Harford County Public Library Partners with Chef John Shields on ‘Farm & Bay to Table’ Series


On-going virtual series begins in July and focuses on picnic foods and peaches

Harford County Public Library is partnering with chef, author and television personality John Shields for an on-going virtual series, “Farm & Bay to Table.”

This series provides a virtual excursion to Maryland farms, fisheries and local businesses where the focus will be on the abundance and variety of fare that is grown in Maryland’s rich soil and caught off its shores in the Chesapeake Bay.

Participants will explore Maryland’s robust food industry, embrace creative ways to eat healthier, learn about exciting careers in the food industry and find out how buying local supports the community.

“We are so excited to start this virtual series with John Shields, who is a huge customer favorite at Harford County Public Library,” said Mary Hastler, the library’s CEO. “He is an amazing chef who creates such outstanding dishes that will shine the spotlight on healthy eating and the importance of the agriculture and seafood industries to Maryland’s economy. The July programs will provide visits to interesting locations across the state and will focus on delicious foods that are uniquely Maryland.”

Shields’ newest project, Our Common Table, supports and creates initiatives and partnerships that engage communities to live, learn and protect the bounty of the Chesapeake region.

“This partnership with Harford County Public Library is exactly what we need today — it encourages our youngest citizens to become stewards of our amazing and abundant Chesapeake region,” Shields said.

There will be two “Farm & Bay to Table” programs in July: “Picnic Food Across Maryland” on Thursday, July 8, and “What a Peachy Life” on Thursday, July 22. Both will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. via Zoom. Advanced registration is required at HCPLonline.org, and recipes will be available to attendees prior to the event.

“Picnic Food Across Maryland”showcases easy homemade lemon ice cream with Kate Dallam from Bloom’s Broom Dairy. In addition, Hastler, the library CEO, and Chef John will be live from his kitchen to prepare fresh tomatoes in a variety of ways, along with Miss Lorraine’s barbecued chicken and corn, crab and red pepper salad. The cooking demonstration ends with a Maryland favorite–lemons with peppermint sticks.

“What a Peachy Life”takes participants on a virtual visit to Black Rock Orchard and the 32nd Street Farmer’s Market with farmer David Hochheimer and will showcase the art of growing peaches and other stone fruit. Al Meckel, owner and head baker at Parkville’s legendary Fenwick Bakery, will share how to make the iconic Baltimore peach cake right at home. The program will conclude with Hastler and Chef John live from his kitchen where they will make an enchilada dessert that pairs local cherries and peaches. A peachy cocktail made with Maryland liquor will be the nightcap.

For information about future programs, including those on August 12, September 9 and September 30, visit HCPLonline.org.

July “Farm & Bay to Table” programs are presented in partnership with Harford County Public Library, Our Common Table, Broom’s Bloom Dairy, Gertrude’s, 32nd Street Farmers Market, Black Rock Orchard, Fenwick Bakery, Maryland’s Best and Maryland’s Best Seafood.

For more than 75 years, Harford County Public Library has provided its communities with access to ideas that inform, entertain and inspire. Last year the library interacted with its residents more than 6.3 million times – borrowing free materials, visiting branches and the website, attending classes and events. In 2020, Harford County Public Library received the Graphic Design USA Inhouse Design Award. For more information, visit HCPLonline.org.

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