Awesome farmers markets in PA?
I was in Berks county last fall and a stranger told me about a huge farmers market in the region (or possibly an hour or 2 away). Apparently, it's the largest market within 5 hours drive. Sadly, I forgot the name of the place. Anyone have a clue?
Also, I'll be between NYC and Harrisburg soon. Are there any worthwhile markets to check out in between, especially on the weekend? I want to go where the locals go for the real goods. So far, I love the Green Dragon Market in Ephrata.
Yes - it's the Fairgrounds Farmer's Market. It's near the Fairgrounds Square Mall on 5th St. Highway (also called 222 Business) in Reading. It is a nice market. The Monte Lauro stand is outstanding - go at lunchtime - and worth the wait. It's run by a family who makes wonderful Italian food. The Cajun place across from it is good also.
I've been to a big one in Kutztown associated with the Renningers Flea market. Classic PA Dutch plus many other food specialties. On the border of NJ/PA is the Trenton Farmers market on Spruce Street. Lots of local farmers, great cheese vendors, a very good butcher and an outstanding Polish/Eastern European deli with some of the best hand made pirogis I've ever eaten.
The Fairgrounds Farmer's Market is outstanding. The meat and produce stands cannot be beat in the entire county. The mentioned above the food stands are also good - excellent smoked meats, pretzels 10X better than Auntie Annes.
I would not say the place is huge by any stretch -although there are at least 4 butchers and 3 produce stands, and consists almost entirely of food type vendors.
Green Dragon is probably bigger as far as square footage, you have other wares to sift through.
Similarly Zerns (http://www.zerns.com/) is pretty darn big, and I suspect that's the place you were told about.
Also in Berks is the Leesport Farmer's Market (http://www.leesportmarket.com/), which is quite large as well. But it's only open on Wednesdays, which is insanely inconvenient for me and presumably a lot of other working folks.
I like the Green Dragon when the weather is warm. The Fairgrounds market is pretty nice though not that large. And Zerns is great too; they seem to have a few things I can't find at the others.