Spring into change

Italian Lake
Photo By Karen Commings

Welcome to the first issue of Harrisburg Magazine with me (Deborah Lynch) at the helm. I started here as editor in mid-February, and have been working with anticipation for this April issue that features special sections on Restaurants, and Health and Wellness, as well as articles on trends moving forward. Given the timing in early spring and the focus on healthy eating, we will profile the farms that offer Community Supported Agriculture in the Harrisburg region. CSAs connect producers and consumers through shares that members buy in advance in return for harvest throughout the growing season. Offering CSAs allows many smaller farms to connect directly with customers.

My involvement with CSAs is long — and cold. More than 25 years ago, I lived in Burlington, VT, with my husband and two young children. Burlington is home to one of the first CSA ventures at an area known as the Intervale along the Winooski River. It is a reclaimed dumping ground for tires, furniture, and other garbage that was turned into sustainable farming land by Will Rapp, the founder of Gardener’s Supply Company. Members of the Intervale CSA were asked to participate at the farm in some way. I’ll never forget the bitter cold November day when I took my two toddlers into a field of rigid rows to dig into the rock hard ground to harvest carrots. Carrots never tasted so good.

Upon moving to the Harrisburg area 22 years ago, I was thrilled to discover CSAs here, too. In the beginning, my then-preteens bemoaned the mounds of kale that came in our shares. To put this into perspective, I need to preface this story with another story about my battle to serve my family healthy food. I always bought high fiber bread to use in my kids’ school lunches, and they complained, but I didn’t care. One time, my husband was coming into the kitchen and could hear the kids saying to one another, “Mom buys this high fiber bread, but we don’t get any fiber because we don’t eat it.” Yeah, I occasionally started buying white bread after that.

Fortunately, my CSA included a newsletter in each share with recipes and tips, and we gradually learned to enjoy kale in forms we would never have imagined. My adult children now voluntarily buy kale and consume it regularly. I guess that speaks to the wisdom that people need to be allowed to develop their own tastes, maybe with a little help from mom.

In the past 20 years, these local farms have had their shares of ups and downs. Interest peaked in the late 2000s, but Covid helped to bring people back to cooking, and cooking local. Many local farms that offer CSA memberships also get their produce and goods out in other ways too — local farmers’ markets, groceries that stock local goods, and restaurants. 

We’ll also feature one of the local shops that showcases local farmers and food purveyors with its selection of healthy local products. While Radish & Rye Food Hub at 1308 3rd St. in Harrisburg has been in existence since 2015 in the Broad Street Market, and open at the new location for curbside pickup, it finally opened the gleaming new location in early March.

When not up for cooking, whether takeout or dine-in, the Harrisburg region also offers a variety of great dining choices. In this issue, our staff samples from Korealicious and a new ghost kitchen opening in Harrisburg, Unreal Kitchen.

Just as the pandemic changed the way many people eat — more cooking, more takeout, and less indoor dining — it affected people in nearly all aspects of life across the state, country, and world. To chronicle our pandemic experience across Pennsylvania, first lady Frances Wolf headed the One Lens project in which people from across the state were asked to submit photos. “When I see this mass of photographs, I’m so impressed by the magnitude of Pennsylvanians working to make an understanding, to take control of this. … It gives me chills just looking through them,” Wolf said. We publish some of the eye-catching photos from this virtual exhibit.

Finally, we are bringing back a former feature in a new format in this issue. Our “Bartender’s Choice” column will profile a different local bartender in each issue, highlighting his or her specialties, and including a recipe for readers who want to concoct the drink at home. Our first bartender is Adam Dillon of Babe’s Grill House in Palmyra. We’d like readers to get involved, too. To nominate your favorite bartender for this column, write a brief paragraph about what makes the bartender great, including favorite drinks, and send it to dlynch@harrisburg.magazine.com 

We will start a new feature in the next issue. “In My Neighborhood” will profile different neighborhoods in our coverage area. In May, we profile our office neighborhood of the northernmost part of uptown Harrisburg/Susquehanna Township. Where should we go next? To nominate a neighborhood, see our website at https://harrisburgmagazine.com/ and complete the template at this link: https://benchmarkmedia.wufoo.com/forms/welcome-to-my-hood/ 

Deborah Lynch – Editor
I join the staff after 20 years working in education that followed my first career in journalism. My teaching and tutoring career at Harrisburg Area Community College, Penn State Harrisburg, and Nativity School of Harrisburg has helped me get to know the people and neighborhoods of the city in new ways. I bring my journalist’s curiosity and my love of Harrisburg and the region to my new post.

Don Bair – Account Executive
Harrisburg Magazine also has a new account executive, Don Bair. Born in Allentown, Bair was raised in Mechanicsburg, where he still lives although he and his girlfriend are scouting properties on the East Shore. To see Bair is to know he is an athlete — he played left tackle for Mechanicsburg High School’s football team, and then right guard for four years at Susquehanna University, where he made first team All Conference for the Centennial Conference his junior and senior years. He graduated from Susquehanna in 2018 with a degree in Business Administration. Bair joins us after nearly two years working as a route sales representative for Dempsey Uniform and Linen Supply.