Food & Drink

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

In France, climate change is already affecting one of the country's most emblematic industries — winemaking. French vintners say heat, drought and erratic weather are altering the landscape and their centuries-old way of working.

Brothers Remi and Gregoire Couppé are fourth-generation winemakers who craft a top vintage, grand cru St. Emilion. In the past few years they've been confronted with some new challenges. Remi Couppé, 44, says there's no denying the weather is getting hotter and drier.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Some pumpkin farmers in western Pennsylvania have seen lower than normal crop yields this year. The culprit? Heavy summer rains that kept important pollinators away and spread fungal disease.

Soon on tap: a new brew featuring Yuengling's nearly 200-year-old porter recipe and Hershey's chocolate.

The two Pennsylvania companies are teaming up on a limited-edition beer called Yuengling Hershey's Chocolate Porter.

The chocolate-infused brew will be available on tap beginning in mid-October at bars, restaurants and other venues in 13 states from Kentucky to Massachusetts, as well as Washington, D.C.

It's the first collaboration for Pottsville-based Yuengling, America's oldest operating brewery.

A new set of analyses published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine challenges the widespread recommendations to cut back on red and processed meats.

Penguin Random House

On today's program: A food writer follows a cast extraordinary chefs around the world, and casts his sights on Pittsburgh; a local group is teaching families how to advocate for quality medical care; Allegheny County sees its first jury conviction using a 30-year-old law; and citizens could be responsible for redrawing state legislative districts—if lawmakers are willing to give that up.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

A group of state lawmakers is trying to decide whether they made a mistake three years ago, when they gave Pennsylvania’s state-run liquor industry more power to negotiate prices.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Two southwestern Pennsylvania farms have been secured for permanent agriculture protection as part of a larger 40-farm conservation program.

My search for the secrets of American ketchup began in a sun-baked field near Los Banos, Calif.

The field didn't look like much at first. Just a wide, pale-green carpet of vines. Then Ross Siragusa, the head of global agriculture for the company Kraft Heinz, bent over, lifted up some of the vines, and revealed a mass of small, red fruit, too many to count.

Lots To Sample On A Weekend Visit To Pittsburgh's Dining Scene

Aug 19, 2019
Galley Group via AP

When celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich decided to open a restaurant in Pittsburgh's Strip District in 2001, she arrived in a neighborhood filled with warehouses and factories.

This narrow stretch of streets in the shadow of the city's downtown office towers had long been home to food purveyors like Wholey's Fish Market and the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, known to locals simply as Penn Mac.

But a high-end restaurant helmed by a James Beard award-winning chef? That wasn't something anyone expected.

Min Xian / WPSU

Pennsylvania dairy farmers have been under continuous pressure of decreasing fluid milk consumption in the country and tight markets met by production surpluses and tariffs. Congressman Glenn Thompson led a summit at Mount Aloysius College in Cambria County Monday, reassuring producers and farmers that a handful of new policies would offer meaningful assistance to the industry.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania’s state-run wine and liquor industry may have run afoul of international trade law.

Industry trade groups representing producers in several countries have signed on to a letter complaining the way the commonwealth prices alcohol is too opaque, and amounts to “stealth taxes.”

Pennsylvania changed the pricing structure for its state liquor industry in 2016, with authorization from the legislature. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Chatham University researchers have compiled a detailed map of farms and food processors in Pennsylvania, as part of a larger project to educate people about the region's food network.

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

An educational event aimed at helping people of color, women and those in the LGBTQ community break into the craft beer industry, takes place Saturday. 

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

On today’s program: The number of kids in foster care has increased as the opioid epidemic grows; Pittsburgh has a half-hidden fountain of youth; FBI documents could cast a shadow on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.; peregrine falcons have found a home at the Rachel Carson state office building in Harrisburg; and Pittsburgh is getting more than 90 beers to honor each of its official and unofficial neighborhoods. 

Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

For sugarmaker Matthew Emerick there are few things more lovely than maple syrup on pancakes. He’s a third-generation producer and can’t imagine spring without tapping the maple trees in the family woods. But he acknowledges the attributes of other tree syrups, even if they’re not for him.

Kevin C. Brown / 90.5 WESA

The production and distribution of food in the U.S. is a lot of work. The industry employed more than one in 10 Americans in 2017, the most recent year for which data were available.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

“We’re going to add a little jigger of milk with cookies-and-cream ice cream,” said Roger Bassett, a fifth-generation member of the Bassetts Ice Cream family.

Photo by Matt Peyton/Invision for Zachys Wine Auctions

In recent years, pressure has been building for Pennsylvania to privatize its state-run liquor industry.

One of the common arguments against continued state control is that wine and liquor selection and quality in stores run by the Liquor Control Board can’t keep pace with independent stores in other states.

The PLCB has done a lot to change that perception over the years, from redecorating, to mixing up the available booze, to adding the word “fine” to their ubiquitous Wine and Spirits stores.

Chain Store Beer, Wine Sales Press Some Dry PA Towns To Go Wet

Feb 19, 2019
Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

The little town of Cleona is the latest to feel some pressure to allow alcohol sales.

Nearly 700 towns across Pennsylvania are dry or partially dry, restricting the sale of beer, wine and liquor to some extent. In the greater Harrisburg region alone, 165 boroughs and townships restrict alcohol sales.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

When it comes to pizza, everyone knows Chicago has deep dish and New York has a thin, foldable crust.

Industrial Hemp Could Become Common Sight In PA Once Again

Jan 25, 2019
Rachel McDevitt / WITF

Industrial hemp used to be grown across the commonwealth and used for things like clothing, rope, and animal feed.

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. 

Google Earth

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.

Google Maps

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. 

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