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Humane Eating

December 5, 2012

Back in June I shared my first visit to Panorama on the Peak with you. Located high above Berkeley Springs in the Eastern Panhandle, I knew my next visit would take a while only because my home is located at the opposite corner of West Virginia. In September I traveled to New Jersey and stopped there for lunch on Friday. It takes about 15 minutes to drive from the I-68/I-70 merge location to them and well worth it to one and all!

Back in June Patti Miller and Leslie Hotaling shared  their immense pride in the award from the Certified Humane   organization. Panorama on the Peak is the ONLY restaurant in West Virginia with that designation.  Chef Scott Collinash is featured on the website. They passed their second annual inspection so I thought I would explain what that means.

There are many reasons people decide to become vegetarians or vegans. A large percentage make that decision once they understand the way most commercial operations raise and then process animals for food.  They want no part in being part of a system that treats animals poorly.

The primary goal of the Certified Humane organization is to  improve farm animal welfare. They have standards for the living arrangements and feeding of livestock.  The Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label assures consumers:

  • That the producer meets our standards and applies them to animals from birth through slaughter.
  • Animals have ample space, shelter and gentle handling to limit stress.
  • Ample fresh water and a healthy diet of quality feed, without added antibiotics or hormones.
  • Cages, crates and tie stalls are among the forbidden practices, and animals must be free to do what comes naturally. For example, chickens are able to flap their wings and dust bathe, and pigs have the space to move around and root.

Farms that receive the  Certified Humane Raised and Handled® designation can label their meat and consumers can know the animals were treated humanely.

In order for Panorama on the Peak to receive its designation it not only needs to purchase and serve meats from designated farms, but it must keep those meats separate from all others it receives. The restaurant maintains as many as 5 freezers to segregate all its meats by source. 

We had another delightful meal. Chef Scott Collinash changes the menu weekly to use local produce in season. A portion of the menu from September is here for you to review. Not only are the dishes wonderful, you can see that they are affordable.

Additional kudos to the Panorama on the Peak who was just awarded the Slow Food DC 2012 Snail of Approval!

December 4, 2012

Farmers’ markets are growing as consumers are beginning to realize that locally raised food is available, affordable and tasty! There are over 60 markets listed for your information on the WVFarm2u website. Scattered around the state, most are seasonal but several are open year-round.

The Extension Service of West Virginia University held the second workshop of a pilot program being held to help the participating farmers’ markets improve their structure and functionality Monday, December 3.  Meeting in Weston at the Jackson’s Mill State Fire Training Academy, involved farmers and consumers met from the following markets: Buchannon-Upshur, Berkeley Springs, Putnam County, Lewisburg, Monroe County, Barbour County, Pocahontas County and the Wild Ramp Market in Huntington.Berkeley SpringsBuckhannon-Upshur

Much of the meeting involved the business organization of the markets and each market had a different system that reflected its mission as well as putnamits members. blog-logosignmembermarketspocahantosLewisburg

Additional discussion involved the role of various marketing strategies and the need to modernize the approach to include social media to reach younger segments of the population.

One other benefit was also achieved. When groups that are scattered around West Virginia meet and recognize that they have similar goals, new friendships are formed and ideas flow. Something practiced at one location may be something another market wants to try.

Extending the Growing Season

November 15, 2012

Farmers’ markets have experienced increased consumer activity over the past few years.  Producers who wants to increase their income can identify a niche market by providing a food type or a service that is unique.

One aspect would be to continue to be able to grow fruits and vegetables during a longer growing season by using a controlled environment such as a high tunnel or low tunnel.

Bob Shelley and Lorrie Schoettler  of Stony Ridge Farm  in Harper’s Ferry shared that the farmers market there is now expecting to continue year round because of their low tunnel production of root crops and greens.

Julie Schaer and Amy Figgett, who each provide a variety of crops from their farms to the Wild Ramp Market in Huntington, have installed high tunnels over the course of this summer and fall in anticipation of sustained consumer demand this winter. 


For all who are interested in learning more a Workshop to Discuss Options to Extend Produce Growing Season will be held on Tuesday, December 4th from 7 PM to 9 PM at the Putnam County Courthouse . The address is 3389 Winfield Road, Winfield.

WVU Horticulture Specialist, Dr. Lewis Jett, will discuss methods to extend the growing season for WV vegetable and fruit growers.

Farmers who are considering growing produce for early market entry or installing high tunnels or low row covers on their property, should attend this meeting. Season extension infrastructure can typically allow producers to plant and harvest four to five weeks earlier or later for the average WV growing season.
Dr. Jett will discuss tunnel management considerations for:
1) selecting pest-resistant plants and plant varieties that will grow profitably,
2) determining high/low tunnel planting and harvesting dates, and
3) examining storage and handling considerations for produce.
This workshop is sponsored in part by a grant procured by the WV Farmer’s Market Association and by the WVU Extension Service. Please RSVP for space considerations by calling the WVU Extension Office:
Chuck Talbott at (304) 586-0217 or Rich Sherman at (304)-743-7151

Review of Posts

November 6, 2012

This blog has been published since early in 2012. Here is a review of the farms, markets, restaurants and events that have been featured.

Small Farm Conference Spend to Save

Restaurant: Huntington Prime

Winter Farm Market Winter Blues Revived

Ruby Dean Collins Mountain Family Treasures What’s Cooking

4-H Bacon and Egg Sale My Child, the Farmer

Twiggety Farm Get Your Goat

Roane Vineyards Winery for Sale

Farming in the Woods

Limestone Mountain Farm Pondering the Perplexity

Mountwest Cooking and CulinaryInstitute Next Generation

International Festival – Taste the Waters in Berkeley Springs

Restaurant: Cafe Cimino

Lincoln County FFA Farm Equipment Sale Anyone Need a Tractor? 

Shady Oaks Farm Berry Berry Good

Monroe Farm Market Want Fresh Veggies?

Gritt’s Greenhouse The Aroma of Flowers

Twin Maples Farm Total Menagerie

Black Oak Holler Farm Grabbing the Niche Market

Fish Hawk Acres Spring Tonic Time

School Gardens in West Virginia

Two Local Markets in May

Avalon Farm Slowly But Surely 

Terra Cafe

Round Right Farm

Mil-Ton Farm Farming for the Family

Orr’s Farm Market Extraordinaire

Lot 12 Another WOW in West Virginia

Mock’s Greenhouse REAL Tomatoes

Panorama on the Peak Dreaming the Dream…Walking the Walk

Back Creek Bend Farm Living History

The Wild Ramp Market Coming of Age

Avalon Farm A Father’s Day to Remember

Chili Cook-Off Judging

Swift Level Farm Respecting the Past, Marketing for Today

Country Roads Cook-Off What’s In Your Cooking Pot?

Watts Roost Winery Coming Home to Roost

Barbour County Farm Market

Twin Maples Farm Food in the Woods

Wilson Mills Farm Fishing for More

Stony Ridge Farm Sheltered and Nurtured Growth

Morgantown Market

Fisher Ridge Winery Bottle of Wine Fruit of the Vine

Blatt’s Apiary How Sweet it Is!

ZZNature Protecting the Queen

Vu Ja De Vineyards Enjoy the Harvest for Years

To request a visit to be featured in this blog, please email

Photo Challenge of the Week: Geometry

November 4, 2012

The blogsite offers weekly photo themes to challenge us bloggers…..this week, geometry and there have been spectacular visions….which got my competitive juices flowing. Here is what I found on the farms in West Virginia:









I think it is apparent that nature loves curves

Photo of the Day – Powwow

November 3, 2012

Being able to sneak back into the kitchen at the Friends of Food event  permitted me to see the various chefs at the end of their prep time.


November 2, 2012

In the adventure of eating local foods I have found I have greatly decreased processed foods from my diet. While preparing whole foods for meals takes more time in the kitchen, it takes less time at the grocery store.

I avoid reading in the supermarket aisles.

I’m not talking about the magazines……..I’m talking about labels!

The Nutrition Facts label, required by the Food and Drug Administration on most packaged foods and beverages, provides detailed information about a food’s nutrient content, such as the amount of fat, sodium and fiber it has.

Knowing how to read food labels is especially important if you have health conditions, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and need to follow a special diet. It also makes it easier to compare similar foods to see which is a healthier choice. The more practice you get reading food labels, the better you can become in using them as a tool to plan your healthy, balanced diet.

Sample Label for Macaroni & Cheese
 #1. Start Here with the serving size. Title and Serving Size Information section of label, with number of servings.
 #2. Calories from Fat. Calorie section of label, showing number of calories per serving and calories from fat.
 #3. Limit These Nutrients: Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium. Total Fat, Saturated Fat Cholesterol, Sodium with Total Carbohydrate section of label, with quantities and % daily values.  #6. Quick Guide to %DV.
 #4. Get Enough of These Nutrients: Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron. Remaining Carbohydrates, including Dietary Fiber and Sugars, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron section of label with % daily values, and quantities for fiber, sugar and protein. #6. Quick Guide to %DV: 5% or less is Low / 20% or more is High.
 #5. The Footnote, or Lower part of the Nutrition Facts Label. Footnote section of label, indicating quantities of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, and dietary fiber for 2000 and 2500 calorie diets.

image of circle 1 The Serving Size: Knowing the amount of food that is healthy for you is the first step. The nutritional information given on the label is based on this portion size.

Circle 2 Calories (and Calories from Fat): Calories is a way to analyze the amount of energy a food provides. The issue about obesity is not only that we are consuming too much food, but we are not using the energy it provides, so it converts to fat. If we moved more, exercised more, the food we consume is used more efficiently.

circle 3circle 4 The Nutrients: How Much?: Basically, the label provides information about the unhealthy part of the food being described and its healthy component.

circle 5 Understanding the Footnote on the Bottom of the Nutrition Facts Label: This area provides information regarding the amount of average daily nutrition the food provides.

circle 6 The Percent Daily Value (%DV): This percentage tells you how much of your nutritional needs are provided, based on a 2,000 calorie daily diet.  Like most people, you may not know how many calories you consume in a day. But you can still use the %DV as a frame of reference whether or not you consume more or less than 2,000 calories.

This information has been provided by the FDA and more information is available here.

Comparing the preparation of a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and a homemade recipe is interesting. Being able to chose and control the components of the recipe is a big factor to nutritional health.  Here is the nutritional comparison:
One piece of information that is not currently offered but is up for a vote Tuesday in California’s Proposition 37 is if the food contains any genetically modified organisms. Part of much of our food since the mid 1990s, increasing health concerns have resulted in a fierce battle about adding the presence of GMOs to the Food Nutrition Label. It has been a pretty epic David versus Goliath battle with concerned consumers and farm advocate groups, some food manufacturers and health organizations against the major corporations that develop the GMO seeds and the food corporations who manufacture products using those crops. While Tuesday’s decision will essentially affect only food sold in California, it is presumed that because the market there is so large, manufacturers will end up labeling nationally.

Personally, I hope it passes. It is one more piece of information that will help me decide to include a food item sold in the supermarket on my family’s table. Until then, and even after, whole foods will continue to have a growing role in the food we put into our bodies.

What? No Candy?

November 1, 2012

When I was young, growing up in New Jersey, Trick or Treat was always on October 31st, but I suspect no one was out last night going door to door int eh Garden State. Here in Huntington, our time was moved from Tuesday to Thursday because of the storm.

Sometimes this whole concept of eating better gets way too serious. Between learning that we’ve all been eating genetically modified organisms for at least a decade to trying to avoid saturated fats, trying to walk a healthy line can sometimes feel daunting.

Halloween is coming up. Traditionally here in the United States, it is the day when we spend a whopping $950 million to feed each kid about 3 cups of sugar. Candy sizes have increased and the age range of trick or treaters has also grown. Last year one young mom said the candy was for her newborn…….get real.

In years past I have tried all the tricks….buying candy to hand out that I didn’t like in order not to eat it myself to buying alternative items. Always searching for some way not to be tempted myself, I end up buying my favorites in other years in the hopes there are leftovers. There are never leftovers.

I thought it would be interesting to poll people to see what alternatives they try to offer on Halloween

“I think it would be hilarious to do jello shots for the adults. Or maybe Dixie cups of hot cocoa and Baileys. Other than that, candy! But, I’ve also done Halloween-size packs of microwavable popcorn and that was a hit, especially among the tweens. I got them in bulk at Costco the year we did it.”

“Last year I gave out books. The kids were so excited and the parents very appreciative. This year I plan to do the same. You can get children’s books very cheaply through the year at garage sales and thrift stores and library sales. Some of the older children were picking out books for their younger siblings. Sweet.

“I thought about doing temporary tattoos, but we have too many older trick or treaters. Really they just want candy…[Also] I have given out glow necklaces in the past. Michael’s has 12 glow necklaces for a dollar.”

“Halloween-themed pencils, stickers, tattoos, and eraser puzzles.”  I’ve done this one myself…bought a huge bag of spider rings and other fun items from Oriental Trading Company…it lasted me several years!

‘I was so happy to find a big bag of Snyder’s pretzels in individual, 1 oz bags. There were about 30 in the big bag and I got them at Walmart. Even kids want a break from all the candy sweetness.’

“Don’t forget change for UNICEF! Folks can still get boxes at Hallmark stores.”

“All the kids hate me…seed packets. They want candy, I want them to grow veggies.”

Replace chocolate bars with granola bars and fruit chews with dried fruit packs. Also consider adding single serving bagged pretzels, juice boxes and cheese sticks to your treat bowl, but keep them low-calorie, low-fat versions.

Okay, enough foolishness. We know it will be chocolate again this year.

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2012

Taste Testing

October 31, 2012

I’ve reported before about the Wild Ramp Market, a new year round indoor market that sources food from farms within 100 miles of Huntington. A few food sources are a bit beyond that as well, but efforts are continuing to be made to identify sources within the 100 miles.

As the blogger for that market, I visit the local farms just as I visit WVFarm2u farms. I spend 1-2 hours there, taking photos and chatting with the farmer, trying to capture their story in that time. I write about the farm including the farming practices used providing a bit of marketing about that farm to the consumers.

Like WVFarm2u, all local farms are urged to be members and the Wild Ramp Market does not restrict membership only to certified organic producers. However, both organizations believe that the consumers have the right to know how their food is raised.

As I visit farms, I often purchase the products and my family has been eating amazingly delicious fresh food for almost a year now. Our eating habits have changed a lot. Can’t say that I have lost any weight but at least over 75% of my food is now chemical free and I am hoping some of my immune system issues (allergies and arthritis) may benefit.

We had eaten chicken from 3 different farms when the Derecho came through. Here in Huntington we only lost power for about a day, so my freezer items were still hard, but we decided to eat those things before restocking. And so, my husband, a wonderful cook, prepared our last supermarket chicken into chicken cacciatore.

A wonderful dish with a very flavorful sauce, we all took a bite and looked at each other in surprise.The chicken had no flavor! We already were used to the complexity of the free-range and pastured birds we had eaten.

In late July I thought a price comparison of items sold at the Wild Ramp Market compared to two local supermarkets might be interesting, especially to people who believe that fresh healthy food is more expensive than processed frozen meals. It turned out the ONLY item which was more expensive at the Wild Ramp was the whole chickens.

So, the inevitable happened. At a recent Meet and Greet event when the TriState Farm Conference was visiting the Wild Ramp, a taste comparison was held.

Graham roasted a chicken from the one of the local farms supplying the Wild Ramp Market and a name brand supermarket chicken the exact same way, side by side in the oven, using a simple method he learned watching Julia Child on PBS years ago. I cut them up and only I knew from that point on which was which.

Interested people were given a toothpicked sample of Chicken A and then a similar sample of Chicken B. I asked if they preferred white or dark meat but other than that, did not ask anything of any preference.

The results were interesting. About 50-50. People who preferred the free range or pastured chicken usually were already eating them. People who preferred the grocery store chicken usually said it was “moister”.

When I informed them that conventionally raised chickens typically are fed antibiotics, steroids and hormones to help them grow quickly and in the processing the meat is often injected with water and “flavorings”, most said they had not known that. Some were visibly disturbed. Some shrugged and walked away.

Not everyone understands.