Last Friday night I made my way to the Farm to Table Conference Tasting at the Convention Center.
I was offered complimentary tickets to attend. I tend to not pass up free food so I grabbed my Ben and headed to the event after work.
The space was packed with local farmers, local businesses, local breweries, etc, etc. Most tables had something for you to taste – samples of cheese, tastes of wine, mini prepared plates of duck or salad, bites of chocolate.
Jamison Farms – Lamb sausage. While I was unsure if lamb was my favorite meat to have in sausage form, Ben was quite smitten by this taste. I think he went back for seconds. You have likely seen Jamison Farms lamb listed on a menu around Pittsburgh. It is apparently the best stuff around.
Cherry Valley Organics – Herbal teas. This little farm is located in Washington County and had a lovely table set up showcasing their teas and other products (soaps, etc). I ended up taking home a container of their Tulsi tea – made with sacred basil. Fragrant and slighly sweet.
Great Lakes Brewery – Beer (of course). This brewery is actually located in Cleveland but I guess that is close enough to count as local. We sampled the Burning River ale and grabbed up packages of wildflower seeds set out for the taking. I am not sure I have ever ordered a Great Lakes beer while out – may have to change that soon.
Elements – Cheeses and Meats. Elements is the newer restaurant with a local bent that replaced the old Palomino downtown. They were sampling some of their amazing cheddars and goudas as well as a ham pate. Yum. They do most (all?) of their charcuterie in house. I have been to Elements for dinner and you could definitely just make a meal of one of their meat and cheese plates. Mmm. Cheese.
Pittsburgh’s Original Sports Sauce – Hot sauce. We had previously seen this hot pepper based sauce in the Strip District but never tasted it. While briefly chatting with the owner (I think?) at the tasting, she informed us the picture on the bottle’s label was actually of her two sons dressed in their finest black and gold attire. This one gets a mention for it’s black and gold spirit alone. The sauce was also pretty tasty and quite spicy!
It was a nice evening and I left full of food and contemplating a CSA. It was nice to be reminded how many quality products and great small businesses exist in Western PA. I thought the tasting itself could have had a few more tables to sit down at but overall it was informative and a good time.
Can’t wait until all the farmer’s markets are open!