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April 18, 2013

MAY: Hope delivers

Si had always had high hopes for the success of his family farm in Pennsylvania. Si was a hard worker, but hard times seemed to always weigh more on the balance scale than work. Farming in the Keystone State was certainly a challenging and difficult task. The growing season is only about three months long, a little less time than the Pirates take to meander through the baseball season.

Pennsylvania farmers mostly grew mushrooms. It was the state’s number one cash crop, and Pennsylvanians produce more than any other state — an annual yield of about 443 million pounds. Si dabbled in mushrooms, but also worked barley, winter wheat and potatoes. The effects of the economy during World War II were taking its toll on the family farm. Si was barely keeping his head above water, and the tide was rising with each year. His hopes — and his love for his wife — kept his spirits going and his work ethic fueled.

Effie Musser had strong hopes for Si as well. She hated to see her husband struggle so. Effie stirred the hope deep within her that afternoon in the kitchen as she continued a family tradition. Her mother had taught her to take the farm’s leftover potatoes and turn them into deep-fried fun for the children. Effie finished sprinkling seasoning on the chips and thought that perhaps she could bag some and sell them for extra cash at the nearby farmer’s market.

“Nearby” was Lancaster and the “farmer’s market” was not a small card table on the side of the road. Central Market in Penn Square in heart of Lancaster is the nation’s oldest, continuously operated farmer’s market. Founded in 1889, the market became known for its unique Amish goods. Effie’s chips were a hit and she sold out every time she delivered the bags to the Square.

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