Berkey Creamery and Pennsylvania Farm Show to share anniversary celebrations

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — If you've missed out on the many activities celebrating the Penn State Berkey Creamery's 150th anniversary in 2015, you'll have another chance to participate in "birthday" festivities at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, which takes place Jan. 9-16 in Harrisburg.

The annual show will feature appearances by Berkey Creamery Manager Tom Palchak and the creamery's signature product — ice cream — giving visitors a chance to learn about the facility and to sample its world-famous frozen confection.

Recognizing the creamery's anniversary during the upcoming Farm Show is appropriate since 2016 also marks the 100th edition of the state agricultural expo, according to Jean Lonie, College of Agricultural Sciences director of student recruitment and activities, who is helping coordinate the creamery-related Farm Show events.

"There's almost no part of the Farm Show that Penn State isn't involved in, so it's very fitting and really exciting that we can celebrate one of our oldest icons, the Berkey Creamery, while promoting the Pennsylvania dairy industry and agriculture's bright future," she said.

Lonie noted that the College of Agricultural Sciences is working with the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association to feature Birthday Bash ice cream — the flavor created to celebrate the creamery's sesquicentennial — at the Farm Show's Blue Ribbon Reception, to be held on the evening of Jan. 8. Attendees will eat their frozen dessert from a souvenir dish imprinted with the creamery's 150th anniversary logo.

On Saturday, Jan. 16, as part of Dairy Day at the Farm Show's Culinary Connection in the Main Exhibit Hall, Palchak will offer presentations at 11:20 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. highlighting the creamery's history. Sponsored by the state's PA Preferred marketing program, the Culinary Connection is an entertaining showcase featuring chefs and cooking demonstrations, with a focus on Pennsylvania-made ingredients. Before and after Palchak's presentations, visitors will receive samples of Birthday Bash ice cream.

In addition, at 12:30 p.m. that day, a "Scoop-Off" contest will challenge competitors to build the largest, most stable ice cream cone. Participants will include state Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Dean Rick Roush, Palchak, the Pennsylvania dairy princess, a Penn State student Ag Advocate, and a member of the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association team.

Culinary Connection visitors also can pick up a limited-edition, ice-cream-cone-shaped recipe card magnet that will feature the details and ingredients for making the Berkey Creamery's vanilla ice cream at home.

Farm Show attendees stopping by the College of Agricultural Sciences exhibit in the Main Hall at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16 also can hear a presentation by Palchak, who then will join visitors and Penn State staff in a birthday celebration for the creamery.

Besides the creamery festivities, the college's exhibit will offer a series of daily presentations throughout the week featuring such topics as gardening, food safety and agricultural history.

Presentations by Penn State Master Gardeners will provide tips and advice on beneficial insects, pollinator gardening, maximizing backyard produce, adding seasonal color to the landscape and other topics. Sessions led by Penn State Extension food-safety educators will cover the basics of home food preservation, and staff from Penn State's Pasto Agricultural Museum will discuss antique farm implements that highlight historical aspects of farming and how they set the stage for modern technology.

The full schedule of presentations at the Penn State exhibit is available online at http://agsci.psu.edu/farmshow/events.

The College of Agricultural Sciences' exhibit also will engage students of all ages, providing them with information on the many educational and career opportunities available in agriculture and related fields. High school students can learn more about the college's diverse majors, scholarships and student life, and younger students and their families will get to explore agriculture through hands-on activities taking place in the college's Farm Show Ag Explorer learning station.

 
2015 Farm Show - Ag Advocates

The Nittany Lion joined student Ag Advocates to represent Penn State at the College of Agricultural Sciences exhibit at the 2015 Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Image: Penn State
 

"The Farm Show is a great place to help younger visitors not only better understand and appreciate agriculture, but also think about the potential that agriculture holds for their education and careers," said Tracy Hoover, associate dean for undergraduate education. "We are excited to host a learning station where we can help students connect with agriculture and think about how the fun activity they completed could be a topic that they study in college one day."

Elsewhere at the Farm Show, Pennsylvania 4-H — which is administered by Penn State Extension — will have a large presence, with educational and informative exhibits highlighting the opportunities that 4-H offers to youth, ages 8-19, in topics such as robotics, plant and animal sciences, entomology, and family and consumer sciences.

Throughout the complex, many other Farm Show events and activities depend on behind-the-scenes contributions from College of Agricultural Sciences personnel. Each year, as many as 150 faculty, county-based extension educators and staff from the college lead and participate on Farm Show committees, develop displays, and coordinate competitive exhibits and shows ranging from dairy cattle and poultry to maple products and mushrooms.

The college's role at the Farm Show is part of Penn State's land-grant partnership with the state.

Sponsored by the state Department of Agriculture, the Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in America, with 24 acres under roof, spread throughout 11 buildings including three arenas. Farm Show officials expect more than 500,000 spectators, some 6,000 animals, more than 10,000 competitive exhibits, and about 300 commercial exhibitors at the eight-day event. 

The show is held at the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, at the corner of Cameron and Maclay streets in Harrisburg, just off exit 67 of Interstate 81. Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 9-15 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 16. Admission is free, and parking is $15. For more information, visit the Farm Show website.

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Last Updated January 13, 2016