National Leaders are Playing With Their Food - And You Can Too - Generocity Philly

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May 15, 2015 11:30 am

National Leaders are Playing With Their Food — And You Can Too

After the conference, Eat Retreat will host a community pop-up event at Impact Hub Philadelphia.

Next week, Eat Retreat is bringing 40 of the nation’s food leaders to a camp in southeastern Pennsylvania, just outside of Lancaster. Local food leaders participating include Alex Jones of Fair Food Philly, Elizabeth Fitzgerald of Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center, and Jessica Moore of Philly Cow Share.

“The idea is to provide an opportunity for folks working in food every day to spend a weekend playing with their food,” wrote Kathryn Tomajan, the founder of Eat Retreat, in an email. “Because even the most creative, driven, self-motivated among us need inspiration.”

The conference will bring together people from across the country and across food disciplines for four days of sharing and inspiration. Attendees will lead each other in hands-on workshops, tastings and discussions.

“We invite an intimate group of farmers, cooks, butchers, beekeepers, photographers, chefs, journalists and makers to spend the weekend cooking together,” Tomajan said. “We give them knives, fire, ingredients, time and space so they can make stuff, share skills and do things they don’t get to do everyday.”

Tomajan added that southeastern PA was chosen for the annual event this year because it “has a rich agricultural history, forward-thinking food systems and incredible producers — not to mention Philadelphia’s vibrant food scene.”

Participants, who were chosen from hundreds of applicants from around the country, will also have the chance to directly interact with local food producers — some will observe a pig harvest at Wyebrook Farm. Others will go on a brewery tour and cheese tasting with Ed and Elizabeth Stoudt at Stoudts Brewery. Reanimator Coffee will also lead a hands-on roasting, brewing and tasting workshop for the group.

“Our attendees will get an immersive exploration of the local food culture, direct connections to the region’s makers and growers, and stories to share with their own communities,” Tomajan said. “And, of course, we’ll cook together. The kitchen pantry will be stocked with local produce, meats and grains for cooking teams to prepare all-local meals.”

While the retreat is private, Eat Retreat Bite, the first-ever community pop-up event by Eat Retreat, will take place in Philadelphia at Impact Hub Philadelphia on May 21.

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“Eat Retreat Bite is a community pop-up [featuring] the region’s best food and drink makers and Eat Retreat’s national alumni network,” Tomajan said. “Peek inside a beehive, learn how to taste olive oil, place a bid in the pork auction, enjoy a guided tasting of Pennsylvania farmstead cheeses and connect with local and national food leaders. It’s a party, and we’re inviting the Philly food community to come celebrate our shared joy of food.”

Image via James Collier

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