Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous fall day without the rain that was expected. Someone upstairs knew it was the annual Harlem Harvest Festival, presented by Harlem Park to Park. There were little faces, families and hungry Harlemites who were counting on the festivities to carry on.

Harlem is Harvesting (41567)
Harlem is Harvesting (41570)
Harlem is Harvesting (41571)

A. Philip Randolph Square on St. Nicholas Avenue was beginning to fill up with the new batch of visitors when I arrived. The early risers were well into pumpkin carving with master carver Hugh McMahon, face painting, arts and crafts and fitness activities like Hula-hoop lessons.

Of course, I had to peruse the food to see what was happening. Whole Foods was there promoting a healthy eating lifestyle with organic chocolate milk for the kids and what they called a “Flash Kitchen” with Chef Juan Pablo Chavez. Guests not only got to ask questions, but also see demos of how to prepare healthy foods.

On the other end of the health spectrum, Corner Social was handing out some decadent crème brulee, Lenox Coffee was pouring Stumptown-brand coffee and featuring divine pastries, and Thousand Island Winery from upstate New York was sampling a smattering of their varietals. Can’t forget the Southern Belles Gourmet BBQ sauce gals reppin’ Memphis BBQ in Harlem either! ‘Twas a little something for everyone.

I couldn’t stay for the “Battle of the Chefs: Lenox Avenue vs. 8th Avenue” or the “Bake-Off,” but I am sure Harlem won! DJ Stormin’ Norman, of course, was doing his thing on the wheels. I danced right out of there … happy.

What I won’t miss is the second annual Harlem Hospitality and Culinary Conference, presented by Harlem Park to Park, held again at the Studio Museum of Harlem on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. So inspired last year by the great gathering of people and speakers, I know this year will be even better. The event, sponsored by Uptown magazine, American Express, Harlem CDC and NYC Small Business Services, promises an interactive discussion on growing the

hospitality and culinary industries in the fastest developing neighborhood in New York City. Panels include “Branding: Creative Strategy Behind a Successful Culinary/Hospitality Brand”; “Homegrown Restaurant/Eateries: Thriving as David in the Land of Goliath”; “Event Catering: Untapped Potential for Restaurant/Culinary Business Growth”; “Artisanal Foods: Creating a Successful Neighborhood/Regional Culinary Brand”; “Cocktails and Nightlife: What Makes a Great Bar?”; and “NYC’s Wake Up Call: Meeting Growing Demand for Harlem Hotels.”

The day promises to be full of important insights and useful information from entrepreneurs and business people from Harlem and New York City. I hope to see you there!

Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email her at, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook or chat with her on Instant Messenger at AskSCHOP, Monday-Friday, 6-8 p.m. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at