Written by Joellen Wankel for the Bradford Era on August 2, 2019
This file photo shows Greendale Farms co-owners Dave Conklin, left, and Dan Shields, second from right, when they met with Gov. Tom Wolf’s cabinet members: Secretary of Community and Economic Development Dennis Davin; Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Dunn and Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding and Kane Mayor Brandy Schimp during a visit to the site of the Wilds Sonshine Factory in 2018.
A unique distillery in the Kane area has received a boost in its path to production — a $489, 200 grant from Pennsylvania’s State Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) that will help with a two-part construction phase for the facility.
The Wilds Sonshine Factory facility, which is planned for a location on Route 6 west of Kane, will be the only distillery where the product is made entirely from the sunflower plant — which will be exclusively grown in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
State Sen. Joe Scarnati, R-Brockway, who announced the grant Thursday as one of four awarded to locations in his district, said, “I am very pleased that our region is receiving substantial support through these community and economic development grants. These grants will help to have a positive impact on projects to strengthen our communities and boost local jobs.”
The grant will be used to fund construction, ground renovation, processing equipment and preparation of the grounds for an educational interpretive experience for future visitors. The first part of the project will involve completing the roof, windows, doors and interior walls. It will also involve the installation of a heated floor and a heating system for the facility.
Meanwhile, the second phase of the project will focus on installing a mash ton, still, tanks for processing and staging, a steam generation system and various pieces of equipment for bottling, packaging an processing.
Greendale Farms will supply grains for the Wilds Sonshine Distillery. These grains will be grown and harvested in McKean and Elk counties and stored on the property near the facility.
According to Greendale Farms co-owner Dave Conklin, “Sonshine” is a noun meaning a distilled product made from the sunflower plant exclusively grown and produced in the PA Wilds.
In 2018, Conklin shared plans for the facility to also process agricultural products and act as an educational center, welcoming people of all ages.
A story in a September 2018 edition of The Bradford Era noted that construction on footers for the base building had already begun.