Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Lancaster County Harvest Time
A Tale of Changing Seasons at the Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast...

So, there comes a time of the year where you have to say... it's time for a change. You know, the end of winter where the mud is everywhere and the threat of one last snow storm makes you wild. Or when fall has dropped all of it's leaves and there is nothing outside except for murky skies and barren trees.

The Soybean Crop's Autumn Display
Well, for me personally, not one of them is all that awful, I always enjoy a great March snow storm or the warmth of a late spring day (minus the humidity) while tending to the garden. However, the one that seems to be my least favorite is the tail end of summer.

So as I write this, I am waiting patiently for the beginning of fall, yet summer has it's grips on these last couple of weeks within it's season. Lady Summer refuses to relinquish it's grip. Although the temps have cooled down, the humidity has forced the continued use of air conditioners here at the Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast.

Well, that is all right... the saving grace is that there is only a couple of weeks left! The temperatures will eventually drop and snow will be ours before the year runs out.

So, if you have read any of my posts in the past, you will notice that I am a fan of fall! Actually this time of year is my favorite from September till February of March, (depending on how much mud is around).

And leaving you today, I send to you a link to one of my favorite postings of all, Titled "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" It really is for me and I can't wait.

Below is a list of things that are going on from now through the end of the year, and stay tuned for all the things we (both the Harvest Moon and Lancaster Count ) have for the Holidays in a post soon to come!

Historic Schaefferstown Harvest Fest  September 15--16, 2012
Weaver's Orchard Farmer's Table September 24, 2012**
New Holland Farmers Fair October 3--6 2012 
Harvest Days at Landis Valley Museum October 13, 2012
Poe Evermore at the Mt. Hope Estate and Winery November 16--18***

  **(stay two nights, we pay half your dinner price)
***(we buy your tickets with a two night stay)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lancaster County Farmers Markets... An Age Old Tradition

A Spoiled Innkeeper!

Yeah... that's right, I'm spoiled! I get what I want when I want it, and I won't take anything less. Got something to say about it? Go ahead, I dare you!

Wow, sounds awful. But I'm really not all that bad. As an Innkeeper here in Lancaster County, I get to shop around for only the best here at our bed and breakfast!

Here's the scoop, simply stated, I live in Lancaster County... A place with a multitude of farmers and markets. Whenever I want fresh produce, I get it, and you can bet your so called "picture-perfect-tomato" you found at the grocery store that whatever I pick up is gonna be better!

Call me spoiled if you will, but that's how we roll here in Lancaster County. Fresh wholesome goodness found at  road side stands, farmers markets and even some of the individually owned grocery stores.

So, I thought since I am not all that bad, I would just jot down my favorites... and Go ahead, spoil yourself as well, you deserve it!

Lancaster Central Market -- This market is found in the center of Lancaster, it was listed as one of the top ten in the world. Lancaster Farmers Market is considered one of the oldest operating farmer markets in the country and is open on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Best time to go would be anytime of year for this event is inside.

Green Dragon -- This one is so much fun. Filled with "chatsky" stuff and real wholesome county goodness. With just about everything under the sun including auctions, homemade cheese and great french fries, this place can take up a few hours of your Friday. Best time to go, spring through fall and is found in Ephrata PA, minutes from the Harvest Moon. 

Roots Markets -- This one, on Tuesdays is another fun outside venue. Once again filled with not only all that Lancaster has to offer, but also with antiques, plants and things for just about everything. Don't get confused though when asking for directions to get there, the locals like to call it "RUTS" (don't ask why... I'm just not that local yet) Roots is only open on Tuesday.

And by the way, if you want to check all of this out, we are hosting a culinary tour based just on this topic... It's called our Dutch Harvest Tour and will be hosted on September 22, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lancaster County Cheese Crawl... A Tour of Fine Artisan Cheese

A Day of Eating Fine Lancaster County Cheese

Lancaster County Cheese Tour
This tour, in a series of our Culinary "INNtensives", seems to be getting some hype. As the Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast was most recently featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, we are now releasing some of the details of this tour.

A local Lancaster County Dairy Farm
The point of our culinary "INNtensives" is to give you pertinent information on a specific culinary topic of Lancaster, do it in a short time at a reasonable price and have you leave with a new understanding of how sustainable our special part of the world is! This one just so happens to be that of cheese.

This tour brings us to local Amish and Mennonite dairy farms, Gourmet Shops  and a lunch to tie it all together right here in Lancaster County PA. The locals explain how and why they choose to add cheese making to their all ready busy lives as they also try to cope with the economic conditions.

To find out more about this exciting tour, visit our Lancaster County culinary page or call 1.888.824.3763

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lancaster County Great Restaurant Finds -- Checkers Bistro!

Another Great Lancaster County Restaurant! 

Just needed to shout out on this great restaurant finds in Lancaster County, Checkers Bistro! This one is about a half hour from our Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast.

Recently, My brother, cousin and I all treated our mothers to a lunch at Checkers Bistro in Lancaster. When I think of checkers, I think of a retro place, with white and black tiled flooring, a soda fountain and servers on roller skates. This place is certainly not that at all. 

From the moment stepping in to the time we left, we were impressed. Service, impeccable (and fun); ambiance, nice casual; menu, eclectic, daring, creative and something for everyone; and the food far surpassed my expectations from what I conjured up from their namesake.

We started with soup, fried calamari and Lobster Pizza. The French Onion soup was certainly wonderful... not over powered with cheese and certainly not just a soup out of a box. The Lobster Pizza impressed all with great chucks of lobster, brie arugula and pine nuts, a stellar combination. The fried Calamari was impressive while coming out crisp and just perfect for even those squeamish of seafood.

Later, we enjoyed a wonderful chicken salad on their lunch menu, an over the top hamburger, another pizza choice with prosciutto and figs, YUM, and a chicken sandwich on a baguette. Most impressive, were the Duck Tacos, Crispy wonton tacos, barbeque duck with a hint of coriander, guacamole, and finished with micro greens as a garnish... Checkers.... Never take this off the menu... PLEASE!

By the end of the lunch, we were all extremely pleased. We enjoyed time with mom and I know I for sure will be back to Checkers Bistro to enjoy the Duck Tacos... again!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

New Holland PA ... Let the Summer Begin

It's that time of year! On the cusp of the dog days, but still enjoying some refreshing nights leftover from spring. Although I love all times of the year, including summer,  I am vehemently against humidity.  I can take days in the eighties and nineties, however, when it gets sticky, here in New Holland PA, I am just absolutely miserable.

However, me being glass half full, always, I find myself discovering all the good things of summer. Here in Lancaster County, we here at the Bed and Breakfast are challenged often with things to do, events going on and places to discover. So the summer time, just like any other time of the year, is filled with all of that, and New Holland specifically has a lot going on this year. 

Getting Ready for the BBQ Cook off!
Let's begin with the New Holland Summer Arts Program. Right here in New Holland, enjoy ole' fashioned entertainment, from the Polka Quads to Dixieland Bands and everything in between.  The park is filled with lively music towards the evening each Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer up until August 12. These concerts are free to the public and are sponsored by some of our local merchants. It's a great way to mingle with the local Amish and Mennonite as you enjoy the sounds of our community.

New Holland also has a Lancaster County open air farmers market. Besides, you know I need to talk about food at some point, it's in my genes! Established about 6 years ago, this Saturday event goes from the middle of may up until the end of September. Each weekend has a different theme, lots of fresh produce and plenty of great food to enjoy as you prepare for your weekend meal. Although the farmers market is not open during the fall, the area farmers are still offering their freshest of in season produce

Next would be the 10th annual Liberty Fire Company Car Show right here in New Holland at the grounds of Case New Holland Tractor. This event is scheduled for August 4th, 2012 from 3 till 8pm.  This show gets better each year. My nostalgia kicks in each time I go, with the sights and sounds of great cars and swinging music from the fifties. This event has it all from burnout competitions to truck tug-o-wars. It's a great summer time event where the whole family could spend a good part of the day.
New Holland Summer Fest

Bringing up the rear, is the 13th annual New Holland BBQ Competition, also known as Summerfest. This  two day event is a great way to mix with  locals and visitors alike to discuss nothing but what else... BBQ. All kinds of people visit New Holland, PA to try their hand with this competition. From Whole Hog and Chicken to Sausage and Ribs, there is something for everyone to compete in. Be forewarned though, the competitors only let the judges taste the end product. It's okay though, for there are plenty of vendors that have BBQ to sell, (after all you'll go crazy smelling the richness of smokey meat throughout the day).  

Although this rounds out the summer in New Holland, there are still plenty of other things going on in New Holland to finish the year including the New Holland Farmers Fair and Christmas on Main. These two events are local small town favorites that bring families together and tie together a sense of community. Be sure to look for info regarding these events in future postings.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oh!... We've got that! Lancaster County & it's Culinary Playground

So when I moved to Lancaster County years ago to open up the Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast, I thought to myself after going to the grocery store and seeing nothing more than the usual fruit and vegetables that I was doomed as a chef, absolutely doomed.

Lancaster Fresh Field Greens... Salad Anyone?
I would travel far and wide to try to find something unique; something that peeked my interest and would intrigue our guests all the same. After all, being the only chef/innkeeper in Lancaster County,  I needed to show the unique qualities of of in Inn which is run by someone with culinary training.

Fast forward a couple of years in Lancaster and I begin shopping at farm stands to get a few things I may need. I forgot tomatoes at the store, (you know the pretty round red ones that taste like #$%^), and stopped at a farm stand on the way home... It was July after all and the tomatoes should be available.

Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast Chives
Well not only were they available, but they were less expensive and better tasting as well. I was sold! I soon started shopping at the farm stands quite often and considered them to be a valuable resource for my cooking abilities at the B&B.

I also began to realize that after checking them out month after month, that the savings were not the only thing that was appealing to me, the taste, the variety and the offerings as well. I could find those green zebra tomatoes for a unique fried tomato in the morning. I could find the red currants that sit so nicely on top of sorbet topped peach fresh toast in the morning. It was all there for me to find and discover... more than any grocery store could offer!

Lancaster County Fresh Strawberries
In any case, This year we begin a segment of tours called "Culinary Inntensives". These Lancaster County topic specific tours, kidnap you for a few hours during the day and show you all that Lancaster has to offer in regards to fresh, local, fun and tasty.

Below is a list of all that is being offered for the upcoming season:

 June 16
Lancaster County Gourmet "A Lancaster Culinary Inntensive"

July 14
Chrunchy, Organic and Granola "A Lancaster Culinary Inntensive"

August 4
Lancaster County Cheese "Crawl" A Lancaster Culinary Inntensive


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Forget the Fleamarkets, I'm going to Adamstown in Lancaster for Antiques!

Lancaster County Antiques
Adamstown, PA is the place to be for all your antique needs. And on April 25 through the 29, 2012, Adamstown will host it's first Antique Extravaganza this year. This event is tops for our area in Lancaster County. Adamstown is filled with all kinds of great  antiques from trinkets and jewelry to old tins and typewriters... and everything in between.  

Lancaster being one of the oldest settlements in the nation, is home to plenty of finds all throughout the area. The shops, not only in Adamstown, are many throughout Lancaster County.  Even our flea markets and second hand shops are a treasure trove just waiting for you to explore.

The Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast is only about twenty minutes away from the fun. So whether or not you are here for your small antique radio or are a diehard antique buff, Lancaster has got you covered! Happy Hunting!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lancaster; A Better Way to Stay!

It's time to find out why staying at a Bed & Breakfast is a Better Way to Stay!

So as an innkeeper here in Lancaster County, we often ask where are guests found out about us. It helps us with our marketing efforts. Lately along with that question, I have heard more and more people saying that this is their first B&B experience.

It always intrigues me why someone who has been enjoying a hotel for many years has decided to give a B&B a try. Many of the answers are we just wanted something different, my wife always wanted to try one, we saw you on the internet and decided to try it are among some of the answers. But the question that intrigues me the most is, why have you not tried it before. The usual answer is, "We never even thought about it"

There is a campaign spearheaded by our National Association (PAII) that will be singing the praises of B&B's nation wide. It's called, A Better Way to Stay and has had a wonderful start. You may remember some of the past efforts with "KICK GAS" and "B&B's for Vets". Two very successful campaigns that ran last year. Again this year, Better Way to Stay will be doing a full line of events including the Vets program once again.

The Better Way to Stay campaign is designed to bring awareness to the public... letting them know that there is a better way to stay. Lodging does not necessarily mean that you are stuck inside of a box room with a desk and bed and a plastic coffee maker.  Yesterday's cliches of dollies and dark cluttered homes are just conjured up memories. Today's B&B's offer an array of modern amenities including, above all, a wonderful breakfast.

So spread the word if you want... Let the world know of your B&B experience... We are so unique as a whole... we all have something different to offer to the public. 

I would like to leave you with a commercial... it will explain why staying at a B&B is a BETTER WAY TO STAY!

Friday, January 20, 2012

How to Make Chicken Soup...

How to Make a Lancaster County Favorite...

I just love Chicken Soup... It warms the soul on cool winter days. Nothing says "home" more than a pot simmering on the stove throughout the day. Here in Lancaster at our B&B, a Valentines' Package is not complete without the smells of a warm kettle of broth wafting through the air.  And with Chicken Soup, there is so much you can do with it.

Although simple, you can really doctor it up with different ingredients. I will get to that at the end.

In the mean time... here is my simple recipe for a wholesome good soup.

1 whole chicken two or three lbs is fine
1 whole peeled onion
2 whole carrots washed
2 sticks of celery
1 bay leaf
Enough water to more than cover the chicken

Remove chicken from packaging and wash the excess juice off of it. Place in pot of water. Clean and rough cut carrots and celery place in pot. Peel and wash onion and slice in half. Place halved onion directly on burner and caramelize. (This will give color and added flavor to the broth). Lastly add your bay leaf.

Bring stock pot to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. You can let this go all day. The longer it goes the more it will reduce and the more flavor you will get out of the chicken. You can always add more water to the broth if you want it to simmer a little longer.

Careful to remove chicken and vegetables, (diced up vegetables can be added later for a simple chicken vegetable soup) Let chicken cool and then pick off the meat being careful to remove all bones and cartilage.

Add meat back to broth along with vegetables and WA LA... you have a warm Lancaster County Chicken Soup.

Wanna' mix it up? (who doesn't like to mix it up)

Below are a list of variations...

1. Chicken Avgolemeno... With diced chicken, rice, oregano and egg.... Add first three ingredients and then slowly pour (2 eggs per quart of soup) into the simmering broth being sure not to cook the egg...only temper it so it creates a wonderful creamy soup.

2. Chicken, Wild Rice and Sausage... Cook up some wild rice seperately, brown some Italian sausage. Then add both to the soup along with diced chicken. For a unique flavor, serve topped with a small wedge of gruyere cheese.

3. Chicken Tomato Florentine... All you need to do with this one is to add chopped spinach and a can of diced tomatoes... Top with shredded Regianno Parmesan. 

4. Cream of Chicken and Dumpling... I like to add to my broth  diced up chicken meat and some heavy cream. Thicken it a little bit with a roux (equal parts of butter and flour). Then make German Spaetzle and add them to the soup... this one is a little time consuming... But watch out, it will leave you wanting more.

5. Portuguese Sausage, Kale and Bean... A Portuguese favorite; to the broth, add large chunk chicken, browned sausage, previously cooked white navy beans, One head of washed chopped kale, one can of diced tomatoes and a bit of oregano.

Of course with all soups, season with your favorite blend of salt, pepper, garlic, parsley or chives. They will enhance all of the above.

Now go and enjoy our first Lancaster County Snow this year with a warm pot of Chicken Soup on the Stove!