Cold Winter, Cool Spring Bring Mixed Results For Lehigh Valley, N.J. Farmers

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Рус...

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Русский: Яблоня со спелыми плодами. Украина. Latina: Malus domestica (Borkh., 1803) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This winter’s cold temperatures that stuck around until late spring have curbed apple production at one local orchard, although local vineyards say the grapes are some of the best they’ve ever seen.

Tianna DuPont, an educator for sustainable agriculture at the Penn State Cooperative Extension, said the growing season started out about three weeks late, although recent warm weather is helping plants catch up.

Matty Matarazzo, the owner of Four Sisters Winery in White Township, expects a smaller than usual yield of apples this year. He said they’ll grow enough for the winery’s apple wine but not an abundant amount.

Bob Best, of Bests Fruit Farm in Independence Township, said the cool spring threatened his crops initially, but once the weather warmed up the produce started to grow.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/07/despite_cool_start_growing_sea.html

Pottstown’s Juan Carlos Restaurant Leading The Way In PHL17 ‘Hot List’ Competition

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN – Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine has been holding a steady lead in the online phl17 Hot List competition for two weeks, displacing a bigger corporate restaurant along the way,

The phl17 Hot List is in its eighth year and features 164 categories of hot spots to go in the area – everything from arts and entertainment, to fitness and restaurants.

It’s in this last category that Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine is making its stand; currently in first place for “Best Mexican Restaurant” and second place for “Best BYOB Restaurant.”

“The first day I was number one in both categories. I was shocked but pleasantly surprised,” chef/owner Ron R. Garza said in an interview with The Mercury. “Then I look two weeks later and we’re still solid.”

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/the-mercury/story/pottstowns-juan-carlos-restaurant-leading-the-way-phl17-hot-list-competition/1?utm_source=ubnreadmore&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=ubnreadmore

Weis To Open Its First Beer Cafe In York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jennie Conboy is looking forward to the day when she can buy groceries and beer at the same time.

“It can’t come soon enough,” said the loyal Weis shopper from West York.

Her grocery store of choice is at 1800 Roosevelt Ave. in West Manchester Township, and that Weis location is soon adding a beer cafe.

Weis hopes to begin construction on the beer cafe in the coming weeks, according to company spokesman Dennis Curtin.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_26215034/weis-open-its-first-beer-cafe-york-county

Sly Fox Planning To Move Goat Races To Pottstown

POTTSTOWN, PA — If Jixxer hopes to repeat as Sly Fox Goat Race champion or Spartacus wins legitimately, it appears that it will have to be done in Pottstown, not East Pikeland, next year.

Sly Fox has let borough officials in Pottstown know of plans to move the annual spring Bockfest to Pottstown’s Circle of Progress from its traditional location at the brew pub along Route 113.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140709/sly-fox-planning-to-move-goat-races-to-pottstown

PHS Pop-Up Garden To Offer A Summer’s Worth Of Tropical Entertainment

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once again, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has transformed a vacant space into a lush hangout spot, perfect for leisurely summer afternoons and evenings. This year’s PHS Pop-Up Garden sits at 1438-46 South Street (next to the Jamaican Jerk Hut) and officially opens on Tuesday, July 8 at 5:30 p.m. and remains open seven days a week until mid-October.

The garden itself is open to the public starting at 11 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, 2 p.m. on Saturdays and noon on Sundays while food and drink will be served from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 5 p.m. to midnight on Fridays, 2 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays and noon to 10 p.m. on Sundays. Expect tropical cocktails, craft beer, a changing group of food trucks and Caribbean menu items from the Jamaican Jerk Hut.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/things_to_do/PHS-Pop-Up-Garden-to-offer-a-summers-worth-of-tropical-entertainment.html

Festival Prep Kicks Into High Gear

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Setup for large events like the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and Philipsburg Heritage Days can create nail-biting situations.

Heritage Days Chairman Jim Pollock watched several years ago as a trailer traveled down Front Street facing the wrong direction. No damage was done, but it could have ended in disaster.

“He was a new vendor, and when he first pulled in, he would have been serving toward the sidewalk instead of the street,” Pollock said. “We tried to tell him how to pull out and come back, but he came down wrong and could have taken out several trailers.”

That was a challenge, Pollock said, “so we have to be clear in our direction, especially for new vendors each year when everyone wants to hook up at the same time with over 100 trailers. You have to keep your composure.”

Food Fridays In Downtown Pottstown, June 27th

Smith Family Plaza – 100 E High Street, Pottstown

Come Downtown and “Eat Like A Local!” 

Join our downtown restaurants, Argento’s, Grumpy’s, Lily’s Grill & The Milkmen Lunch Co. for a taste of their fare, LIVE music by ‘Bees in a Bottle’ and your community for lunch outdoors THIS FRIDAY, June 27th, between 11:00 am – 2:00 pm (music between 11:30 am – 1:30 pm)

We promise nice weather and the perfect scenery to enjoy lunch, friends and neighbors!

p.s. The RESTAURANTS WILL ALSO BE OPEN if you want to visit them inside as well!

ADDITIONAL DATES PLANNED – July 18, August 15 & September 19th

We are looking for additional local bands – if you know someone and they can play any of the above

dates, please let Sheila Dugan know – 610-323-5400 / sheiladugan@comcast.net

Sponsored by Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority

Dietz & Watson To Build $50M Complex In Tacony

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cold-cuts maker Dietz & Watson will build a $50 million, 200,000 square-foot trucking and distribution center on a large tract between the company’s Tacony Street headquarters and the old Frankford Arsenal on the Delaware River, Gov. Corbett and Mayor Nutter confirmed this morning.

The deal was first reported from industry and city sources June 18 in The Inquirer.

The center will employ 110 who will pack and ship Dietz & Watson and Black Bear-brand meats and cheeses. Another 50 or more jobs will be created as the facility expands, Corbett said in a statement.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140625_Dietz___Watson_to_build__50M_complex_in_Tacony.html#pcbr39xshytokp7S.99

Make Pittsburgh Your 2014 Summer Destination

Make Pittsburgh Your 2014 Summer Destination.  Great promotional video from VisitPittsburgh.

23rd Annual Pottstown Rumble: A Glorious Weekend For Pottstown

I say kudos to the Pottstown Rumble organizers for another successful tournament.  For a large event that draws several thousand volleyball players from across the United States and probably several thousand spectators, it runs like a well oiled machine.  The Rumble is one of the biggest events that is hosted in the borough and probably the most well run.  I think it draws a great group of people.  A very well-behaved group from what I have observed over the years and today was no different.

I think the cooperation between the borough and the event organizers was apparent.  From the PART trolley shuttling people between venues, the folks at Parks and Recreation and the powers that be in borough hall, it seemed as though everyone was on the same page.  I even noticed Pottstown Police Officers walking around.

This event has put Pottstown on the sports world map and is a favorite venue among players.  Memorial Park looked great.  The music was a nice mix and had high energy.  The sun was shining.  Vendors had lines of people waiting to buy food.  It just doesn’t get any better than that.

The Rumble showcases the best things about Pottstown.  One vendor said to me they wished there were several more big events during the year like this one. It’s a nice infusion of cash into the local economy. That’s always a positive thing.

So hats off to another great Pottstown Rumble!  Feeling Pottstown Proud.

The 23rd Annual Pottstown Rumble Is June 19-22 2014

The Pottstown Rumble is a 4 day fun-filled event – Thursday June 19 to Sunday, June 22, 2014. Along with amazing competition at all levels of the tournament, we also offer plenty of other activities. The Rumble starts off Thursday with the Pottstown Rumble Juniors Clinic hosted by 2 time Rumble finalist Eric Lucas, 2 time Rumble Champ Svetlana Simic, and indoor professional Remy McBain as well as other high level volleyball players and coaches serving as assistant instructors. Friday brings our Pottstown Rumble Juniors Grass Doubles Tournament. Saturday morning starts off with a bang with a beefed up fireworks show as over 2,000 players eagerly wait to start their day. Saturday afternoon brings Women’s Pro Finals to center court while the Men’s Pro division wraps up Sunday afternoon competing for the $5,000 first place price. There will be food and clothing vendors, an on-site massage therapist, and high-energy music throughout the weekend. All visitors welcome!!

All registrations are first come first serve! You will be notified prior to registering if you are NOT at the main field. Anyone registering after June 15 will be charged a late fee of $20 per entry, this includes walk-on’s if space is available. Walk-on’s will most certainly be playing on satellite fields.

PART Rumble Schedule

Free Pottstown Rumble shuttle service is available from PARTClick here for the schedule.

The website for the Rumble contains all the schedules and information you will need to know, click here: https://pottstownrumble.com/index.php

‘One Of The Most Special Places On Earth’: Raystown Lake Celebrates 40 Years With Weekend Events

English: The dam and spillway at Raystown Lake...

English: The dam and spillway at Raystown Lake on the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, USA. The dam was constructed in 1978 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and hydroelectric power generation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This weekend, Huntingdon County will celebrate four decades of life on the water as Raystown Lake hits the big four-zero. The Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau has an array of activities and entertainment planned all weekend to celebrate the popular recreation destination. Featuring behind-the-scenes tours of the dam, a Battle of the Bands, various demonstrations, cruises and fireworks, it is all but guaranteed that this will be one birthday bash that will not be soon forgotten.

“June 6 marks the 40th anniversary of the day Vice President Gerald Ford dedicated the dam that forms Raystown Lake in 1974,” said Matt Price, the executive director of the HCVB. “The lake’s history goes back more than 60 years, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers first proposed constructing a high-level dam in the valley of the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River in the late 1940s.”

The largest lake entirely set within the commonwealth, the sheer size of Raystown is impressive and is more than capable of accommodating everything the HCVB has in store for the weekend.

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Program Helps Centre County Residents Get Green Thumb

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 — The area behind the Food Bank of State College on South Atherton Street looked more like a miniature farm Friday than a parking lot.

It was full of broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, lettuce, tomato, squash and herb plants for food bank clients to plant in their own gardens.

Members of Penn State Master Gardeners, Centre County Office of Adult Services and Nutrition Links teamed up with the food bank for the annual Home Grown Project.

For the past five years, the event has helped a few hundred local families better understand the food they consume, master gardener Norman Knaub said.

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Pottstown “Chopped” Culinary Competition Winners Create New Sandwich For Local Eatery

On March 17th, 11 Culinary Art Students were asked to create the next Grumpy PHS Sandwich – The Chopped Challenge II began.

The secret ingredients, which all needed to be used and were judged upon were: Goat Cheese, Cherry Preserves, Potato Chips & Pork.

The students were judged by Superintendent Jeff Sparagano, Principle Jeff Hartman & Grumpy himself.

The categories were, presentation, taste, use of all ingredients. They were also watched in the kitchen – and teamwork was a must!

The winners, though every one did a great job – were Keelan Warren & Isaiah Robinson.

Their sandwich – “THE TROJAN BBQ”.

The kids did a great job and having some real life experience is an awesome way to learn. The kids were a little stunned when we met them and told them that Grumpy’s has one oven, no fryer and is for the most part a one man show – Thursday, May 15th, they saw exactly how it works! The kids all received a t-shirt with the Chopped Challenge on the back, the year and Trojan BBQ – to remember the moment. As the winners, Keelan & Isaiah were also given a bag of culinary goodies including cook books, tools of the trade and $50 each.

Keelan had the pleasure of working with Grumpy two summers ago, he obviously learned what Grumpy’s tastes are and his expectations, because despite the blind taste test, HE was the winner!

Chef Jackie Mathais is an excellent asset to the school as well, helping these students understand the process of great creations in the kitchen!

Last year was the first year of the competition. Grumpy wanted to show support of the Culinary Arts Program in the schools and for every sandwich sold, he will donate $2 back to the program. Last year, close to $200 was donated from sandwich sales. The teachers use the funds to help the students be able to afford uniforms and such that are hard to do sometimes due to economics.

Grumpy’s is engaging the students with real life experiences and the reality that the TV shows are not always what it’s truly like to work in the kitchen. The Trojan BBQ sandwich will remain on Grumpy’s menu for the next year.

Grumpy’s is located at 137 E High St., Pottstown, PA 19464. Phone: 610-323-1232.

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Darden Announces Sale Of Red Lobster For $2.1B

NEW YORK (AP) — Darden Restaurants says it will sell its Red Lobster chain to investment firm Golden Gate Capital in a $2.1 billion cash deal.

The company, which also owns Olive Garden, had announced late last year that it planned to either spin off or sell Red Lobster to improve its financial performance.

Both Olive Garden and Red Lobster have been losing customers in recent years, and the company has tried various menu changes and differentmarketing campaigns in hopes of winning back business.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140516/darden-announces-sale-of-red-lobster-for-21b

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The 2014 Pennsylvania Fair Guide

All the information you need to plan a great summer full of activities in Pennsylvania!

Click here for the 2014 Pennsylvania Fair Guide: http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_24476_10297_0_43/AgWebsite/Files/Publications/FairGuide.pdf

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Collegeville Farmers Market Opens For Fourth Season Saturday

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLLEGEVILLE, PA — Although Phil Schmidt was in Virginia Beach on Wednesday, wrapping up details on several new barbecue sauces that will soon debut at his restaurant, he said he was looking forward to helping Collegeville Farmers Market open its fourth season on Saturday.

The owner of Phamous Phil’s BBQ & Grille — recently featured on the Food Network — will be in the back section of Da Vinci’s Pub parking lot all day cooking up smoked apple sausage, pulled pork and burgers.

Sandwiches — washed down with Phil’s homemade lemonade — will make for a tasty, easily portable and much less messy lunch than Phil’s trademark ribs as folks stroll through the market.

Barbecue buffs who crave the restaurant’s specialty can always choose to chow down on the “phamously” meaty smoked ribs at Schmidt’s eatery a couple of miles away in Evansburg.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/business/20140509/collegeville-farmers-market-opens-for-fourth-season-saturday

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Deal For Music Venue In Pottstown’s Old Eagles Building Falls Through

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  More bad news for Pottstown.  Very sad.

POTTSTOWN, PA — Plans to move an established music venue in Philadelphia to the former Eagles building at 310 High St. have fallen through, the plan’s prime mover announced on his web page and Facebook this week.

In January, Jamey Reilly announced plans to purchase the building and to establish a place for live music performances in addition to an Asian/fusion restaurant operated by his wife.

His longtime venue in his home on Overbrook Avenue in Philadelphia had been shut down as an “illegal nightclub” and he was seeking a new venue and had settled on Pottstown as the place.

Not any more.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140508/deal-for-music-venue-in-pottstowns-old-eagles-building-falls-through

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Subway Tests Hummus, Thinner Meat Slices

English: Subway logo and slogan taken from mar...

English: Subway logo and slogan taken from marketing materials found online in PDF format. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW YORK (AP) – Subway is testing hummus and thinner slices of deli meats that look more appealing as it looks to keep pace with changing eating trends.

Tony Pace, Subway’s chief marketing officer, said in interview Tuesday that the chain began testing hummus as a topping in early April. Pace noted that many customers already order vegetarian sandwiches and that the chickpea spread would give people looking for meatless options another choice.

“It’s something we’ve been talking about for the last three or four years,” Pace said, saying it has “tremendous potential.”

If the test is successful, Pace said it would be the first time the chain rolled out hummus nationally. Individual franchisees may have offered it independently in the past, he said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140506_ap_887d72518b29437885ecd236db8a3252.html#CdaZVy6z3a8Z7Tll.99

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