In a time where you can get everything online, we think it’s more important than ever to support our local businesses. Yes, obviously because they provide jobs to our area and support the local economy. But also because things just taste better when they’re fresh. You can’t beat produce that’s ripened on the vine instead of in a truck. And we feel better buying products when we know what’s in them and where they came from and who made them. That’s why we’re so excited about these four locally owned businesses…and we can’t wait to tell you more about them.
We told you about Bedner’s this summer, and we have to mention them again. If you missed it, here’s the summary:
- They’re located in McDonald, about 30 minutes southwest of Pittsburgh.
- Bedner’s has literally been open for decades, serving the community’s produce, garden, and landscaping needs.
- You can pick your own produce during the summer!
- They have a dinner series called Fields to Fork Dinners during the summer.
- Passiflora Springs Winery is their in-house winery and offers free tastings!
- They have an uh-mazing fall festival…going on now!
So let’s talk about that fall festival! It’s happening on weekends in September and October with tonssss of food and activities. We’re talking hay rides, a 2-acre corn maze, a mini Candyland corn maze, hay mountain and tunnel slides, rubber duck races, barrel trains, pumpkin launches, face painting, live entertainment, and more…because clearly all of that isn’t enough!
Admission is only $10 per person (ages 2 and under are free). You can sip on a glass of Passiflora Springs wine and munch on some goodies from The Food Shack. And, you can even pick your own pumpkins to take home and carve. So which weekend are we going?
Trax Farms is located in Finleyville, which is only 12 miles south of Pittsburgh on Route 88. They’ve been farming for over 150 years – yes, you read that right! – with six generations of quality and tradition. And they have everything you could want when you visit a farm:
- freshly grown produce
- a greenhouse
- multiple shops – for your lawn and garden, home and gifts (including stuff for the kiddos), antiques, and groceries (with over 24 barbecue sauces and 27 unique Trax Farms salad dressings, plus so much more)
- a deli and OMG their bakery!
- more than 33 varieties of wine from Arrowhead Wine Cellars, multiple hard ciders, and a craft beer six pack shop
And let’s talk about their cider mill. With more than 18 acres of apple orchards, you can imagine the surplus of apples they have! So back in 1964, they started pressing their own cider, right on the farm.
Of course Trax Farms also has a Fall Festival…it’s actually their 50th! You can go on Saturdays and Sundays from the end of September to the end of October to enjoy activities like train rides for kids, a bouncy house, a giant slide, a rock wall, axe throwing (for ages 13+), hay rides, a 3-acre corn maze, and pick your own pumpkins. And, it wouldn’t be a fall festival without live music and plenty of food trucks. Get the full schedule on their website.
Don’t forget to bring some cash for tickets for the activities…they don’t have an ATM on-site. But they do offer cash back if you make a purchase at the registers where they take all major credit cards.
If you’re busy on the weekends, make sure you check out their weekday hay rides on Wednesdays and Fridays through the end of October! They even have a bonfire for you to enjoy after you’re done with all the excitement. Who wants to be our buddy through the corn maze?
If you like honey, you need to visit Bedillion! They got their first hive in 2004, and the rest is history. They now have apiaries in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia – because they place the bees where they can find the best nectar sources for them, and because they have to space out the bees to limit competition between them.
And did you know that there are different types of bee yards? Some are honey production colonies, and some are for raising more colonies and queen bees. We had no idea! But we do know that keeping bees is a lot of work, and Bedillion gets their whole family involved in harvesting and bottling the honey.
When you visit Bedillion, you’ll find their own local seasonal honeys, along with some of the best varietals they can source from other beekeepers. We love that we can sample the honey so we can see how unique they all are! Especially if you’re used to the mass produced clover honey you get in the grocery store. You’ll be blown away by the different flavors you can taste. Bedillion also has an observation beehive where you can see the bees and learn more about hives.
And if you’ve ever wanted to become a beekeeper, they can help you out! They have all of the tools, equipment, and support to get you started. Starting around this time of year, they’ll take orders for bees – either Package Bees (an artificial swarm in a screened box) or Nucleus Colonies (small but complete colonies ready to be grown into a full size hive). They compare the two choices to buying plant seeds versus seedlings, where the swarm is the seed you have to plant yourself and the nucleus is the seedling they started for you, but you have to “plant” and nurture it. During the winter, you’ll get all of your equipment ready and Bedillion provides lessons for new beekeepers. Then sometime in the spring or early summer, you’ll pick up your bees! There’s a lot to learn about bees, so getting them from Bedillion is a great choice because you know you’ll have the support you need to care for your hive.
So three friends opened a butcher shop in an old bank in Marianna (in Washington, PA) and it sounds like you should be waiting for a punchline but you should really be getting in your car to drive there. Like, we’re drooling and planning out what we’re going to cook and what’s going on our next charcuterie spread…and that’s just from looking at their Facebook page.
They called themselves Heritage Craft Butchers because they work with heritage breed animals, using a classic style of butchering. Most of their animals come from within 20 miles of their shop…you can’t get much more local than that.
Did you see an interesting cut of meat on Food Network that you want to try cooking? Call up Heritage and they’ll move mountains to get it for you. Or maybe you ate something while traveling that you can’t seem to find around here (oh hey, tri tip steaks from our trip to CA). As long as it’s legal for them to sell it, they will. And, of course, they have all of the “normal” cuts of meat you could want, along with specialty items like rabbit or dry aged steaks, homemade charcuterie, and homemade sausages.
Heritage also hosts events like their butchery clinics that come with a gourmet meal and Butcher’s Table, where they cover their 150 year old butcher block with a gorgeous feast of cured meats and accoutrements. They’re also available for private events…and we think that sounds like the best way to celebrate whatever the next special event is in our lives. Or you can opt for a Butcher Bag, where they’ll put together an assortment of meats and butcher shop products on the third Thursday of every month. You grab the cooler, we’ll grab the keys.This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.