PA Farm Show features food, fun, farm

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

HARRISBURG — The largest indoor agriculture event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors, is set to kick off Saturday, Jan. 5. The 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show will run through Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.

The eight-day show has the theme “Made in PA. It makes a difference.''

Commercial exhibits will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day, except from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last day, Jan. 12. Competitive events are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day, except on Jan. 12 when those events close at 1 p.m.

The food court will open early with hours from noon to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. From Jan. 5 to 11 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 12. The food court is also open with a limited menu from 7 to 9 a.m. each day.

Admission is free and parking is $10.

For directions and more information, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us

Butter sculpture

 A sculpture made from nearly 1,000 pounds of butter was unveiled Thursday at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, paying tribute to Pennsylvania's diverse agriculture industry.

The sculpture, sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program, features PA Preferred®, the official brand of agriculture products grown or made in Pennsylvania.

It depicts several of the state's top commodities including milk and dairy products, grapes and wine, Christmas trees, fruits and vegetables.

The eight-day Pennsylvania Farm Show opens to the public on Jan. 5. This year's theme is: “Made in PA. It makes a difference.''

“This year's Pennsylvania Farm Show will show how our farm families and thousands of agribusinesses provide an affordable food supply, keep money in local communities and create jobs,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig.

“More than 7,400 dairy farm families spend nearly 85 percent of their income close to home and recognize the importance of supplying quality products. They are making a difference,” Greig said.

“Most milk consumed by Pennsylvanians is produced and processed within 100 miles of their grocery store,” said Harold Shaulis, Somerset County dairy producer and chair of the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program. “The butter sculpture provides us an opportunity to share our mission of producing healthy, nutritious dairy foods for our friends and neighbors to enjoy.”

Crafted by Jim Victor of Conshohocken, Montgomery County, the butter sculpture creation begins in mid-December and is finished just in time for the Farm Show. Victor also creates sculptures using chocolate and cheese.

At the close of the show, the butter, donated by Land O' Lakes in Carlisle, Cumberland County, will be given to a Juniata County dairy farm. The butter will be put through a digester and converted to about 65 kilowatt hours of electricity to help operate the farm.

Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program are funded by dairy farmers to promote milk and dairy products. For more information, visit www.dairyspot.com.

Food at the Farm Show

An all-star lineup of chefs, local celebrities and commodity producers will entertain visitors at the 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show as they create dishes from Pennsylvania-sourced products on the PA Preferred® Culinary Connection Stage.

“The Farm Show proudly displays our state’s diverse agriculture industry through every step from farm to fork,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “The PA Preferred Culinary Connection demonstrations give showgoers the opportunity to taste top-quality dishes with Pennsylvania products. Come experience local food and discover why this year’s theme is ‘Made in PA. It makes a difference.’”

Highlights at the PA Preferred Culinary Connection stage will include:

* Saturday, Jan. 5, noon and 2 p.m. – Cooking demonstrations by The Food Network’s Chef Dave Lieberman, host of Food Network’s Good Deal with Dave Lieberman and Dave Does;

* Saturday, Jan. 5, 1 p.m. – Returning is the PA Preferred® Battle of the ‘Burg Cook-Off. Lieberman and Harrisburg chef Robert Dacko head teams featuring a host of local celebrities who are challenged to create an entrée that showcases PA Preferred products;

* Sunday, Jan. 6, noon – Cooking demonstrations by Pittsburgh native Justin Miller, The World’s Youngest Chef®;

* Monday, Jan. 7, 1 p.m. – Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Corbett and Governor’s Residence Executive Chef Barry Crumlich whip up a residence favorite;

* Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2 p.m. – The PA Preferred Best Cheeseburger Showdown, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Beef Council and Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, pits teams of Pennsylvania celebrities competing for burger dominance using PA Preferred beef; and

* Friday, Jan. 11, 3 p.m. – Christine Greig, wife of Secretary Greig, will create dishes incorporating dairy products with Isabel Maples of Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association.

The PA Preferred Culinary Connection stage, located in the Main Hall of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, features a unique theme every day, from apples to veal, offering visitors ideas for enjoying the specialty crops and other food produced in Pennsylvania. Samples of every dish will be offered to audience members and a Pennsylvania wine will be recommended for pairing.

PA Marketplace

Visitors can find inspiration in the wide variety of dishes being prepared on the stage, then walk through the adjacent Pennsylvania Marketplace and find a wide variety of items produced in the state available for sampling and purchase.

Products featured on stage are part of the PA Preferred program, the official brand of agriculture products made or grown in Pennsylvania.

“The blue keystone and gold checkmark of the PA Preferred logo make it easier for consumers to identify products made in PA and support our agriculture industry,” said Greig. “PA Preferred makes a difference to your family, our farmers and our future.”

The PA Preferred Culinary Connection is sponsored by Weis Markets, Thermador, Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, Anolon and the Pennsylvania Winery Association.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program provides additional funding for the PA Preferred Culinary Connection. The program enhances the visibility and marketability of fruit, vegetable and tree nut products.

For a complete schedule of PA Preferred Culinary Connection events, including biographies and photos of chefs, visit www.papreferred.com and click on “PA Preferred Culinary Connection.” “Like” PA Preferred on Facebook and find information, pictures and videos about PA Preferred members.

Farm Show detectives

Young visitors to the 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show can become “Farm Show Detectives” at 28 learning stations and investigate the role of bees in food production, measure their height in horse hands and learn how sap becomes maple syrup.

The eight-day show runs Jan. 5-12 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.

“Farm Show Detectives use a special map to guide them to interactive learning stations where they discover where their food comes from,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “While having fun, they’re also meeting the men, women and animals behind the state’s leading economic driver. It’s a great way to experience the Pennsylvania Farm Show.”

The stations will feature 4-H, alpacas, apples, beef and veal, bees and honey, beetles and bugs, biomass, the butter sculpture, dairy, dogs, edible nuts, environment, farm equipment, farmland preservation, food safety, goats, horses, local food, logging horses, maple, mushrooms, pigs, poultry, rabbits, sheep, vegetables, veterinary medicine and the WoodMobile.

Pick up an official Farm Show Detectives map and enter to win prizes sponsored by Turkey Hill at the Department of Agriculture booth in the Main Hall. Use the map to visit the 28 learning stations located throughout the complex. Drop off completed maps at the department’s booth or at the Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators booth in the Expo Hall.

Detectives who visit at least 15 learning stations are eligible to win the grand prize – one year of free ice cream. Each day five winners receive Turkey Hill party packs and one takes home a cow or truck replica.

The stations are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 5-11, and until 5 p.m. Jan. 12.