The PA Farm Show is back this week, and along with it, all the indulgent Pennsylvania-produced delicacies that make it worth the trip for food lovers.
Selections range from stuff you’d find at a restaurant (grilled cheese, chicken corn soup) to standard fair fare (corn dogs, fried veggies) to the more creative or off the beaten path: think goat sloppy joes, apple pie-topped pizza, and portobello loaded nachos.
It’s all meant to show off Pennsylvania’s agriculture. The food is mainly sold by various ag groups, with proceeds going toward different causes and funds — everything from scholarships to potato marketing to research on fruit and honeybees.
Billy Penn braved Saturday’s opening day crowd to test the waters and get a taste of the commonwealth’s best. Read on for 5 things worth trying at the 2023 PA Farm Show.
‘The Flyin’ Porker’
The Pennsylvania Livestock Association offers all kinds of “farm to sandwich to table” dishes. There’s beef, lamb, pork, and goat.
This sandwich gives you two for one — a mixture of pulled pork and brisket — making it pretty ideal for the indecisive meat lover (?). One on top of the other, the meats are laid on a long, soft roll. To complete the savory synthesis, drizzle as much barbeque sauce as you want on it, original or golden. (Unclear what makes it “flyin’,” as there is no poultry involved.)
Apple cider slushie
Pennsylvania’s choice to hold its State Fair™ in the wintertime comes with an advantage over all those summertime escapades: it hasn’t been that long since apple harvesting season. The State Horticultural Association offers apple products galore, and this one’s a perfect sip-as-you-walk option that’ll make you wish it was still fall.
$1.50 each, $7.50 for a half-dozen, $12 for a dozen
You may never crave a traditional flour donut again after you try one of the PA Cooperative Potato Growers’ potato donuts. In previous years, they’ve been some of the most popular items at the Farm Show.
The spud-based sweets don’t really taste like potatoes, but the base makes for a well-balanced bite: the chewiness just meets the halfway point between a cake donut and a mochi donut, and the plain version has a pleasant, subtle sweetness. The two coated varieties — powdered and cinnamon — pack a bit more of a kick, for a satisfyingly sugary treat.
Maple cotton candy
The PA Maple Syrup Producers Council sells a take on cotton candy that’s not quite what you expect from the carnival treat. It’s sweet, but the flavor is relatively understated compared to the blue or pink versions you find at circuses and baseball games, so it hopefully won’t spoil your dinner once you inevitably return to the food court for a second go-round.
Orange cream milkshake
Milkshakes from the PA Dairymen’s Association are known to be an absolute staple at the Farm Show — and this new version tastes *exactly* like a creamsicle. The texture seemed to be a good bit thicker than the vanilla/chocolate version, too.
The flavor is apparently limited-edition, but this lactose-intolerant reporter really hopes it returns next year, because it is SO worth the Lactaid.