farming

Secretive Foragers Are Cashing In On A Mushroom Bonanza

Oct 7, 2017
Max Whittaker

There, not a dozen yards from the road, was an enormous downed oak tree and, growing from it, about 50 pounds' worth of orange-gold chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms.

It was, she said, the "mother lode." So Bischoff, 42, pulled over and got to work. "I had a pry bar. Some of those sections were like two feet across. They were huge!" It was enough not only to fill her refrigerator but also to sell (for an amount she declined to disclose) to friends, strangers on Facebook, and even a local restaurant.

whitneybee / Flickr

Authorities say more than 100,000 chickens died in a fire that destroyed a barn at a commercial egg farm in Tyrone Township.

The blaze at Hillandale Farms was reported around 5:45 a.m. Saturday. Tyrone is about 29 miles southwest of Harrisburg.

A Heidlersburg Fire Company captain said flames were visible above the roof of the 600-foot barn by the time fire crews arrived.

Firefighters concentrated on keeping the blaze from spreading to other buildings. Three first responders were treated at the scene, two for dehydration and one for a laceration.

Above-Average Winter Temperatures Are Jumpstarting The Growing Season

Mar 7, 2017
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

While many of us have been enjoying the mild winter, it has some food producers double checking the calendar. For instance, March is usually prime season for boiling the sap from maple trees down into syrup. But at the farm Nathan Goodell’s family has worked for seven generations in northeastern Ohio, record-high winter temperatures have pushed everything way ahead of schedule.

The Power Of Worm Poop

Aug 12, 2016

On small farms and in gardens around the world, a legless invertebrate has been quietly helping crops grow — simply by eating and pooping.

That's vermicomposting — using the power of worms for the good of humanity. A growing number of advocates believe this technique can improve soil quality, produce more food to feed hungry mouths and even increase income for some farmers.

It sounds too good to be true. Are worms really poised to take the agricultural world by storm?

Magnus Karlsson / Flickr

Syrup producers don’t have as much to celebrate at this year’s Pennsylvania Maple Festival.

Somerset County is the biggest producer of maple syrup in the state and home to the Pennsylvania Maple Festival, celebrating spring maple tapping over the first two weekends of April. Warm weather has meant a lower yield for sap, however.

Farmers, like Jason Blocher who operates Milroy Farms in Salisbury, Somerset County, are feeling the effects. Blocher said his family's been in the sap business a long time. 

The summer’s wet, cool weather is making life difficult for Pennsylvania’s tomato farmers.

The Penn State Extension, which monitors agricultural phenomenon, has confirmed fungal outbreaks in 13 counties from Lackawanna County to as far west as Cambria County.

The spreading fungus is known as “late blight” and is one of the worst threats tomato growers face, according to Beth Gugino, a plant pathologist for the Penn State Extension.