HARRISBURG, Pa. — Over 100 vendors set up their booths at the Pennsylvania Farm Show to sell their goods.
Of those vendors, a handful of small businesses are experiencing the excitement of the PA Farm Show rush for the first time.
“The experience has been very positive, so many people came through to sample and buy,” said Chris Nelson, the owner of Gourmet Popcorn of Carlisle.
Although this is Nelson's first time at the Farm Show, he has been in business for six years. The family-owned and operated business began as a “kitchen experiment” and now has evolved into a popcorn factory.
According to Nelson, the popcorn is continuously popping throughout the day to ensure freshness, and the caramel is made from scratch using their secret recipe.
“I make it, I sell it, I package it, I seal it, I bring it here, I sell it—we do it all,” said Nelson.
Nelson isn’t the only one getting his hands dirty to make products for his small business.
Jolene Scott, owner of Bouncing Goat Soap Co., is also working hard to make handcrafted farm fresh goat milk soap.
“Well first you milk the goats, then I strain it… you have to have lye to make the soap, and then I freeze it,” said Scott.
Scott says she is a small business but is often found in a number of farmer's markets, at fairs and farm shows, as well as on social media. She has three kids and used to ride horses.
Scott started making soap after an unexpected event in life caused her to stop riding horses.
For Todd Altmeyer, owner of Altmeyer Western Wear, this isn’t his first rodeo.
Altmeyer Western Wear has been in business for almost 60 years and has made several appearances at the Pa. Farm Show.
“This was a very good Farm Show for us this year… they made a lot of changes but it just keeps getting better,” said Altmeyer.
Altmeyer said his mother used to run the business and his family and friends make up most of the employees. His parents passed down the business to him and now, outside the brick-and-mortar stores, the pop-up shop is taken to all fair shows across the state.
“My parents started the business, of course, I still call my mom every day, I like to pretend she is still my boss,” said Altmeyer.
Miss Lucy’s Dog Treats has been doing the Farm Show for 15 years but is also a small business.
Roxann Gallagher, owner of Miss Lucy’s Dog Treats, said they have been in business for several years and the attendance to this year's Farm Show reached pre-pandemic levels.
“It was a very good attendance, very busy, it seemed like the attendance was back to before COVID,” said Gallagher.
Miss Lucy is Gallagher's dog, who passed away a few years ago at 17 years old. Gallagher adopted a Dalmatian named Lucy from the SPCA in 2000. After her passing, Gallagher said she combined two things that she loved, which are baking and animals, and created Miss Lucy’s Dog Treats.
“We make everything by hand, everything is hand rolled with rolling pins,” said Gallagher. She added, “There’s two of us that make everything.”