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State Farm Show promises to make many mouths water

CARA MORNINGSTAR/Sun-Gazette From left are Gale Ferranto, of Mushroom Farmers of Pennsylvania and Buona Foods, Russell Redding, Pennsylvania secretary of agriculture, Dave Smith, of the Pennylsvania DairymenÕs Association and Amy Bradford, of the PennAg Industries Association and the Pennsylvania Pork Producers Council, as they toast with 65th anniversary Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association milkshakes during the Savor the Flavor tasting event at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg on Thursday.

HARRISBURG — Food is an important part of the state’s industrial base, Amy Bradford, of the PennAg Industries Association and the Pennsylvania Pork Producers Council, said during a food preview Thursday in advance of the 102nd state Farm Show which continues through Saturday.

“The theme of (this year’s show) is ‘strength in our diversity,’ and you’re going to enjoy some of that strength and some of that diversity in Pennsylvania’s agriculture right here today in the food court,” she said.

“If you had any doubts about where the theme for this farm show came from, you can see it right here,” said Russell Redding, state secretary of agriculture. “What we sample this week is what we see all year long across Pennsylvania, and that really is a gift of this industry of agriculture.”

Pork is among the agricultural products to be featured at this year’s show.

“Again this year, we have our Pennsylvania mouth-watering, slow-roasted pulled pork,” Bradford said. “You could enjoy that course on Pennsylvania’s own Martin’s potato roll. You could also enjoy that with our loaded nachos, which will ruin you for any other nacho.”

She said that the nachos could be made to order.

Not your cup of tea? How about some chocolate-covered bacon?

“We’re going to be offering it in three different chocolates,” she said. “You have your choice of milk chocolate, white chocolate or dark chocolate.”

New this year also will be on-site, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

Gale Ferranto, of Mushroom Farmers of Pennsylvania and Buona Foods, said this is the 40th year of the deep-fried golden breaded mushroom and showed an original poster of the product from 1978.

“There are 58 mushroom farms located in Pennsylvania, growing about two thirds of the mushrooms for the whole United States,” Ferranto said, noting that is a $560 million industry.

She said the blue ribbon blended burger, which is 30-percent mushroom and 70-percent meat, is back in a process being coined as “blenditarian.”

“If you snap your blenditarian burger, upload it to Twitter and Instagram and pledge to become a blenditarian to win a mushroom prize pack,” she said. “We’re really excited.”

So excited, she said, that even mushroom Snapchat filters will be available during the show, as will be mushroom salad. It includes mushrooms, celery, onions, olives and carrots. Grilled portabellas and mushroom soup are also options this year.

This also marks the 65th anniversary of the state Dairymen’s Association milkshakes.

Dave Smith, the state Dairymen’s Association, said the association is participating in Fill A Glass With Hope by promoting a social media hashtag and a chance to win a shirt with photographs of milkshakes from the farm show.

“If anybody uploads to #Shakes4Hope18, a $1 per picture uploaded will get donated to the food bank,” Smith said.

Redding said he wants to celebrate everything the state has to offer.

“This is why the farm show is eight days in length,” he joked. “You have eight days to work your way around this food court and enjoy it.”

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