It’s crazy. It’s wild. It’s out of control. It’s the Pennsylvania Farm Show.This is my favorite time of the year for keeping the TV on all day, tuned to the PCN (Pennsylvania Community Network) Channel. Because from now until January 17, the country’s largest indoor agricultural expo is taking place in Harrisburg, PA, at the Farm Show Complex.It’s huge.
I try to go every year. But you can’t see it all in one day, that’s why you also have to watch it on TV. In person I’ve seen: high school rodeo (girls barrel racing! boys cow roping!), horse carriage racing (indoors…it’s freakish!), baby ducks on a water slide, giant butter sculptures, the sheep-to-shawl contest (you have to shear a sheep and turn the fleece into a shawl right there). I’ve eaten incredible food at the food court—smoked-trout chowder, pickled cabbage, and our all-time family favorite: Maple Syrup Cotton Candy! I even have a picture of Lucia eating ice cream with Miss Pennsylvania. At least I thought it was Miss Pennsylvania at the time; it may have been some random woman wearing a sash and tiara. (Yes, Lucia is wearing camo pants—Lou picked them up at a used-clothing sale in the Rodale cafeteria!). You can watch little kids auctioning off pigs, cows, and sheep from their 4-H projects. You can study all the many varieties of poultry or goats. You can walk down a hallway with a pig. You can view a taxidermy display of native PA rodents. It’s about as much fun as you can possibly have in Harrisburg.
There is only one problem that I have with the PA Farm Show, and it’s a big one: There is no sign of organic anything. Every year I am bummed that I haven’t figured out a way to infiltrate their ranks and get the organic message across to the 400,000 people who show up. I might have given up (slightly and reluctantly) on my dream of becoming a barrel racer, but I still haven’t given up my dream of making the world more organic.
Maybe at next year’s show, Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen will have a stand!