June 2014 Happenings Magazine
2014 Green Leaders teach about growing green! Plus a local and organic food finder, 45 ways to enjoy the great outdoors, outdoor dining guide, automotive features and local people and events! All the best of Northeast PA!
JUNE 14 PGS 51-72_Layout 1 5/16/14 5:34 PM Page 18 Local Lovely Meals on Grounds Fern Hall Inn Serves Local-Centric Menu in a Scenic Setting For Donna Vannan, preparing foods for loyal customers is an experience that involves all senses. “I love to see, smell and take part in the whole process of where our food comes from,” admits the executive chef at Fern Hall Inn in Clifford. “When I go to a farm, produce stand or local farmers’ market, I love to drink everything in with my eyes. I love to smell and touch what is offered.” Vannan creates her nightly specials, desserts and soups based on those selections by local farmers. She shops for meats, dairy items, vegetables and fruits at Scranton Farmers’ Market, Manning Farm Dairy, Miller’s Orchard Farm Market and Pallman Farm, among other local farms and orchards. As guests dine on Fern Hall Inn’s open-air patio overlooking rolling hills and a treespeckled golf course, they may not realize some ingredi68 ents on their plates are sourced just steps away, from the chef’s garden. Fresh herbs, tomatoes, peppers, leeks and salad greens are all grown in the onsite garden. Chef Vannan harvests lilac blossoms, using them to make syrup that is then used to create lilac ice cream, lilac panna cotta and lilac-infused cocktails. In season, bed-andbreakfast guests may enjoy organic huckleberries for breakfast, harvested just moments before from the Inn’s scenic grounds. Other foods on the menu are sourced from sustainable or organic farms. “I believe that organic foods are the tastiest and healthiest options available,” says Vannan. “It is necessary for us to think carefully about where our food comes from and how it is produced. I try to buy organic, free-range meat and poultry wherever possible, as I truly think how animals are HappeningsPA.com raised is reflected in the quality and taste.” Vannan grew up on a farm in Tasmania, the small island state of southern Australia. “Farming was the lifeblood of our community,” she explains. “We need to respect the agriculture and Earth that produces it, as well as the incredibly hard-working and dedicated folk that do very hard labor to bring these wonderful gifts to our tables.” Vannan crafts a seasonal menu for patrons of Fern Hall Inn, which serves dinner Thursdays through Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m., in addition to a Backyard Barbeque on summer Sundays. “We are lucky to be surrounded by such bounty from nature,” she admits. “We should all enjoy it.” Call 570-222-3676 or visit www.FernHallInn.com -Erika A. Bruckner (Who craves the chef’s vegetarian creations!) June 2014