Pennsylvania recently introduced four new culinary trails for visitors to enjoy -- bringing the total number of culinary trails in the state to six. Each trail highlights the role that food and agriculture play in Pennsylvania's history, economy, and culture. Visitors will be delighted with the tasty offerings as they eat their way across the state. Several Cumberland Valley locations are listed on each trail and we encourage our visitors to check out these must-stop locations during their stay. (Hint: If you go to the Visit PA website, Cumberland Valley is located in the Dutch Country Roads region.)
Baked: A Bread Trail
Grains comprise a central role in Pennsylvania’s history, economy, and culture. Bread, beer, and other baked goods continue to be a huge component of Pennsylvania’s culinary culture.
Talking Breads, located on a farm in Mechanicsburg, features old-world bread craft from flour milled on-site with an Austrian stone flour mill. In addition to bread, guests will find fresh and local goodies such as grazing boards, meats, eggs, produce, fruits, dairy, and seasonal flowers. Bring a blanket or sit under a timber-framed pavilion and enjoy a picnic. Hint: Be sure to check their Bread Schedule before visiting. Not all bread varieties are available every day.
Grains are a huge component of beer-making so don't be surprised to see several breweries on the Bread Trail. Cumberland Valley's Ever Grain Brewing Co. in Camp Hill made the list. Their signature Fluffhead was awarded 1st place in the Wheat Beer category at the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show and the brewery was recently named the inaugural Taste of the Year winner by individuals who voted and returned a Cumberland Valley Beer Trail passport in 2020. Check out the other locations along the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail, sign up for the free digital passport, and start earning prizes for each check-in at participating locations.
Picked: An Apple Trail
From Johnny Appleseed to amazing cideries to Amish apple pies, apples have a PA history with deep roots. PA’s unique soil composition and air movement make it the perfect location to grow varieties like Pink Lady, Cameo, Honeycrisp, and of course Red Delicious.
Big Hill Ciderworks in Gardners consists of two small farms with roughly 40 acres of orchards producing more than 40 traditional bittersweet and bittersharp varieties of apples chosen specifically for their ciders. Big Hill Ciderworks also presses, ferments, packages, and distributes their ciders. Utilizing traditional, time-honored cider-making methods of slow fermentation, barrel aging, and wild yeast fermentation, their ciders showcase a distinct flavor profile, unique to the orchards and the region. Enjoy views of the South Mountain as you sip their draft ciders at the picnic tables and Adirondack chairs in their outdoor space. Fire pits are available for cooler days and evenings.
And, the New Cumberland Apple Festival, held the last Saturday in September, features everything apple! Peruse over 200 vendors selling crafts and fine arts, children's activities, and yummy apple-themed foods.
Chopped: A Charcuterie Trail
While aged may not be the most delicious-sounding adjective for most foods, when it comes to charcuterie time is the secret ingredient.
Smokes & Pickles, located in the heart of downtown Mechanicsburg, is an artisan butcher shop and kitchen combining the best of a traditional hometown butcher shop with the modern locally-sourced food movement. The owner visits each farm to understand the provenance of each product he sells and ensures that they are ethically sourced. As the Visit PA website suggests, order the Charc Attack, a tray of three charcuterie meats, three cheeses, and a sampling of the pickled vegetables on their menu, and do not leave without trying the Deep Fried Deviled Eggs topped with bacon.
Visit PA's three-day itinerary for this trail also suggests an overnight stay at Dogwood Acres, which offers camping sites and cabin rentals. Hint: Dogwood Acres is seasonal and is open from April through October.
Pickled: A Fermented Trail
Not only has the process of fermentation been used for centuries as a preservation technique, but it's also known that some fermented foods are richer in nutrient content. And, the only thing better than the health benefits is the taste. Fermented foods have become the go-to way to cut creamy or fatty food with acidity. Additionally, fermentation has given us some of PA's most famous offerings including hard cider, wine, beer, and kombucha.
Although no Cumberland Valley location's made the state's Pickle Trail, locally-made jarred pickles can be found at a number of farmers' markets including Clair's Orchard and Farmers on the Square. And, celebrate all-things pickle at the annual Picklefest, held in nearby Dillsburg each May.
And, for those who like a sour taste that makes you pucker up, a special shout-out to Highway Manor Brewing Co. in Camp Hill. Their wild ales and sour beers are made from a proprietary house yeast that dates back to the 1800s. Try the Mighty Booch, a hard kombucha made with fermented tea, or a number of other barrel-aged sour ales.
Scooped: An Ice Cream Trail
These two Cumberland Valley locations were highlighted on the state's seasonal Pursue Your Scoops Ice Cream Trail.
Sugar Shack, located across the street from the scenic Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs, serves up homemade super-premium ice cream, including hand-dipped and soft serve. The creamery uses all PA preferred products and the highest quality ingredients.
Urban Churn Craft Creamery in Mechanicsburg uses all-natural ingredients, local produce, and multicultural ingredients to churn unique ice cream flavors in small batches via hand-built Amish Churns with an electric motor.
Cumberland Valley is a dream destination for ice cream lovers and there are plenty of other places to find this cooling treat! Find a full list of fun ice cream stops here and check out the seasonal Cumberland Valley Ice Cream Trail passport (Memorial Day through Labor Day).
Tapped: A Maple Trail
Although no Cumberland Valley locations were highlighted on this trail that celebrates the importance of maple production to the state, a number of businesses incorporate local maple syrup into their recipes, products, and experiences.
And, Fort Hunter Mansion in nearby Harrisburg holds an annual Maple Sugar Festival each March, where guests can enjoy learning the mysteries of maple syrup making, Native American sugar making, and tree tapping. The event also features taste tests of different types of maple syrup and Pennsylvania maple products for sale.