Keeping that resolution may have been a little tough at the time, since the dead of winter is not prime season for succulent strawberries or tasty tomatoes.
But now the wait is over. Fresh, locally grown produce is available in just about every community where you will find a Susquehanna Bank.
In Lancaster County, PA, there are many places to shop for crops. One of my favorites is Root’s (rhymes with “puts”) Country Market & Auction, located outside of Manheim. At Root’s, you can buy a watermelon, a watch and a handcrafted washstand all in the same visit. But you can only buy them on Tuesdays! Oh, and if a live goat or an azalea bush are on your shopping list, you can purchase them at Root’s as well. The Green Dragon Farmers Market & Auction in Ephrata provides a similar experience on Fridays.
We asked Susquehanna employees to tell us about their favorite places to buy fruits and veggies, and several of them responded. Suggestions ranged from huge year-round markets to smaller seasonal operations to little roadside stands on family farms. You may notice some of the items listed for sale don’t qualify as fruit or vegetables, but we didn’t want you to miss out on some very special selections!
Also in Lancaster County, PA
Lancaster Central Market – This is the oldest continuously operating farmers market in the USA! Vicki particularly likes the “spice man” – you can smell his wonderful spices and teas before you get to his corner stand. Claudia mentions the huge selection of fresh meat and produce, prepared foods and baked goods (maple-bacon eclairs, anyone?), and her favorite, fresh brewed coffee from The Mean Cup. Open Tuesday and Friday, 6 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. year-round.
Horst Farm Market, Bowmansville – Sherry suggests this winning combination of friendly folks, delicious baked items (LOVES the Molasses Cookies), great prices on vegetables, nice flowers and 35 cent Root Beer Popsicles.
Downtown Lititz Farmer’s Market – Susquehanna’s parking lot is the site of this Saturday morning market. Dale treats himself to a sticky bun from Two Ladies Baking when he has to work on the weekend. The fruits and veggies are awesome, too! Open Saturday 8 a.m. to noon, May 21 to Oct. 15.
Reiff Farm Stand, Ephrata – Misty always finds what she needs there.
Roadside stand, Groffdale Road, Leola – This is part of a family farm, featuring BBQ chicken that Kate says is “to die for,” and excellent fruits and vegetables to accompany that tasty bird! Across the street is Hayloft Candles, where you can buy candles and crafts and visit the petting zoo.
Kreider’s Little White Milk House, Hossler Road, Manheim — Sells the best tomatoes ever, from May until Fall!
Berks County, PA
Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market, Reading: Julie worked at three different stands there when she was a teenager. You’ll find lots of options for fresh, unprepared foods as well as ready to eat items. Julie says, “The stuffed soft pretzel logs are super yummy!!” One of Ashleigh’s favorite stands sells delicious jambalaya. Open Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Farmer’s Market of Wyomissing – According to Jenni, they sell the BEST Gluten-Free baked goods! Open Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
West Reading Farmers’ Market – Shane frequents this open air market, held every Sunday, May through November on the main street in West Reading borough. The market is producer only, and sells a wide variety of items. Open Sunday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Bucks County, PA
Quakertown Farmer’s Market - Brigid recommends the Gyros, the pizza place in the middle of the market and JoJo potatoes at the Coop. She adds that if you are there Sunday at closing “all the produce is going dirt cheap.” Open Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dauphin County, PA
Ruth has discovered a farmers market in Soldiers’ Grove behind the Capitol Building in Harrisburg. It’s just starting out, but has wonderful fresh fruits and veggies. Open Wednesday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturdays Market, Middletown – Sarah visits this enormous market – on Saturdays, of course! She buys her produce from an Amish-owned stand located near the market’s middle doors. Outdoor Market is open Saturday 4 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Indoor Market is open Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed Sunday.
Cumberland County, PA
West Shore Farmers Market, Camp Hill – Sandra remembers going there as a child, with her mom and Nana carrying their market baskets, and buying treats at the penny candy counter. Three generations of her family have shopped there! Open Tuesday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Franklin County, PA
The Butcher Shoppe, Chambersburg, PA – Kim travels from Hagerstown, MD to this market almost every Saturday. Her family buys local strawberries and sweet corn and so much more! Open Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Bender’s Produce, Chambersburg, PA – Timothy notes that you’ll find a pumpkin patch at Bender’s in the Fall, as well as a variety of animals to feed, including llamas, donkeys and rabbits. Open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Perry County, PA
Butchers Farm Market, Newport – This is one of two markets recommended by Darlene. Besides running a produce stand and bakery in town, the farm has lots of activities for kids, including an Easter Egg Hunt and Halloween fun. Spring hours: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Synder County, PA
Weaver’s Farm Market and Bakery , Port Trevorton – Darlene likes this market as well. Fresh produce and Shoo Fly Pie Whoopie Pies are on the menu.
What about YOUR neck of the woods? To find additional markets and roadside stands in Susquehanna’s market area, visit these websites:
In Maryland: http://marylandsbest.net/
In New Jersey: http://www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov/
In Pennsylvania: http://buylocalpa.org/
In West Virginia: http://wvfarmers.org/
Tips for farmers market shopping trips:
- Take cash. Some stands do not accept checks or credit cards.
- Check the schedule. Markets may only be open one or two days a week. Visit the above websites for information.
- BYOB (Bring Your Own Bags). Standholders will likely have plastic grocery bags for your purchases, but taking your own reusable bags is kind to the earth and cuts down on the vendor’s expenses.
- Buy the heavy stuff on your way out. If you see a beautiful watermelon the moment you arrive, refrain from making that purchase until the end of your trip. A standholder may even set it aside for you, if you ask nicely!
- For bargains, shop toward the end of market day. Standholders often try to move their merchandise as they close up shop, and may deeply discount produce.
- Don’t forget where you parked your car. For obvious reasons!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Vendors are often happy to share storage ideas, recipes, and tips for using their fruits and veggies. They might even offer you a free sample!
- Tell your friends. If you have a favorite place to buy locally grown food, share that information with others and help that local business flourish.