Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Farmstands and Farmers Markets
My family also would take Sunday trips out to Lancaster, PA and visit the Bird in Hand Farmers Market in the town of Bird in Hand, Lancaster County, PA, where over 20 vendors sold (and still do) their wares. There are other farmers markets in Lancaster County but this is the one I always remembered traveling to with my family. Here, you can buy all sorts of homemade and farm products such as chow chow, pepper jam, shoo fly pies, AP cake, rhubarb pie (in season of course), all sorts of other PA Dutch bakes cakes and goods, old fashioned candies, herbs, spices, smoked meats and cheeses, locally grown fruits and vegetables, and Amish and Mennonite crafts such as quilts, wrought iron and wooden furniture, and souveniers. Adam and I would always love the sugar rock candy sold here.
I remember Dad would sometimes got lost driving around the surrounding countryside. I am not sure if he meant to get lost, but we would spend hours criss-crossing Amish country passing by quaint school houses, large farms, men plowing fields with teams of 10 or more mules or horses, and horse drawn buggies with traditional Amish families squeezed inside. Fun special memories from quieter times.
After I grew up, I moved out to Berks County, another country-county of rolling farms and hillsides that Pennsylvania is so well known for. There is also a smaller Amish and Mennonite community in Berks County and luckily, I still found the farm stands I grew up loving. One of the largest farmers markets in the area is Rennigers Market in Kutztown, PA. This farmers market has it all! There are over 200 vendors available which have almost everything that the Bird in Hand Farmers Market has plus so much more. You can find several vegetable stands indoors, as well as fresh poultry stands, bakeries, seafood peddlers, and butchers. If antiques and collectibles are your thing, on Saturdays, flea market and antique venders set up outside sellling all types of cool and unique antiques, bric-a-brac, and collectibles. Inside of the indoor market are vendor after vendor of dealers in two very long hallways. Some of my best treasures have been bought at this place! It is a great place to shop, have lunch, and get your self lost in for the afternoon.
Lastly, I want to tell you about a small Mennonite farm stand outside of Myerstown, PA in Lebanon County. It has become a favorite of mine to travel to on the weekends. It is right off of Swatara Creek (also known as the Swattie Creek). It sells raw milk, raw cheese, their own honey, pies, breads, eggs, jams, jellies, fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Last time I bought my produce there, I was helped by a very knowledgeable 12 year old girl and her 5 year old sister, both dressed in the prettiest purple homemade dresses.