Grown Up Grilled Cheese

Going out to eat as a vegetarian isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially in Berks County. On top of that, finding producer-only markets is another big challenge, especially when there are pesticides a plenty in so many of our local farms. It’s our job to educate, and challenge those who still use the pesticides to change their ways, for our health and the health of future generations. As a community, we’ve taken some steps, banded together to try to entice a better grocery store to open in our area such as Whole Foods Market, and though unsuccessful, one of the things I discovered is that even without these high end grocers, we can still find an abundance of fresh, local, organically grown produce…you just have to know where to look and what questions to ask.

Back in the fall, I was lucky enough to interview a young, truly forward-thinking couple, who just happened to choose the simple life. Karah and Ben Davies, the owners of Wild Fox Farms in Barto, PA, share my passion for educating the average consumer about the many facets of organic and biodynamic farming, including real, producer-driven farmer’s markets. Kara has a background in nutrition and Ben in farming and eastern medicine. Together they have a deep understanding of how proper, organic nutrients in soil can bring balance to our environment. They have a CSA with more vegetables and micro-greens than I can count…a unique variety for such a small farm. They are just one of many small organic farms in our area who are honestly working hard to farm consciously for consumers, and I encourage you to visit their website (wildfoxfarm.com) to find out if their local CSA may be right for your family. You can also find them at the Emmaus Farmer’s Market.

Although it’s not widely known, many of our local farmers and artisans supply the Whole Foods Markets up and down the east coast; they also operate wholesale and supply both CSAs and restauranteurs who believe in serving locally grown, farm-fresh produce. One of our local restaurants on board with the farm-to-table movement is the Black Forest Brewery located in Ephrata. Owner and craft-beer expert Bob Harter and his wife Denise (a former food and consumer science teacher turned gourmet foodie) serve a unique and carefully selected combination of local artisan foods, wine, and beer. I was inspired to create this “grown-up” version of a grilled cheese after eating at their pub and being served the most delectable sandwich I’ve ever tasted. Need an idea for St. Patrick’s Day? Give the Black Forest Brewery a try; you definitely won’t want to leave after sampling his specially crafted brews, so make sure you plan to stay the night in the Harter’s attached bed and breakfast, the 1777 Americana Inn. Find them at 1777Americana.com and blackforestbrewery.net.

crusty artisan bread
brie or any locally grown, creamy cheese
kale, spinach, or any green
raspberry jam
an apple or a pear, thinly sliced

Load up your sandwich with thin layers of all of the above and grill away!

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