Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cheat Hill

Cheat HillI think I may be one of the few people on earth who actually really, really likes cooked cabbage. I remember when my mom would make cabbage rolls, I would eat the leftover cooked cabbage. When I saw this beautiful head of cabbage, I thought of all the possibilities - mostly a summer sort of cabbage wrap. Think hoisin sauce, no tomato sauce. And Cheat Hill was at the Morgantown Farmers Market to fulfill this desire.

Cheat HillLisa provided me with some information on Cheat Hill:
Cheat Hill, former Hinnant Farm, is run by a young couple, Sarah & John Hinnant. You can find them at the farmers markets on most weekends throughout the summer selling bouquets, jams, jellies, various vegetables, and entertaining their son Henry. They have a small farm in the Cheat Lake area and hope to start a CSA in the future. They are 'newer' to the market, only being vendors for a couple of years.
They have a beautiful bounty of veggies each week! What's your favorite buy from Cheat Hill?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Backbone Food Farm

Backbone farmBackbone Food Farm brings tons of vegetables, herbs - and you'll see them with mushrooms - to the Morgantown Farmers Market.

Here's some insight on this cool vendor from my good friend Lisa, former Morgantown Farmers Market coordinator.
Backbone food Farm is found in Oakland, MD and run by the Dubansky Family - dad - Max and his mother Rita, wife Katherine, and a slew of wonderful kids! This 530-acre farm is home to chickens, draft horses, cows, pigs, dogs, bees, flowers, and lots of vegetables since 1996. Max has a more unique way of farming - draft horse power! They teach organic growing practices, sustainability, and hands-on agriculture at their Certified Naturally Grown farm through open-to-the-public farm days. At the morgantown farmers market they only sell a large variety of vegetables, herbs, and fungi, but they also offer pasture raised pork at their farm. (Max taught me how to cook shiitake mushrooms and now I'm a SUPER fan of them! With tons of protein, they are great to help fill you up, have lots of uses, and pair great with meals.) They sell their products through farmers markets and a CSA, now in it's 12th year. To learn a little about agriculture at their farm, check out their farm events on their facebook page and attend one! To learn a LOT, they offer farm internships, but I have only heard positive reviews about. Since they are in the mountains and near some very popular winter vacation spots for skiing, they offer cross country skiing tours in the fall. 
I had these delicious scallions from Backbone, which found their way into most of my dishes for that week. I put them in a mason jar with some water in the bottom and covered the tops with a plastic bag. They were perfect with my meatloaf, thai pasta dishes and omelets. So good. What's your favorite product from Backbone?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Cass Edition: The Last Run Restaurant

The Last RunCass Scenic Railroad has been on my to-try list ever since the Charleston Daily Mail's 55 unique things to do in the Mountain State article came out.

According to Wikipedia, Cass was a company town for folks who worked for West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, logging nearby Cheat Mountain. The cut logs were brought by rail to the town, where they were processed for use by paper and hardwood-flooring companies throughout the United States. Cass's skilled laborers, who worked in the mill or the locomotive repair shop, lived with their families in 52 white-fenced houses, built in orderly rows on a hill south of the general store.

The Last Run

The Cass Scenic Railroad is the same line built in 1901 to haul lumber to the mill in Cass. The locomotives are the same Shay locomotives used in Cass, and in the rainforests of British Columbia for more than a half-century. Many of the passenger cars are old logging flat-cars that have been refurbished. The Western Maryland No. 6 is the last Shay locomotive ever built. This piece of living history still hauls thousands of passengers up and down the mountain at Cass Scenic Railroad.

Cass Scenic Railroad State Park offers train rides that take visitors to various stationsWhittaker Station, Bald Knob and Spruce. We took the trip to Whittaker Station, because it's the shortest option. It's about four miles up the track, and there's a nice little are with some display trains and a shelter. We hung out there for about 20 minutes before heading back down - and on the way back, I may or may not have had coal showered all down the left side of my face. Haha. I enjoyed the trip - and it's the first time I've ever been on a train in the United States. The only other time is when I was in Italy, and we had to take a train to Venice.

The Last Run

But before our trip, we had some time to kill so we ate at the restaurant located in the company store: The Last Run Restaurant. This restaurant is featured in WV's 101 unique places to dine list.

The Last RunThe space is actually quite large with a lot of wooden circular tables and some booth seating. It's basic, fairly worn and could use a good scrubbing. The menu consists of items like popcorn chicken, hotdogs, sandwiches and the like. Nothing fancy, but simple enough for a lunch counter.

The Last RunI went with the popcorn chicken because it was simple and safe before heading on our trip. Overall thoughts - not bad. Nothing really exciting - the chicken breading was plain, and the fries could've been a good deal crisper. It's really the only option around, and it'll fill your belly. Good enough.

Grade: C
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

SFS Farms


SFS Farms was one of the last vendors I hit up while at the Morgantown Farmers Market recently. As per usual, I chatted with Lisa to find out more about this farm, which sells vegetables, melons and fresh herbs.
SFS farm is run by mother daughter team, Susie (mom) and Heidi (daughter) Shinkovich. Susie is the farmer and Heidi does the paperwork. Susie has been farming and marketing her entire life. She can tell you stories of being 7 years old and selling on the morgantown courthouse square with her family, which I believe she still does to this day. Local to the Morgantown area and Monongalia county, farming is strong in this family. If you stop by the farmers market take a look at Susie's beautiful farmer hands - they know what it is to work hard! Within the past few years, they received a NRCS high tunnel to help extend their season, so you'll now see them every weekend at the market throughout the summer selling a variety vegetables and potted plants.
SFSI picked up this delicious squash, which I grilled with some tomatoes for a delicious summer snack. What's your favorite product from SFS?


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Deal Festival

New Deal FestivalI attended the New Deal Festival a few weeks ago in Arthurdale. It is held annually on the second Saturday in July to celebrate the nation's first New Deal Subsistence Homestead Community of Arthurdale.

New Deal FestivalNew Deal Festival

According to Wikipedia:

Arthurdale was founded in 1933 and was the first of many New Deal planned communities established under Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration. It was intended to take impoverished laborers, farmers, and coal miners and move them to a modern rural community that would allow them to become economically self-sufficient.

The idea for such a self-sufficient community originated when Eleanor Roosevelt learned through her friend, Lorena Hickok, of a plan to relocate a group of West Virginia coal miners to a nearby farm with the intention that they could combine subsistence farming with simple industries to reclaim their economic footing. Mrs. Roosevelt was so passionate about the concept that she brought it to the attention of her husband, who decided to place the project under the direction of the United States Department of the Interior.

New Deal Festival

The festival features artisan demonstrations, a craft market, children's activities and tours of the museum and other Arthurdale buildings.

New Deal FestivalThey had a dining hall, which was serving up pulled pork sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs, fries, baked beans, cole slaw, desserts and drinks. We didn't stick around to eat here, but we did look through all the vendors. And I finally got to see some of the products from the Mountaineer Country Farmers Consignment Market.

New Deal FestivalThis place has always been a sort of mystery to me. They're a farmers market but via consignment. And they used to have store hours, but they now just visit the Ruby hospital on Wednesdays and the Arthurdale Co-Op Store on Thursdays. There were some fresh berries, plus tons of jams and jellies for sale. So, a nice little event and I'm glad to finally see what the farm market is all about.