Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Soergel's Orchards Kick Off Good Taste Pittsburgh 2013!


What's up around town this weekend? Glad you asked. A good time is sure to be had at Good Taste Pittsburgh! After many years of being held east of Pittsburgh, this long-standing, fun foodie event finally makes it's first appearance in the north at the Cranberry Marriott (just off Rt. 279 North at Rt. 228). Get tickets!
The kick off event for Good Taste Pittsburgh was held last week at Soergel's Orchard in Wexford. Why? Because Soergel's will be a big participant in Saturday's event and one of the sponsors! What a party and WHAT A FEAST the kick off was! 

The feast

If you've ever been to Soergel's, you already know the farm produces everything food and garden related that can be imagined, from seeds to plants, to fresh produce, to their own products made from their very own fresh fruits and veggies, to their bakery, deli, and even their own smoked meats. 

Soergel's orchards produce apples that become not only freshly made cider, but their own jarred applesauce. Their tomatoes become some of the BEST barbeque sauce I've had in a very long time! Three kinds...Sweet & Smoky, Caroline-style and (my fave) Spicy.

Before becoming applesauce!

Where did this kick off party happen? In the middle of a field? No. In great big, comfortable McIntosh Hall behind the market. Yes, McIntosh...like in the apple variety. Makes sense!

"Applewood" Bill Maxwell with beautiful, gleaming smoker
 Tables laden with trays upon trays of their famous pulled pork - yep, smoked for 16 hours in the HUGE smoker on wheels that sat gleamingly out front; slices of juicy Black Angus beef (yes, their own farm-raised, hormone-free cattle), their own potato salad, pasta salad, green salads and fruit salads. Even the greens came from Soergel's own greenhouses - tomatoes and fresh lettuces (and more) grow there year round. (If I have you craving any of this, you know the deli is handy...pick some up! Or have them cater one of your events either at the Orchard or your own venue.)

Source of that sweet, sweet smoke

Soergel's emphasis on fresh and natural is especially evident at their gluten-free and organic foods store, Naturally Soergel's, located near the market. You all know by know about my gluten issues...and how frequently I mention Soergel's as the source of a lot of the products I use. THIS is the place to buy gluten-free in the Pittsburgh area! 

Besides carrying everything gluten-free you could possibly want, the staff is friendly, knowledgeable and happy to help you learn your way around eating gluten-free. If Amy (last name Soergel, of course) is around, be sure to say hello. 

Amy knows her stuff. Her degree in Public Health is from venerable Johns Hopkins University and her Masters in Epidemiology is from Pitt! What piqued Amy's interest in the gluten-free lifestyle? Amy was diagnosed with celiac disease many years ago. Amy lives what she teaches.

One more interesting note. During the presentation part of the kick off evening, it was announced that Soergel's would be growing their own hops this season. I looked over at Amy and kind of silently said to her, "Gluten-free beer?" She nodded yes. Following the presentation, I got the further scoop....and here it is.

Amy is engaged to Doug Foster who is a partner in the brand new Aurochs Brewing Company. Aurochs is the area's FIRST gluten-free beer, and is located on Route 65 in Emsworth.  Soergel's hops are being grown for Aurochs! Look for Aurochs Gluten-Free beer sometime later this year. Oh...and just where did Doug and Amy meet? Naturally Soergel's, naturally. Doug is celiac, too.

Be sure to stop and see the good folks from Soergel's at Good Taste Pittsburgh on Saturday and pick up information on what's happening all year 'round in Soergel's orchards and their markets and shops in Wexford on Brandt School Road just off Rt. 910.

Saturday's Good Taste Pittsburgh highlights include:

- Chef Keith Fuller of Root 174 in Regent Square and Chef Kevin Watson of Savoy in the Strip District will both be speaking and demonstrating their widely celebrated culinary skills.

- Cookbook author Lindsey Smith (Junk Foods & Junk Moods will talk about the importance of nutritious easting.

- Caroline Wright, Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals, will be making 3 of her recipes and signing her cookbook.

- The stars of Farm Kings - The Great American Country Network's (GACN) reality television show about the daily lives of the King Family from Freedom Farm in Butler County will actually be shooting a segment for broadcast! Don't miss this!

- Vendors, flower arranging, creative crafts and much more. 

See you there!
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