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Farm to Table to sponsor ‘For the Love of Pittsburgh’ food tasting |
Food & Drink

Farm to Table to sponsor ‘For the Love of Pittsburgh’ food tasting

Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Terina J. Hicks of Swissvale slices her 7-Up cherry pound cake' at the test kitchen in the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District. Hicks, owner of new bakery business, “Cobbler World' will be among the vendors at 'For the Love of Pittsburgh” Farm to Table Local Food Tasting with her homemade fruit cobblers and cakes.
1st Generation Farms
Cousins and business partners Adam Lutz, left, Josh Lark of 1st Generation Farms in Prospect will showcase their meat from animals raised in a humane and sustainable manner.

In the middle of a cold Pittsburgh winter, a Farm to Table Local Food Tasting might seem like an unfeasible event to pull off.

Even though local produce is hard to find now in this region, Erin Hart, director of health-benefit services for American HealthCare Group, the sponsor of Farm to Table, says it’s a great time of year “to slow down and savor the winter offerings of local farms and food producers.”

Those offerings include greens, squash, potatoes, apples, onions and garlic; shelf staples such as canned goods, honey and maple syrup; and all kinds of meats, eggs and cheeses.

The first “For the Love of Pittsburgh” Farm to Table Local Food Tasting will take place Feb. 8 at Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District.

“Our audience members have been asking us to put together additional events,” Hart says. “Even though it’s not the ideal time for a local food tasting, it’s important to highlight how many products are actually available.”

The event will give new business owners like Terina Hicks of Penn Hills an opportunity to show off her baked goods, which include fruit cobblers, cheesecakes, poundcakes and pies. Hicks started her company, CobblerWorld, in September after being laid off in the spring from a job at a local university. She decided to take advantage of a chance to do something she has enjoyed doing since she was 14 years old: baking.

“I was taught by my mother how to make peach cobblers and lemon meringue pies,” Hicks says. “As I continued to perfect my baking skills through the years, I began to experiment with other fruits for cobblers, such as apples, blueberries and cherries.”

She recently expanded her menu to include other baked goods — sour-cream poundcake, sweet-potato cheesecake, pineapple cheesecake and peach and cherry pies.

She received certification in food-service management through the Allegheny County Health Department and established CobblerWorld as a distributor of baked goods in the Pittsburgh area, currently serving a handful of grocery stores and restaurants.

Hicks bakes her desserts in the kitchen at Pittsburgh Public Market. Her husband, Joseph, is her business manager.

“I’m the CBO — chief baking officer — and he’s the CBFO, or the chief baking finance officer,” she says, with a laugh. Her goal is to expand her company and make CobblerWorld a household name. She says the Farm to Table event is important because it supports local business owners, which helps them and the local economy grow.

Also participating in a Farm to Table event for the first time will be Adam Lutz and Josh Lark, cousins and business partners in a 6-month-old startup, 1st Generation Farms, a small-scale family-owned and operated farm in Prospect, Butler County.

Their primary focus is on meats — pork, pastured chicken and grass-fed beef — from animals raised in a humane and sustainable manner on Lutz’s grandfather’s farm, using no preservatives, no hormones and selling only to local butchers.

“Raising animals is not new to us,” Lutz says, “but we decided to make it a structured business and join the Farm to Table movement.”

In May, they will offer their first CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) for members to receive deliveries of meat each month.

Hart is encouraged by the growing interest in the “fresh and local” movement in the region.

“When you buy local, you’re buying ingredients so you have to cook,” Hart says. “When people dine out, they consume 50 percent more calories than when they cook at home. Cooking at home helps people control their weight, their risk for diseases such as cancer and diabetes, and their household budgets.”

“For the Love of Pittsburgh” will include information and samples from 65 exhibitors, including local farms, food producers, wineries, breweries, bakeries caterers and 20 Pittsburgh Public Market merchants. Local chefs who will be demonstrating in the Market’s new demo kitchen include:

4:15 p.m.: “The Parmesan Princess”

5 p.m.: Chef Keith Fuller of Root 174

5:45 p.m.: Eric Earnest of Ohio City Pasta

6 p.m.: Chef Rick Davison of Jackson’s

Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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