HARRISBURG PA – From mustard and pretzels to cheese and pickles, visitors this week (Jan. 7-14, 2012) at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg can work their way through busy aisles to sample several tastes of the state.
Nearly 50 “PA Preferred” vendors are letting guests enjoy their wares – and are selling them, too – at the show’s PA Marketplace, inside the main hall of the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center. PA Preferred is the official branding program of agricultural commodities produced in Pennsylvania, and helps consumers identify products grown and processed within the state
Miller’s Mustard, a family-owned PA Preferred company, has exhibited in the marketplace for six years. They display a variety of tasty mustards, including the official mustard for the Harrisburg Senators baseball team. Their products are available at Giant Food Stores, which they attribute to their exposure at the Farm Show and other vendor events.
“Every year we have participated in the Farm Show, our sales have significantly exceeded the previous year’s sales,” said Don Miller, creator of the original mustard recipe. “With this increase in popularity and our great recipe, we have been able to gain access to major markets.”
Another PA Preferred company, Hammond’s Hand-Made Pretzels, started during the Great Depression and has continued with 81 years of family traditions. Hammond’s offers a variety of pretzel products in their outlet store and bakery location in Lancaster PA.
All of the company’s product, right down to its milled flour, comes from in Lancaster County, said Brian Nicklaus, who was distributing his firm’s pretzels to farm show crowds.
Hammond’s has been involved in PA Preferred since its beginning. Nicklaus feels the program, along with meeting potential customers at the show, has largely contributed to its success. “Many walk by the booth, commenting to their friends about these amazing pretzels that they just tasted,” he said. “We get more customers coming into the outlet location because they tasted our pretzels at the farm show and wanted more.”
The LeRaysville Cheese Factory is a PA Preferred member, with Tiffany and Skeet Repsher having owned the company for only 30 months. The Repshers offer cheeses and cheese curds displayed at a variety of events like the farm show. PA Preferred has been integral to their success, Tiffany explained. It “provides us very useful resources, great membership discounts, and helpful consultations for the business,” she said.
The farm show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors.
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One exhibit, dubbed “Today’s Agriculture,” includes a large barn with live cows, pigs and poultry in situations typical at commercial farms. “We’re doing this to tell the story of modern-day agriculture,” said state Secretary of Agriculture George Greig.
The Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCNTV) is covering the Farm Show throughout the week, with live, delayed and streaming broadcasts, special programming, photos and social media updates. All photos in this article were distributed by PCNTV via Twitter. See a 12 photo gallery of its photo tweets from Monday (Jan. 9, 2012), below.
Photos from the Pennsylvania Cable Network