News

Exhibitors commemorate Farm Show's 100th year

Written by Merriell Moyer/Lebanon Daily News | Jan 11, 2016 3:22 AM
farm_show11.jpg

Gianni Savarino, 3, of Mechanicsburg plays on a tractor at the 100th installment of the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Sunday, January 10, 2016. Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News

(Harrisburg) -- The Pennsylvania Farm Show is celebrating its 100th year and has asked commercial exhibitors at this year's show to do something special to help them commemorate the anniversary.

Emily Summey, owner of Stockyard Style, put together a display featuring a variety of ribbons and plaques she won at various agricultural events including several from the Farm Show.

Summey is originally from Lebanon County, having grown up in Fredericksburg on a livestock farm where they raised a lot of breeding stock. She showed cattle, sheep and pigs with the 4-H Club and Future Farmers of America (FFA) from 1997 to 2012.

"Raising cattle is my favorite thing to do," Summey said. "We have always raised our own cattle, and you really get to connect with them throughout their lifespan."

Summey said she enjoyed showing Simmental beef cattle the most. She still has cattle from the same bloodline as cattle she was showing 12 years ago, she said. While she still lives on a farm and still raises cattle, she said she doesn't show animals anymore.

"We sell halves, sides and quarters of beef and pork," she said. "We work through a USDA butcher to sell large portions since you have to have a license to sell retail."

Stockyard Style and the Farm Show both serve to keep her connected to her days as an exhibitor.

Meeting up with family and friends from all across the state is her favorite part of the Farm Show, Summey said. Technically, arena showing is what brings her back to the Farm Show, since some of her family and friends are still involved in that part of the event.

Her love of being an exhibitor is still reflected in items she sells in her shop such as photo frames that say "I Love Showing," and various jewelry featuring cows, pigs and other farm animals.

Stockyard Style, which recently opened a retail location at 980 Peters Mountain Road, Dauphin, caters to exhibitors who show animals in the arena events. In years past, Summey said, she would have cows she was showing in her trailer while she had her shop items in her truck, so she would show her animals and run her shop at the same time.

"I gave up showing to focus more on the business," she said.

Summey was shaped as a person through her experience with 4-H and FFA and that the Farm Show was the culmination of all she learned and experienced in those programs, she said.

"There are a lot of exhibitions for kids to get experience in at the Farm Show," Summey said.

farm_show10.jpg

Adie Sell, 5, of Campbelltown swings from her parents Brandon and Amber's arms as they walk through the North Hall at the 100th installment of the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Sunday, January 10, 2016. Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News

Even though she comes to the Farm Show for business and to see family and friends, Summey explained that the main purpose of the Farm Show is to demonstrate to people where their food comes from.

"As a culture, we are further from the farm than ever before," Summey said. "The Farm Show helps agriculture connect to the rest of society."

There aren't as many farmers now as there once were, according to Summey, and so they have to work harder than they used to in order to educate the public about where their food comes from.

With the large crowd on hand on Sunday, it seems that the Farm Show is succeeding in that regard, but Summey said they still have their work cut out for them.

Summey related that she was walking out of the Farm Show complex on Friday when she overheard a woman and young girl who were ordering a brisket sandwich. The lady idly wondered out loud what a brisket was, so Summey stopped and explained where the brisket came from on the animal.

"We don't go to the butcher shop anymore," Summey said. "We go to the grocery store and find our meats neatly wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam, and so most people don't think about what part of the animal their meat comes from."

Brandon Sell, of Campbelltown, agrees and said that was what brought him, his wife, Amber and their 5-year-old daughter, Adie, to the Farm Show.

"We want to show Adie all the agricultural displays and the animals to show her more of the country side of life, and to get away from technology for a while," Brandon said. "We also like her to see where her food comes from."

"Cows are my favorite part of the Farm Show," Adie said.

They have been going to the Farm Show every year for the past 15 to 20 years, Brandon said.

Jessica Lehman, of Cleona, her husband, Allen, and 6-year-old daughter, Alexys, were also at the Farm Show to see the animals and find out where their food comes from.

"We like to come to the Farm Show to see the animals, and for the food," Jessica said. "We also know the Balmers who are here showing cows, and I like to see the butter sculpture."

Like Adie, cows are Alexys's favorite part of the farm show.

"I mainly come for the animals and the food - especially the milkshake," Allen said.

Family and the Farm Show seem to go hand-in-hand, where adults can share with children where their food really comes from and maybe learn something new themselves, but at least one family has managed to turn what they learned at the Farm Show into an agricultural business.

Ashley Shaw, 23, of Harrisburg, went to college to study agribusiness and has been able to take what she learned and apply it directly to her family's business, Blue Mountain Farms and Fiber Mill, 605 Lesentier Lane, Harrisburg.

Blue Mountain Farms and Fiber Mill, which is run by Ashley and her mother and father, Matt and Angie, brother Tyler and sister Madison, supplies a line of custom made yarns to Knitters Dream, 605 Lesentier Lane, Harrisburg, a shop run by Ashley's mother and grandmother, Linda.

"All of our fiber is from animals that are humanely raised and harvested," Shaw said. "Animals don't need to be harmed to get fiber, and the harvesting of the fiber is actually good for the animal."

Ashley and her family harvest fibers from Angora rabbits, sheep and goats they raise themselves. They also have their own fiber processing mill where they turn the fiber from the animal's coats into textiles for knitting and other purposes.

Blue Mountain also shows animals at the Farm Show, and Ashley's sister, Madison, had a giant Angora rabbit that won best in show this year. They also show sheep and market and dairy goats.

"We've been involved in the Farm Show for 12 years now, and showing that whole time," Shaw said.

For its 100th anniversary display, it hung pictures of its family with its prize-winning animals from previous years around its booth.

"I think it is neat to be part of the Farm Show's 100th anniversary," Ashley said. "There is a lot of history here. This is where it all began for us. Coming to 4-H and other agricultural shows is what got us into this business. We turned our hobby into our livelihood thanks to the Farm Show."

Ashley explained that it was Knitters Dream that came first with Blue Mountain Farms growing as an offshoot from that business.

"When we started this, our grandmother already had the yarn shop, and we started learning about where the fibers came from as a sort of hobby," Shaw said. "Then we actually got into the agriculture part of it and expanded it into a business."


This article comes to us through a partnership between WITF and Lebanon Daily News.

Published in News

Tagged under , , , , , , , , ,

back to top

Post a comment

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »