Good Life


We’ve been eating lunch on Saturdays at The Good Life Cafe in Carlisle, the one and only local farm restaurant. It may be the only one in Pennsylvania.

David Ison and Ruth Busko feature organic produce from Spiral Path, dairy products from Keswick Creamery, Three Maples in Millersburg and Trickling Springs Creamery, grass-fed beef from …
Tuscarora Lowlines and chicken from Three Maples.

“I have a particular commitment to local and regional culture and promoting concepts of sustainability, and that’s what this is about,” Ison told the Carlisle Sentinel. “The food I make here is what everybody ate 100 years ago. What people eat now is a deviation from the norm. With our way, people are eating and living well. There is nothing special or unusual about it, it was the way it always was until recently. It’s not a big deal, and at the same time, it’s a very big deal.”

There’s a lot special about the luncheon menu. The Curried Chicken Salad is a good spicy blend with homemade mayonnaise and a splash of local honey, on bread made by an Amish woman from Perry County who hand-grinds her organic flour, makes her own butter and takes honey from her bees.

I can also vouch for the Cafe Burger, the hot cider, the Tarragon Chicken Salad and even the potato salad. (Note to self: you do too like mayonnaise, if it’s home made.)

We have not gone for dinner there yet, but we’re organizing a Friday night with the lovely First Lady of Camp Hill and her consort, the Mayor.


One thought on “Good Life

  1. In response to the Good Life Cafe being “the one and only local farm restaurant” and, “It may be the only one in Pennsylvania,” let me tell you about Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks in Millheim, PA and Emma’s Food for Life in Selinsgrove, PA.

    I really love the Good Life, and when I first visited, it reminded me so much of a “Happy Valley” brewpub with the same focus. At Elk Creek, award-winning brewer Tim Yarrington is brewing fresh, local beer (although I doubt the ingredients are all local), the decor highlights local artists, they invite local musicians to perform, the bar stools were created by local artisans, but most importantly, Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks is supporting sustainable small local farms and businesses.

    Two of the suppliers are Tait Farm Foods and Gemelli Bakery (in State College). Meat and fish come from many sources, one of which is Over the Moon Farm; I’m pretty certain they use Cow-a-Hen Farm in Mifflinburg and the Elk Creek Fish Hatchery. And I’m sure the cheese is local – I just don’t know where it comes from.

    Apparently Elk Creek is so dedicated to the environment that they’ve installed waterless urinals (I wouldn’t know for a fact – I just read about it.)

    In terms of brewepubs, three others to check out that also focus HEAVILY on local and/or organic foods are Selin’s Grove Brewing Company (Selinsgrove), Bullfrog Brewery (Williamsport) and Otto’s Brewpub (State College.)

    In Selinsgrove, Emma’s Food for Life features Whitefrost Farms (Washingtonville) and other community supported agriculture.

    The Harrisburg area could certainly use more restaurants focusing on fresh, local ingredients. The BLUE Bistro & Wine Bar stated in a recent newsletter that, under chef Pippa Calland, it is leaning that way; “We are interested in bringing in fresh products from small producers. We are interested in sustainable products that not only support the environment but also support us as beings.”

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