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Celebrate PA Produce Month: How Top Pennsylvania Chefs Transform Local Veggies in Their Kitchens

Make the most of what’s in season with chef-inspired tips and recipes

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Aug. 1, 2017: It’s Pennsylvania Produce Month, and chefs around the Commonwealth are filling plates with the season’s best vegetables—alone or as creative side dishes.

Home cooks looking to up their vegetable game can gather fresh ideas from four top chefs who dish on what to do with summer produce:

Richard Landau of Vedge, V Street and Wiz Kid in Philadelphia
Justin Severino of Morcilla and Cure in Pittsburgh
Jon Amann of Amani’s BYOB in Downingtown
Tim Smith of Twelves in West Grove

Their advice and recipes may be found at PAVeggies.org.

Chef Richard Landau at Vedge, V Street and Wiz Kid underscores that it’s important to source the best tomatoes possible; look for slightly firm and not mushy. Cut them right before serving, and try simple methods for letting all varieties of tomatoes shine, such as adding flaked salt, coarse pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. He frequently uses the classic tomato-basil pairing, but also mixes it up with shiso leaf and toasted sesame seeds plus a drizzle of good-quality tamari for tomato “sushi.” Try his recipe for Heirloom Tomatoes With Grilled Shiitakes and Green Goddess.

Chef Justin Severino at Morcilla and Cure encourages visits to farmers’ markets for the best advice on sourcing and storing root vegetables. He likes to par-cook them and finish them in a smoker, but also mixes things up by adding vanilla beans for not-the-usual root vegetable puree. Try his recipe for Carrot Hummus.

At Amani’s BYOB, chef Jon Amann advises avoiding brown tips and too much moisture when selecting leafy greens. Those are signs of heat and rot potential. Look for bright, firm greens. For lettuces, seek tight heads, which show that they were grown in optimal conditions. He enjoys shredding lettuce and adding it atop grilled fish, and wilting other greens with a little lemon. Also a fan of just-picked tomatoes, Amann looks for varieties with good color and no skin cracks. He’ll frequently stew them as a broth for fish, but also smokes them. Try his Smoked Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho With Blue Crab and Citrus-Poached Shrimp.

Twelves executive chef/owner Tim Smith weaves fresh and local ingredients into every dish. He relies on area farmers for the best in season to give his menu local flair. He recommends visiting farms, markets and CSAs for summer squash, and to grill them for rich, smoky and sometimes sweet flavors. Combining squash with hot peppers, parsley and cilantro brings bright and exotic notes to mild squash. Try his Grilled Summer Squash With Jalapeño Chimichurri.

Want more? Check PAVeggies.org, and Like PA Veggies on Facebook (PAVeggies) and follow PAProduce on Twitter (@PAVeggies). Use #PAVeggies and stay up to date during Pennsylvania Produce Month.

The Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program is a statewide marketing order established by a grower referendum, governed by a grower board and funded by grower assessments. The program’s sole purpose is to serve the vegetable growers of Pennsylvania by promoting Pennsylvania-grown vegetables and funding practical vegetable production research.

EDITORS: If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Brodsky at jen@kitchentableconsultants.com or 267-275-1198. An electronic version of this release is available upon request.