Here’s how you can support Pa. farmers this fall | Five for the Weekend

Pennsylvania ranks 12th nationally in number of agritourism operations

By: - October 9, 2021 6:30 am

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture photo).

Happy weekend, all.
If you’ve picked (or plan to pick) pumpkins or apples this fall, you’ve supported agritourism operations and farmers in Pennsylvania, according to the state Department of Agriculture. 

Agritourism combines agriculture and tourism to bring visitors to farms for hands on experiences, tours and more.

According to Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, agritourism has provided Pennsylvania farmers with an opportunity for financial diversification.

“Pennsylvania farmers are entrepreneurs finding innovative ways to strengthen on-farm competitiveness. Agritourism is a great example of on-farm diversification that increases financial resiliency,” Redding said in a statement earlier this week. “Agritourism also tells the story of Pennsylvania agriculture. Farms are living classrooms that agritourism brings to life.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service survey, Pennsylvania’s agritourism sales average $27 million annually and increase income per operation by more than $38,000.

“Agritourism is a great way for farms to highlight the important role they play in the lives of all Pennsylvanians by providing the food we eat, boosting our economy, and building our cultural identity,” Department of Community and Economic Development Executive Director of Tourism Michael Chapaloney said. “On-farm agritourism experiences allow visitors to immerse themselves into Pennsylvania’s rich food history while creating treasure memories with family and friends. And, farms who participate in agritourism activities, such as our culinary trails, benefit through an expanded clientele and increased revenue streams.”

Opportunities to participate in fall agritourism include:

As always, the top 5 stories from this week are below. 

Charlie Gerow (Courtesy of campaign)












1. Report: GOP guv hopeful Gerow was sideswiped in fatal Pa. Turnpike crash, police say

New details emerged Friday on the investigation of a fatal motorcycle crash involving Charlie Gerow, a Republican candidate for governor.

The crash, which occurred on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on July 21 around 10 p.m., left the motorcyclist dead, and has been under investigation by the Pennsylvania State police since, according to a published report.

In a police report obtained by the Associated Press on Friday, a police investigator concluded that damage sustained to the driver’s side of Gerow’s vehicle was consistent with being sideswiped.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced criminal charges against pipeline company Energy Transfer.

2. Shapiro files criminal charges against Energy Transfer in construction of Mariner East 2 pipeline

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced 48 criminal charges Tuesday against a Dallas-based company that is building a controversial 350-mile pipeline across the commonwealth to transport natural gas.

Forty-five of the charges, filed against Energy Transfer LP, are for allegedly releasing industrial waste at 22 sites across the route of the still-under construction Mariner East 2 pipeline, from Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County to Uwchlan in Chester County.

The other three charges against Energy Transfer are for subcontractors using unapproved chemicals in drilling fluid, contaminating water supplies, and a felony charge for not reporting the spills to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Announcing the charges at a state park that was polluted with at least 21,000 gallons of drilling fluid from the pipeline’s construction, Shapiro tried not to downplay the nature of criminal charges against Energy Transfer.

State Rep. Matt Dowling, R-Fayette, at a 2018 even with current House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff. (House GOP photo)

3. GOP Rep. Dowling in ‘serious but stable condition’ after car accident

A western Pennsylvania Republican state representative is in “serious but stable” condition, according to a caucus spokesperson, after getting into a car accident on Wednesday night.

State Rep. Matt Dowling, a third term state representative from Fayette County, was in the accident on his way to a caucus political event, House Republican spokesperson Jason Gottesman told the Capital-Star.

After the accident, Dowling was taken to Lancaster General Hospital and treated for significant trauma, Gottesman said in a statement.

COVID-19 vaccine is stored at -80 degrees celsius in the pharmacy at Roseland Community Hospital on December 18, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The hospital began distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to its workers yesterday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

4. These Pa. legislative districts have the highest, lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates

Legislative Republicans asked for more concise COVID-19 data. The Wolf administration answered with a new dashboard.

The Department of Health launched an online database at the end of September that tracks coronavirus vaccination rates by state legislative districts and U.S. Congressional districts. Its release comes after a request from the Republican-controlled Legislature for data on who is most affected by COVID-19.

The Health Department also issues a daily update with case information, coronavirus-related deaths, nursing home data, and vaccination rates. The state also tracks COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and provides a weekly update for case counts in two age groups: 0-4 and 5-18.

“Our unified goal should be to strive to protect the health and safety of all residents,” Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, wrote in a Sept. 27 letter to House and Senate leadership. “It is our hope that this information will help inform members of the General Assembly, stakeholders, and community members to join us in encouraging Pennsylvanians to get vaccinated.”

(Image via WikiMedia Commons/City & State Pa.)

5. Millions of Pa. residents experienced a month’s worth of high air pollution in 2020

Millions of Pennsylvanians experienced more than a month’s worth of elevated air pollution levels in 2020, a new report from the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group found.

Lancaster led the commonwealth in days with elevated ozone, particulate and total pollution levels with 107. Harrisburg had 97 such days, followed by Reading with 82, York-Hanover with 65, and Johnstown and Pittsburgh with 57.

And that’s the week. See you back here next weekend. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.