Corn, tomatoes, beans of all kinds, peaches … Lancaster is known for its farm fresh, locally grown food. It’s part of the allure that draws visitors to Lancaster County!
Around here, if someone says they’re “going to market,” we automatically assume they mean Central Market. After 275 years – which qualifies it as the nation’s oldest, continuously operating farmers market – it’s ingrained in our brains. The 120-year-old market house has become the most photographed building in the county, making it an iconic symbol of Lancaster. Standholders have tenure as well; many represent generations who have had a place at market (Stoner Family Vegetables has been a presence at market for more than 100 years). But, credit for Central Market’s longevity can also be chalked up to its ability to adapt to the “tastes” of modern-day consumers. Organic is a natural fit; ethnic ingredients and cuisine add international flair and reflect Lancaster’s diverse population; and the availability of take-home meals makes eating healthy a breeze. Tuesday & Friday, 6 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, 6 a.m.-2 p.m. 23 N. Market St., Lancaster. Details: Call 735-6890 or visit centralmarketlancaster.com.
Corn Crib Main Street Market
Chris Kaley, who operates several roadside stands in western Lancaster County, opened Corn Crib two years ago (it replaced Mount Joy’s open-air market). Vendors offer produce, nuts, dried fruit, sweets, fresh flowers and more. The newest addition is Tug’s BBQ. And, you never know who you may run into: Jon Gosselin (of Jon & Kate Plus 8 fame) paid a visit in April. Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. 35 W. Main St., Mount Joy. Details: Follow the market on Facebook.
Ephrata 3rd Saturday Market
Ephrata’s revamped open-air market is now open only on the third Saturday of the month through October. Each Saturday has a theme. Twenty standholders offer an array of fresh produce, baked goods, prepared food, flowers and BBQ (courtesy of the Pioneer Fire Company). 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Whistle Stop Plaza (Main St.), Ephrata. Details: Ephratamerchants.com.
Green Dragon Market
This Ephrata institution opened in 1932 and now boasts 400+ growers, merchants, craftsmen and more. As the saying goes, “If you can’t buy it at the Green Dragon, it chust ain’t for sale.” Open Fridays, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. 955 State St., Ephrata. Details: Call 738-1117 or visit greendragonmarket.com.
Kitchen Kettle Village
In 1954 the village’s founder, Pat Burnley, began canning in her garage. Canning led to jams and jellies, which tourists clamored to buy. The rest, as they say, is history. Kitchen Kettle Village boasts 42 shops, two restaurants and lodging. No visit is complete without stopping by the Jam & Relish Kitchen, where you can sample products to your heart’s content, watch them being made and pick up recipe cards. Lapp Valley Farm’s ice cream can satisfy your sweet tooth. Waltz Vineyards just opened a shop/tasting room, and a shop specializing in olive oil is yet to come. Open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 3529 Old Philadelphia Pike, Intercourse. Details: Call 768-8261 or visit kitchenkettle.com.
Lancaster East Side Market
Instilling a sense of community is the goal of this market, which makes its home in Musser Park. The lineup of vendors is impressive and ranges from a CSA to companies making artisanal cheese and bread, plus goodies like cupcakes. Music and kids’ activities round out the offerings. Special events also dot the calendar. Sundays, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. (closed July 5). Corner of N. Lime and E. Chestnut streets in Lancaster. Details: Visit lancastereastsidemarket.com.
Lititz Farmers Market
Now in its 7th season, this open-air market offers a variety of locally grown/made products, musical entertainment, children’s activities, chefs demos and more. Open Saturdays through October, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. N. Water St., Lititz. Details: Visit lititzfarmersmarket.com.
While you’re in Lititz, be sure to visit Zest! (30 E. Main St., zestchef.com) for unique kitchen items, gorgeous linens, herbs and spices, and much more (plus they offer classes/demos). The newly expanded Olio Olive Oils & Balsamics (41 S. Broad St., oliooliveoil.com) is another must-see. Vinegar is imported from Italy, while the oils are sourced the world over. And, don’t miss Wilbur Chocolate’s museum and store (48 N. Broad St., wilburbuds.com), where it’s impossible to leave without buying Wilbur Buds.
Healthy food, art, entertainment and learning opportunities are offered by this market that is operated by a coalition of volunteers. Vendors offer produce, prepared food, coffee, tea, herbs and goat milk soap. Vital Tree Yoga offers a free, hour-long class for all levels at 8 a.m. Heritage Creek Farm Camp hosts children’s activities the first Saturday of each month (11 a.m.-1 p.m.). Local musicians provide entertainment. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., through October. Flanagan Park (Front/Pine streets). Details: Mariettamarket.org.
Outstanding in the Field
The California-based pop-up restaurant is making its third return to Lancaster on Tuesday, September 22. Once again, the red bus will be heading for Tom Culton’s farm in Silver Spring. There, guest chef Mitch Prensky (from Supper in Philadelphia) will oversee the menu. OITF’s website declares that the farm tour at Culton Organics is “amazingly good” and might just qualify as the “highlight of the year.” Not a bad review, considering the stops OITF makes over the course of a year. Details: Visit outstandinginthefield.com.
Roots Country Market & Auction
If it’s Tuesday, it’s Roots! This indoor/outdoor market that boasts 200+ standholders has been in operation since 1925. You must visit the flea market that’s located in a mill across the street from the market. Hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. through October. 705 Greystone Rd., Manheim. Details: Call 898-7811 or visit rootsmarket.com.
blue rock Tomato Festival
Lancaster County’s iconic tomato is celebrated along the banks of the Susquehanna each July. Hosted by Blue Rock Fire Rescue, this year’s dates are July 11 and 18. This will be festival No. 58, making it one of the country’s longest-running tomato festivals (Kendall-Jackson’s renowned festival in California is only 18 years old, while Virginia’s Hanover Tomato Festival is celebrating No. 36). Menu includes tomato sandwiches, chicken corn soup, burgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes, ice cream and more. Entertainment will include music from Border Line (July 11) and Flamin’ Dick & the Hot Rods (July 18). 5-10 p.m. Washington Boro Community Park (Routes 999/441). Details: Call 872-9345 or visit bluerockfire.com.
Wine & Cheese Train
Have dinner plans for Saturday night? Why not do before-dinner drinks aboard the Strasburg Rail Road? Guests can relax in one of the Parlor or Lounge cars as they take in the farmland views along the route and enjoy local wines and cheeses. Trains depart at 7 p.m. on summer Saturdays through August. Details: Call 866-725-9666 or visit strasburgrailroad.com.