Forks in the Road: Food and Travel in Central PA - A Community Blog

Adrienne Wolter shares local restaurant reviews, day trips and cooking adventures

Scoping Out the Local Farmers' Market Scene

Written by Adrienne Wolter, Community Blogger | Sep 17, 2013 11:14 AM
Thumbnail image for farmers-market.jpg

Photo by Brandon Doran

Farmers' markets are great places to find fresh, local produce.

Whether you are a seasoned farmers’ market attendee, or are looking for fresh eating options, Central Pennsylvania has you covered. The state of PA is known for some excellent options when it comes to eating local and buying more than just food from farmers’ markets.

From freshly grown corn to homemade jam, these various markets offer sometimes surprisingly wide ranges of purchasing options. Explore some of the markets available in the South Central Pennsylvania region to determine which ones will best fit your needs.

Farmers on the Square

Yes, there's more to my hometown than the car shows. This truly local farmers’ market is held every Wednesday form 3-7 pm in Carlisle. The open-air market is filled with farmers and vendors from within 50 miles of town. On the corner of High and Hanover streets, you will find everything from homemade goat’s milk lotion, hand popped kettle corn and vibrantly fresh fruits and vegetables. The freshly made guacamole is a true favorite for my family, only found at Farmers on the Square. The outdoor market is an excellent place to find healthy food and living options while supporting the local economy.

What: Farmers on the Square
When: Wednesdays, 3pm to 7pm
Where: Intersection of High St and Hanover St, Carlisle, PA

PA Farmers Open Air Market

Blackberries

Photo by Wendell Wink

Blackberries at a farmers' market.

This huge market is located right near the state capital, outside the PA Farm Show Building. With over 20 weekly vendors, this outdoor market is an excellent site for all types of local produce, flowers and more. The Open Air Market is my favorite spot for local and organic meat and a weekly fresh treat for a hot lunch. On Tuesdays and Fridays, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, you can come to this open-air market for produce, flowers and even ice cream. Did I mention free parking?

What: PA Farmers Open Air Market
When: Tuesdays & Fridays, 9am to 6pm
Where: PA Farm Show Building Parking Lot, Harrisburg, PA

Dillsburg Farmers’ Market

A partner with the “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” campaign, the Dillsburg Farmers’ Market is a friendly and fresh Saturday morning activity. Located on North Baltimore Street, the market provides a wide array of homegrown produce and homemade items by various vendors. I was pleasantly surprised to find eccentric vendors such as Morgan’s Mushrooms, which offers organic mushroom milkshakes. From 8am to noon, you can stop by this fun outdoor market and even leave with organic treats for your pets!

If you enjoy this market, I'd also highly recommend the Dillsburg Farmers Fair, which this year is being held October 14 through 19. Read more about the fair on their website.

What: Dillsburg Farmers' Market
When: Saturdays, 8am to noon
Where: 117 N Baltimore St, Dillsburg, PA

Farmers Market in Hershey

If you are looking for a bigger market with an extremely wide variety of options, you will want to make a stop in Hershey this Thursday afternoon. Located in the research park next to the Cocoa Beanery, the Farmers’ Market in Hershey is held on the very farmland in which the first products came from. Each week, from 2:30 to 6:30pm, this farmland is host to vendors offering fruits and vegetables, dairy products, baked goods and various specialty items such as coffee and honey stands. In addition to offering fresh, local produce, the Hershey market provides various wellness opportunities such as cooking classes, free health education and local musical entertainment.

What: Farmers Market in Hershey
When: Thursdays, 2:30pm to 6:30pm
Where: 1215 Research Blvd, Hummelstown, PA

These farmers’ markets are all unique locations created to reinforce the goal of buying fresh and local items. By attending a farmers’ market, you are exposing yourself to countless organic and healthy options while supporting the local community and spending time outdoors. South Central PA is certainly home to some truly plentiful and enjoyable outdoor markets. With the vastly wide range of vendors, food options and homemade items, you can find everything just shy of skunk traps. Next time you need to replenish your fruit supply or are looking for a fresh weeknight or Saturday morning activity, consider attending one of the countless outdoor markets available in the South Central Pennsylvania region. Just watch out for the end of the season; most farmers' markets close near the end of October.

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