Dillner Family Farm

Dillner Family Farm is a third generation farm located in Gibsonia. Having been around since the 1940’s, the farm boasts several greenhouses, blueberry bushes and an orchard.  The greenhouses enable them to extend their growing season by planting earlier in the spring and transferring to the fields when the weather is appropriate.  They also practice sustainable methods and use the least amount of materials necessary to ensure a fantastic product.

st james farmer's marketDillner offers a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture to their customers each year.  You can sign up for a small or large family basket which are always full of seasonal produce.  This week’s small share consists of red potatoes, fresh cut chives, bosc pears and acorn squash to name a few.

Check out their website www.dillnerfamilyfarm.com for tips on storing produce and awesome recipes like gingered pear and squash soup!

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Parking Survey Results

Results to our recent parking survey show there IS a parking problem, but the comments confirmed that it could be more about the perception than actually finding spaces. Here’s what we found.

40% of voters who said there was not a parking problem could always find a space within 2 blocks of town. 60% said they could not find a space close enough and would move their car to a closer destination.  If there are spaces available it is not a “space” problem, but perceived as inconvenient shopping. An example of a Wal-Mart parking lot or a parking garage with 1,000’s of parking places is similar to this small town perceived “problem”. When there are no spaces available near the front entrance, customers complain and circle until they are closer to their destination. Big malls and shopping centers are often perceived as having “easier” parking availability and yet shoppers need to walk much farther than 2 Sewickley blocks to reach their destination.

60% of voters said that parking meters were too high-priced. The current meters on Beaver and Broad are 25¢ for 30 minutes.  There are local towns and city meters that are 25¢ for 5 minutes. Comparing our “overly priced” $5 ticket to neighboring $15-$120 does not seem as outlandish as once commonly perceived. Meters on Beaver and Broad limit time to 2 hours, where as (a little known fact) meters on Straight Street, Thorn, and Centennial range from 7.5 to 10 hours and they cost 25¢ for every 2 hours! More than enough time when considering the Borough of Sewickley only has metered parking from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday and FREE on Saturday and Sunday.  There are other local town and city meters that charge 24 hours 7 days a week.

Several comments were made to encourage FREE parking. That “enhancement” to Sewickley could have the same effect it has on malls and Wal-Marts as closer spaces are not likely to open up often. To improve parking management it has been suggested that parking turnovers need to be high. Time limitations, meters, ticketing and a parking management program is important to the commerce of a main street. There are different amounts of time needed for services, shopping/dining and employment. Meters should offer the flexibility to the consumer to manage their time appropriately.  Reports have shown in some main street management that visitors and shoppers perceived a sense of worth and value to a community with metered parking as compared to free parking.

Sewickley is a fairly compact town that does not “sprawl” as far as malls and shopping centers. Therefore, our survey results showed that it was enjoyable to come to town for 50¢ an hour and experience the unique walkable community. In fact, Sewickley scores a 71 on a walkable town score (not too shabby for a small town).

Some felt it was the solution, others opposing, that parking garages and 2 story parking lots were the answer to Sewickley’s woes. Would it take away from the small town feel, robbing prime real estate from more commerce potential, or would that be the hub of centralized parking efficiency that the town is missing?

Overall, observations were made from store owners and residents alike that prime meters in front of stores should not be used by people who work in town but kept for the shoppers to conveniently stop in and shop. The longer term meters are better served for the 9-5 hours and shorter term meters for those running errands and supporting local businesses.

Perhaps this survey put some opinions to rest and provided a new perspective, perhaps not.  60% to 40% is not an overwhelming win or loss, but perhaps a difference of perception, and something that can be improved upon by both sides working together.

Gray Farms – Farmer’s Market Vendor

From tomatillos and squash blossoms, to ground beef and “righteous” organic jerky, Gray Farms has it all.  Run by Rachel and Jeremy Gray, the farm is located in Butler, Pennsylvania, just east of Lake Arthur. Jeremy, aka “Farmer Gray” is a Quaker Valley graduate who moved back from New York City with his wife and twins in 2006 and began farming the way his grandfather had taught him.  Treating their vegetables the same way a wine maker would treat their vineyard; the Gray’s take pride in their soil and believe the hard work they have invested shines through in their organic produce. They thoroughly enjoy educating customers on what they have and how to prepare it and encourage people to come back and share their stories. A crowd favorite is the Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa.  Not only is the flavor of this dip incredibly
tasty, but unlike other guacamoles, it lasts up to two weeks!  So, head on down to
the market to gather up these fresh ingredients and not only will you be
supporting your local community, but you’ll be sure to impress your guests on
football Sunday.  Enjoy!

Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

½ pound Tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered

3-6 Jalapenos or Green Hot Portugal Peppers, (or mix) stemmed, seeded and halved

2-3 cloves Garlic, peeled

½ cup lightly packed fresh Cilantro

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2-3 large ripe Haas Avocados (smash with lime juice in separate bowl to desired consistency)

½ cup minced Onion

3+ Tablespoons Lime juice (amount from one lime)

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Tomato, finely diced

Preparation

Whirl tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic and cilantro in blender until pureed.  Pour into a bowl.  Stir in olive oil, onion, lime juice and tomato.  Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste.  Finally add avocado mixture and stir.

Uncle Fester’s

Sewickley Farmer's Market

Bill Wade/Post Gazette

Traveling to numerous farmer’s markets all over Allegheny County, Ed Foster from Clinton, Pa. graces Sewickley every Saturday at the St. James Farmers Market.

His products are under the name Uncle Fester’s with a long list of tasty homemade specialties including: pickled vegetables, bloody mary mix, honey, pickled eggs, barbecue sauces, homemade mustards, jams, dips and spreads.  If that wasn’t enough, it’s the Hot Peppers In Sauce that seem to garner all the attention as a popular topping for bruschetta and a spread for sandwiches.

Sewickley Farmer's MarketUncle Fester’s is difficult to pass up as he offers tastings to many jars of his yummy creations at the Farmer’s Market each week.  Even more difficult is how many you can fit in the pantry!  These items are a go to favorite all season long.

Sewickley Fall Gallery Walk and Music Fest

The Sewickley Gallery Walk continues to grow with more venues and the addition of live music.  Next Friday and Saturday, there will be over thirty venues hosting public art receptions.  On Friday night you will find Beaver Street closed to accomodate pedestrian traffic and two stages for live entertainment with a third stage by Cafe des Amis.  Musical guests include: The Terrance Vaughn Trio, Shawna Roxanne, Bailey Park, Broken Fences and Modern Insurgency.  For more information on the artists and the thirty venues, please read the press release at http://pitch.pe/174922.  Plan for a night out in Sewickley Friday night or exploring the art venues and new stores on Saturday.  The event is free and open to the public.  Hours are Friday from 5-9pm and Saturday from 10am-5pm.  Free metered parking after 3pm on Friday and all day Saturday.

Fix Up for Fall

As you get ready to “to fix up for fall”, we wanted to remind you of some local options for getting you and your home organized.  Many people don’t realize that the businesses in Sewickley offer some great services to help you out.

Orr’s Jewelers offers excellent service in cleaning your jewels at no cost.  Stop in to have your jewels and watches cleaned and while you wait peruse the jewelry cases.

Mario at Sewickley Shoe Repair is a hidden treasure here in town.  Pull out your fall shoes, belts and purses and take them to Mario to get them ready for the fall season.

Clothes hanging in your closet not fitting quite right?  Bring them down to the Sewing Suite on Division Street to have them altered.

Another great service can be found at Oriole Cleaners on Beaver Street.  Fluff up those furs, dust off the curtains and bring your area rugs to be cleaned.  Bill has weekly drop off and pick up for everything on your list.

To dress up the outside of your home, Robinson Home and Garden, has some great solutions.  From colorful mums of all sizes, to birdfeeders and seed, to pots and planters, your home can be spiffed up in no time.  And if you want to tidy up the inside of your home, don’t forget that they sell all kinds of cleaning supplies.

Maybe some travel is in your future.  Have some luggage or carry-on bags that need to be fixed?  Head to Kistler’s Barber Shop on Broad Street to drop them off.  Ross will have them fixed in no time at all so you can be on your way!

For a full listing of the stores and services in Sewickley please visit the store directory on www.exploresewickley.com.

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Mediterra Bakehouse

Carb lovers beware!  This week we’re going back to the bread and butter of it all.  Mediterra Bakehouse, a staple at the St. James Farmers Market, boasts products such as parmasean peppercorn loaf, sunflower honey whole wheat, pecan raisin bread and rosemary foccacia to name a few.  Founded by Nick Ambeliotis, Mediterra prides themselves on using the finest ingredients and keeping it simple.  With every loaf they make there are three main ingredients; flour, water and salt.  When other ingredients do come into play, such as in their cranberry pecan bread, they use only the finest quality around.  They use tried and true artisan techniques to create the perfect dark crust.  According to their website, www.mediterrabakehouse.com, the dark crust is a European tradition that not only gives the bread an overall better taste by caramelizing and locking in the flavor, but increases the shelf life as well.  Each loaf is baked on a stone hearth inside a steam injected oven to create a quality of bread that can’t be beat.  So whether you’re making sandwiches, French toast (with that pecan raisin bread) or slopping up that extra sauce on your plate be sure to check out everything this bakehouse has to offer.

Fall into Fashion

In conjunction with New York’s Fashion week we have decided to showcase the fabulous Fall finds that Sewickley has to offer.  With the cooler temps approaching, sweaters, boots and scarves will be the perfect complement to the Fall foliage.

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Enon Valley Garlic

Garlic variety of Enon Valley

Ron and Rosemary Stidmon began Enon Valley Garlic in 1994 when they escaped Manhattan for a quieter life.  They wanted to create a sustainable farm that was based on a combination of techniques seen in CSA’s, golf and airport communities.  Enon Valley Garlic started selling at the St. James Farmers Market in the middle of the 2010 season.  Primarily selling to other growers, they decided to bring their product and knowledge to Sewickley, and we’re glad they did! 

This growing season they have twenty-eight varieties of garlic and are currently selling twenty-two.  Their most popular, Korean Red, is used to make dishes like Kim Che and is hot and spicy in flavor.  Other varieties include Elephant garlic which is mild in flavor and perfect for roasting, and Italian Red which is used in a wide variety of Italian dishes.  They also sell garlic tapenade, spicy garlic hummus, garlic and jalepeno cooking wines and pickled and hot pickled garlic. Not only do they love growing and selling their product but they highly encourage people to grow their own as well.  Stop by to see them every Saturday through November at the Farmer’s Market.

McElhaney Family Farm

McElhaney Family Farm, located in Hookstown, PA is always a familiar face at the St. James Farmers Market.  Not only do they pride themselves on quality beef product but conservation practices as well.  All of their cattle are hormone free and fed a diet of grass, hay, haylage and green corn silage. Each week they provide featured recipes and are ready to recommend the perfect cut of meat to satisfy your needs.  Popular choices include flat iron, brisket, pulled bar-b-q and philly chip steaks.  They also offer grill packs, premium steak packs and a family pack which consists of 45-48 pounds of steak, roasts and ground beef, perfect for getting your family through the winter months!   For more information check out their website www.familyfarmbeef.com.