Fresh Crab & Local Beef - Summer Turf & Turf!
May 31, 2018
- June Features: Soft Shell & Lump Crab, Local Steaks & Farm Fresh Produce!
- Local Wine Feature from Mt. Nittany Winery
- Producer Spotlight: Hidden Pond Farm
June Features: Summer Surf & Turf
Soft Shell & Lump Crab, Local Steaks & Farm Fresh Produce
With Memorial Day past us, it’s time to enjoy some truly summer fare! Harrison’s combines the best of the shore and the mountains with Soft-Shell Crab and Lump Crab features, as well as Local Hidden Pond Beef dishes and summer produce from our local farmers. (Learn more about Hidden Pond Farm in the Producer Spotlight article below!) You can enjoy our crab features if you want "surf," local steaks if you prefer "turf," or combine the two for the best of both worlds!
Harrison's unique summer twist on "Surf & Turf" will be available daily through June, from 4:30pm until close (or by advance special request) in addition to our full Lunch and Dinner menus. Let’s enjoy summer together!
Local Wine Feature from Mt. Nittany Winery
Summer wine time is upon us, and we are taking full advantage of it with our June wine features. In addition to a Spanish Verdejo, a French Dry Rosé, and an Argentinian Dry Rosé, we are also featuring a home-grown, local wine from Mt. Nittany Vineyard & Winery.
You’ll find Mount Nittany Winery’s Proprietor’s Select White Blend on our Summer "Surf & Turf" Menu, available by the bottles, glass, or as part of a wine flight with the three other wines mentioned above.
This is a wine wonderfully fit for summer sipping. It is a blend of Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc, a hybrid wine grape suited for growing in cooler climates such as the Finger Lakes region in New York State. Blended with Chardonnay in this case, Seyval Blanc’s citrus character brings a refreshing lightness to this wine. The Proprietor’s Blend offers fresh fruit aromas, well-balanced acidity and notes of green apple and citrus on the palate. This wine is unoaked, lending more crisp and mineral elements, making it a lovely wine to enjoy on a summer evening.
Don’t miss the chance to try this stand-out local wine along with our other June wine features. Cheers to a summer full of great wines!
Producer Spotlight: Hidden Pond Farm
Tucked in among the patchwork swatches of preserved farmland in Ferguson Township sits Hidden Pond Farm, a true family farm. Hidden Pond is owned and operated by husband-wife team, Wendall and Emily Landis, with their son Curtis, in partnership with Emily's parents, Jim and Sandy Rogers (yes, that's three generations!). This 198-acre, family-owned operation raises delicious, wholesome beef that feeds the Landis’s own family as well as customers at some of the area’s restaurants, Harrison’s Wine Grill included.
We recently chatted with Emily Landis about the farm, and in the process, we learned a lot—not only about the farm’s beef production, but also about the passion, priorities, and meticulously thought-out philosophy behind their family farm and the kind of product they want to offer.
Knowing some of the questions a modern diner asks, we felt compelled to ask, “Is your beef grass fed?” The answer proved a lot more complicated and interesting than we could have imagined. The short answer could be yes or no (depending on what you mean by the term), and the longer answer avoids the debates over these ill-defined and misunderstood terms and shifts the focus to wholesomeness, nutrition, and ultimately, sustainability. To fully explain her position on all of this, Emily took us through a verbal tour of Hidden Pond’s entire beef production process, from the time a calf is born, until the beef is harvested and processed for consumption.
So, do the Hidden Pond cattle eat grass? Yes.
Do they eat only grass? Yes (along with drinking their mother’s milk), for the first 6 to 7 months of their lives, until they are weaned. Up to this point, both the animals live outside in the pasture, not inside a barn.
What do they eat after that? Hay (i.e. dried grass), supplemented with corn and soybeans (more plant-based foods) and something called “free-choice mineral,” a powder form of various vitamins and minerals that is mixed in with their food to provide necessary nutrients they once received from their mother’s milk. At about 9 months old, the care of the calves is transferred to a custom finisher in Lancaster County, where they are fed a conventional corn- and soybean-based diet until they reach the ideal weight and product (in terms of tenderness, flavor, and marbling). This entire production cycle, from birth to harvesting, takes 12 to 14 months.
Emily noted that when people ask if beef is “grass-fed,” they usually mean to ask if it is “grass-finished.” This means that the cattle eat grass and only grass through their entire lives. Many people fixate on these terms (which are not very well-regulated in the first place) because they assume grass-fed means it’s more natural and, therefore, better for you. Emily, however, avoids the debate over these terms because she sees them as based on false assumptions—she and her family have thought through every step of production to ensure they are producing a natural, wholesome, nutritious product. Just as important to them, however, is that they are doing so in an efficient and sustainable way. And this is where Hidden Pond Farm is switching the terms and focus of the debates about modern beef production.
True grass-fed beef takes about two years to reach the ideal weight and product, compared to the 12 to 14 months it takes for Hidden Pond beef to do the same. This raises questions about efficiency and sustainable production. True grass-fed beef takes up far more resources (including time) to raise into a product that consumers want, making it a far less efficient and sustainable way of raising beef. (In our experience at Harrison’s, many consumers still do not actually want this leaner, gamier-tasting product, even though the ongoing debates lead them to believe they should want it.)
Once Emily began talking about the beef production process in terms of sustainability, we started to see that so many terms associated with beef production miss the real point: to provide delicious and nutritious food AND to do it in such a way that will maximize product quantity and quality in the most efficient manner. For Hidden Pond, it’s all about concentrating resources and making use of modern beef farming techniques where it makes sense and in ways that do not compromise the safety or naturalness of Hidden Pond beef.
One point of pride for Emily and Wendall is Hidden Pond's commitment to Pennsylvania's Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Program, a national program that is implemented at the state level. While a voluntary program, Emily and Wendall made the BQA Program the foundation of Hidden Pond Farm because they prioritize safety, quality, and sustainability, and they want their consumers to know they are serious about it. Emily explained the significance of being BQA-certified producers: "The BQA label on our products ensures that the beef on our consumers' tables has been produced with best management practices focused on animal well-being and the environment.." This self-imposed quality assurance has been built into Hidden Pond's entire beef production process, giving the consumer yet another reason to trust their product.
We ended our conversation with Emily in a very different place than where we began, but that made our talk far more exciting than it might have been. In our humble opinion, Emily and Wendall are doing a knock-out job. We already knew that Hidden Pond produces consistent, delicious product that our diners enjoy. What we learned in our recent chat with Emily only strengthened our confidence in the safety and integrity of their product, and made us even more pleased to be supporting these local farmers.
You too can support Hidden Pond Farm and their sustainable beef by enjoying the various local beef dishes we offer on our regular menus as well as our June feature menu!
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