Latest trends in wood flooring

Hardwood’s durability and timeless design make it a desirable choice in many homes. Bonnie Holmes, executive secretary for the National Wood Flooring Association says the cost of hardwood flooring translates to the perception of quality as well as higher resale values for homes.

The Hardwood Council offers architects and builders a series of brochures called “Tips & Techniques,” which specifies grades, characteristics and options available in designing with hardwood.

BORDERING ON CUSTOM

The trend in wood flooring is moving from the pickled stage toward warmer, golden tones on red oak and gray-toned ash. Other popular hardwoods include white oak, maple and Brazilian cherry. Borders and inlaid patterns offer variety and the ability to customize designs.

LAYING LARGER TILE

Floor tile trends, whether ceramic, marble or faux-finish vinyl, are toward using larger repeats. Larger sizes, especially in public areas such as entryways and family living areas, give a better sense of scale, says New York architect Jonathon Cohen. His award-winning Florida house featured 18-inch-square terra-cotta tile on half the floors of the 4000-square-foot open plan.

In the “Concept House,” a 5200-square-foot spec house in the northern Chicago suburbs, builder Orren Pickell chose marble tile for the floors and in the steam shower. The WarmTouch in-floor radiant heat system was used to control the floor temperature. Jim Nolan, Marketing and Technical Services Representative for WarmTouch, says the product’s 1/8″ thickness and versatility in layout design make it suitable for new or remodeling installations.

OLD WORLD IDEAS

Concrete is an ancient building material whose popularity has resurfaced, notably in its use in residential construction.

Another innovative flooring design started with concrete. The unique idea specified by designer Anthony Michael, Chicago, was used in a Park Forest, Ill., house. Rectangular pours of concrete punctuated by smooth, black stones direct the home’s traffic pattern.

The stones, typically used in Japanese gardens, were positioned on lattice boards before the concrete was poured. Mesh wire was laid and the self-leveling concrete allowed to seep over the lattice, surrounding the bottom half of the fiat stones. The stones were set in diagonal and circular patterns to create an individualized look. “The carpenters had fun with the project. It was totally out of their realm of expertise,” says Michael.

Another trend in custom flooring is seen in the high level of design made possible through the use of resilient materials. Mary Docker, Director of Business Development for Amtico, says homeowners want customized treatments because they make a statement about a homeowner’s personality. Stock motifs and borders can be specified as well as custom designs, logos or patterns.

However, personalization is just one of the factors in the popularity of vinyl flooring. Comfort and ease of maintenance are two other advantages. “Our product is not affected by climatic conditions – it won’t crack or chip,” says Docker.

COLORS THAT SAY WELCOME

Color choices in vinyl flooring are leaning toward light, honey shades. There’s a warmer welcome to colors being specified today. Faux finishes, especially slate, with a textural finish, instead of smooth and glossy, are becoming more popular. Floor Trader Mechanicsville is available for advice. Whether it’s a question about installation or color choice, we’re there to help the end user.

Laminate is a good choice for flooring

Laminate flooring consists of three components bonded together. Its decorative surface is a high-pressure melamine laminate, which bonds to a moisture-resistant’ wood-based core (usually high-density or medium-density fiberboard). A balancing backer of laminate (generally of the same composition as the top layer) bonds to the underside of the core for stability. Companies claim the high-finish surfaces are about 20 times stronger than a laminate kitchen countertop.

Laminate flooring installs using a “floating floor” system with tongue-and-groove construction that allows planks to be glued and fitted together (rather than be nailed or glued to a subfloor). A small gap left at the walls allows expansion and contraction to take place without damaging the floor. A strip of underlayment foam provides cushioning and sound absorption.

Laminate flooring sizes vary, but planks generally measure 46 to 50 inches long by 8 inches wide. Most come with matching wallbases and moulding products for finishing touches.

“It installs easily over plywood or oriented-strand board,” says builder Bob Bowers, of TAB Homes Corp.. “Unlike when installing vinyl, I don’t have to worry about making a wrong cut or matching patterns.”

Once installed, it’s as easy to maintain as a laminate countertop. “We tell our customers to simply wipe it down with a damp rag or mop to take care of dirt and grime,” says Lynne Wilde of Wilsonart International, which introduced a laminate flooring line early this year. “We knew laminate was a good choice for flooring because of its durability, easy maintenance, style and comfort of laminate flooring,” says Wilde. “Flooring was the next logical step for Wilsonart,” traditionally a countertop manufacturer.

Hardwood flooring finishes include water-based treatment

The “green revolution” has hit the home floor industry — and not a minute too soon. “The newest thing out now is a water-based finish that leaves your floor looking velvety,” says Dave Warrenchuk, owner of DMW Hardwood Floor, who works out of his home. “It’s a lot more environmentally friendly than the oil-based urethane. It’s like a latex paint.” A number of U.S. states have banned the use of toxic, potentially cancer causing solvent-based finishers. However, there are some advantages to using oil-based finishes, like making cracks disappear after your hardwood floor is sanded. “A cold winter and dry air will cause the floor boards to shift and the cracks to reappear,” says Warrenchuk, whose now-retired father was in the floor restoration business for 47 years. “But with an oil-based (finish) they won’t appear. With a water-based finish they will appear, but we can use a darker color.

It’s a problem – wood expands and contracts with dryness.” After applying the finish, Warrenchuk informs the homeowner about any existing and potential floor cracks. “Some people like the cracks because it adds character to the home,” he says. “The nice thing about a water-based finish is that it won’t hide the scratches, but it’s durable and easily maintained. Water based is used in newer homes, because the floors are tighter and there is less settling in the home.” Besides rejuvenating existing floors, Warrenchuk will also install brand new ones. It’s a process that can take him several days to complete. “Usually the material has to sit for seven to ten days (in the client’s house) to acclimatize itself to the environment,” says Warrenchuk, who also does fancy floor inlays of walnut or purple heart. “Wood has a moisture content of seven to ten per cent. And it has to match the moisture level of the home. We pile it in a room until it adjusts to the humidity level, otherwise it will expand or shrink.” After the wood has adapted to its new environment, Warrenchuk, who charges 90 cents per square foot, lays and then staples the individual planks across the sub-floor’s joists.

Then, he lets the other trades people complete their work (if it’s a complete home renovation) before finally sanding the new floor. As well, Warrenchuk can mechanically buff walnut, black, red or other staining colors on to the floor.

Like Warrenchuk, Emmanuels Flooring Ltd deals solely with hardwood floors. “I give customers an estimate and help them move all their furniture out, so all the rooms are empty,” says Gideon Kotulas, owner and manager of the company. “We charge by the square foot and by what kind of material we’re using (when resurfacing floors). The minimum charge is $250.” Depending on the type of wood used, installing a new floor runs from seven dollars to $14 per square foot.

Maybe your taste runs to vinyl orĀ  Wood Flooring in Santa Cruz CA, rather than tile. Then Judy McGregor, manager of retail flooring may be of assistance.

Among other products, her store carries the new Mannington gold series vinyl flooring and fresh introductions from Armstrong products. “Flooring is now much more colorful than before when it was mostly white,” says McGregor, adding vinyl covering ranges from $9 to $53 per square yard. “From a design aspect, they’re a nice contrast to the white European cabinets. There has been a shift from a high gloss to a Mexican look in ceramic tiles, so you get a little bit of texture.” Bill Knight also installs new floor coverings, including hardwood. “Lots of people are yanking out their old carpets and refinishing the existing hardwood floors or installing brand new ones,” says McGregor, adding low maintenance, affordable, track-less carpets are currently fashionable.

Luxury vinyl tiles rival the real thing

Vinyl flooring isn’t exactly what you’d expect to find underfoot at the upscale Harrods Department Store in London, the high-visibility set of NBC’s “Today Show” in Manhattan or the high-traffic main entrance at Hillcrest Medical Center.

But Amtico luxury resilient flooring is at home everywhere from a residential contemporary kitchen to an historical home’s entryway and from posh boutiques to busy airports.

The product has been available in Europe for 30 years, and wasn’t introduced in the United States until almost two years ago, but in that time both commercial and residential orders have been pouring in from around the country, said Mary Docker, business development director at Amtico, in a phone interview from Amtico Co. Ltd. headquarters, Coventry, England.

Amtico has more than 100 U.S. retail dealers, a showroom at the New York Design Center and a studio in Atlanta, which is also its U.S. headquarters.

Most of the eco-friendly flooring’s designs and colors are borrowed from nature such as wood, marble and stone. Parquet and brick designs are also available. For a more glitzy look, the metallic collection features variegated metallic-ore colors.

Although made of vinyl, the flooring looks amazingly like the real thing, said Mac Harbour, owner of Harbour Paint &Wallcovering.

“It’s not until you get down and touch it that you can tell it’s not real marble,” said Harbour, of the floor he recently installed at Hillcrest.

Docker said even craftsmen at home shows have mistaken Amtico’s wood flooring for laminated real wood, and she’s seen couples have arguments over what it is.

Flexibility, versatility and durability are Amtico’s biggest draws. Because of the vast designs, variations and colors available, virtually every floor has a custom-designed look. Plus it’s easy to care for and continues looking good after years of heavy traffic, said Docker.

The product is also attractive to the environmentally conscious because they can get a natural look, knowing that forests weren’t chopped down or that quarries weren’t raped of their marble. Plus all waste produced during manufacturing of the product is recycled and used on the bottom two layers of the flooring, said Docker.

The flooring is composed of five layers, said Harbour. The bottom two layers are made of recycled polyvinyl chloride, the third layer is color or the design, and the top two layers are clear. The clear layers give depth to the flooring’s design, creating a more realistic look.

Designers find it an exciting product because they’re able to create virtually any design. You can have a Mona Lisa on your kitchen floor, if that’s what you want, said an Amtico representative.

In homes, the most popular room to use Amtico is the kitchen, followed by the bathrooms, then entryhalls and family rooms, said Harbour.

Businesses choose the flooring for its durability, but also to add a distinctive touch to a standard design or to incorporate the company’s logo or name, said Docker.

“Depending on the design used, the color, the product, you can create any feel. For an Old World look, you can use the marbles or woods. If you want to go really way out, you can use the metallics and a wacky border,” said Docker. “It’s such a fun product to work with because you can cut it into almost any shape that the designer wants.”

At a natural history museum, for instance, dinosaur footprints in the Amtico flooring lead to the dinosaur exhibit, and one designer created a 33-by-33 Monopoly board out of the flooring for a toy shop, said Docker.

Amtico uses a computer-aided design process and advanced cutting techniques that enable designers and their clients to custom design their own floor, to reproduce a design to scale or to modify existing designs, she said.

Once a customer selects a floor, the order is custom cut and sent to the retail dealer – Tri-County Flooring America. The dealer receives custom and standard designs in numbered pieces and installs the floor much like putting together a puzzle. Depending on prep work, a job usually takes around three days to complete, said Harbour.

Because the flooring designs are all made from the same product, woods can be combined with marbles, granites, metallics and so on, in virtually seamless borders, patterns and motifs, said Docker.

The flooring is warmer underfoot than marble or tile, and because it’s resilient it’s more comfortable to walk on and offers more traction. Compared to real wood flooring, Amtico wood won’t warp, doesn’t need sanding or refinishing and resists heel marks and indentations, said Harbour.

Each design collection can be cut to any size or shape or can be ordered in standard sizes. For example, the wood collection is available in standard plank sizes from 3-by-36 inches to 9-by-39 inches. The granite collection is available in standard 12-by-12-inch, 12-by-18-inch and 18-by-18-inch tiles. Accent squares and stripping, which can be used between tiles and planks, can be custom cut and are available in standard sizes from 36-by-1/8 inches to 36-by-3/4 inches.

Some collections are available in both smooth and textured surfaces. Standard borders and motifs are available in any combination of colors.

Prices begin at $9 a square foot, including installation, for standard designs, and range from $9 to $11 and higher for custom designs. Condition of the original floor’s surface can raise the price.

More than decorative, carpeting is practical too

When you think about it, carpet in the kitchen makes sense.
Compared to hard-surface flooring, carpet is better at cushioning a fall, preventing slipping and sliding and providing insulation.

Another plus is that the stain-resistant line of kitchen carpeting is easier to clean and maintain than hard floors, which require sweeping, mopping, waxing. Yes, even with all those messy kitchen spills.

“Floor Recipes” is the name of the new collection of five styles of carpet made for the kitchen and other high-traffic areas. You can get carpet that resembles ceramic tile or gingham or has the ribbed look of sisal, carpet in a diamond pattern or a pattern of interlocking bulb shapes. Colors include neutrals, grays and taupes, blues, greens, rose and mauve shades.

The stuff is tough, assures the flooring and carpet professional. Colorfast, resistant to moisture and stains, the densely tufted loop carpet is soft to the touch and cushioned with a polyurethane backing that prevents liquids from seeping through to the subfloor. Vacuuming can keep it looking good for years.

Consumers shouldn’t be deterred by the price differential between carpeting and hard-surface flooring. Between a wood floor and a good quality carpet, there isn’t that much difference in price, especially if you look at it in the long run

Investing in carpets

A.S. Tahir Chaudry, 40, owner of Farah’s Oriental Rugs & Carpets, a pioneer of the carpet business in the UK, compares carpets to paintings.

“Carpets are an art in itself. They draw admiration, not so much because of their beauty, but because each one of them actually contains a magic formula of its own, telling a tale of tradition, perseverance, hard work, expertise and also of romance and riches.”

Part of an essential design of elegant living as found in most interiors of middle-income housing, carpets also denote a status symbol for their owners.

“Without a carpet, a room appears empty and lifeless. It would be a room without character,” stressed Tahir.

According to Chaudry, carpet weaving is an Islamic art whose origin dates back as far as 4000 years ago. The earliest pieces were traded by the nomadic hill tribes of Persia, the Middle East and West Asia.

Shaving lamb’s wool and hand-spinning it into yarn was the spare time activity of the tribes’ male members. The wool yarn was soaked by the women while they took care of the young and kept up life in the tents. The women then soaked the yarn in a mixture of leaves, roots, tree bark, kernels and fruits before weaving them into colorful carpets of unspeakable beauty. It was an activity that filled up their days on end.

“Genuine carpets are true pieces of art, in them are interwoven emotions aroused from incidents, experiences and profound feelings of the carpet maker,” said Tahir. “It is no surprise if a carpet takes as long as 15 years to make. It doesn’t mean laziness on the part of the maker, it just means that the maker was under emotional stress,” added Tahir, a father of three.

To nomads, tracking from one dessert plane to another, carpets were multi-functional items. They were used as bags to carry household items, sleeping or sitting mats, treasury sacks, chest covers, and so on, and so on.

The oldest carpet dates back to 500 B.C. It was made by an ethnic tribe in South Siberia, East Asia, said Tahir. The carpet was one of several burial items like gold, diamonds, various gems and weapons which once belonged to a tribal chief. Grave robbers, having no use for the carpet, left it for archeologists to discover after thousands of years.

“That carpet is now in a British museum,” explained Tahir.

The traditional carpet industry of Iran, the most renowned in the world, grew with leaps and bounds when it enjoyed support and protection from the Persian kings. Throughout the 17th century Persian carpets were imported by the Moghul emperors in India, including Akhbar the Great who brought carpet makers from Iran into the country to develop the carpet industry.

Carpets enjoyed a respectable place when Islam rose to its greatness. Carpets became a major interior object in the salons and living rooms of leading politicians, generals, rich merchants and members of the aristocracy.

Today, original and traditional carpets, evaluated on the basis of basic materials used, size and motifs come from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and India (Kashmir).

“I have to hunt for quality carpets every month, deep in the interiors of Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, or Pakistan,” said Chaudry. He visits carpet making centers and buys genuine antique or unique pieces straight from the makers.

First

Chaudry’s interest in carpets is rooted in the family’s history. His father and grandfather, Mitran and A. Hameed Chaudry, were Indonesia’s first prominent carpet merchants.

“Both my grandfather and my father were the first representatives in the country to cater to carpet collectors since there was such a big demand for Farah’s carpets from Indonesians in England. They considered Indonesia a potential market then,” said the man, who confessed that he’s never had to formally study carpets because he was born into a carpet environment.

“As soon as I opened my eyes my vision was crowded with bundles and stacks of carpets,” said the young Chaudry, a member of the third Chaudry generation hailing from Lahore, Pakistan.

“They never miss an international carpet exhibition, let alone in Jakarta, just to see if there are any new pieces entering the market,” commented Hussein, 50, one of the directors in Farah’s.

It does not take much to maintain a carpet.

“Cleaning once a month at most with a special broom will make it last for ages,” said Ahmed, 32, service manager of Farah’s Carpets.

Use of a vacuum cleaner should be done with reservations and the equipment should be of medium sucking power only. Anything stronger could destroy the fine threads of Persian carpets which are made of six-month-old lamb’s wool and cotton.

“Carpets used in air-conditioned rooms don’t need airing at all. Broom cleaning suffices now and then,” said Ahmed.

Persian carpets are very sturdy home accessories.

“In Iran, carpets are often laid down on the road for days, with cars riding over them as a proof of their sturdiness. Such stunts make them more attractive in the eyes of prospective buyers. We cannot give such demonstrations in the UK because of rough and gravely roads. Iran’s roads are made of very fine sand,” explained Chaudry.

Carpets are not just a pleasure for the eye like paintings, they are also considered investments.

“The older they are, the more value they will catch. carpet prices are always rising,” according to Chaudry. This is because there is only one copy of every carpet. “Carpets are so exclusive,” he remarked. “Even after becoming machine made products, they can never be the same.”

Designs may be similar, but generally the motifs, materials, color elements and weaving techniques are different.

“A carpet making machine will never turn out the same carpet because of material complexities,” he said.

“Carpet prices are unlimited, it could be US$4,000, $40,000, or even $40 million,” said Tahir.

Who wants to be a collector or an investor?

The latest trends in vinyl flooring

Vinyl flooring used to be boring. Remember the old school corridor? Flooring materials have taken huge strides over the past few years, and none more so than vinyl.

Yards of dull, faded colour stretching to infinity – or at least to the Head’s office. But nowadays flooring companies are responding more and more to the demands of the specifier, as he or she becomes more design-and value-conscious. Project requirements have also changed over the years – legislation now dictates certain criteria for public areas and the workplace. Fortunately, technology has moved forward in tandem with these changes, allowing manufacturers to offer a greater range of products for use by the creative designer.

In specifying a smooth floor finish, safety is obviously a prime concern. One of the biggest causes of accidents in both public and private areas is “slips and trips”, resulting in not only loss of man hours but also possible litigation. As a result, safety flooring is now being installed in all environments – from leisure areas to supermarkets. Smooth floor coverings are playing an increasing role in the office too, where anti-static flooring is often a requirement. Here the long-term performance of the floor finish is also an issue as it has to cope with the regular movement of office chairs and other furniture.

More often than not the designer will start with a list of technical and legislative criteria, and this may include requirements on slip, bacteria, acoustics, fire retardancy, static electricity and resistance to wear. Manufacturers’ brochures are often the first port of call, and it is obviously important that product literature has sufficient technical information for a first selection to be made. In addition to thorough literature, many flooring companies now have an in-house technical rep or department. These are able to give sound advice while cutting through the sales patter that was once inevitable.

Having satisfied the technical criteria, the actual design or decorative element comes into play. Traditionally the chequer-board effect was the easiest way to create a patterned floor, but with the increasing sophistication of new technology, bespoke decorative flooring and afforadable flooring selections are becoming more common.

The latest trend with vinyl and rubber flooring is to make it more interesting by adding graphics and patterns such as the school emblem, company logo or directional signage. Most major flooring companies have now invested in computerised cutting services . Often there is also a standard range of designs and borders available for those seeking a cost-effective option.

Buying an oriental carpet

Oriental carpets are special things. They are works of art, paintings made in fabric, but they are also utilitarian; you can walk on them or hang them on your living room wall.

Their aesthetic value is recognized by all societies and has remained undiminished over thousands of years. But like any other highly-developed art, there is an enormous lore about carpets, and it can be difficult to know where to begin when choosing a carpet. Here then, is a guide to oriental textiles for the budding “ruggie” from carpet showroom in hagerstown.

A good rug is knotted of high-quality wool or silk. Wool is the commonest material, and doesn’t stain or wear as easily as silk. Good wool must be both strong and pleasantly smooth. Kurk wool is one of the softest and sturdiest. Some natural oil should be present in the wool to keep it soft and shiny. Chemical washes, which make carpets look beautiful and shiny by artificial means, also make them brittle. Since the 1920s chemical dyes have been widely used, especially in Iran, and while they are as attractive as natural dyes, the Turks are returning to the use of natural, traditional vegetable dyes.

The more knots per square centimetre, the stronger and more expensive the carpet will be. Beware of carpetshops that measure knots in square inches; the numbers being higher with inches, it’s a way of suggesting the carpet has dense knotting. Fifty-six knots per square centimetre is very good, 20 is not so great. A 5’x 8′ carpet with 500,000 knots in it that took three weavers and one master weaver one year to make can cost $5,000.

Their designs and colors are myriad and specific to the individual weaver – b y its nature, a handmade carpet is unique. In general though, rural rugs made by nomads tend to be geometric in pattern, and city-made rugs tend to have floral motifs, particularly in Iran, but these styles are often seen blended together in one carpet.

Rug styles are influenced by the success of a design in the Western market, and weavers are quick to copy a successful design from another area. Consequently, it is difficult to strictly categorize rugs according to type, especially the newer carpets. What can be said is that they tend to follow tribal, not national, boundaries.

Colorful mountaintop home to become a park, museum

Visitors to the secluded haven dubbed Hilltop must hang on tight as they bump along a narrow country lane that winds high into the clouds.

Past fields of wildflowers and a rusting 1938 Dodge, the road finally ends amid a pair of towering Peruvian cactus plants that guard an ancient granite house at the end of Castle Court Drive — where the view overlooks much of East County.

Despite its scenic wonders, few people have ventured up here since the 1992 death of Mildred Whitaker. She and her late husband, Hale, settled the hillside 50 years ago.

The few visitors situation will soon change. In what authorities call a rare example of civic generosity, the well-known Lakeside woman with a passion for Siamese cats and the color red has bequeathed her personal Garden of Eden to the public.

“She always thought that the place was just a few steps from heaven and that the best thing that could happen to it would be to share it with others,” said Lester Johnson, the lawyer handling Whitaker’s will.

County officials have agreed to accept the estate and are considering how best to preserve the house and surrounding seven acres for a park and museum, in accordance with her last wishes. The public can get an early look at the grounds, however, every Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the gates are open, although the house will remain closed for the time being.

The couple nicknamed their home Hilltop and poured their love into its creation.

Hale, a county heavy-equipment operator for 47 years, and Mildred, a longtime Red Cross volunteer and San Diego Unified Port District employee, camped out in a lean-to for several years during the early 1940s while laboriously carving their house from Granite Fresno boulders just down the slope.

They did much of the work themselves. Hale used a sledgehammer to split the rock. His wife dipped shingles in sticky creosote to protect them from winter torrents and blazing summer sun.

Over the years, Mildred — described as a strong-willed woman who befriended birds, rabbits and even skunks — planted dozens of fruit trees and cactus plants and marveled at the panoramic views of faraway landmarks such as El Capitan and the Cuyamaca Mountains.

“The good Lord made it beautiful; we try to keep it that way,” she once said.

Rick and Mary Stewart, park volunteers looking after the property, agree, saying the solitude is downright inspiring, providing a perfect spot for meditation and relaxation.

“It’s beautiful up here,” said Rick Stewart. “I’m just amazed at the initiative they had to build all this.”

A painter, pianist and member of many community groups, Mildred had outlived her husband by 12 years. She had no surviving relatives except for an elderly cousin. Few people knew her real age, a secret she took to her grave.

“She never disclosed it,” said Johnson, adding only that she was in her 80s when she died.

Much of the sanctuary remains frozen in time, much the way it was back when Hale first bulldozed the private road leading up the hill.

Weathered chicken coops still sit out in back; a massive water tank rests on a knoll. The 1,500-square-foot house is jammed with original appliances, fixtures and furniture from the 1940s

Good taste, immigrants’ preferences help create demand in state

Goat meat, popular with farmers for its profitability and with consumers for its taste, is becoming big business in Pennsylvania, a livestock specialist said last week at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show.

“Farmers can make more profit per dollar invested in goats than in any other form of livestock,” said Dr. Robert D. Herr of Narvon, a Farm Show goat meat judge. “There’s a growing market for goat meat. There never will be enough goats to meet that demand.”

Goat meat, known as chevon, is a very lean and rather light red meat with a taste between veal and rabbit. It can be roasted, barbecued or ground.

Herr, whose family runs a feedlot for 500 goats at their Lancaster County farm, judged the 15 goats in the first Farm Show market goat class, held in conjunction with the dairy goat judging.

“Pennsylvania sends more goat meat to market than any other state in the East,” Herr said. “The Lancaster Stockyards alone sell 25,000 goats a year. Unfortunately, there are very few Pennsylvania farmers who raise more than 30 goats annually for market, so most of the goats we sell come from other states.”

Herr said the market for goat meat is growing, “because each day, 8,000 people who consider goat meat a primary meat come into the United States.”

He said goat meat is popular with ethnic groups such as Italian, Greek, Puerto Rican, Cuban and African.

“Every goat who goes through the auctions has a home,” Herr said. “I’m not sure goat meat ever will go mainstream, but it is a good, low-fat, healthful meat.”

Goat Meat for Sale also is profitable for farmers, Herr said.

“Beef and pork prices have great fluctuations,” he said. “But goat prices over the years have only become stronger even as more goats have moved into the marketplace. It is one segment of the meat industry that has lots of growth.”

Herr said the junior market goat show was fairly quiet, partly because it was new to the the Farm Show and partly because the snow kept people away. The dairy goat show was equally quiet. Show superintendent Carol Schurman of Indiana, Pa., said she expected 210 goats but got only 65.