The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event, featuring 12,000 competitive exhibits, more than 5,200 of which are animal competitions, plus 300 commercial exhibitors.
“This year’s theme — Strength in Our Diversity — was inspired by the tremendous breadth of our agriculture industry, the people, the landscapes, products, views, and production practices,” said PA Agriculture Secretary Redding on Jan. 10 at the annual Public Officials Day luncheon. “For 102 years, we have come together as a diverse state to celebrate an amazing industry, full of entrepreneurial spirit and innovation.”
Many from Berks participate and compete for ribbons and awards at the Farm Show.
Pinnacle Ridge Winery, Kutztown, won the Governor’s Cup.
“Naturally, we are thrilled to be a recipient of the Governor’s Cup for the fourth time in our history,” said wine maker Brad Knapp, owner of Pinnacle Ridge Winery. “We are especially thrilled that the cup was awarded for a sparkling wine. We have been producing traditionally rendered sparkling wines for 25 vintages and we feel the quality of our sparkling wines has never been better than it is now.”
Pinnacle is currently producing three sparkling wines, Brut Rose, Cuvee Chardonnay and the Blanc de Blanc, which won the Governor’s Cup. Additionally they are producing a wide range of table wines.
Youth spent the week with their animals at the Farm Show, including Kutztown High School students Elissa Kunkel, Morgan Kunkel, Hallie Kunkel, and Amber Hernandez, during which time they fed and groomed their animals for showing competition.
“I enjoy going to the Farm Show to be able to compete against different people than we do at our local fairs and also to educate the public,” said Ellissa Kunkel from Kempton who is a member of the Northern Berks 4-H Club. “I entered flower arrangements in the FFA Horticulture competition and I did type classes for dairy and dairy showmanship. I learned that when being judged everyone’s opinions are different and some days you win some and others you loose some. My favorite part of the Farm Show is getting to hangout with friends from other dairy clubs and watching people walk down the aisles of the dairy barn in disgust because animals give off waste, too.”
Local youth won numerous awards, too numerous to name them all.
Kennedi Cavalier of Kutztown who won first place in the 4-H division in the Farm Show Fashions with Flair competition. Kennedi won a blue ribbon for her entry in the senior party/formal wear category.
In sheep, Rebecca Kugler, Oley, won first in Late Spring Ewe Lamb, and first in Reserve Champion Ewe, and first in Sheep Showmanship III.
In swine, Amy Bennecoff, Kutztown, won first in March & After Gilts. Carl Rabenold, Kutztown, won first in Hampshire Swine and first in Yorkshire January Gilts. Justine Bennecoff, Kutztown, won first in February Gilts, March & After Gilts, and Champion Hampshire Swine. Collin Kamp of Shoemakersville won first in Reserve Champion Hampshire Swine. Todd Bennecoff, Kutztown, won first in Hereford/Tamworth January Gilts and first in Champion Hereford/Tamworth. Tami Bennecoff, Kutztown, won first in Reserve Champion Hereford/Tamworth.
In dairy cattle, Hannah Balthaser, Bernville, won first in Brown Swiss Open Spring Calf, first in Fall Calf and Junior Champion, as well as first in Brown Swiss Junior Spring Calf, Fall Calf, Junior Champion and Reserve Junior Champion.
In Brown Swiss Open, Abby Sterner, Barto, won first in Cow 5 and Over, Champion Udder, Senior Champion, and Grand Champion. In Holstein Open, Mikayla Davis of Leesport won first in Fall Calf. Sara Haag of Mohrsville won two first place wins in Cow Sr. 2 Year Old.
In Holstein Junior, Mikayla Davis of Leesport won first in Fall Calf and Winter Yearling and Reserve Junior Champion. In Holstein Junior, Amber Hernandez of Lenhartsville won first in Spring Yearling.
In Jersey Open, Olivia Lesher of Bernville won first in Spring Calf, as well as first in Jersey Junior Spring Calf and Reserve Junior Champion, Fall Yearling, Reserve Senior Champion and Reserve Grand Champion.
In Red & White Open, Sara Haag, Mohrsville, won first in Fall Calf and Junior Champion and Senior Champion, Melissa Hix of Mohrsville won first in Spring Yearling, and Morgan Kunkel of Kempton won first in Jr. 2 Year Old and first in Cow Jr. 3 Year Old.
In Red & White Junior, Sara Haag, Mohrsville, won first in Fall Calf and Junior Champion, Ethan Sterner of Barton won first in Spring Yearling, and Morgan Kunkel of Kempton won first in Jr. 2 Year Old and first in Cow Jr. 3 Year Old and Reserve Senior Champion and Reserve Grand Champion.
In horticulture, Mathias Warmkessel of Kutztown won first place in All Around Arrangement in a Mug, Odessa Mark, Kuztown, won first in Design for a Door, and Thea Lamastra, Lenhartsville, won first in Banquet Arrangements.
“It is a world-class agriculture showcase event,” said Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach. “Berks County is the second largest agriculture county based on agriculture business receipts. Lancaster is number one, Berks is number two and Chester is number three. I attended the show on Saturday, Jan. 6 and it was packed.”
During the Farm Show, Leinbach participated in a Congressional Town Hall hosted by Rep. Glenn Thompson from north central Pennsylvania. Thompson is a member of the United States House Agriculture Committee. Also participating were PA Sec. of the Dept. of Agriculture Russell Redding, PA Rep. Tom Marino, Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, PA Rep. Dwight Evans, PA Rep. Lloyd Smucker and USDA Under Sec. of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Gregory Ibach.
Many local people participate in the annual Farm Show, including family-owned and operated Longacre’s Modern Dairy in Barto, bringing their honey ice cream to the Beekeepers Honey Ice Cream stand at the Farm Show.
In 1920, John S. Longacre delivered milk from his farm in Washington Township. In 1953 the PA Beekeepers Association’s requested Daniel Eshbach Longacre to put honey in the ice cream and supply them with 15,000 Honey Pineapple Dixie cups to sell at the Farm Show. This year’s order was for 250 half gallons and 167 (3-gallon tubs) of Honey Chocolate, Honey Vanilla, Honey Butter Pecan, Honey Salty Caramel and Honey Raspberry.
The business continues with Daniel Treichler Longacre’s son, Daniel Timothy Longacre and his wife, JoAnn, along with their three children Daniel Elijah, Audrey, and Isaac.
“Having the three children in Commonwealth Charter Academy for 11 years allows flexibility for them to help when needed and allows for learning beyond the textbook. They put their students first with an individually designed program for each student, consisting of both school studies, and hands-on learning at the dairy,” said their mother, JoAnn.
“I like that CCA allows me to learn outside the classroom and get involved in helping with the family business,” said Daniel Elijah, 16, a junior. “It is exciting that they are interested in what we do this year.”
“I am thrilled that my Math teacher, Mrs. Simek, is so interested in how my family helps supply ice cream for the Beekeepers at the Farm Show,” said Audrey, 14, an 8th grader. “I am excited that the other teachers and students will get to learn more about it. It is cool how popular our ice cream seems to be even far away.”
“It is neat when my teachers and classmates hear about it and get excited that I get to help make ice cream with my family,” said Isaac, 8, a 3rd grader.
“It is amazing that my father, who will be 80 years old this May, started making Honey Pineapple Ice Cream for the PA Beekeepers when he was the same age as my oldest son, who is 16 years old,” said Daniel Timothy. “The fact that the PA Beekeepers still come back to us year after year is very rewarding.”
Family patriarch Daniel Treichler added, “Making honey ice cream for the beekeepers to sell at the Farm Show has become a tradition for over 60 years. To be able to make this ice cream for all these years is like winning a ribbon at the Farm Show. I feel it wouldn’t have gone this long if it wasn’t a winning combination between Longacre’s and the Beekeepers.”
For more information and results from the PA Farm Show, visit http://www.farmshow.pa.gov/exhibit/results/Pages/default.aspx. Berks-Mont Newspapers encourages families to submit photos of winners with their winning entry and their ribbons. Send high resolution photos to Lisa Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa Mitchell of Berks-Mont Newspapers contributed to this article.