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For Local 4-H Members, It's About Potatoes at Pa. Farm Show

The annual farm show opens Saturday, Jan. 7, and runs to Jan. 14 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.

When it comes to potatoes, Hannah and Olivia Geiger know their stuff -- like being able to identify defects and judging whether the potatoes are good enough to be sold in the marketplace.

Now the Geigers, who grew up on their family's potato farm in North Whitehall, will put their talents to the test when they compete in the 2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show, which opens Saturday, Jan. 7, in Harrisburg. 

Hannah Geiger, a 2011 graduate, and her sister Olivia, an eight grader at , will compete on Tuesday with other members of the Lehigh County 4-H Potato Judging Teams, which include students from the Parkland School District and the Northwestern Lehigh School District.

"Chances are good, but you just never know," said Deborah Geiger, whose husband, Timothy, coaches the teams.

Another of her daughters, Lily, who's a junior at Parkland High School, was supposed to compete too but has a basketball game that day that will prevent her from going to the show, she said.

The teams have been practicing since Thanksgiving, and the Geigers have been competing for about five years.

The theme for this year's Pennsylvania Farm Show is “From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate” and will feature 6,000 animals, 10,000 exhibits, events and activities. It is held over eight days at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, 2300 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg. A butterfly house and a historical marker scavenger hunt are new this year.

Those heading to the show can take advantage of new, interactive online tools designed to help plan a visit. An interactive map and a mobile app, as well as information about admission, hotels, parking and exhibitors are available at www.farmshow.state.pa.us.

Deborah Geiger said local 4-H teams will compete with those from other counties. Among the Parkland students competing are Orefield Middle School students Grace Royer, seventh grade; and Zoie Moyer, eighth grader.

Also competing at the farm show will be Michelle Haas, 18, of Orefield, who is a senior at Northwestern Lehigh High School. She said Friday that she will be showing a pig, which will be judged in part on looks and weight. 

Haas said it's her first time entering the Pennsylvania Farm Show. Since it might be her last year in 4-H, she said, she figured she "might as well give it a try."

Admission to the show is free, but there is a $10 fee for parking at the complex.

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