Grow, Cook, Drink: Who Cooks for You Farm

The owners of Who Cooks For You Farm put together a vibrant farmstand display.




Photo by Laura Petrilla
 

 

Farming is the nurturing of seed, dirt and water into food. Bugs and blight, heat waves and frosts — all are part of the day-to-day of a farmer’s life. The ideal of a bucolic farmscape, however, resonates most with shoppers. Pittsburgh farm markets often have lagged in capitalizing on visual appeal, compared to the high-stacked, dew-dripping displays at Whole Foods or the photogenic setups of California markets. Chris Brittenburg and Aeros Lillstrom, owners of Who Cooks For You Farm in Armstrong County, want to change that.

“If I just bring a bunch of stuff I killed myself to grow, and then I just plop it on a table and say, ‘OK, go buy it,’ well we don’t think that’s good enough,” says Brittenburg.

The couple says a colorful farmers market display is a quick way to grab the attention of potential customers, enticing them to touch, smell and taste a bright, diverse selection of fruits and vegetables. With an ever-increasing number of vendors, these relative newcomers — they started selling in 2009 — know the advantage of a red, yellow and green flag formed from bell peppers.

“We’re there to show that nature is beautiful, that food is beautiful. This is part of who we are, and it becomes what we are,” adds Lillstrom.

They have rules. They wash produce at the farm before shipping it to market. They stack items in an aesthetic way rather than willy-nilly on the table. And they generally don’t display two crops of the same color next to each other.

Of course, eye-catching displays are pointless if nobody is buying what you’re selling. “People want to see variety, but they don’t always buy it. They see it, but then they buy carrots and tomatoes,” says Brittenburg.

As wonderful as carrots and tomatoes are, they’re just a small part of Who Cooks For You Farm’s cornucopia of crops from the cucurbits, brassicas, nightshades and amaranthaceae families. Lillstrom says the bright display is a conversation starter. From there it’s up to the farmer and often other customers to convince someone to try a candycane-striped Chioggia beet or fringed, purple-and-green mizuna for the first time.

That’s good for business and body.

So while Estragon might reject Vladimir’s offer of a black radish in Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting For Godot” because he “only likes the pink ones” and would much prefer a carrot to either, perhaps it’s time to take a cue from Brittenburg and Lillstrom and embrace a world of potential in such a rainbow of this humble vegetable.

“All of them, they’re just beautiful,” Lillstrom says.



 

Grilled Escarole

Serves 4
Courtesy of Chris Brittenburg and Aeros Lillstrom

 

  • 1 head escarole, cut into quarters
     
  • Olive oil, salt and mustard vinaigrette (or any other assertive vinaigrette you may have on hand; anchovy vinaigrette is excellent)
     
  • Garnishes: croutons, radishes, anchovies, Parmesan cheese, grilled spring onions

 

1. Soak escarole in water for several minutes.

2. Shake dry. Toss with a little olive oil and salt.  

3. Place escarole on a medium-hot grill and cook for several minutes on each side, depending on how charred you like it.

4. Toss with vinaigrette. Add garnishes and serve.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Feeling Hot! Meteorologists Predict Sweaty Summer For Pittsburgh

Feeling Hot! Meteorologists Predict Sweaty Summer For Pittsburgh

Ready for 90-degree temperature weather? What you need to know about summer 2016.
Pittsburgh's Union Trust Building Renovated and Restored

Pittsburgh's Union Trust Building Renovated and Restored

The historic Downtown building reopens after a two-year, $100 million renovation.
The Section of Mystery: What’s behind the door?

The Section of Mystery: What’s behind the door?

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History opens new permanent exhibit featuring 3-D holograms.
Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

We break down each day of the festival so you don’t have to improv your way through it.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

Research led Kellee Maize to discover she is the daughter of the former teen singing sensation. Now she and McNichol are teaming up to develop a television series to help other parents and children find each other.
Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

One day, 18 roller coasters, four queasy stomachs, two cheeseburgers, one fried dough … whew.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Feeling Hot! Meteorologists Predict Sweaty Summer For Pittsburgh

Feeling Hot! Meteorologists Predict Sweaty Summer For Pittsburgh

Ready for 90-degree temperature weather? What you need to know about summer 2016.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

Justin Severino and Hilary Prescott Severino of Cure and Morcilla organized the event, which featured celebrated chefs from DC, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

Grab your kits, scarfs and get ready to watch the Euro 2016 Pittsburgh-style. We'll show you where to go to get your fan on.

Comments


Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

The restaurant and bar in Oakland welcomes college students and locals alike.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Perspective Accompanies Long-Awaited Second Crosby Cup

Perspective Accompanies Long-Awaited Second Crosby Cup

The Pittsburgh Penguins may be more poised to establish a dynasty in 2016 than they were in 2009.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

Vintage signs can add a pop of personality to your decor.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Reviews of "The Conjuring 2," "Warcraft," "Maggie's Plan," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Noah’s Ark Nuptials: One Couple’s Kennywood Wedding

Noah’s Ark Nuptials: One Couple’s Kennywood Wedding

The restoration of the iconic Noah’s Ark whale entrance came just in time to be the backdrop for this Pittsburgh couple’s wedding.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Purple Reign: PPG Paints Unveils 2017 Color of the Year

Purple Reign: PPG Paints Unveils 2017 Color of the Year

Violet Verbena’s grey-purple tones are playful, elegant and calming. Plus, get the history behind some of Pittsburgh's architectural wonders.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

The camp is a collaboration between two area universities and is open to students entering grades 9-12.

Comments