by Patricia Cangelosi
On January 8th, local non-profit Bucks County Foodshed Alliance (BCFA) held its 2014 annual meeting. Taking place at Doylestown Borough’s Standard Club on East State Street, the event kicked off with a potluck dinner. Members and guests brought locally grown foods to reflect the grassroots organization’s mission of developing a local, sustainable food system through collaboration and education.
President Jane Magne began the evening with a recap of the group’s progress in 2013, which included launching the Bucks County chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local, a volunteer-driven network that forges connections between food producers, sellers and consumers. Goals of the organization center on supporting local agriculture and increasing the availability of fresh, locally grown cuisine.
Officer elections were held as well. Susan Snipes-Wells of Bucks County’s Snipes Farm, Doylestown attorney Gavin Laboski, Philadelphia-based attorney Jeffrey Scott, and Cathy Snyder, founder of local nonprofit Rolling Harvest Food Rescue, all won (or were re-elected to) seats on BCFA’s board of directors.
Then, the highlight of the night: Renowned Bucks County chef Max Hansen of Max & Me Catering and Max Hansen Carversville Grocery led an interactive cooking demonstration. BCFA members and their guests were thoroughly engaged as Max – along with his colleague, Executive Chef Greg Glowatz – prepared fresh, locally grown, seasonal produce.
The menu included potato gnocchi tossed with oyster mushrooms and sautéed kale; roasted acorn squash stuffed with quinoa; and an array of vegetables that are available in colder times of the year, such as carrots, turnips, parsnips, beets, potatoes and more.
“My grandfather was one of the first ‘locavores’ from this area,” Max recalled, using the popular term that describes individuals who put a strong emphasis on consuming high-quality, locally grown foods. “People really do care about where their food is coming from.”
The audience, which consisted of about 35 BCFA members and friends, was enthralled and delighted to taste the chefs’ creations. “We want to see farming being maintained here in Bucks County,” Jane Magne explained. “We’re trying to build communication between restaurateurs and farmers and to connect farmers to land that’s available.”
According to Jane, launching the Bucks County chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local was BCFA’s proudest accomplishment of 2013. “It took two years of work by a very devoted group of people,” she said.
BCFA sponsors the Wrightstown Farmers’ Market, a local producer-only market featuring over a dozen vendors selling fresh foods and handmade crafts (winter mini-markets are currently open on the second and fourth Saturday of each month through April, from 10:00-11:00am at 2203 Second Street Pike in Wrightstown).
Throughout the year, the group also holds many events throughout Bucks County that are open to the public, like movies, speakers, interactive workshops, and farm tours. Looking forward, Jane said, “We want to expand our membership base. We’re looking for corporate sponsors. The greater the membership – the more volunteers and sponsors we have – the more activities and education we can provide.”
For information on membership and a schedule of events, visit www.BucksCountyFoodshedAlliance.org.