It’s a new year, and surprisingly I’m in a good mood about it. I usually burrow in this time of year, grumbling about the cold and longing for the appearance of spring vegetables and baseball season. Allow me one last look at 2010, however, as we celebrate positive food trends in our neck of the woods.
More farmers’ markets. In 2010 we had TWELVE farmers’ markets throughout the county. From Springtown, Indian Valley, Perkasie and Ottsville in Upper Bucks, to Wrightstown, Doylestown, New Hope, Plumsteadville and Warrington in Central Bucks, and Lower Makefield, Feasterville and Langhorne in Lower Bucks. A big welcome back to Perkasie, after a hiatus, and welcome to new markets in Feasterville and Warrington. Of course, the big entrance onto the farmers’ market scene this year was the Stockton (Indoor) Farmers’ Market, which officially opened in November 2009 but really got it’s footing in 2010. For a listing of all of the markets, including year-round farm markets, see our post on Bucks County Farm Markets 2010 (the only one missing is Feasterville; didn’t have any info at time of publishing).
Lots more Farm-to-Table Dinners. In case you’ve been burrowing your head in the ground, and you’ve missed this wonderful phenomenon, let me explain. A farm-to-table dinner is an event celebrating seasonal foods, usually prepared by local chefs, using local ingredients and eating al fresco, hopefully in some bucolic setting like a field or restored barn. Kristen Perry of the Kitchen Potager in Ottsville organized several excellent dinners last summer, highlighting not just the food but in one instance offering a day-long cooking class by Chef Jim Hamilton, and a butchering class in October by Chef Matt Ridgway. Just to give you a taste of some of the dinners from last season, check out our posts: September farm-to-table dinners and Farm-to-Table…to mouth. And look out for them next summer. Not to be missed.
More Community Farms, or CSAs. A community-supported-agriculture farm allows members to buy a share of that season’s produce. Most farms offer a weekly (full) or bi-weekly (half) share, picked up by members, with some vegetables “pick-your-own.” It’s a great way to eat very fresh vegetables grown locally – and to support local farmers. In Bucks County we now have TWELVE CSAs, including a couple of new ones started just this year. It’s not too late to sign up for a share. See our post for contact information: CSAs: It’s like having your own farm. Don’t wait – shares fill up quickly this time of year.
Ice cream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Yessiree, it was a good year for Bucks County ice cream lovers. We all put a couple of pounds on due to the great ice cream made locally. Goodnoe’s (Newtown) and oWowCow Creamery (Ottsville) both came back strong and delicious in 2010 with more flavors and fans. Chubby’s Dairy Barn (Plumsteadville) introduced their own house brand, Chubby’s Reserve, yummy, interesting flavors available for take-out. See our post on this new entrant, Chubby’s ice cream to-go. Uncle Dave’s Ice Cream continued to please both at Shady Brook Farm and The Market at Del Val – and added Uncle Dave’s Old Fashioned Soda to their product line, available in Root Beer, Diet Root Beer, Orange, and Black Cherry. And a big welcome to Half-Pint Kitchen, making their super premium gourmet ice cream, sorbet and gelato right at the Stockton Farmers’ Market. My favorite? Salted Caramel (sigh).
Wines. Welcome to our newest Bucks County vineyard, Unami Ridge Winery in Quakertown, producing Chardonnay, Scheurebe, Apple, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Amwell Valley Winery in Ringoes, New Jersey “reopened” this year under new management as Old York Cellars. They are producing European-style wines, like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Riesling and some fruit wines coming soon. See their website to learn more. Also just over the river, Terhune Orchards in Princeton is now selling wine made from their wonderful fruit.
Cheese, wonderful cheese. One final note. Many people in Bucks and the river towns are extremely happy that Bobolink Dairy & Bakeyard moved to Milford, New Jersey this past spring from their former home in North Jersey. They are making some of the finest cheese in these parts and we are just thrilled to have them closer to home. See their website for ordering information and go up to the farm for a tour, some great cheese and some delicious bread.