If autumn hayrides and cider call to you, then there's good news: This Sunday, Oct. 27, Salt of the Earth is turning its parking lot into an all-out harvest festival.
A $40 entrance fee admits adults (kids get in free) into the Fall Festival, which runs from 1 to 6 p.m., and features such beloved traditions as bobbing for apples and a pie-eating contest (with rumored celebrity judges). Organizers are forgoing the opulence of last year's event — which featured an 11-course dinner — in favor of old-fashioned fun. There will be a cider press, now en route from Ohio's Lamppost Farm, upon which guests can try their hands pressing juice.
Proceeds benefit the Garfield Community Farm (GCF), the nearly three-acre urban lot that provides Salt with everything from heirloom tomatoes to jostaberries.
Salt's relationship with GCF is "mutually beneficial," says Julia Baker, the staff farmer. "Salt's fully invested in the success of the farm, and in return we always bring them the best of the best."
GCF's faith-based mission involves organic gardening "in the places that have been neglected and abandoned," she adds. The farm's director, John Creasy, serves as the associate pastor for The Open Door.
While providing produce and education to Garfield's residents, GCF hopes to raise money that will help fund a permanent pavilion, enabling food-based youth camps and other more community programming.
Sunday should appeal to a cross-section of Pittsburghers, from foodies to families to pork fanatics. That's right: Salt is building a pit within which chef Kevin Sousa will roast a whole pig. (Don't worry: There'll be something for vegetarians, too.)
If the pig roast, cider press and East End brews don't whet your appetite, the chef demos may. In one, Salt's chefs will prepare dishes with farm-to-table produce gathered by guests touring GCF. Transport will be provided by a bus-turned-hayride, naturally.
"The spirit ... is to celebrate the fall harvest and the ways that the community has learned to provide for itself," says Jessa Darwin, Open Door's administrator. "It's [about] how far the farm has come ... and the direction that it's going in the neighborhood and the city."