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New Program Offers Farm Fresh Products Online

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - In Sligo, Clarion County, on an early spring morning, Emanuel and Rosemary Schmidt's Hilltop Farm is picture pretty.

Like most Amish, they prefer not to be photographed, seeing it as a sign of "pride."

But the Schmidt's have plenty to be proud of.

They raise pigs, but not just any old pigs - pigs with a pedigree. These "Heritage Breed" hogs are rare "Berkshires" - descended from the oldest pig breed in Britain and are prized by the likes of Martha Stewart.

"It tastes like the best pork you've ever had," Trevett Hooper said.

Hooper is chef and co-owner of Legume, on Craig Street, along with other fine local restaurants. He said there is a marked difference in the meat.

"When animals are raised well, they have a good diet, the meat is going to taste better," Hooper said.

Pork from the Schmidt's farm is one of the newer items offered through the Penn's Corner Farm Alliance, a cooperative supporting more than 30 farmers here in southwestern Pennsylvania and provided restaurants and families with the best of the fresh.

Five years ago, we first profiled Penn's Corner and its CSA or Community Supported Agriculture.

We showed how members buy shares - giving farmers a stable income. In return, each shareholder gets a boxful of fruit, vegetables, honey, herbs, eggs - even flowers selected by the farmers and delivered to your neighborhood, every week during the growing season.

Now, there's another option. The Farm Stand - like the one at the Stephen Foster Community Center in Lawrenceville.

Unlike, the CSA, the "Farm Stand" allows you to go online and choose exactly what you want, how much and how often. Everything from Goose Creek Gardens' baby lettuce to a spicy bloody Mary mix from Clarion River Organics is available.

Folks can go online and order hundreds of different products from local farmers.

"We can get meats, we can get eggs, we can get cheese and honey," Cate Vockley said. "And as the summer months progress, all kinds of produce."

"This enables me to get those choice items that are farm fresh without having to commit to a lump monthly sum," Dora Walmsley said,

You can pick up your order at any one of five "Farm Stands" in the Pittsburgh area and can pay by credit card, cash or check.

"We find the food to be fresher. we like to participate in this neighborhood program that they have," Tom Katsafanas said.

Katsafanas believes he's getting more for his money as well as a way for 4-year-old Ryan to eat his vegetables.

For more information on Penn's Corner click here!


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