fire Company – Riegelsville Fire Company, 333 Delaware Road, Riegelsville, PA [5 - 7 pm]
- Fish Fry – Plumsteadville Grange, 5901 Old Easton Rd Plumsteadville, PA [5 - 7 pm]
- 31st Annual Lenten Fish Fry – Columbia Fire Co., 177 N. Union St., Lambertville, NJ [5 - 7:30 pm]
- Lenten Dinner – First Presbyterian Church, 31 N. Union St., Lambertville, NJ [5 - 8 pm]
- Music & Merlot – Hopewell Valley Vineyards, 46 Yard Rd., Pennington, NJ [5 -8 pm]
- Spaghetti Dinner – Delaware Valley Fire Company, Headquarters Road, Erwinna, PA [5:30 - 7:30 pm]
- Lumberville General Store Supper Club – Lumberville General Store, 3741 River Road, Lumberville, PA [6 - 9 pm]
- Yoga & Wine – Old York Cellars, 80 Old York Road, Ringoes, NJ [6:30 - 8:30 pm]
Saturday, March 9:
- Bee Keeping – Snipes Farm, 890 West Bridge Street, Morrisville, PA [9 am - 12 pm]
- Stangl Factory Farmers’ Market – Stangl Factory, 12 Mine Street, Flemington, NJ [9 am - 2 pm]
- Stockton Market, 19 Bridge St, Stockton, NJ [9:00 am - 4 pm]
- Wrightstown Winter Farmers’ Market – Wrightstown Twp. Municipal Bldg (parking lot), 2203 2nd Street Pike, Wrightstown, PA [10 am - 11 am]
- Croquettes, Burgers & Patties – Kitchen Garden Cooking School, 527 Center Hill Road, Upper Black Eddy, PA [10 am - 1:30 pm]
- Cupcake Decorating Contest & Display – Giggleberry Fair, Route 263, Lahaska, PA [10 am - 5 pm]
- 2011 Estate Reserve Chardonnay Release – Alba Vineyard, 269 County Road 627, Milford, NJ [12 - 5 pm]
- Wine Tasting – Phillips’ Fine Wines, 17 Bridge Street, Stockton, NJ [12 - 6 pm]
- Beer Tasting – New Hope Beverage, 6542-K1 Lower York Rd (Logan Square), New Hope, PA [3 - 7 pm]
- Second Saturdays in New Hope – New Hope, PA [3 - 9 pm]
- Spaghetti Dinner – Chalfont United Methodist Church, Route 202 and Meadowbrook Lane, Chalfont, PA [4 - 7 pm]
- Music & Merlot – Hopewell Valley Vineyards, 46 Yard Rd., Pennington, NJ [5 - 8 pm]
- Wine and Music – Old York Cellars, 80 Old York Road, Ringoes, NJ [6 - 9 pm]
- Lumberville General Store Supper Club – Lumberville General Store, 3741 River Road, Lumberville, PA [6 - 9 pm]
Sunday, March 10:
- Breakfast – Upper Black Eddy Fire Co, 1716 Firehouse Lane, Upper Black Eddy, PA [7:30 am - 12 pm]
- Breakfast Buffet – Silverdale Fire Co, 111 Main Street, Silverdale, PA [8 am - 1 pm]
- Ideas in Food: Cookbook Signing – Stockton Market, 19 Bridge St., Stockton, NJ [10 am - 3 pm]
- Stockton Market – 19 Bridge St., Stockton, NJ [10 am - 4 pm]
- Cupcake Decorating Contest & Display – Giggleberry Fair, Route 263, Lahaska, PA [10 am - 5 pm]
- Ham Dinner – Sellersville Fire House, 2 N. Main St, Sellersville, PA [11 am - 5 pm]
- Vinyasa Yoga & Wine – Crossing Vineyards & Winery, 1853 Wrightstown Road , Washington Crossing, PA [11:30 am - 1:30 pm]
- 2011 Estate Reserve Chardonnay Release – Alba Vineyard, 269 County Road 627, Milford, NJ [12 - 5 pm]
- Seed Starting: Tender Herbs, Vegetables & Flowers – Kitchen Garden Cooking School, 527 Center Hill Road, Upper Black Eddy, PA [1 - 4 pm]
- A Dummies Guide to Wine Tasting – Crossing Vineyards & Winery, 1853 Wrightstown Road, Washington Crossing, PA [2 - 4 pm]
- Jazzy Sundays – Hopewell Valley Vineyards, 46 Yard Rd., Pennington, NJ [2 - 5 pm]
Monday, March 11:
- Burger Night – Wycombe Publick House, 1073 Mill Creek Road, Wycombe, PA [4 - 10 pm]
- Evening in the Colonial Kitchen – Cock n’ Bull Restaurant, Peddler’s Village, Lahaska, PA [5 - 9 pm]
- Half Price Burgers Night – Continental Tavern, 2 North Main Street Yardley, PA [6 - 10 pm]
Tuesday, March 12:
- Cheesesteak Night – Wycombe Publick House, 1073 Mill Creek Road, Wycombe, PA [4 - 10 pm]
- Wings and Yuengs – Jamison Grill, 2600 York Road Jamison, PA [5 - 9 pm]
- Sushi Night in the Wine Cellar – The Inn at Lambertville Station, 11 Bridge Street, Lambertville, NJ [6 - 10 pm]
- Food for Thought: Book club – Doylestown Bookshop, 16 S. Main Street, Doylestown, PA [6:30 - 8 pm]
- Celebrating Ireland – Carlow Cookery, Doylestown Shopping Center, 432 North Main Street, Doylestown, PA [7 - 8:30 pm]
- Literate Epicures of Newtown – The Newtown Bookshop, 2829 South Eagle Road Newtown, PA [7 - 8:30 pm]
- A Whole Foods Lifestyle- Nutrition Series (class) – Willow Wellness and Chiropractic Care of Doylestown, 148 E. State St. , Doylestown, PA [7:15 - 8:15 pm]
- Sustainable Movie Series: King Corn – Ambler Theater, 108 East Butler Ave, Ambler, PA [7:30 - 10 pm]
Wednesday, March 13:
- Pierogy Wednesdays @ St. Anne Ukrainian – St Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church, St. Anne Activity Hall, 1545 Easton Road, Warrington, PA [9 am - 12 pm]
- Wings & Yuengs – Wycombe Publick House, 1073 Mill Creek Road, Wycombe, PA [4 - 10 pm]
- Kids Eat Free Night – Jamison Grill, 2600 York Road Jamison, PA [5 - 9 pm]
- Burger Night – Jamison Grill, 2600 York Road Jamison, PA [5 - 9 pm]
- Wine Down Wednesdays – Old Bethlehem Road Hotel, 243 Old Bethlehem Road, Quakertown, PA [6 - 9 pm]
- Supper Club – The Raven, 385 W. Bridge St, New Hope, PA [6 - 10 pm]
- Pasta and Gnocchi (Hands-on) – Carlow Cookery, Doylestown Shopping Center, 432 North Main Street, Doylestown, PA [6:30 - 9 pm]
Thursday, March 14:
- 3rd Annual Newtown Irish Festival – The Green Parrot, 240 North Sycamore Street, Newtown, PA [12 - 10 pm]
- Three-for-Thursday – Old York Cellars, 80 Old York Road, Ringoes, NJ [4 - 8 pm]
- Community Hero Night – Wycombe Publick House, 1073 Mill Creek Road, Wycombe, PA [4 - 10 pm]
- Mexican Night – Jamison Grill, 2600 York Road Jamison, PA [5 - 9 pm]
- Saint Joseph’s Feast – Casa Casale, #1 and #2 Peddler’s Village, Lahaska, PA [6:30 - 9 pm]
Food allergies – especially in children – have become headline news in the past ten years. But many adults are struggling too with gluten intolerance, dairy sensitivity, nut allergies and more. Even with the increase in specialty items, it’s hard to find tasty, high quality products that skirt all these danger points.
Asherah Aentara knew this all too well. Facing serious health issues, she embarked on a journey to improve her diet and life. Focusing on a mostly vegetarian diet using organic produce, she lost significant weight and improved her health. To help others, she started organic cooking classes in 2008. Her students – often mothers – wanted food that the whole family could eat, even if family members had different allergy issues. No soy, no dairy, no gluten, no nuts – is there anything left? You bet. Asherah created a delicious veggie burger and the mothers said “make it for us!”
So began Asherah’s Gourmet. The burger ingredients are all organic, beginning with the super grain, quinoa, and include sweet potatoes, carrots, onion, red bell pepper, coconut flour, flax meal and spices. No fillers, no icky unpronounceable ingredients, low salt and only 180 calories each. And they taste good too. In fact they were chosen second of all veggie burgers by the readers and staff of Vegetarian Times in 2012. Pretty impressive for a small mom-and-pop business going up against multi-millionaire dollar food corporations.
Based out of their suburban home in Furlong, Asherah and her husband, Ariel, started testing the market for the burgers in 2009. “We had no experience bringing a food product to market,” explained Ariel. “We had to learn everything.” But many things started to fall into place. They decided to make their first case to the shoppers of local Bucks County farmers’ markets. “Would average people buy it?” they worried. They did. But now they needed a professional kitchen to start producing the burgers for the public. While pitching the product to the manager at the Market at Del Val College , he offered them their on-site kitchen. Asherah and Ariel were soon spending evenings after the market closed working hard making burgers.
As the business grew, it became apparent they would need professional food processing. While trying to source organic sweet potatoes, they spoke with the manager of Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, a cooperative of organic farmers and distributor of organic produce and foods on the East Coast. A vegan, he was thrilled to learn about Asherah’s burgers and offered to distribute them on a wholesale basis. He also connected Asherah and Ariel to an Amish couple with a certified organic food processing facility. In January 2010, they moved to the next step and Asherah’s Gourmet vegan burgers started being professionally produced and packaged.
You can now find Asherah’s burgers in Whole Foods Markets in five US regions, from the Northeast, to the Mid-Atlantic, the Mid-West and California. Many local natural food stores also carry it. And you can also order an Asherah’s Gourmet Burger at Basically Burgers in Doylestown and the Down to Earth Café in Perkasie.
The burgers come in two flavors – original and chipotle. (I like the chipotle.) They are easy to prepare – in the pan, on the grill or even in the microwave – although I prefer pan-frying them with a little oil to make the outside crusty. Customers have shared some of their favorite uses with Asherah and Ariel. Putting them in homemade chili, or in lasagna instead of meat. You can even use it with “Hamburger Helper,” says Ariel. One of their favorite recipes is to defrost the burgers, break them up and stuff them into a red bell pepper and bake. Others have used them as stuffing (that would be good). Or you can combine it with some hummus, lettuce and tomato and wrap it up.
Each package includes four ¼ lb. burgers for a total of a 1 pound package. It’s in the same price range ($8.69 at Whole Foods) as Boca Burgers and Amy’s, but the burgers are thicker. Most of the other veggie burgers have high salt, soy protein, hydrolyzed yeast extract and lots of fillers. “Quinoa is the first ingredient on the package,” says Asherah.
The burgers also have three certifications – USDA organic, gluten-free and vegan. They are also free of the top ten food allergies: dairy, eggs, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, shellfish, soy, wheat and gluten. And nutritious! They are a great source of magnesium, Vitamin A and dietary fiber, as well as protein, phosphorous, iron, potassium, Vitamin B6, folate and copper.
But it’s the taste that will win you over. Asherah tells a story about a demonstration they were doing at a Whole Foods Market. A mother approached with her young daughter, who was clutching a chocolate chip cookie. When the mom gave her some of the burger, the little girl immediately dropped the cookie and demanded more burger. That’s a pretty good testimonial.
You can learn more about Asherah’s Gourmet Vegan Burgers at their website.
Yippee! It’s March. It’s not exactly balmy outside yet, but we’re at least that much closer to spring. And green things, like spring mix from Blue Moon Acres‘ Pennington farm starting next week.
Sugar is not good for us. Well, we kind of knew that but it’s hard to give it up. A new study has found a direct link between sugar consumption and diabetes. Mark Bittman wrote a piece about it in the New York Times this week. If you’re interested in making a change in your eating habits, Willow Wellness in Doylestown is running weekly nutrition classes during March on the Whole Foods Lifestyle. It’s an interactive, hands-on class which will explore the benefits of whole foods, as well as the negative effects a diet high in processed foods can have on the body. They’ll also provide tips, recipes, and resources to make adopting a whole foods lifestyle manageable and enjoyable. See the full food events calendar for more details.
When’s the last time you had homemade holubschi or halushki? This Saturday you can have your fill at St. Anne Ukrainian Church. Every year volunteers make wonderful pierogies, holubschi (stuffed cabbage), halushki (egg noodles with cabbage), kielbasa and sauerkraut for their Annual Ukrainian Dinner. Ten dollars gets you a full platter including rye bread and dessert. The event will take place beginning at 4 pm at the St. Anne Activity Hall, 1545 Easton Road, Warrington, PA.
If it’s March that means St. Patrick’s Day will be here in no time. Get a head start at the Washington House in Sellersville tonight. They will be hosting a Beer Tasting of Celtic Beers – nine Irish, English or Scottish beer styles to be tried in three flights of three 6 ounce tastes each.
by guest blogger Peggy Farley,
The Gourmet Getaway, organized by the Women in Business Committee of the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce, is an evening of food and fun which benefits a scholarship fund to help deserving local women as they re-enter the workforce. This year marks the 20th Anniversary for this fund that allocates one hundred percent of the proceeds directly to strong, courageous women in need of financial support to achieve their professional goals and personal success.
Dozens of restaurants, vineyards, bakers, caterers, markets and specialty food purveyors fill the room, offering delicious morsels and samples of their fare. One of these is the Talking Teacup, a full service Tea Room and Gift Shop located in a beautifully restored 250 year old Farm House at 301 West Butler Avenue in Chalfont. The goal of owner Kathy Heck is to provide a little respite from the everyday hustle and bustle where guests can sit back, relax and enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast, lunch or snack and of course a wonderful pot of the best tea.
When you visit the website of The Talking Teacup you are greeted with the message, Steeped in History … Warmed with Friendship. How apropos that these words can also describe the Gourmet Getaway, a community event that The Talking Teacup has generously supported through the years. The similarities continue as you read. Each is well respected within the community. Both offer good food and quality time to share with friends. They have expanded and grown by adding personal touches and additional amenities over the years. And the ambiance, atmosphere, and experience provided will warm your heart and energize you.
Buckingham Valley Vineyards and Winery is the realization of a pipe-dream of owner Jerry Forest. It is also one of the first wineries to sell wine directly to the public allowable by the 1968 PA Winery Act only if the wines were made solely from local grown fruit. Today Buckingham Valley is among the largest of Pennsylvania’s wineries. Be sure to visit Buckingham Valley Vineyards at the Gourmet Getaway to sample some of the more than two dozen varieties of wine they offer. Their selections range from deep, oak-aged reds to light whites, as well as very dry to fairly sweet. You will be greeted by people who believe in the laid back attitude set by Buckingham Valley’s founders that there are no budgets, no quotas, virtually no staff (just family and friends), no distributors, no weddings, no guided tours (self-guided only), and no charge for visiting or tasting. Buckingham Valley Vineyards and Winery is located at 1521 Durham Road (Route 413) in Buckingham.
Borghi’s Restaurant, also in Chalfont, is a three- generation, family-owned and -operated restaurant. Chefs Dino Jr. and Scott Borghi are graduates of Central Bucks East. After honing their talents at other eating establishments, the brothers returned to their hometown to establish a unique dining experience that features an ever-changing variety of American continental cuisine. Attend the Gourmet Getaway to sample the culinary talents of Borghi’s. The delectable dishes and desserts, made from scratch, feature fresh ingredients.
The 20th Anniversary Gourmet Getaway – Cuisine for a Cause is planned for Thursday, March 21st, 2013, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Spring Mill Manor, 171 Jacksonville Road, Ivyland, PA. Tickets are $45 or 10 for $400. Information and additional details is available at their website. See the video below for some delicious shots from previous Gourmet Getaways.
A week full of wine, food, cooking classes, markets and supper clubs. Where to begin?
I love this relatively new development of local supper clubs. These are once weekly (or less frequent) get togethers with special prix fixe menus and a social atmosphere. The Swan Hotel Supper Club Social reappears this Thursday at Anton’s at the Swan Hotel in Lambertville. The set menu is inspired by James Beard and includes bacon and leek tart, followed by chicken with 40 cloves of garlic and finally maple pound cake for dessert. The price is $35 per person including tax and gratuity, and prepaid reservations are required. The social begins at 6:30 pm and dinner is at 7 pm. Reach them at 609.397.1960. Or check out the Wednesday night supper club at The Raven, with executive chef Wayne Surline providing a 3-course meal and entertainment by Dwayne Dunlevy. That’s got to be fun. It’s also called the “Wayne & Dwayne Show.” See their website for details. Finally, there is the Lumberville General Store Supper Club every Saturday and Sunday evening, with a prix fixe 3-c0urse dinner for $18.95 (BTW, this was originally run by the Wayne & Dwayne duo). Their website lists the menu for upcoming dates.
Speaking of supper clubs, you may remember from the past the Kindle Cafe, a pop-up supper club that usually met at Rojo’s Roastery in Lambertville. Chef Vincent Peterson prepared gourmet vegetarian and vegan dishes using local ingredients. Now he’s opening a restaurant in New Hope (yay!) this Thursday, February 28 at 7 East Ferry Street. The restaurant will be open Wednesdays through Sunday from 6 pm to 9 pm. See their website for menus and more information. [Update 3/11/13: Rumor is Vincent Peterson has left the restaurant.] With Sprig & Vine, also in New Hope, and Caffe Galleria – which has a lot of vegetarian and vegan options – the area is getting a nice collection of vegetarian restaurants.
Also in the news, Bowman’s Tavern, one of our favorite hang-outs, has new owners. Partners Michael Livelsverger and James Seward met while both worked at Bobby Simone’s in Doylestown. Not many changes yet but they hope to source more locally, which is always good news. See Susan Yeske‘s article in the Bucks County Herald this week.
To market, to market. The Wrightstown Farmers’ Mini-Winter Market takes place this Saturday, February 23 from 10 am to 11 am at the usual location. This is the last week for the Ottsville Indoor Farmers’ Market at Linden Hill Gardens. You’ll find all their wonderful vendors there this Saturday also, from 10 am to 1 pm. Look for the Ottsville market to open their regular season in late April. At the Stockton Market on Sunday, Brian Held from Brian’s in Lambertville will be doing a demo all day.
There is so much going on food-wise in Bucks County that almost from the beginning we started doing posts on where to find stuff – everything from meat, ice cream, BYOBs, breakfast, bars, BBQ, lunch places and even, waterside restaurants. These articles have been real favorites among our readers and continue to get “hits” years after they were published (don’t worry – we update them).
Breakfast in Bucks provides a pretty comprehensive list of where to eat breakfast in the county, along with a story about one or two of our favorites. See also, Breakfast in Bucks: Fred’s Breakfast for an article about the famous New Hope breakfast club.
Where’s the beef? And pork, and lamb, and chicken… provides the places where you can buy meat in Bucks, either from an old country butcher or directly from the farm.
One of our favorites is the series Mark has done on Bars We Like, and there are a bunch. Read his criteria and the places we like to frequent in Bars We Like – Part 1 and Bars We Like – Part 2 . A new post will be coming soon (I’m assured).
Not to be outdone by breakfast, Lunch in Bucks gives a great listing of good lunch places from Upper Bucks to Lower. Where’s your favorite?
It may still be a little chilly for ice cream, but it’s important to plan ahead, no? Here’s Let’s go for ice cream, a list of all the sweet places in the county to get a cone and hang out, from small batch artisanal to plain ole custard.
Now here’s a list I know is missing a few places – I’ll admit it – but we just haven’t had time to do the research the way it should be done. That said, it’s a pretty good list of where to find BBQ around here. I wrote it a couple of years ago around Superbowl time – Superbowl BBQ.
Finally, here’s a post based on Zagat’s rating of waterside dining in Bucks. It’s been a very well read piece – Zagat’s 10 Best Waterside Restaurants. Soon it will be warm enough to sit outside!
You may have missed Mardi Gras and Fastnacht this past week, but we’re into lent season. What that means – from a local food perspective – is fish frys! The Riegelsville Fire House in Riegelsville, the Columbia Fire Company in Lambertville and the First Presbyterian Church, also in Lambertville, will host fish fry dinners every Friday evening starting this Friday until March 29 (Good Friday). There will also be two firehouse breakfasts this Sunday, one in Perkasie and one in Riegelsville.
The Doylestown Food Co-op and the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance are hosting a live webcast viewing of TedX Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat, a full day of talks broken into three sessions exploring the state of our food system and our progress toward sustainability. The event takes place at the Standard Club in Doylestown, beginning at 10 am and going until 5:15 pm. Drop in whenever you can. For more information see the Food Co-op’s website.
If you are still celebrating Valentine’s Day, there is plenty going on this weekend at area wineries and other venues. On Friday evening, Unionville Vineyards in Ringoes will host Vineyard Valentine Wine & Dine, a dinner prepared by chef Shane Cash of Rat’s Restaurant (Hamilton, NJ) paired with Unionville’s wines. At Villa Milagro Vineyards, there will be a St. Valentine’s Dinner Dance on Saturday. Over the weekend, wine and chocolate are the stars at Chaddsford Winery Tasting Room in Lahaska, Alba Vineyards in Milford and Crossing Vineyards in Washington Crossing. And on Monday night, the Vintage Grille in Fountainville will put on An Aphrodisiac Wine Dinner. Special guest speaker Dr. Tamara Kanter will discuss the Five Stages of
the Sexual Response Cycle, along with food and wine pairings by chef Michael Kanter. Sounds interesting. See the full calendar for details.
To market, to market. While last week’s snow cancelled some local farmers’ markets there are still some going on this weekend. The Ottsville Indoor Farmers’ Market is on Saturday, the Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Winter Market takes place on Sunday, and of course, the Stockton Market runs every weekend. The Stockton Market will be hosting a “Hot” Chocolate Tasting Friday evening. Yum.
Start thinking about fresh vegetables! It’s time to sign up with your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. Here’s a full listing of CSAs in Bucks and nearby. Find one that fits your budget and location.
If you’re like me, I start to crave fresh vegetables this time of year. While we are still some months away from our local growing season, it’s a good time to join up with a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm. Here’s some general information and a list of CSAs that still have shares available.
What is it? CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” In short, it’s a way for consumers to buy into an agricultural enterprise, receive fresh, natural food seasonally and support our local food system. The first CSA in Bucks County – Anchor Run Farm – opened over ten years ago. Now there are eight CSAs in the county.
Most CSAs are farms, and involve vegetables herbs, fruits and flowers, although other types – meat, fish – are popping up all the time, here and in other parts of the country. We are fortunate to have a healthy crop of CSAs here in Bucks County (and nearby) too. And most use organic, or nearly organic, methods of farming.
How does it work? I’ll use a CSA farm as an example, since that’s most common. You buy a “share” per season (usually beginning in late May and ending in mid-November), which entitles your household to a weekly portion of produce, grown on that farm. Many CSAs offer half-shares, too, which is what Mark and I have since we are only two adults. We pick up every other week. Some people go in with other family members or friends and buy a share together.
Most CSAs also ask that each household volunteer a certain number of hours per season but it’s quite reasonable. Our CSA, Anchor Run Farm in Wrightstown, asks full share members to put in 8 hours over the course of the season, half-share members only 4 hours. Tasks vary from helping with the garlic harvest (an” all hands on deck” type event) to weeding and other necessary farming maintenance.
Why do it? Everything they say about eating FRESH vegetables is true: they taste so much better, they last so much longer, and the variety is delightful. Vegetables we had given up on – like radishes – were happily welcomed back into our home. We made new friends, like garlic scapes (the top green part of growing garlic, available for a brief time in the spring). Another aspect of belonging to a CSA is that you truly cook seasonally – you have to; the refrigerator is bursting.
NOW is the time to sign up for CSAs. Here’s a list of CSAs in Bucks County and nearby. Please contact them for more details. Share prices vary, so find one that works for you and your household.
Anchor Run Farm
Vegetables, herbs, berries, flowers and other farm products
Dana Hunting and Derek McGeehan
2578 Second Street Pike
Wrightstown, PA 18940
Vegetables, herbs, flowers and eggs
We are doing “Market Shares” this year. Sign up for $250, $500, or $750 and receive purchase credit of $280, $570 and $870, respectively, for the farmer’s market season toward purchases made at market. No more weekly boxes, worry about vacation time, or wasted produce that you can’t eat within the week. Please check out our website if you need more info.
Linda Shanahan and Eric Vander Hyde
113 Decatur St.
Doylestown, PA 18901
Blooming Glen Farm
Vegetables, herbs, berries, flowers and other farm products
On-farm pick-up and Doylestown delivery option available. See website for more details.
Tom Murtha and Tricia Borneman
98 Moyer Road
Perkasie, PA 18944
The Guzikowski Farm (at Big Oak)
Endless Bounty Dynamic CSA
Prime Season, Winter, and Custom Group programs
Vegetables, herbs, fruit, and other farm products
Big Oak Rd.
Yardley, PA 19067
Myerov Family Farm
Vegetables, herbs, berries and other farm products
306 Elephant Road
Visit the blog: http://sharecsa.blogspot.com
Vegetables, berries, flowers and herbs, chicken eggs
1541 Lower State Road
Doylestown PA 18901
Snipes Farm and Education Center
CSA includes vegetables, fruits, herbs
Pick Your Own Apples, Blueberries and Blackberries
Farm to School programs and farm tours
Farm based Summer Day Camp
890 W. Bridge St.
Morrisville, PA 19067
Phone: 215.295.1139, ext. 103
Vegetables, fruits and herbs
John Crooke and Stefan Streit
1073 River Road (@ Schneiderwind Farm & Nursery)
Upper Black Eddy, PA 18972
P.O. Box 189
Erwinna, PA 18920
Phone: (John) 215.630.2172; (Stefan) 507.923.7703
If you’ve got a sweetheart this is certainly the week to have some fun together. And even if you don’t, there are plenty of delicious things to do. Grab a friend and go for it.
Chocolate! This weekend several of the wineries are celebrating Valentine’s Day. In New Jersey it is the NJ Wine Grower’s Association’s Wine & Chocolate Wine Trail weekend! In Ringoes, Unionville Vineyards will be having a Wine & Cupcake tasting (what could be wrong?) on Saturday. Old York Cellars, also in Ringoes, and Alba Vineyard in Milford, will be having chocolate and wine tastings all this weekend and Alba will be doing it next weekend too. At Chaddsford Winery’s Tasting Room in Lahaska, it’s February Fusion: Wine & Chocolate Pairing every weekend this month. There is even a Sweetheart Pancake Breakfast on Sunday at the Trevose Fire Company. For more ideas on where to go for Valentine’s Day and next weekend, see our recent post, Sweet ideas for Valentine’s Day.
To market, to market. There are two winter farmers’ markets this weekend, as well as the indoor Stockton Market. The Wrightstown Farmers’ Winter Mini-Market takes place on Saturday from 10 am to 11 am. Contact your favorite vendors if you want to order ahead. In Ottsville, the Indoor Farmers’ Market (in the greenhouse) will in swing from 10 am to 1 pm with lots of interesting vendors. There will be special handmade chocolates and truffles, cookies, cupcakes, pastries, honey, jams and jellies and more for your sweetheart.
Woof, woof. Celebrate the pup in you this weekend and raise some money for local animal causes. On Saturday, there will be the Bark & Wine Fundraiser in Colmar. You can even bring your dog. Proceeds go to the Perkasie Dog Park. At Caffe Galleria in Lambertville come to the Spay-ghetti and No (meat) Balls Dinner on Sunday evening. They will be offering three seatings, 3:30, 5:30 (sold out) and 7:30 pm, and a three-course meal. All proceeds from the event benefit the operations at the Animal Alliance, a nonprofit agency that offers a low cost spay/neuter and vaccine clinic, Planned Pethood, in Lambertville.
Nothing goes better together than food and love. Well, maybe jewelry and love. But you get the idea. Enjoying good food is a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and not just chocolate, either.
Wine lovers can enjoy a special dinner on Sunday, February 17 at the Yardley Inn. At the 10 Pinot Dinner guests will enjoy a fine selection of 10 Pinot Noir wines and 5 courses of executive chef Eben Copple’s creative cuisine. The 10 Pinot Dinner features a unique tasting experience as compared to previous pairings hosted at the inn. For this particular theme dinner, the food is not directly paired with the wines. The pinots are matched and served in pairs with each course in the meal. “The food will play a supporting role (though I fully intend for it to be delicious) and not a starring one,” says Copple. “The intent here is to give people the opportunity to taste many wines from many regions and many quality levels.” The cost is $75 per person. For more details of the menu and to reserve your spot, see their website.
Over in New Jersey, Unionville Vineyards (Ringoes) and the renown restaurant, Rat’s (Hamilton), are presenting a special dinner at the vineyard on Friday, February 15, “Vineyard Valentine Wine & Dine.” The menu by chef Shane Cash includes Lobster Macaroni & Cheese, Smoked Blue Cheese & Chicken Tartlet and Angus Sliders as hors d’Oeuvres; Crab Terrine, Short Rib Bordelaise or a Wild Mushroom Barlotto, and dessert, all paired with Unionville’s wines. The cost to attend is $125.00 per person, and includes all taxes, gratuities, a 20% off certificate for your next purchase at Unionville Vineyards, and a small favor of chocolates infused with our wines. To reserve, email SMoranUV@aol.com or call the winery at 908.788.0400.
The recently renovated Golden Pheasant Inn is celebrating “Bonne Saint Valentin” with a special four course prix fixe menu on February 14 featuring Chef Michel’s Traditional Onion Soup, Sauteed Hudson Valley Foie Gras, a Seasonal Cheese Platter with cheeses from Bobolink Dairy, Fried Rosemary and Berkshire Pork Belly Croquettes, Roasted Lancaster County Frenched Chicken Breast, OWowCow Honey Ice Cream with Ginger Spiced Pecans and a Mini Chocolate Covered Heart Cheesecake, to name just a few things from the menu. The Inn does a great job of sourcing locally and serving fine, seasonal dining in a beautiful country setting. The dinner is $75 per person. Or come by on Saturday, February 16 and treat your sweetie to an intimate, fireside dining experience, followed by a special performance by Hot Bijouxx, performing Prohibition-era jazz and French swing. $75 per person includes a three course dinner and the jazz performance. Contact the Golden Pheasant Inn for reservations at 610.294.9595.
Got a cook in your life? Consider giving a cooking class or a wine appreciation course, something you can enjoy together. Delaware Valley College is hosting a wine education series in February and March, each month exploring different countries, wine varietals and regions. February will focus on exploring the wines of France; in March, they’ll be the learning about the different regions that produce Italy’s distinctive wines. The classes are recommended for people looking to move up in the restaurant business, couples looking for a fun way to bond, wine enthusiasts, or people who just wish they knew more about the topic. Classes meet every Wednesday from 6 – 9 pm at The Market at Del Val on Lower State Road. For more information or to register, call 215.489.4848. For other cooking and wine classes, check out Carlow Cookery, The Cooking Cottage, the Kitchen Garden Cooking School or Casa Casale.
Looking for something?
Use the form below to search the site:
Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!