Enjoying the beautiful fall weather of SE Pennsylvania this past weekend, my mind jumped back to the prior Sunday, Sept. 27, for comparative contrast. Excited to be riding my home roads with other like-minded cyclists as part of the second annual Bike Fresh, Bike Local, I could not escape the reality of a continual downpour outside my bedroom window that morning. During coffee, my 75 mile intentions were ratcheted back to 50 and so I joined the 300+ others that pedaled out of the Victory parking lot to witness the grey beauty of Chester County.
The event was put on by PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) and benefitted this great organization. Our company has been a PASA member since 2006 for many good reasons. PASA endeavors to make “our farmers more viable, improves the land and restores the health and wellbeing of all our citizens.” Harnessing the positive opportunities in both Mother Nature and human nature is, no doubt, a huge challenge but to witness the energy of PASA volunteers on that drab Sunday was energizing to us soaked cyclists. It seems that their team-building skills also brought vitality to our post-ride meal as they engaged Philadelphia public school culinary program students from the following high schools to contribute great dishes: Ben Franklin, Dobbins Vo Tech, Frankford, Mastbaum, Northeast, Randolph Skills Center, Simon Gratz, Swenson, and the School District of Philadelphia. I commented to our Restaurant General Mgr. how pleased I was with the three bean salad and he told me, somewhat sheepishly, “I’ll tell the Mastbaum students…” The Simon Gratz brownies were enjoyed by many and that recipe is below for you to enjoy.
But back to the ride. After being dropped by my friends of Tri State Velo I settled into a pace that was all mine and became one with the squishy saddle, fogged glasses and grey calm of the day. Which freed my mind to wander, as well. Bike Fresh, Bike Local has been a ‘rain or shine’ event, even though we debated that status due to weather forecasts heading into this year’s events. As I passed family farm stands with wet produce on display and huddled livestock peering out of barns, I realized that all of life is a ‘rain or shine event’ for the farmer. Weather conditions can grant feast or famine to a farmer. We witnessed this in May of this year as a single hailstorm devastated the hop farms of the Hallertauer region of Germany. The Bentele’s, our growers of the prized Tettnanger hop on their home farm in Tettnang had damage that they recovered from for an approximate 80% yield. The 2009 Hallertauer Hop Queen, Nicole Frankl, who visited our brewery in April was not as fortunate as her family farm witnessed zero yield this year due to the devastation of that storm!
We are happy to be a contributing member of PASA and proud of the work they do in support of independent farmers. Perhaps PASA is proud to have Victory as a member as they have included a profile of our business in the current issue of Passages, their official newsletter. Part II of this post is the interview portion of that article, if you are interested. It’s after the brownie recipe. We have our priorities in line. Pleasure before business.
Yield: One 9 X 13 pan
Semi-Sweet Chocolate, good quality 8 oz
Butter 1 ¼ cups
Eggs, room temperature 4 each
Sugar 1 ¼ cup
Salt ¼ tsp
Vanilla Extract 1 ½ tsp
Bread Flour ½ cup
Nuts, crushed (Optional) ½ cup
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Spray 9 x 13 pan with pan grease.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler then allow to cool to room temperature.
- Mix the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla together until well blended but do not whip.
- Blend in the chocolate mixture.
- Add the flour and mix until just combined.
- Add nuts if desired.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when poked in the center.