Summer Events at Chatham

Posted in Uncategorized on June 11th, 2012 by awest2 – Comments Off

Hi! Happy Summer!

Katie and Amanda have written about some great events in the Pittsburgh local community in recent blog posts. Did you know that Chatham University also sponsors some of its own events for the summer?

If you are feeling the heat, maybe you would like to take a dip in the pool at the Eden Hall Campus! There is a shuttle that leaves from the chapel and goes to the Eden Hall Campus every Saturday from 12:00 noon to 5:00pm. On June 30, there is even a Fourth of July celebration!

Also, as a student you are able to purchase tickets for just $10 (and $15 for a guest) to great summer musicals and shows. I went last Wednesday to see “Come Fly Away” which was a captivating dance and music presentation of Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits. There are also tickets to “A Chorus Line” on Thursday, June 21 and “Annie” on Tuesday, July 3.

For more information, visit the events section in the middle of your mychatham.edu account or Contact the Office of Student Life.

Enjoy the summer and keep cool!

Anna

Pittsburgh Seed and Story Library

Posted in Pittsburgh Most Livable City on April 24th, 2012 by awest2 – Comments Off

Since this is my last blog entry as a Graduate Admission Ambassador, I thought it would be appropriate to talk a little bit about my thesis project and my plans for it post-Food Studies. In the Food Studies program, you are able to choose between a traditional paper format thesis and a project-based thesis accompanied by a shorter paper explaining your methodology and the importance of your project as it relates to the food system. I had a difficult time seeing myself writing the traditional paper and opted instead for the latter. My thesis has proven to me over and over again that I am in the right field and this is what I am supposed to be doing. I can only hope that most graduate students have this type of relationship with the most prominent component of their graduate career.

My project is called the Pittsburgh Seed & Story Library. It is a project in partnership with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and will be housed in the Lawrenceville branch of the library system. The first and most tangible component of the PS&SL will be the seed library itself. It consists of seeds that are free for the borrowing to the public that are inside an old card catalog. The best way to describe how exactly the seed library works is that it works much like the traditional library where you check out books. You will fill out a membership form and receive a number and be able to “check out” seeds for the season. Patrons take seeds with the hope that they will grow a couple of their plants to maturity (past the harvesting/eating stage) and save the seeds. They will then bring the seeds back to the seed library (thus “returning” them) at the end of the season so that others can use them the next season. The hope with this is that the seed supply will continue to grow and the seeds that we do have will be regionally adapted to our climate. This is important mainly because seed that has been saved over a few seasons in one place are more likely to be more successful here as plants compared to those that are not. They are able to withstand weird weather (snow in October AND late April anyone?) that can sometimes occur.

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It’s also important to be a source of education and assistance with this project, especially since many people do not know how to save seeds. Through the PS&SL there will be a few classes that have to do with seeds and seed saving, especially with the easier vegetables that beginners can start saving such as tomatoes and beans. There will be several classes held by the library because the PS&SL is part of a larger programming effort from the Carnegie Library System called “Gardening Thyme” that will also be holding classes about bees, chickens, and various gardening efforts.

The other piece of this is an oral history project. I will be interviewing people who have lived in Lawrenceville and Bloomfield and have had some sort of history with gardening, whether they had a garden growing up and don’t garden anymore or whether it has been a part of their lives all along. I’ll be asking how gardening in Pittsburgh has affected their lives, where they got their seeds, reasons for growing things at home, etc. It will then be uploaded onto YouTube for everyone to see. The hope is that people will upload their own stories and within a few years we will have a nice cross section of Pittsburgh gardening history available to the public.

If you live in Pittsburgh I’d love for you to check out the seed library when you have a chance. It will be open for use starting May 26th!

Best of luck with everything, everyone!
Amanda

Best of the Burgh in the Summer time

Posted in Pittsburgh Most Livable City, Uncategorized on April 19th, 2012 by koneill1 – Comments Off

These are some of my favorite summertime traditions in Pittsburgh. I always try to fill my summers with as many outdoor activities as possible because the heat of summer is fleeting, and the chilly days of winter always seem to approach too quickly.

Farmers Markets- Exploring a farmer’s market on a sunny day is perfection in my book. The smells, sights, and friendly faces always draw me in, and I always end up buying a decent amount of my food from markets in and around Pittsburgh. Farmers markets are offered in nearly every neighborhood and usually range from May-November. They haven’t posted this year’s information online yet, but check this out for an idea of when and where they will be held!  http://old.post-gazette.com/pg/11132/1145807-34.stm  Farm fresh vegetables, fruits, local meats and cheese, homemade treats are abundant at the markets. Your taste buds will thank you, because there is nothing better than eating local fare in season.

Skyblast Night at PNC Park- Baseball is not really my thing, but I love going to see a Pirates Game at PNC Park in the summer. PNC Park sits on the north side of the Allegheny River, with stunning views of downtown Pittsburgh. Cool river breezes always seem to waft the scent of hot dogs, roasted peanuts, and kettle corn into the air. On sky blast night they sometimes have a concert accompanied with a Fireworks show courtesy of the famous Zambelli family. The atmosphere of the game, time spent with family and friends, and the firework show framed by the downtown skyline make for memories that will last for years to come. Did I mention that tickets are usually inexpensive? About 10.00 -55 for tickets.

Hiking/Biking in Pittsburgh-As I said earlier, I love to be outside when it is warm and sunny out. Even on a blisteringly hot day, a walk through the shaded path of a park can be the perfect escape from the heat of the sun. Below are four of my favorite places to hike and bike in the city during the summer.

Frick

Schenley

North Shore Riverfront Park and Trail

Southside Riverfront Trail

Outdoor dining is one of my favorite parts of summer. Enjoying a refreshing drink and a mouthwatering meal all in the company of friends, fresh air, and sunshine is the perfect way to enjoy the weather. Listed below are restaurants that will cater to a variety of tastes. Click on the link to explore more about each restaurant!

Some of my favorite places to eat outside:

North Side

Penn Brewery

Bettis Grille

Shadyside

Marios Eastside

Harris Grill

Girasole

William Penn Tavern

East Liberty

Paris 66

BRGR

Plum

 

Strip District

Rolands Seafood Grill

Kaya

South Side

The Library

Hofbrauhaus

Double Wide Grill

Lawrenceville

Round Corner Cantina

Church Brew Works

Pastitsio

Land and Water recreation:

Kayak Pittsburgh- I use to row in high school and college, so I always jump at the chance to get back on the water and relive my rowing days. You can rent kayaks for a very reasonable price and explore the downtown area via the river. The views are unbelievable.

Venture Outdoors-You can get a membership for Venture Outdoors, and they offer so many great programs throughout the year at a discounted price for members, especially during the summertime.

 

 

 

Ice Cream and Cool Treats are what I live for during the summer. Nothing makes me happier than downing an enormous scoop of ice cream on a sweltering summer day.

Mercurios- Italian style gelato with so many flavors you could faint from the pressure of having to choose between them.

Milk Shake Factory-55 milk shake flavors are offered. Need I say more?

Dave and Andy’s- Classic Pittsburgh Ice cream. This place cannot be skipped.

Razzy Fresh DIY Frozen Yogurt sundaes. Sign me up.

Klavon’s- An old-fashioned ice cream parlor and soda fountain in a once-functioning pharmacy. Their creamy chocolate milkshakes are so thick that your straw is rendered useless. You need to go here for their treats and the art-deco ambiance.

Oh Yeah! Ice Cream and Coffee- Delicious ice cream and soy based ice cream flavors.

 

Concerts-My love of concerts cannot be overstated. See blog entry “The Live Music Scene in Pittsburgh” for concert information for Pittsburgh.

 

Please feel free to comment and add on your favorite summer traditions in Pittsburgh!

 

 

Om at Chatham

Posted in Campus Events, Pittsburgh Most Livable City, Uncategorized on March 30th, 2012 by awest2 – Comments Off

photo from Whirl MagazineNormally many of the fitness classes are reserved for Chatham’s undergraduate population. They take fitness classes as part of their physical fitness credits. Since graduate students have no such requirement folks who want fitness classes feel they have to go outside of the university to get the class they want sometimes.

This semester, however, graduate students have had two opportunities to take yoga classes. I wanted to highlight these, especially for all you yogis out there, just so you can see that the graduate student options for fitness classes are on the rise!

On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-6pm, the Office of Student Activities offers a FREE (free!!) yoga class on the Shadyside campus. Free yoga classes are hard to come by and a couple of our grad ambassadors have taken this class and give it the stamp of approval. It’s only an hour so consider it a constructive study break!

At the Eden Hall campus, there are also yoga classes on Monday and Friday. They are $5 for students and $8 for the public. The classes are taught by Maggi Lang, the Founder and Director of the Sage Center for Living Well. The classes have a strong meditative component and are for all ages and all skill levels!

Pittsburgh has a ton of yoga offerings. It probably isn’t a stretch to say that any style of yoga can be found within the city. Here is a list of many (but definitely not all) of the yoga studios and the deals that they offer.

Yoga Flow- Shadyside. This is the studio I tend to frequent. If you are new to the studio you can get 2 weeks of unliminted yoga for $25. Darcy is a fantastic teacher and works a lot of meditation into the practice. It’s a great, balanced practice. Additionally, they have community classes that teachers in training teach. You can check those out for $5! Amazing Yoga, which is in Shadyside, Southside, and Wexford have the same 2 weeks for $25 deal, too!

The Union Project in East Liberty offers a variety of community classes, among them a pay what you can yoga class! The class is every Wednesday from 7:30-8:30. Check out this link for more information: http://www.unionproject.org/community-events-classes

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy hosts free yoga classes in Schenley Plaza twice a week starting in June and going through September. This is something I will absolutely be trying this year. They don’t have all the information up yet but this is the website you will check out once they do: http://www.pittsburghparks.org/plaza-public-programs

This listi is just the beginning! Are there any places I missed that you feel deserve a shout out? Let us know!

Pittsburgh- VA Connection

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23rd, 2012 by awest2 – Comments Off

I’m from a small town in the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, about 65 west of Washington, DC, called Winchester, Virginia. Every spring during the first weekend in May, the small town nearly doubles its size for the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. It is a weekend of parades, parties, dances, music festivals, a circus, a carnival, a mid-way of county fair style food and games, a 10K race, and the coronation of a Queen.

Yes, a Queen.  Queen Shenandoah is crowned in a coronation ceremony of pomp and circumstance, given the key to the city, a bouquet of local apple blossoms, and asked to have a royally good time participating in the festivities.  She presides over a court of princesses, little maids and pages.  Yes, it is a bit silly, but it is tradition and it is fun nonetheless.

Typically the Queen is a celebrity or politician’s daughter, and this year is no different.  Today, the festival announced this year’s selection- Jazz Dorsett, daughter of Tony Dorsett, to be crowned the eighty-fifth Queen Shenandoah.   What is unique is the connection to Pittsburgh.  I did not realize until today that Tony Dorsett is from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and played football (and won a Heisman Award) at the University of Pittsburgh!

See the Shenandoah Apple Blossom press release for more information:http://www.thebloom.com/news.html

The article also references that a portion of the Dorsett family lives in Pittsburgh will be traveling to the festival!  As a current Pittsburgher and a native of Winchester, I would like to welcome the Dorsetts to the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival!

-Anna

The live music scene in Pittsburgh

Posted in Pittsburgh Most Livable City on March 1st, 2012 by koneill1 – Comments Off

With spring quickly approaching, I can only think of a few things: sunshine, picnics, and live music. With each lengthening day I become more excited about spring break and the beginning of the 2012 outdoor concert season. As a grad student, summer no longer equals carefree days of freedom from schoolwork, but it still incites happiness because warm weather and concerts are plentiful. Concerts are the essence of summer and I plan to spend many days and nights beneath the midsummer sky listening to great music in the company of good friends.

I wanted to create a guide for music in Pittsburgh for current and prospective Chatham students. This is not by any means a comprehensive list, I am not an expert, but here are some places to get started.

For graduate students, free is always better. Pittsburgh has several free music events throughout the concert season. Last August I saw Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at Hartwood acres, as part of the Allegheny County Concert Series, and it was a phenomenal (and free) show.

Here is a list of some free music events in Pittsburgh-

WYEP Summer concert 

Third Thursdays at WYEP

Allegheny County Concert Series at South Park/Hartwood- All Summer long

Three rivers art festival- June 1st-June 10th 2012

Station square summer street jam

Pittsburgh Banjo Club

Pittsburgh Opera’s Brown Bag Opera Concerts 

Concerts are held annually at Heinz field, the Consol Energy Center, Heinz Hall, Peterson Events center, and various other venues. I admit that I haven’t attended a concert at one of the larger venues within the city, except during an 8thgrade field trip to see the symphony at Heinz Hall. My favorite concert venues are usually the smaller stages like Stage AE and Mr. Smalls. There are also tons of bars that have music events too, like Brillobox, Club Cafe, and Sonny’s Tavern! Although Pittsburgh is a small city, it has a burgeoning music scene that caters to all tastes in music. More importantly, it has great venues both large and small, to make concert enjoyable depending on your preference.

Also, Pittsburgh hosts various festivals throughout the year with diverse food and music. Eating delicious food while listening to free music happens to be one of my favorite things to do, so I’m very excited to check out food and cultural festivals  this summer. Check out the Carnegie Library Event page for month to month festival information!

Last year I attended Bonnaroo, a 4 day music and arts festival in Manchester Tennessee and I saw some amazing shows ranging from the Black Keys, Florence+ the Machine, Eminem,  Arcade Fire, Mumford&Sons, and many more. These types of festivals allow for you to get a lot of bang for your buck and allow for you to see many diverse acts. If you are interested in larger music festivals, but do not want to drive to Tennessee, Chicago, or California, no worries. There are several options within a couple hours of Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania:

Rights of Spring Festival

Musikfest

Ohio:

All Good festival

Midpoint Music Festival

Rock on the Range

New York:

Clear Water Festival

Mountain Jam

Maryland:

Delfest

Virgin Mobile Festival

Pittsburgh is a great city with tons of options for live music. Check out the tickemaster link to stay up on concert events in and around the city.

Link to Ticketmaster for Concert announcements http://www.ticketmaster.com/browse?category=10001&root=10001&tm_link=tm_music_moremusic#nfb_skip_left_content

 

 

 

The Weathervane

Posted in Uncategorized on February 6th, 2012 by awest2 – Be the first to comment

While giving campus tours, I always tell prospective students about our snackbar, the Weathervane.  I also like to point out that I really eat on campus 2-3 times per week, and quite enjoy the food here.  I’m not sure if prospective students really believe me, so I thought I’d write about it this week.

Today at the Weathervane, I got a cup of Tomato mint soup and a side of tuna salad with pita wedges – all for $4.50!  The soup is part of this week’s Indian flavor inspiration, called the Hemisflavor of the week, and the soup had a delicious spicy flavor, and fragrant smell.  The tuna salad is staple of my Chatham University diet.  I get it as a side, as a sandwich, and on a salad – nothing earth shatteringly original, but always fresh and always satisfying.

Typically, I go into the Weathervane and grab something from the already prepared section, but if I have a little more time or if I’m in the mood for something a little different, I can also order from the made-to-order menu of sandwiches, subs, and soups.  When I order sandwiches, I often like to substitute a healthy side salad for only 75 cents instead of getting chips or pretzels.  I really like the daily soups made from scratch.  I also like that there is fresh fruit available and little cups of hummus.

Although, I just pointed out the healthy options on campus, I do have to admit that here in the Graduate Admissions office, we have a weak spot for the sweet potato fries and the three amigos sandwich, which is a blended grilled cheese on fresh sourdough bread. We highly recommend these tasty items!

I appreciate the freshness and variety of food on campus, as well as the environmental responsibility and health consciousness.   Many of the items on the menu are made with ingredients that are local and sustainable There are always vegan and vegetarian options on campus.  Most of the paper and plastic supplies are either made from recycled materials or are compostable or both.  Of course, there are recycling and compost collections in the dining areas of campus.

I don’t have a meal plan, but they are available for Graduate students that live on or off campus.  Graduate students can also eat at Anderson, the traditional dining hall as well.  Students can either use their meal plan or pay a set fee for a meal at Anderson. In addition to the Weathervane, there are also some grab-and- go snacks, sandwiches, and salads at Café Rachel, the coffee shop on campus.   Café Rachel also has a reusable mug program and refills are only a $1!

Here’s a sample of the menu for today:

On the Menu for Monday, February 6, 2012

Download Menu

Eggs Any Way and Omelets
Breakfast Potatoes and Hot Cereal
Sausage and Bacon
Fresh Fruit and Yogurt

Download Menu

Chicken Noodle Soup
Tomato Mint Soup
Rotisserie Chicken
Salmon with Mango Tomatillo Salsa
Green Beans
Local Buttercup Squash
Home Fries
Cuban Ham and Cheese Sandwich
The Grill
Chicken Scampi
Palak Paneer

White Pizza
Pepperoni Pizza
Cheese Pizza
Fresh Roasted Vegetables
Pasta and Marinara &

Download Menu

Baked Pork Chops and Vegetables
Chicken Romano
Vegetable Tika Masala
Zucchini and Tomato
Minted Basmati Rice
Spaghetti and Meatballs with Breadsticks
Vegetable Biryani

For more information: http://www.chatham.edu/campuslife/services/dining.cfm

Bon appetit!

Anna

‘Tis the Season…FOR FINALS.

Posted in Uncategorized on December 8th, 2011 by awest2 – Be the first to comment

Graduate school is hard work year-round, but no other time is more stressful than the end of the semester. I personally have to do three presentations in less than a week, one 20 page paper, and one ten page paper. Whew! As much as we try to utilize our time management skills (or lack thereof), plan ahead, and do our work ahead of time, it seems as if this time of year always sneaks up on us. So, in the spirit of the season where coffee flows freely, the midnight oil burns (and burns…AND BURNS…), and quick transitions from panic to inspiration are common, I wanted to provide some tips for getting assignments finished and turned in and preparing for the semester to come.

Getting through finals, doing well, and taking care of yourself, too!:
When we’re stressed out and on a deadline, it’s hard to imagine ever being able to finish all the work that you have and being proud of the final product. It’s a large order to fill, but we have to remember to be gentle with ourselves. Distractions run amuck this time of year and that can impede our progress. Instead of hopping onto facebook every ten minutes (guilty as charged!), set an alarm on your phone for an hour from now and use that hour to work diligently, no straying from your work. When your alarm goes off take a breather for 10-15 minutes! Take a walk, watch a funny YouTube clip, or do some stretches. The point of this is to be present in the task at hand whether that is writing your paper or enjoying a break. My friend Cory gave me that tip and while I’ve just consciously started doing it, I can already tell that it’s helping me.
Really try to not pull all-nighters if you can help it. It may seem logical when there is so much on your plate, but if you allow yourself some sleep you’ll be able to function much better and be more productive in the daytime.
Set concrete goals for yourself every day during this week and work to achieve them, but don’t make these goals too lofty! For example, the other day I told myself I would write ten pages and finish a report (but I also had a phone interview and class in the evening). Unless I wanted to forgo sleep and “me time” (see above!), this wasn’t going to happen. After work today, I hope to write at least five more pages of my 20-page paper. This is a sensible goal and if I happen to exceed it I will feel awesome!
It’s also helpful to have a furry friend keep you on track!

Desmond the Enforcer

Preparing for the next semester:
Taking advantage of the lighter load earlier in the semester can potentially save you a lot of pain later on. If you notice that for the first couple weeks of classes you have less reading overall than in other parts of the semester, don’t be afraid to READ AHEAD, even if it’s just skimming. This really comes in handy during the times when “life happens.” Sometimes you have to spend hours at the vet when your cat is sick. This can really curb your studying time. It’s nice to have wiggle room.
Get a really great planner. Besides a pen it is one of the most important tools (and gifts) you can give yourself in your grad career. Every Sunday I sit down with my planner and try to figure out a blueprint for how my week needs to go. What assignments are due, what meetings do I have, and am I getting lunch with a friend on Wednesday? If you’re anything like me, you won’t know unless you write it down.
On that note, Sundays can be the most useful and productive days of your semester. In addition to having a date with my planner, I try to cook for myself for the week. In the fall and winter that means I make a batch of soup and freeze it or I roast lots of vegetables and cook up a big pot of rice. Simple food preparations can be done relatively quickly and while that’s cooking you can catch up on some reading (or your favorite TV show, lazy Sundays are great, too).
Knowing how much time you need to put into a class is a huge part of figuring out how you want your weekly schedule to be during the semester. The common calculation is, for example, if your class runs three hours per week you should AT LEAST be spending that much time outside of class on the readings and various assignments for said class. Sometimes it will be more and sometimes it will be less, but blocking out that time in your schedule every week will help you with your time management overall.
Finals week is guaranteed to be overwhelming at one point or another but if you approach it with these ideas in mind, you may come out ahead! It’s important to get your work done and do a good job, but you also can’t neglect yourself. Good luck everyone and Happy Holidays!

My “Be A 6th Grade Mentor” Experience

Posted in Uncategorized on December 2nd, 2011 by awest2 – Be the first to comment

As a Chatham University graduate student, I also have the opportunity to be able to be involved in the Pittsburgh community.  This school year on every Wednesday, I go to Schiller Classical Academy, a magnet middle school in Pittsburgh’s North Side to mentor my new friend, a cheerful seventh grader during school lunch.   I am participating in a collaborative community program called Be a 6th Grade Mentor .

Described on the website, Be a 6th Grade Mentor is “A project of United Way of Allegheny County, in collaboration with the Youth Futures Commission, Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania, this ambitious initiative counts of the recruitment of hundreds of mentors, Western Pennsylvanians from all walks of life, representing all kinds of careers, to spend time with local students. By meeting with a 6th grade student at school, for just an hour a week, mentors are exposing students to a world of possibilities. And by volunteering time in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, we’re letting kids know that they’ve got a future. For staying in school. For going to college. For having a career. For having a successful life. “

It has been great just to get away from the stress of my life to focus on one special middle school student.  Although the program is titled for sixth grade, both seventh and eighth graders are also included in the mentoring program.  The program focuses on middle school adjustment, high school and college preparation, and career exploration.

A typical day consists of just catching up and sharing with my mentee at first while lunch is finished.  Then we typically have some sort of activity planned by the Site Coordinator, which my site is coordinated by Big Brothers/Big Sisters.    Two weeks ago, we had a presentation by Justin Forzano, who is also a mentor, and is the founder of a non-profit called Cameroon Football Development Project.  Justin told the students about his time in West Africa and explained our daily American lives are in some ways connected to Africa.

This week had a have a visit from RIF- Reading is Fundamental and all of the students were able to choose a book to order and will be given the book in the next few weeks.  My mentee and I decided to both read the book, so that we can discuss it when we meet.  Next week, we are planning to shadow our students during one of their classes.  My mentee asked me to come to his history class because that is one of his favorite classes.

Although I am in the Masters of Arts in Teaching program, this is not a component of my academic program, nor is any teaching experience necessary to participate in the program.  Anyone with a little time and a caring heart can be an excellent mentor for Pittsburgh middle school student that needs a little support and a friend.

-Anna

Sand Hill Berries: A mid-semester trip

Posted in Uncategorized on November 16th, 2011 by awest2 – Be the first to comment

On one of the last sunny and warm days that the Pittsburgh region will see for several months, I traveled with 3 other food studies students, Alyssa, Teresa, and Jenalee to Sand Hill Berries Farm in Mount Pleasant, a small town 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh. Although I was nearly drowning in schoolwork, I didn’t care. Berries, wine, and sprawling farmland were calling my name. Teresa, with curly hair and infectious smile, drove us fearlessly through the Parkway east rush hour traffic. Before we knew it, we were out of urban Pittsburgh, and surrounded by rolling green hills and quaint houses shadowed by changing hues of the Laurel Mountains.

For the past several weeks I have worked with Rob Schilling at the Market Square Farmer’s Market, helping him sell various baked goods, apples, and jams to his happy and addicted patrons.  (It is a well known fact that his raspberry chocolate cookies and blackberry pie are addicting). I was really excited to come out to the farm and see where everything I sold (and ate) on a weekly basis was made. As we pulled on to the property, we were greeted by Rob and his friendly adopted black lab.

It was the perfect fall day, with just a small nip in the air as we walked upon the expansive grounds at Sand Hill Berries Farm. Rob’s dog followed us around, running through bushes and wagging her tail as we were lead around. We learned about the history of the farm as we walked the grounds, with 12 guinea fowl pecking the ground nearby. We toured the apple orchard, berry fields, and vineyard with a small tour of the processing plant (aka the bakery). The smells emitted from that building were short of heavenly. Buttery, fruity goodness wafted upon every molecule of air. As if I wasn’t hungry enough…

Sand Hill Berries also has a winery on site, called Greendance Winery. We tested wines from a rhubarb fruit wine, their famous Isabella wine, to a smoky dry red called Barbera which I couldn’t help but take home. They had a seasonal special libation called Applejack cider that was phenomenal. A homemade apple cider spiked with their dry syrah wine and spices served warm that was like drinking in a crisp fall night by the fire. PA wines get a bad reputation sometimes, but Greendance Winery blasts away all of that negativity. PA wine can be great, which is evidenced by their growing customer base, and the fact that between the 4 of us, we took home 8 bottles.

After our tour, we stopped in the Farm Store to check out their baked goods, fresh apples, jams, and other goods. Even though I work with Sand Hill every Thursday, I couldn’t stop myself from getting some of their famous raspberry vinaigrette, and a raspberry chocolate cookie (of course). Everyone we met that day, from workers in the kitchen, the winemakers, the tasting expert, and of course Rob mirrored the kindness and warmth that all of their baked products exude. It’s truly a family run operation that cares about their products, land, and community.

After our day of walking the fields, processing plant, and winery, Teresa, Jenalee, Alyssa, and I sat outside on the patio devouring Sand Hill’s homemade Cheesecake that was smothered in a fresh raspberry dessert sauce. The creaminess of the cheesecake paired perfectly with the sugary tartness of the raspberry sauce. A few honey bees wandered by and tried to taste some as well. The heat of the late October sun poured down upon us as we enjoyed our dessert, and I nearly exploded from the enormous cheesecake serving. The enormous calorie load that I just ingested was totally worth it.

With bellies full of cheesecake and berries, we started our drive home, chasing the sun, and returning closer to the stacks of readings and homework that awaited us. At least for a few brief hours we had a break from the intensity of academic work, surrounded by berries, animals, and good company. I vow to go back, because the Farmer’s market is almost over, and I’ll need my fix of chocolate raspberry cookies and local wine. If you are ever interested in some local baked goods, jams, wines, and other fruits check out Sand Hill Berries. You will not be disappointed!

 

All photos courtesy of Jenalee Schenk