August 4, 2011 —
HONESDALE, PA — The Wayne County Historical Society (WCHS) will present its “People Who Make a Difference in Wayne County Agriculture” award to Peter Wilken, also known as “Peddler Pete,” on Friday, August 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the J.B. Park Farm Museum at the Wayne County Fair. Pete Wilken has spent 50 years working for the Grange League Federation and later Agway, the first 10 years in a managerial position and 40 years (and counting) as a traveling salesman. Hence the nickname “Peddler Pete.” Wilken’s job was to travel to individual farms to sell seeds, lime, fertilizer, soil samples, hay samples and more. Later, as farmers entered the world of updated technology, he sold electric-powered milk tanks and pipelines. But according to local farmers, Peter did much more than sales. By going directly to the farms, he saved precious time, bringing farmers knowledge of the latest advances in farm products, advice and even the latest news from other farms in the days before widespread communication.
At a time in life when most people are retired, Wilken is still making his rounds and helping farmers. For 25 years he has served on the Penn State Extension Board, both at the county and state levels, and has served on the Wayne County Dairy Princess Committee since 2004.