Brenckle’s Harvesting Tour

Parkhurst Chefs, Dietitians and General Managers

This summer, on a beautiful yet humid 93˚ day, I had an opportunity to take a group of our employees to Brenckle’s Farm, one of the local farms from which we source our fresh ingredients. Brenckle’s has been a long standing partner of the Eat’n Park Hospitality Group and won our  “Supplier of the Year” award in 2011.  They are great farmers and grow some unbelievable veggies including tomatoes, zucchini, squash, peppers, eggplant, cabbage and cucumbers.

When we visited Brenckle’s last year, we had an opportunity to get into the fields and help them with planting. This year we decided to go a little later in the season and assist with harvesting, packing and other odd jobs around the farm.  We started our day in the fields harvesting cucumbers and zucchinis. However, we stumbled upon some brambles full of delicious blueberries that were ripe and ready for picking. Gary Brenckle allowed two of our employees to pick just a few, but it wasn’t long until everyone found themselves harvesting the tasty berry. Needless say they went a little over board and collected nearly every last one. Sorry Gary….

Grilling Veggies

Blueberry Picking

As we continue to work with them, it’s great to know that the second generation of Brenckle’s farmers are slowly taking on the responsibility of running the family business. Gary and Don Brenckle plan to hand down the farm to their sons Greg and Gary Brenckle. Greg and Gary are dedicated to taking Brenckle’s to the next level and recently got the farm GAP certified (Good Agricultural Practices).  Completing the GAP certification is a great investment that will help them create better food safety plans and make their farm even more sanitary and organized.

After finishing some additional chores around the farm, it was time for lunch. I prepared turkey, beef and veggie burgers, grilled vegetables, potato and cucumber salad (and it was pretty good, if I do say so myself).  We also tried some of Gary Sr’s homemade salsas and pickled peppers that he canned last year. All of them were delicious. My personal favorite was the shredded Cubanella peppers submerged in olive oil and oregano.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the awesome growing season our local producers have had, either by visiting your local farmers market or by enjoying a tasty meal at one of our Parkhurst locations.

Until next time,

Jamie

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