HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pretzels, pickles, cheese and pancakes. Oh, where do I start? This is just a short list of the PA Preferred products available at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, Jan. 7-14.
PA Preferred™ is the official branding program of agricultural commodities produced in Pennsylvania, and identifies agricultural products grown and processed here to consumers and major retail, wholesale and distribution chains interested in supporting local farmers and businesses.
Although the menu differed as a visitor walked through the Pa. Preferred vendors, the idea behind the products didn’t.
They are all produced in Pennsylvania and proud of it.
Dawn Harnish has been bringing her products to the show for the past six years. Her business, Burnt Cabins Grist Mill, produces buckwheat pancake flour, buttermilk flannel cake mix, whole wheat hot cake mix, old-fashioned corn cake and corn meal muffin mix.
She said the business started on a dare from her husband. They were looking for land to farm and came across a campground for sale that was going to auction in 2006. He wanted to purchase it so they could get closer to their goal of owning farmland. When they investigated the land, they found a 200-year old grist mill was also going to be auctioned off as part of the package. He dared her she wouldn’t make a business and she dared him he wouldn’t make the sale.
“There was no backing down. The dares were out there and we had to do it then,” Harnish said.
Harnish said they were looking for a change and wanted to ensure their children grew up in a good environment. She said they got their change.
She said the next step in the business is to grow all of their own corn and wheat for their products, so they know exactly how it is grown and what is going into their products.
Herlocher’s Dipping Mustard has been making an appearance at the Pa. Farm Show for the past seven years. It is produced in State College, Pa.
Dolores Kuntz said the product was introduced at the Pa. Farm Market in an effort to get it out to the public.
Now it is a yearly event and every year includes a promotion to ensure they get the Herlocher’s Dipping Mustard name out so people know about it.
Pappy Jay’s barbecue sauce also appeared to be getting some attention from passersby at the show.
Patricia McKenrick and her husband, Jay, have been attending the show for the past five years with their sauces. They live and produce the product in Chambersburg, Pa.
Their licensed kitchen, which is separate from their home kitchen, is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. In 2007, they began selling the sauce, which began as a family recipe.
McKenrick said her son owns a dairy farm in Pennsylvania and urged her to showcase her product at the Farm Show.
Another product that was displayed was Babunya’s gourmet spices.
Terry Kostiw, owns the business and produces the spices in Carbondale, Pa. The spice is used on almost everything.
Terry White, Kostiw’s brother-in-law, was manning the booth and said it is used on chicken, burgers, scrambled eggs, popcorn and everything in between.
The spice is a combination of ingredients Kostiw’s mother, a professional cook, created.
Not only did vendors get to show off their products, but eight days of cooking demonstrations by local chefs, media personalities and special guests showed off the Pa. Preferred products. Celebrity chef Mike Isabella, owner of Graffiato in Washington D.C., and runner-up on Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars, cooked for Farm Show visitors Jan. 7.
Each day featured a theme and the specialty crops and food produced in Pennsylvania were the star of the show. It gave the products a chance to be viewed by the public in a real meal besides the samples many of the vendors offered to farm show visitors.