4:20 min October 02, 2022

Pocono Tourism Gives Back | Carbon County

Pocono Television Network host Brianna Strunk visits Carbon County businesses making a difference in the Pocono Mountains.

When you support businesses in the Poconos, from small mom and pop shops to the large resorts, that in turn benefits all who live, work and play in the region. Tourism generates $3.3 billion annually, and much of that is reinvested back into the community.

Blue Mountain Resort’s farm-to-table dream has grown into reality. Established in Spring 2021, The Farm at Blue Mountain produces a variety of fruits and herbs to supply the resort’s Slopeside Pub & Grill plus wedding and banquet events. “We have tomatoes, cucumbers, a mix of sweet peppers. We're growing squash, pumpkins, eggplant, kale, and swish chard,” said Katie Taylor, horticulturist.

In addition to the 7.5 acre field, two growing houses allow for year-round food production and season extension of summer crops. Every two weeks, Blue Mountain donates and delivers excess produce to local food banks, including West End Food Pantry. “It's really important to give back to our community because we depend on each other to be successful and to support one another,” Taylor added.

And the contributions couldn't come at a better time. “We are at an all-time high right now. We thought that COVID created tough times, but post-COVID with inflation and gas prices, we are seeing some of our biggest numbers ever,” explained Karena Thek, pantry director.

On a monthly basis, more than 700 families have access to Blue Mountain Resort's fresh-picked produce. “We do get a lot of tomatoes and cucumbers, what I’ll call the easy staples. But Blue Mountain’s farm is bringing in things I think our clients have never tried or tasted,” Thek said.

Another ski resort in Carbon County, Jack Frost Big Boulder, is in the process of installing five new ski lifts. JFBB is auctioning off the original chairs, with funds benefitting Lake Harmony Fire Company and Rescue Squad. “They serve us and keep us safe every day, so we're excited for the opportunity to give back,” explained Trent Poole, general manager.

Part one of the auction raised more than $60,000, with a second auction in the works.

“Maybe there was a proposal on a lift or a significant life event happened on one of these chairs. So, this is a guest’s opportunity to grab a piece of those memories” Poole added.

The auction will help the fire company pay bills and purchase new equipment, which is becoming more and more expensive. “It's going to help us immensely. Some people don't realize what it takes to run a volunteer fire company. They hear the word volunteer and think everything's free,” said Chief Ralph Lennon of Lake Harmony Fire Company.

Those same first responders also receive a financial boost from Nick's Lake House through the restaurant’s annual Parade of Boats event. “Everyone decorates their boats, there are prizes and donations, and a great band plays,” explained Louis Pantages, owner.

The fundraiser started about 30 years ago and has become a summer tradition for many. “From being fortunate in business and being supported by locals and tourists, we feel we should give back to our community and those who volunteer for us especially,” Pantages added.