Monday, 13 April 2009

Going local in Pennsylvania

I just received an email from this chap above. His name is Ken Hull, he's an artist from Pennsylvania, and he thought I might be interested in a book he's written called 'going LOCAL!' (He's so passionate about this that only caps and an exclamation mark will suffice.)

It turns out Ken has spent years riding, exploring and tasting his way across central PA, bypassing the US's numerous chains behind and finding the best locally owned places for food, beer and coffee. His book brings together some of his favourite spots.

If you're heading to Pennsylvania, order a copy from his site: In the meantime, here's a taste of one of his local experiences:

Elk Creek Café and Aleworks –
100 West Main Street, Millheim, PA. (814) 349-8850

A number of years ago Tim Bowser helped to open a little place called the Equinox Cafe in Millheim. Situated along Rt. 45, this is a one stoplight town and not really a place one would invest money and time in to create an eclectic coffee shop. But when Tim and associates opened the doors of the Equinox, it was like the whole consciousness of the valley opened and folks poured in…

The place was a Mecca for coffee, simple foods and the best BYOB music jams in the valley. But, in 2006, Tim presented his beloved community with the next chapter in his already awesome dream – a full-blown brew pub and restaurant. They responded with resounding support and financial backing, and the seeds of Elk Creek Café & Aleworks were planted. (And if you know anything about Penns Valley, you know it's a fertile land and anything planted here grows strong and hearty.)

Going local is something Tim is very passionate about. Elk Creek uses nearly 100 % local organic meat and dairy. Produce is “in season” and the beer is brewed and kegged in the back room.

The official cuisine at Elk Creek is called Nuevo Dutchie – a combination of gastro pub food and what rural Pennsylvania is known for – Dutch-style cooking. According to Tim, “Dutch cuisine is a cookery of the land, you used what was available and you used everything except the oink.” And this place is, as Tim put it so well, “an omnivore’s delight”. Meat lovers as well as vegans can enjoy a wonderful meal prepared fresh and at a fair price.

Tim set out to cultivate a gathering place for the community, brew great beer, serve great food, support and showcase local produce, meats, dairy, music and art – all in a sweet place and all with a great vibe. He told me his “community” is not just Millheim and Penns Valley (that's his home), but his reach goes well beyond his grasp and he considers any like minded folks no matter where they're from, a part of his community. He's a true indie spirit whose dream has been made reality and it’s waiting for you in Penns Valley at the Elk Creek Café and Ale Works. Enjoy!