Sorry, alpaca competitions and talent shows — our favorite part of the Pennsylvania Farm Show every year is the Food Court, a truly overwhelming experience, with more local culinary delights than any one person could tackle. Now in its 108th year, the Farm Show (running from Jan. 6 through Jan. 13, 2024) draws over half a million people to its complex in Harrisburg, PA. Between the hundreds of mouthwatering food and beverage options across dozens of vendor stalls and the thousands of people in attendance, you can imagine that a trip to the Food Court can cause a bit of sensory overload.
Not to fear! We’ve got a special sneak peek for you of the tastiest treats on deck, so you can get a jump on planning which foods you’ll try during your visit to this year’s Farm Show. To truly win the 2024 PA Farm Show Food Court, here is your road map:
Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association
If you love PA dairy — and we do — a stop at the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association should be at the top of your list. The famous milkshakes truly are something special (there are ice cream cones and sundaes, if that’s more your thing), plus deep-fried cheese cubes and toasted cheese sandwiches!
PA Mushroom Farmers
Did you know that the 68 mushroom farms in Pennsylvania produce 63% of all the white mushrooms in the entire county? Stop by the PA Mushroom Farmers stall for a taste of the state’s finest. We love everything here: the mushroom/beef blend burger, the deep-fried breaded mushrooms, mushroom salad, and cream of mushroom soup. If you just need a little snack, try the Savory Wild Portabella Mushroom Jerky, made from 100% Pennsylvania mushrooms and seasonings.
PA Cooperative Potato Growers, Inc.
You know and love cider donuts, but have you ever had a potato donut? If not, now is your chance! This is a popular item from the PA Cooperative Potato Growers, Inc. booth in the Food Court; one bite, and you’ll see why! These freshly fried donuts are pillowy soft and not too sweet. Other snacks from this stand include potato cakes (new for 2024!), french fries, baked potatoes, pierogi and more.
The PennAg stall is bringing back some tasty favorites, including red beet and mustard boiled eggs, trout chowder, turkey chili and pulled pork nachos. If you’re at the Farm Show in the morning (hot tip: that’s when it’s least crowded), go for the breakfast sandwich on a pretzel roll.
PA Maple Syrup Producers Council
PA might not be at the level of Vermont when it comes to maple syrup production (we rank sixth or seventh in the county, depending on the year), but we do make it in great abundance here! Celebrate local sweetness at the PA Maple Syrup Producers Council, where you can try maple in a number of ways: maple cotton candy, maple candy, maple cream, a maple ice cream sundae or frozen yogurt, Mapleaid and more.
PA State Beekeepers Association
Did you know there are 1,700 registered beekeepers in the state of Pennsylvania? Support honeybee research, promotions for PA honey production and scholarship and travel expenses of the Honey Queen by patronizing the PA State Beekeepers Association booth! Satisfy your sweet tooth with honey sweetened ice cream and honey sweetened hand cooked waffles. Jars of PA honey and various beehive products are also available.
PA Livestock Association
If you decided that your New Year’s resolutions can wait until after the Farm Show, indulge in an over-loaded meaty sandwich at the PA Livestock Association stall. There is a lot to choose from, including lamb stew, an Italian pork loin sandwich, a boneless Texas rib sandwich, a classic Philly cheesesteak and jumbo hot dogs.
State Horticultural Association
If you’re looking for a sweet treat for yourself or your kids and aren’t quite ready for donuts or milkshakes, stop by the State Horticultural Association for an apple-y delight! Choose from fresh apples, caramel apples, apple cider and cider slushies, apple butter, applesauce and more! Bonus: Sales from this booth raise money for the apple and fruit tree industry in Pennsylvania.
What are your favorite things to eat at the PA Farm Show? Are you going to stick to your favorites, or branch out and try new things this year? Let us know in the comments here or on the PA Eats Facebook page!
- Feature photo and donut photo: Casey Martin Photography
- Caramel apple photo: Pexels
- All other photos: Alan Johnson for PA Eats