The Food Column: Local farms welcome 2-wheelers

Local food and exercise will be combined this year in a new event -- the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Western Region's "Bike Fresh Bike Local."

A play on the organization's motto, "Buy Fresh Buy Local," the unique bike ride this Sunday, June 2, will feature local farms and local food through sightseeing, rest stops and lunch.

The Western Pennsylvania Wheelmen, a local biking club (, designed 25-, 50- and 75-mile routes that bikers can choose from, all starting at the ice rink at North Park.

Along the routes, bikers will see signs pointing out some of the organization's member farms, including One Woman Farm and Dillner Family Farm in West Deer, Kretschmann Family Organic Farm and Lewis Family Farms in Rochester, Harvest Valley Farms in Valencia, and Frankferd Farms in Saxonburg. All bikers will stop at PASA's offices on Chatham University's Eden Hall campus in Richland. Several member organizations -- East End Food Co-op, Frankferd Farms, McGinnis Sisters stores and Paragon Foods -- will stock rest stops with food and water.

After the ride, a local-foods lunch provided by Whole Foods will be served in North Park from noon to 3 p.m., with beer and root beer from North Country Brewing in Slippery Rock.

The lunch menu will include barbecued pork and brisket sandwiches, collard slaw with mustard seed vinaigrette (see recipe), and red potato salad with grilled asparagus, peppers and onions.

It's the first year for Allegheny County to host a "Bike Fresh Bike Local" event, but other regional PASA offices have held them in the past. The Chester County ride is in its sixth year, and planners are anticipating more than 900 riders this year.

"We've just seen how successful it is and how much the bike ride has grown in Chester County," Leah Smith, PASA Western Region's member-services manager, said, explaining why her region decided to start offering the event, too. "It's a way to help people who are excited about local food and exercise."

Thus far, about 60 riders have signed up; planners are hoping for at least 200 for this first year.

Other "Bike Fresh Bike Local" events will be held Aug. 4 in Centre County and Sept. 22 in Chester County.

Cost for this Sunday's ride is $40 if you register today, or $45 starting Friday, May 31. To sign up for the local ride or for more information, go to


Strawberry Festival: Fried chicken, roast beef, side dishes, strawberry shortcake, children's activities, theme basket drawing. 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 31, at Peters Creek Presbyterian Church, Venetia. $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for children (dessert only is $4). Call for tickets: 724-941-6210.

Five-Alarm Mountain Madness Chili Cook-Off & Brewfest: Chili, beer, craft fair, children's activities, celebrity Steelers chili judges (Brett Keisel, Cameron Heyward and Doug Legursky), pony rides, adventure sports, live music. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 8 at Nemacolin Woodlands in Farmington. Benefits Farmington Volunteer Fire Department. 866-344-6957.


A Tour and Tasting in the Homes and Gardens of Old Allegheny: Home and garden tour with wine tasting and appetizers in the Allegheny West district of Pittsburgh's North Side. 5 to 9 p.m. June 7 (June 8 is sold out). $60 per person.

Dinner and Mark Twain: Southern-style dinner with live music by North Allegheny Fiddlers, followed by a performance by Dr. Alan Solter as Mark Twain. 6 p.m. June 12 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Hampton. $30 benefits North Hills Community Outreach. Reservations: 412-487-6316 opt. 1 or


"Eating as if Your Health Depended on It": Registered dietitian George Eisman leads this class on healthy eating. 12:30 p.m. Sunday, June 2, at Pittsburgh Public Market, Strip District. (He'll also be the featured guest on Chef Tom Totin's "Cookspeak!" podcast, which is recorded live from 11 a.m. to noon Sundays at Pittsburgh Public Market.)

Pierogi making: Sam Stone of Samantha Stone Catering teaches a hands-on class. 2 p.m. Sunday, June 2, at McGinnis Sisters Monroeville. $35. Reservations required: 412-858-7000 ext. 7.

Eating Local: Co-op Wellness Workshops: Learn about the health aspects of buying local food, watch a cooking demo and tour the co-op. 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on June 4, 12 or 20 at East End Food Co-op, Point Breeze. Sponsored by Farm to Table Pittsburgh. For an invitation, e-mail


Chief Egg Officer: Apply to become CEO ("Chief Egg Officer") of Eggland's Best by submitting an application before July 31 at Winner gets $5,000 and a year's supply of Eggland's Best eggs.

Collard slaw with mustard seed vinaigrette

  • 1 bunch collard greens, washed and shredded

  • 2 cups green cabbage, shredded

  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded

  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced thinly

  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips

  • 1 carrot, shredded

  • 1 or 2 jalapenos, minced

For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 1/2 cup brown mustard seeds

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil

Wash, prepare and combine all vegetables.

For dressing, in a medium bowl or using a hand blender, combine the vinegar, honey, mustard seeds and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk or blend until the honey is dissolved. Slowly add the oil until the mixture is emulsified.

Toss the slaw mix with the dressing about 15 minutes before serving. Adjust seasonings as necessary.

-- Whole Foods Market, East Liberty

Rebecca Sodergren: or on Twitter @pgfoodevents.


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