Monday, July 4, 2011
From Red Lion, PA
Well, it's not Tuscany or the Napa Valley. But this Fourth of July weekend brought a lovely, characteristically American, surprise quick trip to wine county, PA. A dear friend from California returned unexpectedly to the area due to a death in her family and asked me to accompany her on the drive to return her daughter to York, PA. The drive time allowed for great catch-up conversation and we reflected on family, relationships, life, health care and friendships. She arranged for us to stay overnight at the Red Lion B & B. Most of my overnight trips are to places like Fairfield Inns or Courtyards (got to use those Marriott points!). The B & B was lovely and the owner-couple also run a local bakery-tea room. Dani, the wife, is an accomplished pastry chef and she prepared a great breakfast of French Toast (I nibbled); fruit cup, bacon and raspberries with cream. The raspberries were tiny and picked from the garden outside the inn. We were seated at an outdoor table with a couple who were in the area to attend a Mennonite wedding. We had a delightful conversation about the wedding, and they shared stories of the ceremony (lots of a capella singing), the food (a sit-down dinner served family style) and the interaction of men and women (apparently not much). We talked about various ethic wedding and related food customs. It was the kind of conversation that would not spring forth at a chain hotel, where CNN blares and USA today provides reading material for isolated, silent dining.
Before heading back so she could catch her flight, we stopped at Brown's Orchard and Farm Market in Loganville, PA; the photo captures part of their nursery operation. Adjacent to the store is an outlet for Logan's View Winery.
We browsed and I bought local cherries, zucchini, potatoes and three bottles of wine. The winery is new, offering its first wines for sale in August 2009. The grapes are grown on Brown's land and the fruit wines are made with fruit from Brown's orchards. One of the wines is a cherry one, so I am looking forward to serving it with their cherries as a dessert. It's a strictly grown and produced local proposition. I picked up the Brown's newsletter and during the long PA turnpike ride home, I read it. It was packed with information about local artists, local performances, a feature on all the employees they have named Linda, their 'pick our own' program for fruits, a farm-based summer camp and recipes.
I am going to try this one which comes from www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.
Watermelon-Blueberry Banana Split (Serves 4)
2 large ripe bananas, 8 scoops of watermelon (take out the seeds), 1 pint blueberries, 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt, 1/4 cup crunchy cereal nuggets or granola ( I think I will use nuts instead)
Cut the bananas crosswise in half, cut each piece lengthwise in half. For each serving, place 2 pieces of banana against the sides of a long shallow desert dish. Place a scoop of watermelon at each end of the dish. Fill the center with blueberries, Stir the yogurt until smooth, spoon over the fruit. Sprinkle with cereal nuggets or granola.
I loved this getaway and the fact that the places we patronized were local independent businesses, made possible by American entrepreneurs (and not a McDonald's or Wal-Mart in sight). Happy Independence Day!