2022 PVGA Farm Show Booth Quite Successful
Like many other events this year, the 2022 Farm Show was unlike any other Farm Show. Attendance as measured by parking revenue was reported to be down by about 40% – confirmed by the sparse crowds observed inside the complex as compared to normal years. However, PVGA food booth sales were about 75% of its record sales in 2020. The fact that PVGA increased the prices of most of its menu items in anticipation of increased costs helped boost the dollar sales figure. The number of servings of the different menu items varied as a percentage of 2020 sales. The number of blooming onions sold was 75% of 2020 number, broccoli cheese soup servings were 73% and corn nuggets servings were 65%. On the other hand, batter-dipped vegetables were only 54% and funnel cakes were only 48% of 2020 numbers. Strawberry Surprises, raspberry lemonade and infused water serving numbers were 49%, 61% and 38% of the 2020 numbers respectively.
The batter-dipped vegetables were by far the most popular menu item, with over 4,964 servings sold followed by the blooming onions at 3,761, Strawberry Surprises at 3,244, funnel cakes at 2,219 and raspberry lemonade at 2,188. This year’s new menu item, corn dogs – hot dogs on a stick dipped in batter containing sweet corn – went over big with 1,716 being sold. Other menu item servings were: fried pickles – 1,493; infused water – 1,363; chicken corn soup – 1,167; corn nuggets – 921; broccoli cheese soup – 634, berry-battered Oreos – 496 and dill pickles – 426.
The total net profit for this year’s booth was over $31,300, about 43% of the 2020 profit. The Association did make some significant equipment investments this year, purchasing two additional slush machines and racks for the infused water cups at a cost of $5,800. By purchasing the additional slush machines, the Association hopes to eliminate annual rental and electric fees of over $600 for a pre-freezing unit for the strawberry slush drinks that was problematic. This year the volume of Strawberry Surprises was low enough that the new slush machine was not used at the main Expo Hall Food Court booth although the other new unit was used to sell Strawberry Surprises at the auxiliary combined-commodity-group booth in the old Main Hall of the Farm Show Complex.
Original plans for 2022 included offering veggie burgers as another new menu item. However, given the uncertainty surrounding the 2022 Farm Show due to the pandemic, it was decided to delay the introduction of this new item until 2023. It was also decided to drop vegetable soup (the Association’s first menu item when the Farm Show booth was started) and the broccoli-cauliflower salad from the menu for 2022 just to simply operations a bit.
Like every other year, the success of the Farm Show food booth depends on the volunteer help of hundreds of PVGA members and their family members, employees and friends. Given the pandemic situation we faced this year, we are especially grateful to those who were willing to come and fully recognize that given personal and family health considerations, some regular volunteers could not help this year.
The Association again worked with the Michaels’ Family Concessions to operate the booth year. The family suffered the deaths of two family members in the past year that made it a particularly difficult year for them.
We are looking forward to a better year at the Farm Show in 2023. The profits from the Farm Show booth allow PVGA to continue to support vegetable and small fruit research each year. Plan now to volunteer in 2023.