August 2009 Issue
Ohio is sweet corn, plump, ripe blueberries and crisp, scarlet apples. It’s fiery, tomato-filled salsa and deliciously rich syrup. From breads to cheeses to wines and produce fresh from the ground, Ohio is a land both cultivated for and defined by food. And, with more than 77,000 farms in the state, and 200 commercial crops produced annually, it’s no surprise that we’re mighty proud of our agricultural culture.
To celebrate this bounty, Ohio’s culinary riches are now being showcased in an innovative new way at fairs, farm markets and festivals across the Buckeye state.
“The Ohio Proud Kitchen is here to educate consumers about Ohio Proud products, from what is available to best uses,” says Lori Panda, senior manager for the agricultural marketing program. A division of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Proud promotes the state’s chief industry by designating “Ohio Proud” goods — including foods grown and produced in our state.
The kitchen, a 30-foot trailer equipped with the tools one would find in the most well-equipped home-cooking spaces, will travel throughout all regions of the state, reaching more than 750,000 consumers. At each stop, culinary experts will be on hand to demonstrate recipes made with Ohio fare.
“We’re trying to encourage consumers to look for these products year-round,” Panda says. “Barbecue sauce, for example, is not just for grilling, and salsas are great in chili. [Our demonstrators] display alternative uses for Ohio Proud products, encouraging flexibility when cooking with them.”
In addition to the fact that Ohio Proud products are environmentally and economically sound choices, Ohio-grown food simply tastes as food should: fresh. Stop by one of the following events this season to sample the fare that has Ohioans beaming with pride: The Ohio State Fair, Columbus (July 29–Aug. 9); The Lodi Fall Harvest, Lodi (Aug. 22–23); The Mahoning County Fair, Canfield (Sept. 2–3); The Ohio State University Farm Science Review, London, Ohio (Sept. 22–24); The Bob Evans Festival, Rio Grande (Oct. 9–11); and The Fabulous Food Show, Cleveland (Nov. 13–15).