It must have been more than luck that brought our ancestors to this area. Somehow, they had to sense that Lancaster County’s soil is truly exceptional.
Did you know that our precious county is the most productive non-irrigated farming county in the entire nation? Considering that 99% of Lancaster’s farms are family-owned, our farmers are a special community, and one that rarely takes the time to gather together to acknowledge all that they bring – literally – to the table.
For one autumn week, the Lancaster County Agricultural Council rolls back the curtain and shares the wizardry that our farming community works so hard to create – year after year, crop after crop. And our county’s agriculture industry goes far beyond the farmers’ fields. In fact, says poultry farmer Dan Heller, Lancaster County could be called the “Silicon Valley of agriculture,” a title earned by the agricultural equipment, goods and services our county’s businesses provide to the nation, not to mention the tremendous produce that it grows.
From October 9-15, the Ag Council will promote farm tours, educational and career opportunities and other efforts to share life “down on the farm” with the rest of Lancaster County. Of course, Lancaster County Ag Week includes food – glorious, made-in-Lancaster-County food.
“We want to celebrate everything that Lancaster County has to offer the community at large,” says Nancy Brown, marketing manager and special events coordinator at Oregon Dairy. What better way to cap off the agriculturally focused week than with a celebratory feast, set in a rustically beautiful barn.
Featuring foods exclusively grown or produced in Lancaster County, “Denim and Pearls” is a visual history lesson of why Lancaster County is often synonymous with “delicious.” Generations of products, from Groff’s sweet bologna to Hodecker’s celery to more recent arrivals like Lancaster Hummus and Waltz Vineyards’ wine, are on the menu, served family-style in the barn at Oregon Dairy. Last year’s display of Lancaster-made items included a nod to past producers with a Pensupreme milkbox and Stehman’s giant, green potato chip can (staples of Lancaster homes in the 50s, 60s and 70s). “It was amazing to see the scores of Lancaster-made products assembled together,” says Nancy, who serves as the event’s organizer.
Guests dined on tables topped with linens and china. Laughter and congenial conversations lifted into the barn’s rough-hewn rafters. The agricultural community marked the end of another growing season in fertile, fabulous Lancaster County.
Last year’s inaugural Lancaster-made dinner will be followed up with an encore on Thursday, October 13, and the public is invited. For more information on Oregon Dairy’s Denim and Pearls 2016 Dinner on the Farm, please visit Oregondairy.com or email Nancy.Brown@OregonDairy.com.