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A Local's 3 Favorite Lancaster County Farmers Markets

By: Lisa Bartelt | June 20, 2022

Topics: Lancaster Living

Take a drive through rural Lancaster County and you'll find signs advertising everything from pickled beets and brown eggs to fresh flowers and vegetables in season. (I once even saw a sign advertising old hens for butchering!) Thanks to the county's large Amish population, such stands are common. (And usually cash only with no Sunday sales.) But there's more to farmers markets in Lancaster County than what you might find by chance on a road trip through Amish Country.

I grew up in the Midwest where farmers markets were mostly seasonal affairs. In summer if the weather was nice, my family would ride our bicycles to the park in the center of town and browse the tables set up with fresh produce and baked goods. The end of the growing season was always a bummer because we knew winter was on the way, and it would be months before we could buy fresh local produce from our neighbors again.

When my husband and I moved our family to Lancaster County 10 years ago, it was a pleasant surprise to discover year-round farmers markets offering more than what a garden produces during the growing season.

A single blog post can't adequately sing the praises of all the farmers markets in Lancaster County, so I’ve picked my three favorites for local produce (and more).

*Please confirm days and times in case of changes that may have occurred after this post's publication. 

 

Lancaster Central Market

central-market-featured

Link to Website

Our family makes a stop at Lancaster Central Market in downtown Lancaster city on most Saturdays. It's our go-to for all kinds of weekly grocery staples like apples, broccoli, onions, garlic, goat cheese and poultry. While fresh produce abounds, Lancaster Central Market is more than fruits and vegetables. 

We start our Saturday mornings at Mean Cup for lattes and follow up with a stop at Ric's Bread to check out the muffin selection. The choices feature seasonal flavors such as lavender and rose as well as standard favorites like blueberry and coffee cake. Then it's over to Central Market Juice Company for New York style bagels slathered with flavored cream cheeses. (My favorite is a wheat bagel with lox. My son likes an egg bagel with bacon cream cheese—a “bacon and egg” if you want to order like a regular.)

Fueled with coffee and breakfast treats, we then move on to our regular shopping. Our first stop is Linden Dale Farm for chèvre (goat cheese) in one or more flavors. Sometimes we'll add goat meat or other types of cheese made with goat milk. We then make a sweep around the Barr's Produce stand to see what looks good for our fruit and veggie needs for the week. We compare the selection from Barr's to those at Stoltzfus Farms, an Amish-owned stand. In summer especially, we leave with bags loaded with local produce at a fair price. Our weekly market visit wraps up with an order of chicken and/or ground turkey at Shenk's Poultry. When the mood strikes, we also hop over to JB Kelley's Seafood for salmon spread. It’s so good you can eat it straight out of the container with a spoon, no bread or cracker needed.

Beyond our regular stops, there’s plenty more to discover at Lancaster Central Market such as global culinary offerings from west Africa, Cuba, Sweden, and the Middle East. For sweet treats, stop by Wendy Jo's, Uncle Leroy's or Meisse Candies. A quick perusal at The Goodie Shoppe display cases will have you salivating over ready made food. Inna's Pierogies and Empanada Gourmet are two other stands that won't disappoint. (Few places will at Central Market.) Fresh flowers, candy, cookies, deli meats and cheeses, guacamole, liquor, tea, spices -- there's so much available at Lancaster Central Market it's almost easier to list what you CAN'T find there.

Lancaster Central Market welcomes tourists and locals alike on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Find it at 23 N. Market St., Lancaster, PA, 17603 and add it to your farmers market list for the summer.

 

Meck's Produce

Mecks

Link to Website

Until recently, Meck's Produce had a stand at Lancaster Central Market. Fortunately for their loyal customer base, they have a large market at their 60-acre farm near Quarryville, a short drive south of Lancaster city. 

Meck's offers a variety of hydroponic lettuces year-round including green leaf, Bibb, Romaine and salad mix. (No need to worry about those national recalls of lettuce due to contamination!) Beyond that, there's always a seasonal cornucopia of locally grown produce starting around mid-spring until late fall. Highlights include asparagus, tomatoes, and sweet corn. The store also stocks frozen cuts of locally raised meat, dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt, deli meats and cheeses and other grocery items for the pantry such as nuts, seeds, jams, sauces, and dressings. From March through December, the Meck's porch is full of spring flowers, the aforementioned local produce, sweet corn, pumpkins, ornamentals, and Christmas trees and wreaths, each available seasonally.

And if you need a quick already-prepared meal, they've got a cooler full of those, too. 

Each spring they open registration for their CSA subscription boxes for weekly pick-ups of locally grown produce throughout the summer and/or fall.

Meck's, 1955 Beaver Valley Pike, Strasburg, PA 17579, is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. They are closed Sunday. 

 

Brook Lawn Farm Market

Link to Website

When our kids were younger (they are teenagers now), another favorite farmers market in the area was Brook Lawn Farm Market. We’d go in the fall to take a wagon ride to the pumpkin patch to pick our own colorful fall decor. Brook Lawn also offers a pick-your-own strawberry patch starting in late May or early June. Check out the farm’s Facebook page or call 717-569-4748 for field updates if you’re looking for a chance to pick your own produce. For pumpkin picking, check back in September and October for times and days.

Known for its sweet corn, Brook Lawn offers multiple varieties ready as early as mid- to late-June and throughout the summer into early fall. And watch for peaches straight from the orchard starting in July. The farm also offers yellow and white nectarines, plums, apples and pears from its orchards. Veggie offerings include heirloom tomatoes, squash, eggplant, okra, sweet peppers and hot peppers.

If you want a close-to-the-farm feeling while you shop, Brook Lawn Farm Market is your place.

Located at 2325 Lititz Pike, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17601, Brook Lawn is open seasonally 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. They are closed Sundays. 

 

Farmers Market in Lancaster PA

 

 

Written by Lisa Bartelt

Lisa Bartelt is a freelance writer and middle school paraprofessional living in Lancaster County with her husband and two kids. When she’s not shopping local farmers markets, she’s browsing the shelves at a local bookstore or reading on her porch. Her other passions include nature, coffee, travel and cheering on her kids’ sports.

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