Pennsylvania's best-known export may be Philadelphia Cream Cheese (with the Philly cheese steak coming in a close second), but eating locally in Pennsylvania goes well beyond processed cheese foods. Find resources for great local eating in Pennsylvania below and tell us what you love about eating in Pennsylvania!
Pennsylvania Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables
Find out what's in season when in Pennsylvania with this Guide to Pennsylvania Seasonal Produce. As with all large states, readers need to allow some wiggle room for exact crop availability, but the ranges for harvest dates given will give you a good sense of what to expect at the market.
Pennsylvania Farmers Markets
Pennsylvania has a long tradition of local farmers markets—and not just in Lancaster County. The state if chock-full of excellent markets. This Guide to Pennsylvania Farmers Markets is a great place to start finding locally grown produce and other food near you.
Pennsylvania Food Blogs
Find ideas, inspiration, and like-minded people by reading these Pennsylvania-based local food bloggers:
- A food writer in Philadelphia tackles eating (mostly local), cooking (mostly seasonal), and life with cheer and insight in Apartment 2024
- The site Farm to Philly is focused on finding and eating locally grown/produced food in Philadelphia, its surrounding suburbs, and South Jersey
- Food In Jars is an excellent site about preserving food in all kinds of ways. Based in Pennsylvania, the writer deals with seasonal challenges (and joys) with wit and good humor
Pennsylvania Specialties: Pretzels
Pennsylvania Specialties: Scrapple
One of these days I'm going to get a straight answer on what, exactly, scrapple is. Even when I'm told something pretty straight-forward ("scrapple is chopped or ground pork and cornmeal mush, cooked and shaped in a loaf pan, cooled, then sliced and browned in butter to serve") it doesn't quite match any of the scrapple I've been served, which always seems so much more mysterious. Sometimes there's onion or apple in there and I've seen it drowned in maple syrup more than once. Like most dishes, there seem to be plenty of takes on scrapple. Find one to suit you with these Scrapple Recipes.
I refuse to get into any discussion about Philly Cheesesteak. I've had different ones and found them all delicious and I'm happy to leave the nit-picking to the experts. About.com's Guide to Philadelphia has this to say about Philly Cheesesteaks. If you'd rather make your own, use this video recipe from About.com's Guide to American food.
Need something to help you wash down that cheesesteak? Try a local beer on tap.
Want to go beyond cheesesteak? Check out Philly Homegrown for great leads on locally produced foods in Philadelphia.
Pittsburgh – on the Western edge of the Keystone State – has a food scene all its own. It's the home to Heinz ketchup, and a meat-and-potatoes, fish-for-lent, homemade-dumpling vibe provides the backbone to Pittsburgh dining traditions. Look for Fish Frys, plenty of local breweries, Pittsburgh Black & Blue Steak, homemade pierogies, kielbasa, and Pittsburgh hoagies topped with coleslaw and French fries.
Pennsylvania Honey and Jam
There are plenty of small beekeeping and jam-making operations throughout Pennsylvania. Two Gander Farm Honey, in Berks County, sells their delicious honey as well as shares in its vegetable farm, which is kept partly to provide a fertile environment for the honeybees.
Tait Farm grows organic fruits and vegetables, but also makes lower-sugar jams that allow the flavor of the ripe fruit to shine through.
Pennsylvania Local Foods Resources
Go a step beyond shopping at farmers markets and dig a bit deeper into local foods with these resources for eating locally in Pennsylvania:
- Edible Allegheny
- Edible Philly
- Slow Food Central PA
- Slow Food Philly
- Slow Food Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh CSAs
- Pick Your Own Strawberries Near Pittsburgh
- Philly Homegrown
One last tip: locally grown and mill flour can be the ultimate find for serious locavores. Daisy Organic Flours makes it easier for residents of Philly with a range of high-quality flours (whole wheat, spelt).