Families flock to Habersham Harvest Festival on perfect autumn day

Kids eating dill pickles

A group of youngsters struggles to eat plates full of pickles in a minute during a pickle eating competition at the Habersham Harvest Festival in Beaufort on Saturday. “It was really sour,” said contestant Kailey Kreiss, 10, second from right. Jay Karr jkarr@islandpacket.com

Carnival rides, a pickle-eating contest and petting zoo animals entertained visitors at the 7th annual Habersham Harvest Festival on Saturday in Beaufort.

Families enjoyed a perfect autumn day strolling beneath the overhanging Spanish moss-draped branches at the Habersham Marketplace.

In addition to seasonal activities such as hayrides, the festival featured carnival rides provided by Big Round Wheel of Blacksburg.

New arrivals were met by a 47-foot-tall Ferris wheel with a long line of people stretching nearly back to the scarecrows at the festival entrance. From the air, riders were treated to a bird’s-eye view of the festival.

Down below, crowds of people, some pushing children in strollers or walking dogs on leashes, navigated the street past vendors and craft booths selling a variety of items ranging from pillows to neon-colored fish paintings.

Meanwhile, a pickle-eating contest got underway at the main stage area where groups of youngsters competed to see who could wolf down the most pickles in a minute’s time.

“I shoved them all in my mouth. I think I had nine or 10,” said Kailey Kreiss, 10, of Savannah after competing. “It was really sour.”

Further down the street, at the mini petting zoo, Rhonda Alexion, of Beaufort, showed goddaughter Carley Holmes a pair of turkeys strutting around their cage. “You know when I tell you, ‘you little turkey?’ Well, that’s a turkey,” she said.

A second petting zoo featured farm animals such as goats and exotic creatures like llamas. Next to the petting zoo, a carousel was spinning a few feet from an attraction offering rides on real ponies.

As the lead singer of the band NightTrain sang a country song about a honky tonk angel turning his life around, festival goers bellied up to a variety of food vendors. The Tavino’s wood-fired pizza booth was doing a land-office business, while nearby, the pulled-pork tacos with blue cheese slaw featured at the Downtown Curbside Kitchen food truck were selling like hotcakes.

New to the festival was a collection of whimsical scarecrows adorning the entryway. The scarecrows, which were a popular background for festival goers to take selfies and group photos in front of, were a collaboration between the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northern Beaufort County and the Habersham Builders League, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs.



PRODUCT REVIEW: The art of canning requires a funnel

By Catherine Krummey   –   Grand Forks Herald

This fall, I reluctantly (and later happily) became one of those people who can their abundant summer produce.

After hearing stories about my mom making pickles and my brother making his own salsa—both through canning—my boyfriend was inspired to make pickles. I got my grandmother’s refrigerator pickle recipe from my mom to share with him, and it quickly turned into “We’re making pickles.”

As we both had an abundance of cucumbers thanks to a mom with a very green thumb, a sister with a CSA subscription and one too many trips to the farmers market, he figured it was the thing to do, and he was right.

My grandmother’s pickle recipe came to us via a text message, without many suggestions on techniques, so we learned a few things the hard way during our pickling attempt:

First, how important it is to routinely clear off your cutting board no matter how big it is and how many cucumber slices you can stack on it, otherwise you might run out of room and take a nice slice into your finger.

Second, when you’re letting your cucumbers, green peppers and onions sit in salt for a bit, do it in a strainer in the sink, not on a cutting board on the counter, where pools of water seep onto your kitchen floor.

Third, when it came time to actually can our refrigerator pickles and pour the vinegar and sugar brine over the top, it was a little messy. “I wish I had a funnel,” I said as I clumsily transferred the brine from my saucepan to the jars, spilling a fair amount.

“I could go get the one from my car,” my boyfriend joked, his quip met with a glare.

Our first batch of pickles turned out to be very delicious despite any mishaps, but when the boyfriend announced he wanted to make a second batch, I wasn’t going to fool around: I bought a funnel set (of the non-automobile variety) on my next Target run.

As the OXO Good Grips name suggests, the two funnels each have four skinny red rubber grips to keep them from slipping and sliding when you use them.

Using the larger funnel from the set made the brine process go much more smoothly with our second batch of pickles. No spills, no sticky residue on the outside of the jars when you go to grab some pickles for your burger.

Rating: A

Price: $7.99 at Target

Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard Turns up the Heat with New Burger

Regional All-Natural Quick Service Chain Introduces the Jalapeño Cream Cheese Burger

DENVER, Oct 22, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Good Times Restaurants Inc. GTIM, +2.09% operator of Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard, a Colorado favorite quick service restaurant chain best known for its fresh, high-quality, all-natural products, is firing up the month of October with the Jalapeño Cream Cheese Burger.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151022005099/en/

The savory new burger features fire roasted jalapenos, fried red & green jalapeno sticks, cream cheese and raspberry jam. Available for a limited time, the new menu item will continue to uphold Good Times’ mission of offering fresh, all-natural, hand-crafted food using locally-sourced ingredients to create the tastiest fast food available. Similar to the everyday items on the menu, the Jalapeño Cream Cheese burger will be made with Good Times’ humanely raised, steroid-free beef.
“The Jalapeño Cream Cheese Burger is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy ingredients, and a Colorado favorite that you would otherwise only find in an upscale casual dining environment. Using ingredients you won’t find at any other fast food restaurant, I believe we have created a true one-of-a-kind menu item,” said Nick Biegel, Director of Product Development. “Our LTO offerings are a fun way to incorporate different local produce into our menu items. We’re looking forward to seeing if our customers love it as much as we do.”

Good Times continues its commitment to quality menu offerings with its completely all-natural protein platform, recently adding all-natural, nitrate-free bacon to the mix. The restaurant chain also recently introduced All Natural Housemade Pickles and Hand Breaded Fried Pickles, which are prepared in small batches by hand daily in each restaurant.

“Our brand position is based on the belief that food should be as fresh as possible, unique and of the highest quality,” said Biegel. “Every menu item that we have and will have in the future will be held to that standard in order to give our customer’s the best quick service experience possible.”

About Good Times Restaurants Inc.: Good Times Restaurants Inc. (GTIM) operates Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard and was founded in 1987 in Boulder, Colorado. Good Times prides itself on serving fast food to be proud of by offering a high quality, fresh, unique, proprietary selection of hamburgers made with Meyer All Natural Angus beef, All Natural chicken tenderloins from Springer Mountain Farms, All Natural, Nitrate Free Bacon from Good Nature Farms, Hatch Valley Green Chile Breakfast Burritos, signature Wild Fries and Natural Cut Fries, Beer Battered Onion Rings and fresh, creamy Frozen Custard in a variety of flavors, Hand Spun Shakes and Spoonbenders. Good Times currently operates and franchises 38 restaurants.

GTIM owns and operates Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar restaurants. There are currently 14 company owned, joint ventured, franchised and licensed Bad Daddy’s open. Bad Daddy’s is a full service, upscale, “small box” restaurant concept featuring a chef driven menu of gourmet signature burgers, chopped salads, appetizers and sandwiches with a full bar and a focus on a selection of craft microbrew beers in a high energy atmosphere that appeals to a broad consumer base.

Good Times Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws. The words “intend,” “may,” “believe,” “will,” “should,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “seek” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, which may cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These risks include such factors as the uncertain nature of current restaurant development plans and the ability to implement those plans and integrate new restaurants, delays in developing and opening new restaurants because of weather, local permitting or other reasons, increased competition, cost increases or shortages in raw food products, and other matters discussed under the “Risk Factors” section of Good Times’ Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2014 filed with the SEC. Although Good Times may from time to time voluntarily update its forward-looking statements, it disclaims any commitment to do so except as required by securities laws.

An easy introduction to modern fermenting

If a man ever asks you to try his “new greens”, I’d advise you to take him up on the offer. That was the invitation I received from pickling and fermenting expert Nick Vadasz. A week later I’m standing in an industrial unit in Hackney peering into a big plastic bucket. Murky brown liquid, flecked with chili, garlic and herbs, surrounds a mass of bright green cucumbers curling in upon themselves like snakes.

“New greens” are what these are called in New York’s Jewish delis. Vadasz fishes one out with extra-long tongs. I bite into it. It’s crispy, sour, garlicky, spicy – I immediately want to take the whole bucket home. And I’m not alone: we British are developing a taste for the sour and Vadasz is one of a growing number of producers selling fermented foods and teaching others how to pickle, too.

“My Hungarian dad passed on two skills to me. One was the ability to swear brilliantly in Hungarian, the other was to make great pickles,” Vadasz laughs. “I started fermenting because it’s part of my heritage. It seemed like an ethical and sensible way to deal with foods that were plentiful, too. I also realized there were lots of Eastern Europeans living here who couldn’t get the sour pickles and krauts they ate back home, so I spotted a gap in the market.”

Think fermentation is just a foodie trend? Stay with me. You already eat lots of fermented foods – including wine, vinegar, cheese, yogurt, sourdough and salami – all made using the mysterious power of microbes. More distant cultures consume them in greater quantities: kefir, slightly sour fermented milk, is drunk in the Caucasus; labneh is a staple of the Middle East; fermented pickles are offered at every meal in Japan; kimchi, spiced fermented cabbage, is a staple in Korea.

To ferment vegetables all you need is salt. To make your own yogurt you just need some live yogurt. To ferment milk or water you need to get kefir grains (you can find them online). It might seem mysterious at first, but pickling isn’t difficult and it’s a great kitchen adventure.

“The way fermentation transforms foods is quite magical,” agrees Vadasz. “Shred and pound some cabbage. Add salt to create a brine. Within that brine you have natural sugars that are activated by the yeasts in the vegetables and in the air. You don’t add sugar or vinegar. The cabbage sours and keeps because of lactic acid fermentation. All you have to do is keep the cabbage submerged and observe the changes in flavor.”

Some people are interested in fermented foods for health reasons – they are said to improve gut health – but I’m interested because of taste. During a recent trip to the United States (where pickling evangelist Sandor Katz kick-started the trend with his 2003 book Wild Fermentation) the best meal I had was at Bar Tartine in San Francisco. It was brunch, but there was no French toast with maple syrup; just home-made yogurt, fermented vegetables and kefir butter.

At first I groaned – I even tweeted a picture of the menu because it was so achingly hip – but it turned out to be a meal of startling flavours. There was sourness – from the fermented elements – and a real earthiness. This meal and Vadasz’s “new greens” are the most persuasive argument I’ve encountered for fermenting at home.

But how do we know what we’re creating in our own kitchens is the product of good bacteria and isn’t just food rotting? Food writerCharlotte Pike’s new book, Fermented, should help you embark on experiments confidently. Her recipe for Kombucha – fermented tea – is simplicity itself. It tastes like tart apple juice with a dash of cider vinegar and, chilled, is addictive.

“Darling, my kefir has died,” reads the opening line of an email I receive from a friend living not in fermentation haven California but Dublin. It’s easy to laugh at the obsessiveness of food lovers, but she has my sympathy. Now that I’ve dipped my toes into the pickle barrel I’m fired up with enthusiasm. In fact, I’m waiting impatiently for my own kefir grains to ferment the cream I’m going to turn into butter.

Best Maid Pickles Dill Dash

at Coyote Drive-In

Dress up in your best pickle attire and run. Prizes will be awarded for the best pickle themed runner. All are welcomed at the After Party with family friendly pickle games.

The Dill Dash benefits the Smiley Fund, established to help at-risk Texas children with the means to achieve success and live healthy lifestyles, through after-school programs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
5K – $20; $25 after Oct. 19.
1K Fun Run – $10 for 1K

The uplifting story of Mr. Pickles

There’s a cat named Mr. Pickles who lives among the residents of the Bayview Retirement community. As a pet therapist he brings warmth and love to the residents of the entire building. See the full story of this cute (and tubby) animal.

Pickles for Tatyanna – Latonja Williams makes flavored pickle business a family affair

Kim Diggs, kdiggs@starlocalmedia.com   –   Star Local Media

Tropical Punch, Peach Mango, Hot N’ Spicy and Sour Grape – these are all flavors of sliced pickles that Latonja Williams, owner of Tatyanna’s Pickle Palace, has cooked up after taking customer requests. She runs her flavored pickle business out of her home, experimenting with various flavorings. Her most widely used agent to get the robust flavor she’s looking for – Kool-Aid.

The discovery that pickles can add a new element to fruity or savory flavors came to Williams as a happy accident. She took the first steps in what would grow to be a business when she was a kid playing with her cousin.

“I started [making these pickles] when I was about 10,” Williams said. “Me and my cousin would get the Kool-Aid, and steal a little sugar from my mama and mix it and put some pickles in it. I think it was just something we used to do. When we used to get Kool-Aid, we used to put lemons in it, and I decided one day that I was going to try it with a pickle in mine. That’s where it all started.”

She never really thought about turning the discovery into a business until her daughter, Tatyanna, started becoming more active in school and participating in a lot of activities. In order to be able to afford all of the fees that came with that, she decided to turn a family tradition into a business. But it took a conversation with a friend to give her the nudge to get started.

“What happened was one of my friends made a tropical punch [pickle] and she wasn’t selling it, and I told her she should do it,” Williams said. “When she decided she wasn’t going to do it, I thought ‘Why don’t I do it?’”

For a while, she sold them out of her home for $1. They were selling so well that she decided to take her business to the next level and start selling them at events.

“My first event was Zydeco Fest,” Williams said. “I made 10 different flavors, and the grown-ups were actually the ones going crazy for the pickles.”

Since 2014, her pickles have taken off across the state and throughout Louisiana. She’s sold pickles at Taste of Rockwall, Essence Festival in New Orleans, festivals in Seagoville and Balch Springs, the Martin Luther King Parade in Dallas, a Mardi Gras parade in Shreveport and many other places.

From 8 a.m.-8 p.m. each Saturday, she can be found at Paschall Park in Mesquite, Texas selling pickles. She continues to set up and sell at events.

One of the upcoming events is a party that lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 24 at Bradfield Place, 3700 Oates Drive, a senior living community in Mesquite. There, families will be able to participate in games, watch live entertainment and compete for prizes. Admission is free.

She will also be selling her pickles at Trunk or Treat in Rowlett, texas. It begins at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 at Mercer Place, 5701 Dexham Road, Rowlett. Trunk or Treat is a Halloween event in which people decorate their cars to fit a specific theme and children dress up in costume and visit each car to get candy and prizes.

Williams’ latest goal is to grow her business and apply to sell her confections at the Texas State Fair next year.

Two Homeless Dogs Relied On Each Other To Stay Alive

Living on the streets is no doubt terrifying, and two little dogs found a way to make it more bearable.

Hope for Paws, a rescue organization in Los Angeles, received a video text message of two homeless dogs fending for themselves.

They helped each other make it through the rough times, and their rescuers knew that they also needed to be rescued together.

When they found and approached the pups in a trash heap behind a building, the duo were friendly and eager to be rescued — but also unwilling to leave each other’s sides. The pair allowed rescuers to pet them and give them attention, and even accepted food.

Hope for Paws volunteers named the dogs Dill and Pickles. They put a leash over the boy, Pickles, first, so Dill could see that it was safe. If her best friend could do it, then so could she.

Before taking them back to the car, Pickles cuddled up to Dill, proving to rescuers that the only way these two got through living on their own was by being together, always.

One of the volunteers picked up Pickles to bring him to the car, and Dill immediately followed, going wherever her best friend went.

When a volunteer climbed into the car with Pickles, Dill knew that it must be safe, and climbed up onto the car, signaling that she would be OK with being lifted in, too.

Finally, both friends were in the car and ready to be taken off of the streets — forever.

Even now that they’ve been rescued, Dill and Pickles are inseparable, and don’t like to be apart for very long at all. Hopefully these two will find a loving forever home where they can be together forever and finally feel safe.



An urban farm in Salem grows vegetables, flowers, and cans pickles on the side

By Gillian O’Callaghan   –   Boston Globe

SALEM — Maitland Mountain Farm, this city’s only urban farm, is a bit of a conundrum. How can there be a farm and a mountain in this seaside city with almost 5,000 residents per square mile?

Carved out of a residential neighborhood, the farm is perched on a 2½-acre lot not far from a Staples and Dunkin’ Donuts. The name came from a family friend of Peter Maitland, who with his wife, Barbara, raised four children on this property. The friend used to ride his bike up the steep hill to visit and after struggling each time to navigate the incline, he dubbed the spot “Maitland Mountain.”

For the past six years, the Maitlands’ daughter Holly, 33, and her husband, Andy Varela, 30, have been growing a host of farmers’ market vegetables and testing the appeal of others. Kohlrabi was a successful experiment, though it took some convincing for skeptical shoppers to try the odd-looking orb. The farm is not organic, but on rare occasions uses organic insecticides. “This year we haven’t sprayed anything,” says Varela. If you grow what’s in season, he says, there’s little need for fighting pests.

Making a living from a small farm is difficult, so the duo developed two big additional income sources: sweet-smelling flowers and sour-tasting pickles. Until the end of October, the farm will deliver 40 to 50 bouquets a week to local florists, as well as a weekly flower share to Farm Direct Coop, a North Shore CSA. The mainstays are more than 40 varieties of dahlias, which are paired with zinnias, celosia, lemon basil, or amaranth.

And then there are the pickles. “I have always been a pickle lover at heart,” says Holly Maitland. One year, her father grew a “plethora of pickling cucumbers.” She tried a couple recipes for quick refrigerator pickles. “They came out so good that I was hoarding them for myself.”

When Varela moved to the farm and tried them he said, “You’ve got to do something with this.” That summer, they were selling pickles at farmers’ markets, and within two years had a contract with Costa Fruit & Produce of Charlestown to distribute pickled products and horseradish to kitchens across New England. “It’s helping us make it through the winter,” says Maitland. To keep up with demand, they buy cucumbers from neighboring farms and other places. A cold-brine method keeps the vegetables crisp and crunchy. Jett’s Spears are mild, and Holly’s Spears are spicy. Peter’s Giardiniera, a mix of carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, celery, and peppers, in a briny concoction of spices, has plenty of garlic and red chile flakes.

Peter Maitland and his brother, Greg, built the house on this property. Now Holly and Varela, and their 3-year-old son Jett (the same Jett of the mild pickles), live here with Peter and Barbara. Peter, a retired merchant marine engineer, always had an extensive garden and raised chickens.

Holly moved home after finishing Massachusetts College of Art and Design and started working for a landscape design company. In 2009, the year the Salem farmers’ market launched, the father-daughter duo tried a small stand with eggs, vegetables, and flowers, and the farm has been expanding ever since.

She and Varela met on eHarmony, drawn together by shared careers in the food industry. Within five months, Varela, originally from Southern California, arrived in Salem from Montauk, N.Y., where he was working in a restaurant. He quickly embraced the role of family farmer. As relatively new growers, the two have learned by trial and error. “It’s not what you know about farming,” says Varela, “it’s about how much work you want to put in.”

They find support among fellow farmers and restaurants they supply. The Sea Level Oyster Bar on Salem Harbor offers Maitland’s spicy pickle chips, fried to a crisp and served with chipotle dipping sauce. “They are great pickles to start with. And then you add that they are local, and made right in Salem, you can’t get better than that,” says culinary director Serie Keezer, who also oversees Finz Seafood & Grill on the harbor.

The pickles are also at Milk & Honey Green Grocer in Salem. “It’s great to be able to offer customers products that come right from their own town,” says owner Sharon Driscoll. She’s had customers so enamored of Holly’s Spears that they’ve wiped out her entire stock in one purchase.

And, no, the young farmers never get sick of pickles. Varela likes to dice them, and, with a generous splash of brine, make a pickle guacamole. And Maitland, the original pickle lover, dips her spicy spears in hummus.

They’ve built a very sweet and sour life atop Maitland Mountain.

Maitland Mountain Farm pickles available at Milk & Honey Green Grocer, 32 Church St., Salem, 978-744-6639; The Corner Butcher Shop, 240 Elliott St., Beverly, 978-969-3194; Willow Rest, 1 Holly St., Gloucester, 978-283-2417; Appleton Farms Dairy Store, 209 Country Road, Ipswich, 978-356-3825; Appleton Farms at Boston Public Market, 100 Hanover St., Boston. Flowers, produce, and pickles available through Oct. 22 at the Salem farmers’ market in Derby Square on Thursdays.

Gillian O’Callaghan can be reached at gillian.ocallaghan@globe.com.

Mac And Cheese News: UConn Student Throws Tantrum Ordering Bacon And Jalapeno At Dining Hall, Goes Viral – And Gets Expelled

By Victoria Guerra   –

In the oddest Mac and Cheese news in recent times, Luke Gatti, from the University of Connecticut, became infamous earlier this week when a video of him in the school’s dining hall went viral, as the student demanded in expletive-filled words to be served a plate of bacon and jalapeno Mac and Cheese.

After going viral on YouTube in a video that reached over 2.7 million views (the original clip has since been taken out over a copyright claim, although someone else uploaded the content later on), the latest Mac and Cheese news on this case reveals that Gatti may have gotten expelled from the university.

According to The Daily Mail, this Mac and Cheese news comes from Twitter, after a few residents from UConn spotted the now infamous Gatti leaving campus, with someone taking a snap of the bacon and jalapeno lover packing up his things inside the trunk of a car.

This Mac and Cheese news might not be a happy ending for Gatti, but the Internet is certainly glad he won’t be able to yell at diner workers anymore.

In other related Mac and Cheese news in Gatti’s case, The New York Post reports that since the scene went viral, local UConn-owned pub Blue Oak Tavern is now honoring the viral video by naming a new macaroni and cheese dish, just the way Gatti likes it (white cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, diced jalapenos and panko bread crumb toppings), calling it “Luke’s Mac N Cheese” and describing the dish as “worth getting arrested for.”

As WTSP reports, the original clip went like this: Gatti, who was up until a few days ago a freshman at UConn, started yelling at a manager at the university’s student union in Storrs last Sunday night after he was refused service because, surprise, he was carrying an open alcohol container inside the premises.

Later on, things got physical, prompting police to reach the scene.