Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (March 6, 2016) —For foodies with something to sell, reaching the shelves of Giant Eagle or Market District stores is a bit like getting to the promised land.
Paul Abbott, a category manager for the Market District banner, says in Pittsburgh, “We always have a pretty steady pipeline of folks seeking us out.” That might mean evaluating four or five newcomers at any time.
Supporting local businesses and communities makes good and financial sense. “We’re seeing a significant increase in consumer interest and demand seeking locally produced products,” Mr. Abbott said.
That translates to bread, pickles, yogurt, pepper jam, gluten-free baking mixes and soy candles, to name just a few of the Pittsburgh-area products on store shelves. Here is a sampling of local products available at local stores:
Goat Rodeo Cheese
As a promotional folder so cleverly states: “It started, as most good stories do, with a goat.” And it ends on many restaurant plates and in homes after shoppers frequent the East End Food Co-op, Reading Market Terminal in Philadelphia, farmers markets or stores such as Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. and, later this month, Market District.
That is where customers will be able to find five of the six cheeses from the Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy, a 130-acre family farm in Indiana Township owned by India and Steve Loevner. They have lived there for 25 years and raised their kids there, both their four children ages 18 to 26 and the kids born to their Alpine and Nubian dairy goats.
“Right now it’s kidding season, we will have at least 100 new kids born this spring,” said Mr. Loevner, who also works
off the farm at Trau & Loevner in Braddock, which specializes in screen-printed clothing.
“We do everything on the farm. We raise the goats. We’ve got a herd of over 100 dairy goats. We milk them there and then we make the cheese in our creamery on the farm. The only thing we bring in is the cow’s milk from a nearby farm,” he said.
The farm produces: Chevre, “smooth and creamy with notes of sun-warmed fields and a hint of lemon”; Chickabiddy, “a short 6-ounce pyramid made from goat’s milk with a beautiful white bloomy rind”; Stampede, “made from a blend of goat’s and Le-Ara Farms cow’s milk and aged in our cave for six months on wood boards.”
Also Bamboozle, which has a “semi-soft texture with notes of prosciutto and pears … aged for at least four months and washed with beer from Roundabout Brewery”; More Cowbell, with a soft creamy interior with “earthy flavors of butter and button mushrooms”; and Cowboy Coffee, “nutty, sweet and crumbly 10-pound wheels hand rubbed with Commonplace Coffeehouse’s Perpetual Blend Espresso,” and coming to stores this summer.
Mr. Loevner might help bottle feed the baby goats but says, “My wife, India, this is really her endeavor, her project. It’s totally her vision and her hard work that’s made this whole thing happen.”