• Rachel Lingenfelter

In My Own Words - Carol Pyle

It's another part of our series, "In My Own Words," where we learn why some locals from our Southern Allegheny counties love where they live.

This week, we talked to Carol Pyle, Somerset County 4-H Program Assistant & Somerset County Farmers’ Market Manager, about why she loves her county. This is what she had to say...

"I love Somerset County from its agricultural roots up! This county has some of the most beautiful rolling hills and farmlands that I have ever seen. Here we believe that our youth is our future, and it is our responsibility to give them the life skills that they need to help them succeed. It has been my privilege to be the 4-H program assistant in Somerset County for about twenty years. The 4-H motto is to, “Make the Best Better” and that is what we do every day. 4-H provides a safe and inclusive environment where youth ages 5-18 can learn in an interactive, hands-on program. Youth are taught everyday life skills and explore hundreds of project areas such as livestock, public speaking, cooking, sewing, and engineering. Through their club meetings and project work areas, our youth can discover where they fit in and what career path they may want to explore.

I have watched as timid eight-year-olds have grown to find their voice and confidence through their 4-H experiences and it makes me so proud when I see them grown and become productive members of our community. Many of our 4-H alumni have moved on to careers in environmental science, food science, engineering, fashion design and so much more across the country. Where others have gone on to proudly serve our county in the military, and many more are giving back right here in Somerset County through parks and trails management, real estate agents, engineers, farmers, mechanics, welders, local business owners and so much more. Our logo is the four-leaf clover and as any farmer can tell you when they plant clover in their fields, the plant gives more back to the soil than it takes from it. That is what all our 4-Hers’ strive to do, give more back to their community than they take from it.

Through my work with 4-H families and the agricultural community at the Penn State Extension in Somerset, I became involved with the Somerset County Farmers’ Market. I have been the Market Manager for the past 10 years now. The Market’s main purpose is to provide a venue for farmers to sell their locally grown agricultural produce and products while promoting health and wellness in our community. Our vendors produce items such as fruit, eggs, baked goods, vegetables, maple, honey, wine, and much more. The Somerset Market is a producer-only market, meaning that all products must be produced on the sellers’ farm. The market is the place for consumers who, now more than ever, want to buy fresh, local products.

Our market provides a glimpse into the regions’ heartland and is an ideal place to sample new foods, meet the locals, and experience the Somerset County way of life. The farmers market is more than just a market for local foods; it is a snapshot of the farms that make Somerset County a beautiful place to live or to visit. I tell everyone that the Somerset Market is my happy place! It is so wonderful to go there, talk with the vendors, customers, and greet the tourists that are visiting Somerset County.

So, in conclusion, I would say that our outstanding youth and the bright future that they bring to our community, as well as our agricultural roots, is why “I love Somerset County”!

We want to thank Carol for sharing her love for Somerset County! If you're from Somerset, what is it about your county that makes you happy to live or be from there? Let us know in the comments!

#FirstFrontierForward #InMyOwnWords

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