Penns Valley-area residents already know their valley is a gem.
But earlier this week, a national magazine made it official.
Mother Earth News named Penns Valley a “Great Place You’ve (Maybe) Never Heard Of” and is highlighting the county’s eastern side along with seven other communities across the United States. The feature story will be in the publication’s October-November issue, on sale Sept. 23.
The magazine focuses on organic gardening, cooking and food preservation, natural health, renewable energy and other homesteading. It chose its list of showcased places based on natural beauty, local food options, and a friendly, slow-paced way of life.
It got help with the “greatest places” list from Millheim-based Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.
Magazine representatives approached the organization in late spring to find tips on nice areas of Pennsylvania, said Brian Snyder, PASA executive director.
“We sat down and thought about it, and just kind of looked around and thought that right here in Penns Valley is that place,” Snyder said. “There is so much in terms of its environmental and agriculture presence, to the revitalization of Millheim, and the Grange Fair. We really have it all and work to preserve that.”
PASA nominated Penns Valley, and magazine researchers scoped out the area.
“We just thought, ‘My goodness, there is an awful lot that people don’t know about Penns Valley,’ ” Snyder said.
A news release from Ogden Publications, which oversees the magazine out of Topeka, Kan., said the article will take a look at PASA and the region’s rolling hills and lush valleys, people and variety of locally produced food.
“Care and respect for each other and the environment run deep in Penns Valley, and it shows in friendly encounters across the area and the painstakingly raised and produced local foods,” said K.C. Compton, senior editor for Mother Earth News.
Penns Valley is also the home of Pennsylvania Certified Organic — a Spring Mills-based, Department of Agriculture-accredited nonprofit that educates and certifies growers, processors and handlers of organic crops, wild crops, livestock and livestock products in Pennsylvania.
According to Mother Earth News, its list serves as a way to recognize cities and towns that demonstrate “positive civic engagement, invest in the local economy and develop meaningful environmental initiatives.”
The other cities recognized were Ashland, Ore.; Beaufort, S.C.; Bozeman, Mont.; Burlington, Vt.; Evanston, Ill.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Sparta, Tenn.
Snyder compared Penns Valley to “a little Asheville, N.C.”
“We don’t want this to be the popular trendy spot in the scale of how we operate, but one of the hidden gems in the country,” Snyder said. “We’re very proud to be here.”