Food & Drink

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

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.

Like Organic Food? Pennsylvania's Young Farmers Grow It

Jul 18, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

While he was studying political science at West Chester University six years ago, Frank Kurylo pondered some career options. He first considered becoming an environmental law attorney. Later, he briefly worked on a few Pennsylvania political campaigns.

Then Kurylo, now 28, changed course entirely. He became a farmer.

Pawel Loj / Flickr

A northwestern Indiana city that hosts an annual festival built around a popular Polish delicacy has reached a settlement in its trademark dispute with a rival festival in Pennsylvania.

Seven national fast-food chains have agreed, under pressure, to eliminate a practice that limits their workers' ability to take jobs at other restaurants in the same chain, the Washington state attorney general announced Thursday.

If you're interested in sustainability, you've probably thought about how to reduce your carbon footprint, from how you fuel your car to how you heat your home. But what about carbon emissions from growing the food you eat?

Most of the crops in the United States are grown using chemical fertilizer – a lot of it: American farmers used over 24 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer in 2011. And making nitrogen fertilizer requires fossil fuels like natural gas or coal.

Matt Rourke / AP

State Representative Mark Mustio (R-44) of Allegheny County is fronting a charge to repeal Philadelphia's soda tax, and prevent similar actions from taking place elsewhere in the Commonwealth.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Two major proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, could cause 70,000 Pennsylvania households to lose eligibility.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


Sunlight beams through the second story of the former Kullman's Bakery on Brownsville Road in Mount Oliver. Leaning against a stainless steel table, cook Jewel Edwards muses about her favorite confections.

Paul Simpson / flickr

Pennsylvania-based chips and snack food maker Utz is recalling some of its tortilla chips because they may contain milk.

AP

Pennsylvania's Republican-controlled House of Representatives is advancing legislation to stop the state from getting waivers that allow food stamp recipients to continue receiving the federal benefit if they don't meet work requirements.

The Republican-penned bill passed 108-79 on Tuesday, and headed to the Senate.

Matt Rourke / AP

Opponents of Philadelphia’s controversial sweetened beverage tax, stymied so far in their efforts to defeat the levy in court, are getting some support in the state legislature.

When Melanie McNeil roused her 8-year-old great-grandson, Byron Ridenour-Wright, out of bed in Ohio last fall, and loaded him onto a bus bound for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, she didn't have high hopes for lunch.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

It’s Wednesday and Chef Amy Reed, the general manager of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Café, is chopping cilantro. Around her are peels of salad carrots, red peppers and seasonings for Friday’s sold-out “Waste Not Dinner," a gourmet meal made from discarded foods.

“The peels are gonna go straight into the vegetable stock that we use to make to make the carrot risotto,” said Reed.

John Hamilton / PublicSource

On a recent Friday, James Dreher was hard at work stirring dozens of pounds of ground beef with a small paddle.

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