Part of living out here means if you aren’t a farmer, then you know at least five people who are. Part of the appeal to living in this area is the closeness to agriculture that we all get to …
Part of living out here means if you aren’t a farmer, then you know at least five people who are. Part of the appeal to living in this area is the closeness to agriculture that we all get to enjoy, be it through working the industry for a living, participating in it as a hobbyist, or simply having all these fresh products close at hand. Farmers’ markets and fairs comprise much of the public exposure to farming, closely followed I would say by proximity to a farm or for those with time on their hands, a tour or farm visit. Popular culture today has more and more folks seeking out the source of their food, many supporting the known fact of seafood: the closer to the shore you are, the fresher the food is. Freshness, wholesomeness, nutrition and many other factors are driving the modern food market to want to get to know their local options all the more. Gone are the days of an unquestioned machine-processed TV-dinner. For most, the return to simplicity and quality is a decision of health, but with this demand comes the response of local producers themselves.
I found myself at the Wayne County Ag Day this past Monday, helping my wife who works in the Penn-State Extension office to set up and run much of the event. As a side note to you men reading this, here’s a freebie: The way out here is helping your wife—at home, at work, there really are no qualifiers to that statement, just take it for what it is.
So there I was moving tables and getting a sneak peak of the free cheese platter—boy, helping your wife can be so hard sometimes—and taking in a bit of information on our local producers all the while. If you aren’t familiar with the Wayne County Ag Day, it is an event hosted every year at the Honesdale High School featuring speakers from Penn State University on various agricultural topics. It is also set up as a convention for vendors and farmers to share information. Some vendors include equipment sales, feed sales and insurance while others are more information-based, such as Wayne Tomorrow, Beekeepers Association, Honesdale FFA, Wayne County 4-H and many more. The event caters not only as a resource for existing farmers, but also those interested in any number of agricultural industries in the area. Some of the presentations included in the event dealt with hemp production, a new and growing sector of local agriculture, a presentation by the Game Commission, and a special credited course provided by a Penn State educator on strategies for pest management. All of these presentations drew a crowd, but none quite so much as the mid-day climactic event around which all in attendance anticipated. Free Lunch.
I took up my usual task of taking tickets for the lunch which was provided for attendees and vendors alike. Lunch was fantastic as it always is, served by the Red Schoolhouse. At the conclusion of the meal there was a brief time for speakers from the local FFA chapter, 4-H members, Wayne County Commissioners, and finally a raffle to give away items donated to the event by various sponsors.
Stomachs full and newly-won goodies in hand, folks gravitated back to the gymnasium where many of the vendors were located to continue conversing with industry professionals and absorbing knowledge offered from organizational tables.
That all sounds rather edifying no? Well to be honest, the line in front of the free ice cream booth was rather long as well, but hey, what’s work without a little treat?
The Wayne County Ag Day is held every year on President’s Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information on this event and others sponsored by the Penn State extension office, visit them at www.extension.psu.edu/wayne-county.
As for the way out here, we live for these annual events. We use them to get closer to our neighbors and learn more about how to do what we do out here. And remember fellas, the way out here is helping your wife. That’s very important—don’t let the thought of a free ice-cream booth distract you from that.