Local Flavor: The tastes of fall from farm to table

It’s harvest time in Central PA.


As locals, we’ve long enjoyed having some of the best produce in the country cultivated right here in our backyard. But did you know that as you’re filling your market bag with freshly picked Brussels sprouts and butternut squash from your favorite farmer’s market, there’s a good chance the guy or gal next to you is a chef from a local restaurant planning out the evening’s dinner special?

“Farm to table” is more than a trend; it’s a full-on movement that continues to gain steam as more and more restaurateurs and chefs look to their neighboring farms when creating their seasonal menus. With fall now in motion, we called up some local chefs, restaurant owners and managers to chat about what they are doing with the harvest season’s ingredients and to hear their thoughts on keeping it local.


On the Farm to Table Philosphy

“We wait until the local product is available for the season and then we release our menu. If you’re going local and seasonal, then you really can’t write a menu for a season until you know what these local farms are going to have.”
Kurt Wewer, chef – The Garlic Poet (New Cumberland)

“We’ve been practicing farm-to-table methods for five years now. We really wanted to take advantage of the local farms. We hosted our fifth annual Farm-to-Table dinner in August. 99.8% of the menu came from locally sourced ingredients – everything except the lemon juice and olive oil.”
Zach Seitz, manager – The Accomac (York Haven)

“I think it’s great. Everybody should be buying local produce and supporting their local farmers.”
Scott Bolden, chef – John Wright Restaurant (Wrightsville)


On Sourcing Your Fall Produce

“We go to the Central Market in Lancaster two times a week and the Eastern Market in York once a week, as well as local produce stands.”
Zach Seitz – The Accomac

“Weiser Orchards Farm Market in Dillsburg; he has such a variety of gourds and squash – it’s unbelievable. Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, too. Their pumpkin and gourd selection is incredible.”
Kurt Wewer – The Garlic Poet


On Gardening

“The main reason I bought the place is because there is enough room for a small farm. There’s almost an acre. A garden will be seconds from the kitchen.”
Deborah Albright, owner – Union Canal House (Hershey)

“We grow tomatoes, beets, radishes, peppers and Brussels sprouts. It’s convenient for us to do it all in-house. It cuts down on cost, too.”
Zach Seitz – The Accomac

“We grow tomatoes and a lot of herbs. We even have a tomatillo plant – sweet tomatoes grown inside a husk.”
Scott Bolden – John Wright Restaurant




On Preserving the Tastes Of Summer

“We can at the restaurant, so we have peach chutney that’s been canned and will be available well into the fall. That’s how we’re able to continue those awesome summer flavors.”
Kurt Wewer – The Garlic Poet

“We can our own peaches and sweet pepper relish. It’s a great way to have fresh summer flavors in the winter.”
Deborah Albright – Union Canal House

“We preserve and can lots of peaches. That flavor goes so well with fall. Canning is a great way to keep using local foods all year. Doing stuff like that came from the Dutch and Amish – they preserve and can stuff all year long.”
Zach Seitz – The Accomac


On the Flavors of Fall

“When you say fall, the first thing that comes to mind is gourds, squashes, pumpkins. The crazy colors and edible skin is really what I look for in squash. There’s a good portion where the skin is edible, and we cut it in rings so it looks really cool on the plate. But then you taste it and realize it’s something completely different; it’s kind of crunchy.”
Kurt Wewer – The Garlic Poet

“Fall’s my favorite season to cook. I like the earthiness that fall provides flavor-wise with the things coming out of the ground. I just hacked down some purple Brussels sprouts, we pulled beets out of the ground, I got some pink banana squash that I’m pretty jazzed about. I’m definitely excited about the squash. We’re going to be putting squash a lot on the fall menu.”
Matt Titter, chef – The Pressroom (Lancaster)


On Fall Dishes

“I make a great apple crisp with apples from my brother’s farm in Aspers.”
Deborah Albright, Union Canal House

“Pumpkin Risotto. We carve out the middle of the pumpkin and use it as a bowl for the risotto and top it with seasoned, toasted pumpkin seeds.”
Zach Seitz, The Accomac

“We hacked out a bunch of cabbage that we’re making kimchi out of.”
Matt Titter, The Pressroom

“We have an entire du jour menu, which is the main way that we incorporate the seasonal ingredients. We have a charcuterie board, a cheese board, an appetizer, a soup, an entrée and a burger that are all du jour on the menu. We also have a curry peach flatiron steak.”
Kurt Wewer, The Garlic Poet 

“We do a pumpkin curry soup with coconut. I honestly look forward to making it every fall.”
Scott Bolden, John Wright Restaurant


What’s your favorite fall ingredient? Where do you go for farm-to-table fare?
Tell us below.


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Posted in Eat – Harrisburg, Eat – Lancaster, Eat – York, Kitchen Talk

Mike Andrelczyk is a features editor for Fly Magazine. He is a graduate of Penn State University and currently lives with his wife Stacey in Strasburg. Interests include tennis, playing bad guitar, poetry (poems have appeared in Modern Haiku, The Inquisitive Eater and other journals) and oneirology – the study of dreams – mostly in the form of afternoon naps. His name appears in the title screen of Major League 2.

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