County fair association, agriculture community busy at work

As Clinton County fair queen, I am provided with many opportunities to work with the volunteers who manage the County’s fairgrounds.

At the Annual Clinton County Fair Association meeting held on November 3, 2013, at the Red Eye Center, officers elected for next year include Ed Peiffer, president; Philip Courter, vice president; Sharon Stover, recording secretary; Ruth Euote, assistant recording secretary; Carol Peters, treasurer; and Connie Peiffer, assistant treasurer; and they are joined by the following board of directors, Brock Plotts, Wayne Bechdel, Blair Courter, Donald Dunkle, Dick Forshey, Diana Nyman, Donald Peters and James Wech.

The meeting was well attended by members of the fair association, and the board received reports from the respective officers and suggestions for improvements and comments from the membership. We are very fortunate to have such a large group of individuals who take seriously their commitment to utilize the fairgrounds for the benefit of the County. We are already looking forward to next year’s fair activities Aug. 2 through 9, and the new entertainment stage will feature many great artists, shows, and acts throughout the week.

The fairgrounds are not only used for the annual fair activities, but are used for various other annual events such as Farm-City Days, Christmas in the Barns, Stars and Stripes, horse and livestock shows, winter storage of boats and RVs, car racing, rodeos well, you can see that there are lots of activities that go on at our County Fairgrounds.

Additionally meetings, weddings, and other large gatherings are always welcome on the Fairgrounds.

The fairgrounds also host each Tuesday from May through September one of more than a dozen farmers markets found in Clinton County.

Agriculture is a major industry in Pennsylvania with more than 63,000 family farms according to the 2007 Census.

Clinton County has more than 400 farms alone!

Pennsylvania ranks first nationally in mushroom production, and fourth in dairy, apple, and grape production.

Other major agricultural products include potatoes, winter wheat and other grains, chicken eggs, and cattle. Vegetables that make the largest contributions to Pennsylvania’s economy are sweet corn, tomatoes, beans, and cabbage. Pennsylvania helps feed our country, so be sure to thank a farmer the next time you see one!

Now that the growing season and harvest is done for the year, you don’t have to look far to continue to get good locally-grown produce and grocery items. PA Preferred is a program between the PA Department of Agriculture and companies that grow and market Pennsylvania products.

It was designed to help consumers clearly identify products grown in Pennsylvania to make it easier for them to support our agricultural industry.

In Clinton County, our Weis Markets participate in this program featuring frozen food products from Hanover Foods, Quaker Maid, and Steak Umm; Turkey Hill ice cream and Mrs. T’s Pierogies; Kunzler and Hatfield meats; Herr’s, Utz, and Wise snack foods; potatoes from Sterman Master and Tallman, Check Apples; Furmano’s pasta sauce and Musselman’s applesauce; eggs from Eggland’s Best, Turkey Hill, and Sauder’s; as well as Weis’ and Schneiders’ milk and dairy products.

These and other brands are also easily identified with the blue and yellow PA Preferred logo on the labels.

Weis Markets also feature locally grown produce items in their stores throughout the year. The PA Preferred website at www.papreferred.com offers more information on retailers participating in the program and some delicious recipes I particularly like the Apple Crisp and the Cheesy Broccoli Soup which can be made with ingredients fresh from Pennsylvania.

So when you are shopping for those holiday meal menus and goodies, remember, purchasing products grown or made in Pennsylvania makes a difference in our economy by keeping people working and allowing our Commonwealth to grow and prosper. Fresh, locally grown products are a better value and a better choice for your meals and snacks.

Try PA Preferred products today!

And if you are looking to get someone that has everything that special gift this year, think about a Fair Association membership. The cost is $100 and provides a life-time weekly pass to the fair. Memberships can be purchased through Connie Peiffer at 570-726-3633. This is another way you can help support our agricultural heritage.

Wishing you the best as we celebrate the holidays throughout this season!

Keri Bechdel is the 2013 Clinton County Fair Queen, a member of the Susquehanna Haybalers 4-H Club, and a freshman at Lock Haven University.