Food round up: World’s largest chicken barbecue canceled, European-style restaurants open

The Civitas Lancaster annual chicken barbecue at Long’s Park has been canceled, with organizers citing increased costs, decreased demand and a lack of volunteers.

Hailed as the world’s largest chicken barbecue, the spring event – which began in 1953 – was suspended this year and for the foreseeable future, according to a post on the Civitas Lancaster website.

President Nicki Nafziger said in the post that “this was a very difficult decision for us to make because so many people have been a part of this for decades. But it no longer makes financial sense for us to expend the effort it takes to run this huge undertaking for the small return we are now generating.”

Increased food costs and the loss of key sponsors have significantly cut into the amount of net money raised at the barbecue, she explained. “We would like to thank everyone who ever donated to, volunteered for or sponsored our event. It holds the record for the largest one-day chicken barbecue and we’re very proud of that.”

Nafziger emphasized that Civitas Lancaster, which was Sertoma Lancaster before rebranding, is in financially sound shape, and will continue to support Long’s Park and other community nonprofits.

Italian, French restaurants open

There was also recent good news on the food front, too.

Luna Italian Cuisine restaurant opened March 6 in Mechanicsburg, at 100 Legacy Park Drive, Suite 2. According to its website, it “specializes in gourmet Italian foods curated by only the finest chefs in the area. We also feature a Euro-modern cocktail bar and host the area’s only after-hours Disco Pub.”

The menu (reservations are required) features an array of pasta, meat and fish dishes, pizza and antipasti.

Chef de Crepes has also relocated to from Mechanicsburg to a larger venue at 2017 Market St., Camp Hill.

The creperie run by the Cheverez family was inspired by their journeys to France. They opened in the summer of 2019 with a pop-up tent at vineyards. When COVID-19 hit, “we decided to get creative,” according to their website. The Cheverezes bought a food truck they dubbed Jean-Pierre and took it around central Pennsylvania, to increase mobility.

They then opened a creperie eatery – modeled after Laduree House in Paris – in December 2020, serving traditional and family-inspired crepes.

In just two years, the Cheverezes needed bigger quarters and have now moved from Mechanicsburg to Camp Hill.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Despite residents’ concerns, Chick-fil-A site approved for Upper Allen Township

Despite drawing sharp criticism from Cumberland County residents, plans for a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Upper Allen Township were unanimously approved Wednesday by a vote of township commissioners. 

A reported standing-room-only crowd attended a meeting Wednesday to voice their concerns, but four hours of debate led to Upper Allen Township Commissioners voting to approve the proposed location of the popular fast-food restaurant at the Mills at Shepherdstown Crossing. 

Situated at the intersection of Gettysburg Pike and South Market St., the 74-seat restaurant will feature three drive-thru lanes. Chick-fil-A is known for attracting long lines of customers, and residents believe the restaurant will bring to their area additional traffic, safety, and pollution issues. 

Township officials pointed to positive traffic studies that have been taken, but residents state the studies date to when traffic was lessened due to the pandemic. 

The Chick-fil-A in Upper Allen Township will be located approximately three miles from a Chick-fil-A in Lower Allen Township. 

Opponents to the Upper Allen Township plan were hoping recent history would repeat itself. The Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A chain sought to put one of its restaurants on 32nd and Market Streets in Camp Hill several years ago. Opposition from residents, however, led to the proposed site being leased instead to Chase Bank.

Lancaster County farm’s new hemp egg finds initial success within state lines 

Manheim-based eggs, milk and ice cream producer, Kreider Farms, recently released the newest product under its hemp-focused Chiques Creek brand—the hemp egg. 

The egg, currently only available in limited supermarkets within Pennsylvania, are brown eggs from cage-free birds, fed a proprietary feed that consists of 20% hemp seed. 

The feed, and the egg, are the first of their kind in the country and offer more nutrients than the traditional egg, according to Kreider Farms. 

Kreider, through its Chiques Creek brand, has aimed at making a name for itself within the revitalized hemp industry, which found footing following the passage of the federal Farm Bill by former President Donald Trump in 2018. The bill allowed for the production of hemp and removed hemp and hemp seeds from the Drug Enforcement Administration schedule of Controlled Substances. 

Kreider quickly joined the burgeoning hemp market with the creation of its single serve bottles of hemp tea and the Chiques Creek brand in 2019. 

The Chiques Creek Hemp Tea has proven successful, with the company selling the produce in Acme, Safeway, Giant and Weis stores in multiple states. Expanding into eggs felt like a natural step for the farm, which operates four Pennsylvania egg production facilities, said Khalee Kreider, marketing and social media specialist at Kreider Farms. 

“An egg seemed like an appropriate thing since we are an egg producer already,” said Kreider, adding that the tea was a much easier product to get out to market. “The hemp egg was a lot more time consuming. We had to work with our feed company to make a proprietary feed to get the elevated nutritional levels we were aiming for.” 

The proprietary feed is made up of hemp sourced from a number of locations, including both within and outside of the country. In the future, the company would like to eventually have an exclusive Pennsylvania source, but the US doesn’t yet have the infrastructure needed for processing, said Kreider. 

Kreider Farms can currently only sell the egg within Pennsylvania because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to rule on the use of hemp in animal feed. 

Despite having to keep the sales of its hemp eggs within Pennsylvania, Kreider Farms has seen a lot of interest from retailers for the product. The company hopes to soon expand the product across state lines following its approval by the FDA. 

“Our Lancaster farming heritage dates back to the 1700s when our colonial ancestors began growing hemp for food, clothing, rope, paper, and canvas for Conestoga Wagons,” said Ron Kreider, president and CEO of Kreider Farms. “Being able to build upon that history by creating the first hemp egg that comes from a farm where the cage-free hens are American Humane Certified and recognized for our sustainable and regenerative farming practices is an exciting accomplishment.”