It brings me great joy to introduce and guide others around the county of my birth. Anyone who knows me well is well aware of the great pride I take in the rolling hills and fruit growing community that born me and raised me here in beautiful Adams County. Like anybody's home, it's not perfect, but it's mine. And there's no where else in the world I'd rather hail from and nowhere else I'd rather live than Northern Adams County, PA. When people vacation in "Wine Country", they wanna hang out where the grapes are grown. Well, cider fans, you're gonna be where the apples are grown if you visit my hometown of Biglerville PA this coming Saturday for the first PA Cider Fest. Here's why you should attend:
- The Cider! - With a great supply of apples (4th largest apple producer in US) and a great accompanying craft beer braintrust, PA ciders have the raw product and the know how to be a dominant force in the burgeoning national cider scene. But! You don't have to take my word for it, LeVar Burton!
- The Surrounds - The same rolling hills that grow these beautiful fruits are gorgeous in the summertime - lush, green, and beautiful. The soils beneath them make our lifestyle a reality. The green splendor above them will make you eager to return a second time!
- The Food! - What's one of my favorite reasons to travel? You got it! Food culture and traditions of other areas. Ours is no different with plenty to choose from. Plus we're not all fruit all the time - we have a diverse agricultural community with excellent organic vegetables, dairy, grains, pastured livestock - it's all available. Fidler & Co Craft Kitchen, The Inn at Herr Ridge, and Sidney all source locally. Increasingly more craft beer selections in the area as well, starting with Tommy's Pizza. Mason Dixon Distillery coming soon too!
- The Arts/Music Scene - For example, I'm playing a PA Cider Fest after party at the Cider House and tasting room of my good friends Reid's Cider House starting at 7pm Saturday. In addition to making some of the best ciders and wines in the area, they support local musicians - Dave having played a good bit himself. This self promotion aside, the beautiful walls of The Pub on the square are like an art installment all to themselves - a good painter friend did the whole interior/exterior. Local spots like Ragged Edge Coffeehouse and the Blue Parrot Bistro hang local art frequently. The Bluebrick Gallery has a great selection. Great music and art at the re-launched Waldo's & Couu on the Square. Plus always tasty brews and good tunes at Battlefield Brew Works just outside of town.
- Local Spots - There's few things that feel more like home than eating at Ernie's Texas Lunch. This as local a locals spot as it gets. Breakfast, gut busters, burgers - you can't go wrong. Half Pint Creamery on the way back to Biglerville... now you're in business.
- Jumping Off Point - As much as I love where I live, I kind of like what the region has to offer as well, which makes Biglerville and Gettysburg a great home base for any number of other nearby places. If you're craving a great beer after PA Cider Fest (and Battlefield Brew Works in Gettyburg), you can travel locally to Carlisle to hit up Molly Pitcher or to Chambersburg to Roy Pitz or regionally to destination breweries like Troeg's or Pizza Boy (Al's of Hampden). There's a cool scene in Harrisburg these days for food and drink, likewise York and (especially) Lancaster. Make a weekend of it.
I could go on forever. The point is we want you to see where we hang our hat. We love Adams County and we want to share it with you. Fire some questions at me in the comments, believe me - I shortened this as much as I could!
We were honored to host the preeminent International group of tree fruit professionals to our farm this July, 2013. Here's a slideshow of some photos documenting the tour!
A few things coming up on us quickly that warrant a little attention:
First, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to speak about one of my favorite subjects: apple cider. The Chemical Heritage Foundation, located at 315 Chestnut Street in Center City Philadelphia was kind enough to ask me to provide an informative presentation on the making of apple cider, it's history, origins, and everything else related to this celebrated beverage. The event runs between the hours of 5-8pm and is open and free to the public. Samples will be handed out featuring cider pressed that very morning so come by and learn how this stuff is made!
Secondly, we're very proud to contribute to this year's Farmland Feast Online Auction, benefitting FRESHFarm Markets. As many of you know, FRESHFarm maintains and operates farmers markets in the DC/MD area including two of the markets we attend. They also operate several other charitable programs benefitting both local agriculture and the communities we, as local producers, serve. In order to operate and maintain these programs, they depend on the charitable gifts of folks who are behind the local food movement and envision a better community in urban areas through local agriculture. If this sounds like you, we've provided a great way to contribute - a weekend travel package to nearby historic Gettysburg that includes a personalized, private tour of our farm, two nights accomodations at the Historic Gettysburg Hotel, and an evening of dinner and music provided by me, Farmer Ben, and his Garryowen Irish Pub jam night brethren. Bids for this experience can be made at this website and I'm putting my reputation as a farmer and performer on the line to assure you, you'll get your money's worth out of this weekend! Thanks for your support!
We get asked all the time "can we come out to the farm"? "Can we pick your own at your farm"? First of all, we're very flattered and we appreciate your interest. We're still new at the farmers market game and we're not trying to bite off more than we can chew. However, it did occur to me that it might be nice to invite all of our awesome customers out for a yearly tour - that folks would appreciate seeing exactly where their food comes from. Already having that notion in my head, when we were honored with the opportunity to host a PASA Field Day on our farm I thought it would be a great chance to invite everyone out, see how things went and see if it's something folks would be into. In the the case of this tour, your $25 registration fee will support one of the landmark Local & Sustainable Food Advocacy groups on the whole East Coast, PASA. They are the voice of so many small, family-owned farms in the Mid-Atlantic and they host a terrific annual conference that I've attended regularly since starting our farmers market venture. I hope you'll consider joining us on this tour. It's catered by some great local food purveyors in our backyard, PLUS... by attending, you'll get an awesome, behind the scenes glimpse into the new and exciting crops you can expect to see at farmers markets in the future, such as the mysterious cruchberries and schnozberries of blogs past! Please comment or email with any questions about this fun day in rural Adams County!