The 2023 Pennsylvania Farm Show is now history and one for the records. While we have not heard crowd estimate numbers yet, there were lots of people there and they were hungry for Farm Show food. PVGA food booth sales were over $300,000 for the first time exceeding the previous sales record set in 2020 by 27% and last year’s sales by 76%. The success of this year’s booth is once again only possible due to the well over 2,000 hours of time volunteered by PVGA members and friends who signed up for over 300 volunteer shifts. While it was a struggle to fill the schedule, in the end we were really only short on the the first Saturday and Sunday. The schedule for the rest of the week was adequately filled and we are very grateful for the response of our faithful volunteers.
Sales of the various items are as follows:
Over 7,500 servings batter-dipped vegetables
Almost 5,900 blooming onions
Over 5,800 cups of Strawberry Surprise slush
Over 3,700 cups of raspberry lemonade
Over 3,500 cups of berry infused water
Over 3,400 funnel cakes
Almost 3,200 corn dogs
Almost 2,100 servings of fried pickles
About 2,000 bowls of soup (chicken corn, broccoli cheese and vegetable)
Over 1,200 corn nuggets
We introduced a veggie burger this year which was not overly successful but was actually similar in sales this year to vegetable soup – the original menu item sold by the Association when the booth was initiated about 45 years ago.
PVGA again contracted with Michaels Family Concessions led by Karen Michael and her sons Andrew and Butch Roberts as well as her nephew Kelly Michael to prepare and cook the various fried menu items. PVGA volunteers are involved with the preparation of the other menu items as well as serving and selling the food to the customers. The booth was managed through the week by a committee of PVGA officers and past presidents including Brian Campbell, Bill Reynolds, Dave Miller, Rob Shenot and Jon Strite. Besides the volunteers during Farm Show week, additional volunteers spent time setting up, preparing and tearing down booth while others called members to schedule volunteers.
The goal of the Farm Show food booth ultimately is to earn funds to allow the Association to fund vegetable and small fruit research at a significant level and this should be a very profitable year once everything is added up. However, the booth also represents the Pennsylvania vegetable and small fruit growers in the Food Court to highlight the presence of the vegetable and small fruit industries in the state. It also serves to help build a sense of community among Association members who are able to work next to fellow members from all over the state for a common cause. If you did not help out this year, please consider setting aside a day or two next year to come to Harrisburg to work with your fellow PVGA members to support and advance the vegetable and small fruit industries.
Again – a BIG, BIG thank you to our faithful Farm Show volunteers!!!