While an east coast winter can put any local foods operation into hibernation, the region’s goat-cheese makers have been quite busy. Valley Shepherd Creamery opened a cheesemaking operation and grilled sandwich stand in Reading Terminal Market, and Cranberry Creek hired Paul Lawler (formerly of Fair Food Farmstand) as their full-time cheesemaker to develop a new line of goat cheeses at their state-of-the-art facility in the Poconos. Add to that the recent World Jersey Cheese Awards for nearby artisan dairies Keswick Creamery and Hidden Hills, and it seems that eastern Pennsylvania is starting to get its dairy due.
Entries in food (106)
Though slowly gaining a name for itself, bok choy is far from common here in the states. Travel to China however, where the ingredient has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years, and you will find that bok choy is a staple.
This month’s featured gardener Beth Bowman grew up in the Philippines, where the vegetable has been popular since the Spanish conquest of the Asian islands in the 1500s, when many Chinese immigrated to the Philippines and brought their beloved bok choy with them. In 1974, Bowman moved to the U.S., but it wasn’t until the past 10 years or so that she could easily find bok choy in seed catalogs.
For those with an eye toward the farming life, it sounds like the beginnings of a perfect job: six months rent-free on a mountain farm, hands-on education in the art and science of cheese-making, fresh food from the garden, a small stipend and even a little schooling in marketing and “basic goat care.”
Despite those draws, Paul Lawler is having a hard time finding a serious cheese intern. Maybe it’s his liberal use of the phrase “hard work.” But he’s hoping he just hasn’t reached the right audience yet. Although it has only been a month since Lawler left Cricket Creek in Massachusetts to become head cheese maker at Cranberry Creek Farms, owners Jeff and Mary-Jean Henry have been advertising since February for an intern to join them and their 57 goats on the 100 acre farm, located in Cresco, Pa. They've had a few nibbles, but haven’t yet found a candidate ready to commit to the rigors of farm life and cheese-making.
Small Businesses Meet a Big Idea: Co-working artisans share resources, experience and a vision of community
"She salvaged my sorbets,” says Marianne Cozzolino, owner of Jenny and Frank’s Artisan Gelato. “I was having texture problems and she said, ‘Why don’t you get a refractometer?’” Cozzolino’s savior, Brûlée Bakery owner Lila Colello, wasn’t lending her expertise as a consultant; she was just being a good neighbor. Independently, Colello and Cozzolino roll croissants and freeze sorbetto, but instead of taking turns in a rented commercial kitchen, they simultaneously work on their own equipment as members of a new entrepreneurial food community called the Artisan Exchange.
Exploring the Seedy Side of Philadelphia: Heirloom seed-savers are preserving our area’s rich horticultural heritage
As anyone with the gardening bug knows, the bleakness of midwinter in Philadelphia has a way of making you dream of warmer times, often hatching ambitious plans for your raised beds. I had one of those moments this winter while looking through the glossy pages of a seed catalog. Among the hundreds of pages of colorful fruits, flowers and vegetables, a particular plant caught my attention: the Fish Pepper.
With distinct white-striped leaves and young green fruit, the pepper bush was interesting in on a purely visual level. But what really got my attention was the pepper’s history as an African-American heirloom plant popular in Philadelphia and Baltimore, dating to before the 1870s. Heirlooms are plants whose seeds have been saved over generations, replanted year after year, consistently reproducing similar traits. Many vegetables offered at nurseries and big-box stores are hybrids that can produce sterile seeds or offspring with erratic traits.