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Chambersburg fruit market wins best display at Farm Show

January 13, 2003|by BONNIE HELLUM BRECHBILL

For the third year in a row, Shatzer Fruit Market of Chambersburg earned the Best Fruit Market Display award at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Fruit entries were judged Friday so ribbons and plaques could be displayed with the fruit at the show's opening Saturday.

Winning the prestigious award "is one of our goals each year," said Wilma Mickey, who owns and operates the orchard and market with her husband, Jack, and son, Dwight. "It gives us a good outlook for the new year.

"We are so small, it's good to get some publicity," she said. "We plan the display together before we go, what to put on each shelf, and we put our best apples there."

Out of about 145 entries, the Mickeys won 142 prizes - 29 firsts and 40 seconds.

Mickey said the overall quality of fruit at the Farm Show was down this year. "The drought hurt all the growers," she said. "It hurt the size and finish of the apples. We had the dry weather and three hailstorms.

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"A little dent and (the apples) don't qualify. We're pleased we won this much with the apples we had," she said.

The Best Fruit Market Display is required to have educational value, Mickey said. Theirs included photos of tours they conduct of their orchard, photos of men picking the apples, blossoms with bees pollinating them and the water-saving irrigation system they use.

A Pennsylvania State University handbook on the use of agricultural chemicals is also on display.

The Mickeys hang insect traps in the orchard, and base their spraying of pesticides on how many insects are caught in a certain amount of time.

"We have cut down tremendously on our use of chemicals," Mickey said.

Entering the Farm Show is a family event, she said. They started taking fruit to the annual show in 1970. They have amassed well over 1,000 ribbons.

"We start sizing and rubbing apples the day after Christmas. It's a fun thing," Mickey said.

The Cortland variety of apple is Mickey's favorite for both eating and cooking. Their well-polished Cortlands earned several ribbons this year.

Mickey's parents started the orchard, just west of Chambersburg, in 1934.




What: Pennsylvania Farm Show 2003.

When: Open daily, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., through Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Farm Show Complex on Cameron Street in Harrisburg, Pa.

Directions: There are two exits off I-81 that can be used to reach the new off-site parking lot at the Farm Show Complex.

Main exit: Take the Cameron Street Exit (67-A) and continue straight ahead, moving into one of the two turning lanes. Turn left onto Elmerton Avenue. On Elmerton, merge into the right lane; the parking lot is approximately three blocks on the right.

Alternate exit: Progress Avenue (Exit 69). At the end of the exit ramp, bear right and proceed south on Progress Avenue past the I-81 interchange for two blocks; bear right at the light on Elmerton Avenue. Proceed for a short distance; the parking lot is on the left.

There is a $5 parking fee.

Shuttle service to and from the complex also is provided.

There will also still be parking at Harrisburg Area Community College. The cost is $5 per vehicle and will include the shuttle bus service.

Due to construction all on-site parking will be exhibitor and vendor parking. Handicapped parking and access areas have been expanded and can be found along the South Entrance, the North Entrance and in front of the Large Arena.

For more information, including a full schedule of events, go to www.farmshow.state.pa.us.

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