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Written by Silas Chamberlin
We are still a couple of weeks away from fall, but the mornings are already starting to feel a little crisper, and the leaves are on the cusp of bursting into color. There’s something about the coming of autumn—perhaps it’s the promise of Thanksgiving cornucopias—that makes me want to go out and explore farmer’s markets. Don’t get me wrong, farmer’s markets are great year round and each season boasts its own special treats, but there is something about the lore of “harvest time” that makes them seem even more enticing. There are dozens of great farmers’ markets within the Corridor, each with its unique vendors and special items. Below is just one selection from each county.
The New Hope Farmers’ Market is only open for an hour a week (4:30-5:30) PM on Thursdays), but if you are lucky enough to make it, you are in for a treat. In fact, the market has become so popular that it is now held at Solebury High School rather than downtown. There are over 18 vendors at the market, but you can’t miss Milk House Farm and their green eggs. That’s right. You might be familiar with white and brown eggs, but you’ve never lived until you scrambled a couple of Milk House’s green eggs. While you’re snatching up breakfast items, stop by The Coffee Scoop’s table. These people take their coffee very seriously, and you will too, after brewing your first pot Ethiopian Yergacheffe Fair Trade Organic, Shade Grown beans. Top the eggs and the coffee off with some potatoes, onions, and peppers—think homefries!—from Gravity Hill Farm. Now all that’s left to do it pick out a babka from Nita Baker‘s stand and a breakfast feast awaits.
As the oldest, continuous open-air market in the nation, the Easton Farmers’ Market has been held in the downtown Grand Square for 258 years. The market is open 9 AM to 1 PM on Saturdays from May to October and includes over 25 regular vendors. Patrons will find everything from heirloom vegetables and organic fruits to fresh meat and dairy products. Several Easton businesses also sell their wares at the market, including the Easton Salsa Company—purveyors of the finest salsa this side of the…errr, Delaware. My personal favorite is Dale & Georgia Biscuit Co., a dog treat business that lures potential buyers in with two adorable hounds—Dale and Georgia. Best of all, their treats are vegetarian!
The Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market, open Thursday through Saturday, is absolutely huge. Yuppies beware—this is a real market, where you can still hear Pennsylvania Dutch and buy stuffed hog maw. On busy days, you battle for a seat or don’t sit all, while you gorge yourself on fried food and pour cans of A-Treat down your gullet. Over 65 merchants maintain stands at this market, which is located inside the old grandstand. Their ranks include a fully-functional, if eccentric, grocery store (shopping carts and all!) and the dozens of farmers from throughout the region who bring their produce to Allentown. When you can buy a cemetery plot, a bottle of wine, a haircut, a used t-shirt, a turkey leg, and a carton of Marlboro reds within a span of 30 yards, you are experiencing marketing at its best.
The relatively new Jim Thorpe Farmers’ Market is open 9 AM to 12 PM on Saturdays and features produce from five local farms. For you meat eaters out there, mosey on over to Spring Mountain Farm’s array of fresh meats. If I ate meat, I would want it to come from the good people at Spring Mountain, who raise their animals in a way that is healthy both for the animal and for you. Prior to slaughter, their Tamworth hogs roam the forest and pasture, their chickens peck where they please, and their Miniature Hereford cows are grass-fed, without steroids, hormones, or antibiotics. Vegetarians, you will want to visit Willow Haven Farm or Cressley’s Greenhouse & Produce Farm. Both offer a wide variety of common and exotic veggies. You will also want to check out 14-Acre Farm’s selection of rolls, focaccia, bread, and cookies. I like the pumpernickel and the huge olive and onion rolls. Those of you with sweet teeth should try the Chocolate Cherry Bread, which is filled with chunks of chocolate and dried cherries.
The Wilkes-Barre Farmers’ Market is truly a community event. Held 10 AM to 4 PM every Thursday during the summer and fall, the market features a different music guest and theme each week. On Nature Discovery Day, naturalists were on hand to introduce kids to local flora and fauna. Performing Arts Day included live dance performances. Of course, all of this is in addition to the local produce, fresh flowers, plants, soaps, lotions, crafts, and art that one expects from a farmers’ market. Kids, they have face painting! Parents, they have fresh “to go” entrees for dinner! Need I say more?
To find the farmers’ market nearest you and for a full listing of markets in this region, please use Local Harvest’s search engine.
Did I leave out your favorite? Let me know! Send your photos and descriptions, and I will post them.