Long before the Confederacy receded from its high-water mark, Gettysburg and surrounding Adams County, Pa., were already known as a “bread basket.” The area’s fields and forests fed a growing local population and provided trade goods to sell. Around 1772, Samuel Gettys opened the first tavern at the corner of York and Baltimore roads, beginning a tradition of food and beverage service that continues today.
For foodies, modern Gettysburg has much more to offer than monuments and historical markers.
Begin by exploring the culinary horizons of the “South Mountain Fruit Belt,” a swath of orchard lands along the South Mountain chain west of Gettysburg. This region is the home of Musselman’s and other major produce companies. In the spring, the flowering fruit orchards have the appearance of snowdrifts.
The historic Round Barn near Arendtsville is exactly that — a vintage barn that is 282 feet in circumference. But, more than just an architectural curiosity, the Round Barn’s curved shelves are stocked with food and decorative and gift items.
The site of Adams County’s first commercial apple orchard, the Round Barn offers a large selection of local apples, heirloom and antique fruits and vegetables, and autumn produce. Regardless what you purchase, be sure to walk around the barn’s interior and marvel at the design.
Boyer Nurseries and Orchards has been in the same family for five generations, and has a reputation for its sweet and sour cherries and blueberries.
You can pick your own fruit, or purchased pre-packaged apricots, nectarines, plums, peaches, pears, and apples. Boyers also operates a farm market, a garden center, and a wine and hard cider tasting room.
Hollabaugh Bros., a fruit farm and market in Biglerville, also offers a pick-your-own option. The newly constructed farm market has more than 4,000 square feet of retail space, including an in-house bakery, kids’ play areas, and a café. Seasonal merchandise includes homegrown fruits and vegetables, canned and preserved goods, baked goods, local meats, and autumn specialties.
The abundance of local produce and agricultural items — as well as the growing number of tourists — has helped promote the rise of numerous restaurants in Gettysburg.
The Parrot, in the center of Gettysburg, has been an eatery for 100 years, but recently updated its menu and ambiance. Under new owners and with a new chef, The Parrot offers New American cuisine along with live music, jazz nights, and even “open mike” nights.
“We are the ‘Cheers’ of Gettysburg,” joked owner Gus Zucco, noting the The Parrot’s strong local following.
The Parrot’s new menu features some unique dishes, such as a crab causa salad, excellent pork sliders, and Peruvian chicken.
For a quintessential Gettysburg experience, stop into the The Pub in the Gettysburg Hotel. A fine way to relax after combing the battlefields or prowling the local farms, get a drink or a snack and watch the traffic flow around the town’s
If you prefer something sweet, stop into Sweeet!, a candy shop stocking more than 2,000 varieties. It’s located downtown on Baltimore Street.
Gettysburg also has its own in-town, small-batch distillery. The Mason Dixon Distillery offers a restaurant, cocktails, tours, and bottle sales. Its products include rum, corn whiskey, and vodka, with a cocktail menu filled with specialty drinks. The dining menu features a selection of small plates ranging from goat cheese brulee to bahn mi to shrimp and grits.
Taking a food tour might be the best way to become familiar with Adams County’s culinary spectrum. Savor Gettysburg Food Tours offers a half-dozen different walking tours, many focusing on the backstories of the local cuisine. (savorgettysburgfoodtours.com)
“We look at the history of the Gettysburg battle, but from the civilian perspective,” said Lori Korczyk, a Savor Gettysburg tour guide. She also noted that the company offers a wine, cider, and dine tour; a comfort food tour; a farmers market tour complete with a cooking class; and a “field to fork” agritourism experience.
Mary Boyer’s Peach Custard Pie
Courtesy the Boyer Family
1 pastry crust
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
4 to 5 peaches
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with pastry. In the unbaked pastry, slice the peaches.
Mix the sugar, eggs, flour, and butter, and pour slowly over the peaches. Bake 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 325 degrees and bake 45 minutes longer.
Note: Blueberries or raspberries can be sprinkled over the pie before baking.
For more information
Gettysburg Tourism: destinationgettysburg.com