2014 marked a special visit to the PA Farm Show–the first with our little one. She was completely delighted as you can imagine. We missed last year’s show. It was shortly after our little one was born and I just wasn’t up for it. I was sad about it though because it was the first time we missed the show since moving to PA. You can check out pics from our past visits here and here.
As if I needed a reason to play in the dirt! These were on my Amazon wish list forever… Almost done The Dirty Life-a truly delicious read for foodies and farmers.
We recently returned home from a few days in State College, PA, where we attended PASA’s Farming for the Future conference.
I got hubs a PASA membership as a Christmas present in 2012. He attended the conference last year and had an opportunity to participate in several, excellent cheese-making workshops. He had such a good experience that we upgraded to a family membership when it came time to renew this year.
So, I joined hubs along with our 8-week old daughter and my mom (who thought she was going to babysit, but is secretly in training to farmsit for us when the time comes) for this year’s conference. While less focused on cheese-making this year, the conference still offered excellent speakers, informative workshops and lots of opportunity to network.
The conference was February 6-9. Hubs attended a per-conference workshop on Thursday focused on small ruminants. I’d never been to State College (except for a football game) or the surrounding areas, so mom and I took advantage of the down time to explore downtown State College and nearby Bellefonte.
A major university surrounded by lots of fun shops and diverse restaurants might sound like your typical college town, however State College is anything but these days. The scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky is still thick in the air. The town is like a wounded animal struggling to heal. Hopefully brighter days are ahead for this great university, its people and the town that nurtures it. Bellefonte is a lovely town just about 10 miles down the road from State College that boasts beautiful Victorian architecture. Unfortunately the weather was too cold to do a lot of exploring, but both deserve a second visit.
Anyhow, back to the conference. Hubs and I were in full workshop mode on Friday and Saturday. Between the two of us we took in topics ranging from portable fencing, to composting, to cheese-making, to building commercial kitchens and financing the family farm. We also enjoyed keynote addresses by Charles Eisenstein and Ben Hewitt. Mom caught a discussion on urban/small space farming and joined us for a portion of the keynote speaker when she managed to tear herself away from the baby.
Hubs and I both returned home from the conference feeling more confident about our decision to pursue a rural life and motivated to give it a good try. Sometimes I question whether this is really the life for me (physically demanding work, farm-bound, generally smelling, dirty and well, you get the picture), but then I think, I’d rather try and fail than never try at all.
This is the first time since moving to Pennsylvania we’re missing the PA Farm Show. So sad! Hubs and I look forward to it every year–the animals, the tractor races, the milkshakes and more.
We decided it best to skip this year since our little one is just three weeks old. We weren’t sure her little immune system was developed enough to handle such a large event just yet.
Still, the farm show is so much fun I can’t blog without giving it at least a quick mention. Pennsylvania boasts the largest indoor farm show in the country, and it’s the only place (that I know of) that commemorates each year with a larger than life butter sculpture. And anyone who knows me knows how I’m taken with the “world’s largest” anything. Really, I go out of my way for the “world’s largest.”
Happening in the garden…and elsewhere