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!
Happy New Year, fruit lovers! I'd mentioned to our email subscribers that we can be found volunteering at the PA Farm Show each year. If you're unfamiliar with this event, it's one of the largest of its kind. It's a great chance to learn a lot about agriculture and, perhaps more famously, a terrific place to eat delicious food! On display will be a wide diversity of animals to check out - plenty of different dairy cows and livestock plus what seems like one hundred different breeds of poultry and fowl - always my favorite fascination since my first trip as a little ag kid. Antique farm equipment, tons of events including very popular rodeo competitions, informative exhibitions from local FFA students and merchants from all PA ag sectors - there's a great "Farm Show Dectective" program for children. Anyone can learn something new at the farm show - I learn something new every year. Of course, the Food Court is the star of the show with booths staffed with volunteers from many of the PA ag commodities (PA apple dumplings, PA fresh cut fries, PA trout sandwiches, PA thick milkshakes, PA lamb stew & beef sandwiches) and it's all prepared on site! The farm show is free to enter, though parking is $10. All those funds go to the PA Dept. of Agriculture which has taken hard and disproportionatey large budget cuts every year. Food court purchases support the commodity boards, that is to say all the profit from our delicious apple dumplings funds vital research in the apple industry - research that benefits growers on the whole east coast, not only in Pennsylvania. If you think you can make time to attend, I know you won't be disappointed. Plus... you can chat it up with us at the following dates and times:
Monday 1/10/11 - Ben is helping at the Apple Exhibition in the Main Hall from sometime right after a delicious Food Court lunch until close (8pm)
Wednesday 1/12/11 - The whole crew: brothers Dave & John, Ben, and possibly (hopefully) a few other familar faces will be pouring cider, warming dumplings and making apple & peach sundaes at the Apple Booth inside the Food Court from 3-9pm
The Farm Show is held annually at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA - a 2 1/2 hr drive from Washington, DC, a 1 1/2 hour drive from Towson, MD, and less than two hours away from sunny Philadelphia, PA.
You're certain to learn at least a little bit, over-eat a little bit, and lend a big hand to local agriculture.