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VERNON ACHENBACH JR.
Lancaster Fanning Staff
Co.) The more than a million
holiday travelers expected to hit
the Pennsylvania Turnpike this
Memorial Day holiday weekend
are to have two brand new farm
markets at which to stop and shop.
According to Sharon Fulginiti,
state Department of Agriculture
coordinator for a pilot program for
establishing roadside farm markets
along the Pennsylvania Turnpike,
Friday, May 26, is to be the grand
opening of two fami markets on
the Pennsylvania Turnpike one
at the Allentown Service Plaza in
Lehigh County, and the other one
at the Sideling Hill Service Plaza
in Fulton County.
The markets are to be open Fri
day, Saturday, Sunday and Mon
day. Exact times were not certain
at presstime, but bylaws tentative
ly set the markets for opening for
business at 11 a.m. Fridays and
Sundays; 8 a.m. Saturdays and
Fulginiti is with PDA’s Com
modity Promotion Division of the
Bureau of Marketing Develop
ment and has been working with
Pa. Turnpike Commission staff to
develop the pilot program markets.
The Turnpike Commission
operates the toll highway and a
number and variety of rest and ser
vice stops along the route.
Early last year, state Rep. Sheila
Miller, R-Berks, introduced legis
lation to authorize a program
whereby the state’s agricultural
producers could directly market to
the millions of travelers and toui
ists who use the tollway.
While that bill was killed under
the then Democratic-controlled
House, the administration picked
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Turnpike Farm Markets
up on the idea and initiated the
pilot program without the
This year, with a Republican
controlled House and Senate and
administration. Miller re
introduced the legislation as House
Bill 844, which die House passed.
Cunendy it has received Erst
consideration by the full Senate. A
bill can only be passed by the
Senate upon third consideration.
With the Senate scheduled to be
back in session on Monday, Tues
day and Wednesday, it’s possible
the bill could be fowarded in the
legislative process, but very
unlikely that it would be passed
and signed into law in time for the
grand opening of the pilot markets.
Miller’s bill would allow more
market access, as would be deter
mined is safe and reasonable.
In a recent news release, Miller
praised the alliance between the
Turnpike Commission and the
PDA that occured after she intro
duced the concept.
“This is proving to be a very
positive alliance. Travelers along
the Turnpike will experience the
rich agricultural history of our
commonwealth in its most direct'
and simplest form.
“Furthermore, our farmers will
tap into an extraordinary market of
interstate travelers along the' turn
pike,” she said, adding that, “This
will provide farmers with an
opportunity to boost revenue while
showcasing and promoting the
variety and quality of Pennsylvani
a’s agricultural products.”
The reason Miller has pushed
for legislation to authorize the far
mers markets is to prevent the pos
sibility of possible partisan politics
from hurting the program, or in
other words, to maintain continui-
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ty in the program.
And she said she wants the prog
ram to grow as big as it will
through the initiative of the
not through a government-created
and mandated program.
In the meantime, the pilot prog
ram has developed with the organi
zation of groups specific to each of
the two pilot farm market sites.
Each farm market group has 10
approved members and a set of
bylaws that die farmer-producers
created for themselves.
The bylawys outline general
business conduct, responsibilities,
qualifications for vendors, hours
of operation, a minimum number
of people working the markets,
and products approved for sale.
While the two sets of bylaws are
slightly different, both are general
ly the same, and require that
member-vendors must be Pennsyl
vania producers who grow not less
than SO percent of the products
marketed through the turnpike ser
vice area markets.
Furthermore, the products must
6e grown in Pennsylvania.
For those who run short of their
own state-produced product, the
bylaws allow them to supplement
with additional stocks, as long as
they are Pennsylvania-produced.
While business activity that
results from the pilot program is
envisioned as being complimen
tary and representative of die state
and its agricultural producers, the
nature of the actual markets is
expected to evolve as customers
and vendors conduct business.
According to the section in
bylaws concerning the
approved for sale at both the Allen-
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town and Sideling Hill markets,
vendors are to be allowed to sell:
vegetable (no slices); cider (not
less than 'A quart); flowers;
canned goods; baked goods (whole
pies, load bread, etc. no slices,
cookies or scones); fruits (no
slices); preserves (in jar); bedding
plants; honey products; eggs; nuts;
herbs; fruit baskets; potted plants;
maple syrup products; melons
(may be sold in halves); and orna
mentals, such as gourds, com
The Sideling Hill market is to
also offer meats, but no single
The reason for some of the restr
ictions on how the products are to
be packaged or in what amounts
they are to be sold is to prevent the
farmer markets from competing
with the snack shop and conveni
ence meal franchises already oper
ating at the service centers, and to
encourage venders to promote and
market whole Pennsylvania pro
ducts that consumers take home, or
along on vacation.
Also, the bylaws make clear that
all food safety, sanitation, health
permits and labeling issues that
apply to items being sold must
conform with the requirements of
Also, state sales tax is to be col
lected on products which are not
eatable, as is required by law.
Facilities at the two sites are to
start off simply, with pole sup
On Wednesday, Bill Capone,
assistant director of marketing for
the Turnpike Commission, said
that simple pavilions are to be con
structed this coming week, just in
time for use.
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He said that the commission
intends to upgrade the facilities as
needed and as the markets evolve.
Fo* now, both facilities are to be
open-sided, 30-foot by 60-foot
structures located in grassy areas
in front of restaurant buildings at
the two service centers.
Capone said the siting of the
pavilion* was done so as to not
interfere with regular center visitor
traffic, but also to allow easy
access. There will not be any spe
cial parking sections for the open
ing weekend, and none planned,
unless the situation warrants a
“The reason for these two
areas,” Capone said, “there are lot
of grass areas and we had a lot of
room to work with.
"At most of the other (service
centers), with a couple of excep
tions, it’s difficult to find safe, con
venient locations, that are attrac
tive and appealing as well.”
The commission is absorbing
the cost of building the facilities,
with an estimated cost of $B,OOO at
Sideling Hill to $12,000 at
Capone said eventually the
pavilions may get electric hookup
and water, and “Down the road
there may be oiiicr things, rain gut
ters, maybe walkways, lighting ...
we will address things as we get
into it. We’re wiling to enhance the
buildings as we go along, to try to
keep them as attractive and func
tional as we can.”
Another reason for selecting the
two sites for the pilot program was
because they are accessible from
both directions of traffic. The
majority of service centers along
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