They say farming is a dying enterprise, not worth pursuing or continuing, but the Pennsylvania Farm Show says differently; for here, it is obvious that farming represents a vast and thriving industry in Pennsylvania, as it has since the founding of the state. Farming is by no means disappearing from the commonwealth, but is alive and kicking and attracting thousands of visitors to gawk at its formidable presence. Crowds in the thousands flocked to the Pennsylvania Farm Complex and Convention Center in Harrisburg over the weekend and will continue to flood the complex until Saturday the 12th.
The Farm Show is overwhelming and awe inspiring; the sheer volume of livestock, people, and products involved in the industry, the ingenuity and labor invested in the state’s farming community, the vigorous nature of agriculture in Pennsylvania, and the diversity of endeavors within the community are amply displayed. The dynamic nature of PA’s crops is vividly apparent throughout the event and proudly promoted: mushrooms, corn, potatoes, meat, dairy, apples, maple syrup, livestock breeding, eggs, aquaculture, and timber. These are all beautifully represented in the giant PA Preferred butter sculpture, which celebrates the diversity of products produced in the state.
One of the highlights of the Farm Show is the food court. Each Pennsylvania agricultural association is represented, marketing samples from their members: the apple growers offer cider floats and apple dumplings, the dairy association makes milkshakes and fried mozzarella, the mushroom growers sell fried mushrooms and grilled portabellas, the Aquaculture Council provides tilapia and trout sandwiches, and on and on. It’s a very impressive display that encourages gluttony. Restraint is paramount.
Livestock as far as the eye can see; that’s the feeling of perusing row upon row of sheep, cattle, goats, hogs, poultry, rabbits, alpacas, and horses. The livestock come to the show to be shown and judged, sold, perform in rodeos, educate the public, and look cute while doing it all. Three arenas host these livestock events throughout the show. The high school rodeo took over the large arena at the beginning of the week and the National rodeo will close out the Farm show at the end of the week. In between, draft hitches, herding dogs, log pulls, heifers, sheep, and hogs compete and entertain.
There are also numerous vendors of crafts, farm products, and various other merchandises. Educational opportunities abound from conservation and preservation societies in the state. Commercial exhibits offer the latest in farming technology and techniques for more efficient and effective agricultural production. And this is but a sampling of what is held within the three massive buildings that make up the Farm Show Complex.
The Farm Show exemplifies the bounty of PA farming and reminds visitors how fruitful this state is and how necessary and easy it is to buy locally. We must continue to support these hard working farmers who offer a complete smorgasbord for every taste. Naturally, farming can’t be a dying industry because if it weren’t for our farmers, what would we eat?