Food & Drink

We delve into the local food scene, from the farms that grow your food to how it ends up on your plate.

Phil Mansfield / The Culinary Institute of America

East Liberty native Tim Ryan grew up wanting to be an attorney, not a chef, but an early stint at dishwashing changed his mind. 

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A new brewery is set to launch in a Cold War-era missile command center near Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Grist House Craft Brewery has set its sights on a 55,000-square-feet structure known as "the bunker building" at the former Nike missile base.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

Spend much time at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, and you might get a feeling that tradition rules the place.

Families tend their animals together. Men in 10-gallon hats still dominate the buyers in the audience at livestock sales. Many of the handmade goods wouldn’t have looked out of place a century or more ago.

But farming is constantly changing.

One way that’s happening? Women are finding their own, nontraditional routes into the business.

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Neighbors of Mt. Lebanon's popular Hitchhiker Brewing Co. have filed a lawsuit against the business, alleging the taproom has failed to monitor the noise levels and behavior of patrons, resulting in diminished property value and emotional distress for community members.

Lisa Wardle / WITF

The state's dairy industry hopes you find power in the more than 1,000-pound butter sculpture at this year's Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Keith Srakocic / AP

For Pennsylvania residents, a glass of craft beer at the local brewpub could soon get a little more expensive.

Beginning in June, the state will start collecting 6 percent sales tax from brewers. That has some worrying that passing the cost on to customers could hurt business.

The tax initially was supposed to be collected starting on Jan. 1, but opposition from brewers helped delay it until June. They are expected to continue to seek changes.

Recipe Calls For Radio Frequencies To Pasteurize Eggs

Dec 31, 2018
Emily Cohen / WHYY

An unlikely partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab could yield changes that would make it safe to sample raw cookie dough.

Matt Rourke / AP

Bakers are complaining that something is amiss with Hershey's Kisses.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

SNAP benefits, sometimes referred to as food stamps, were in a precarious position until this week when Congress approved a compromise on a 10-year, $867 billion farm bill that no longer requires recipients to meet a work requirement as previously proposed. 

Steve Snodgrass / Flickr

 A clash of seasonings is looming in federal court, as Maryland's Old Bay seeks to protect its trademark in a lawsuit against another spice blend, New Bae.

Matthew Mead / AP

A Penn State University student group is helping soothe sick students with a chicken soup delivery service.

Matt Rourke / AP

The convenience store franchise Wawa says it is partnering with a suburban Philadelphia brewery to create a limited edition beer.

Wawa's Winter Reserve Coffee Stout, brewed by 2SP Brewing Co., blends Wawa's Winter Blend coffee into a stout beer. The beer will be launched on Dec. 6 at a Wawa store in Chadds Ford — the only Wawa in Pennsylvania that sells beer.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Thanksgiving is over but for many around Pennsylvania Monday marked the start of an unofficial holiday: the opening of deer rifle season.

The season goes until Dec. 8.

Hunters are only allowed to take deer with antlers until Friday. After that, both antlered and antlerless deer can be taken.

The game commission says unseasonably warm weather, high levels of precipitation and a later-than-normal leave drop have made it more difficult to track deer movements this fall.

The commission is encouraging hunters to scout for deer before setting up their spot.

Kraft Heinz Company / AP

Kids will soon be able to eat AND play with their food.

A team of researchers peered inside bumblebee colonies and spied on insects individually labelled with a tiny tag to figure out exactly how exposure to a common insecticide changes their behavior in the nest.

W.Va. National Guard Invests More Than $5 Million To Grow Apple Trees On A Mine Site

Oct 22, 2018
Roxy Todd / WVPB

Can apples grow on an abandoned mine site? That’s a question the West Virginia National Guard is spending more than $5 million to find out.

Love Or Hate Scrapple, It's Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery Meat

Oct 16, 2018
Stu Spivack / Wikipedai/Creative Commons

It is Pennsylvania Dutch country's mystery meat.

Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, scrapple is a meaty, thrifty and filling comfort food.

Love it or hate it, scrapple is a Lancaster County tradition. It was created as a way to use what was left over on butchering day and consists of pork mixed with cornmeal and pepper. Depending on where you live, you might add a little sage or buckwheat flour. You might use venison, beef or chicken instead of pork.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Development of one of the largest urban farms in the U.S. is well underway on the former St. Clair Village site. Crews at the Hilltop Urban Farm have planted 68 fruit and nut trees in the one-acre youth farm, expected to open in April 2019.

After years of studies and plans, Hilltop Urban Farm director Sarah Ashley Baxendell said volunteers are preparing the land and vegetation for the winter, and are excited to start farming. Of the 107 acres available, 23 will be dedicated to agriculture.

Central Pa. Growers And Researchers Work To Stop The Spotted Lanternfly

Oct 12, 2018

Happy Valley Vineyard and Winery owner Barbara Christ stands among ten acres of grapevines on neat rows of trellises.

She points to a post at the end of one row of vines as a perfect location for an unwelcome visitor.

“They would definitely lay egg masses on something like this," she said. 

Christ is a retired Penn State plant pathology professor whose research focused on plant diseases. As a vineyard owner, she’s keeping an eye out for the spotted lanternfly.

“It could be extremely devastating to an operation like ours,” Christ said. 

In W.Va., Small Farmers Face Tough Odds As One Project Aims To Help

Oct 8, 2018
Brittany Patterson / WVPB

On a recent Monday morning, as the rising sun burns off the low-hanging fog and fishermen haul in their morning catches from the Greenbrier River, at Sprouting Farms, the day is well underway.

More Women Are Becoming Farmers, Especially In W.Va.

Sep 28, 2018
Chris Williams / West Virginia Department of Agriculture

When you think of a farmer, what comes to mind? Is it a man in his 60s, with a beard, sitting on a tractor? Maybe several years ago you would be right, but the tide is changing, especially in West Virginia.

Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Sara Bir is a chef, writer, and self-proclaimed plant nerd. Her new book, "The Fruit Forager’s Companion: Ferments, Desserts, Main Dishes, and More from Your Neighborhood and Beyond," is part cookbook, and part field guide.

A salmonella outbreak stretching across four states sickening 17 people and resulting in one death has been linked to a popular brand of kosher chicken, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since last September, cases have been reported in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York — where the death occurred.

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

Pittsburgh's beer tourism industry hopes to get a boost this week with the release of city's first comprehensive craft brewery guide. 

Greg Roth / Penn State University

Last month, Pennsylvania saw the most recorded rainfall in a July. For many farmers in the state, the intense precipitation is part of a pattern of weather changes they are trying to adapt to.

A new report out of Penn State University says corn production in the Southeastern part of the state could be especially vulnerable in the coming decades.

Erie's Mushroom Kingdom: Exotic Mushrooms Abound

Aug 11, 2018
Tory Talbot / AP

Pennsylvania is far and away the largest producer of mushrooms in the U.S., mostly the white "button" variety, grown on 68 farms mostly in the Philadelphia region. That's been true for generations.

Now, for many reasons — Americans' widening interest for food grown and produced locally, a focus on low-carb diets, and encouragement of farmers by the USDA to monetize their forests — exotic mushrooms are sprouting up in this neck of the woods.

The Long Road To Becoming PA's First Black-Owned Brewery

Aug 9, 2018
Lisa Wardle / WITF

This weekend, Pittsburgh is slated to host the first festival of black craft beer brewers from around the country. Among their ranks will be Harris Family Brewery--believed to be Pennsylvania's first African-American-owned craft brewery.

The brewery started gaining attention this year after securing space for a brewpub in Harrisburg's Allison Hill neighborhood, though the road to this point has been long.

There’s This Really Good Hot Dog Stand – In The Middle Of A River

Aug 3, 2018
Emma Lee / WHYY

It started as a way to deal with the riffraff.

Back in the late 1980s, a local businessman came to Greg Crance with a problem. The businessman had been renting tubes to vacationers on a calm stretch of the Delaware River just south of Frenchtown, New Jersey, and just north of New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Business was fine, but the neighbors were irritated.

Amy Sisk / WESA

New research from the University of Pittsburgh provides a tool for examining pollutants in farmed salmon.

Carla Ng, an assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, worked with Swiss researchers to look at the quality of water where salmon swim and the food they eat.

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