Putting Up in Happy Valley

Preserving [My] Sanity in Central Pa.


My hope for Putting Up in Happy Valley is that it become a small part of the exciting evolution that has been taking place in Central Pa. food culture and cuisine over the past fifteen years or so (as evidenced by the popular Seasons of Central Pennsylvania cookbook, the Tait Farm line of products, and Elk Creek Café‘s “Nouveau Dutchie” menu).

It is for:

  • Both the beginner and the more adventurous canners
  • Those who may be pursuing, are attempting to pursue, or only fantasize about pursuing a better, more rich food life (or at least a recipe for Mango Salsa)
  • Folks who live and eat in the region or the state, or at least want to hear about canning, eating, and living here (it’s more exciting than you might think!)


But anyone looking for:

  • A professionally designed, commercial, well-oiled-machine-of-a-blog featuring canning, preserving, freezing, AND drying, with a vast array of recipes for Chow-chow
  • Instructions for channeling Martha Stewart or an Amish grossmudder

will NOT find what they are looking for in Putting Up in Happy Valley. It’s only a blog, for God’s sake, not the Food Network or Dutchie Central.

—Patty Mitchell

Selected Biography

Patty Mitchell is a Pennsylvania native, enthusiastic foodie, and prize-winning canner. She was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania, learning to till the soil at the knees of her maternal grandparents, James A. and Rosemarie McCreary, at their Sinking Valley cottage. Her great-uncle Jack “Fat” McCreary taught her and her siblings the fine art of berry picking, a skill for which both the Mitchells and McCrearys have been known over many generations. After graduating from Penn State University in 1979, she worked with homeless women and cooked at a restaurant in Baltimore, and later priced machine parts at a Pennsylvania factory. From 1989 to 1994, Patty attended the University of Chicago Divinity School, where she assisted Martin Marty and R. Scott Appleby in editing essays for multi-volume publishing project on worldwide religious fundamentalism. While at Chicago, she lived in community at Disciples Divinity House, where she and her housemates tended an urban garden.

Patty returned to Pennsylvania and became a copyeditor at Penn State University Press in 1995. Currently production coordinator at PSUP, Patty has been involved in the publication of regional books for many years. Most notably, she co-edited the popular book This Is Penn State (Penn State Press, 2001), writing all but a few of the historical and university-related trivia sidebars, as well as researching, choosing, and managing the book’s photographs. Patty was project editor for Best Places You’ve Never Seen (Penn State Press, 2003).

Every year since 2002, Patty has placed her home-canned foods into competition at the Centre County Grange Fair, where she has won more than 100 prizes, receiving first prize for pickled beets five years in a row. She hopes to continue her winning ways in through 2012, in the name of research for this blog. Her dream is to own a small farm in Sinking or Penns Valley.


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