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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.

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. Thanks for the info. Are these markets open this time of year or are they seasonal?

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. I stopped in the Shillington Farmer's Market this past weekend, and although nice, it would not be worth any effort to get there. They have nothing that cannot be found at the Fairgrounds market, and the place as a whole is about 1/4 the size with many empty stands. Some of the vendors seemed a little less friendly as well. Again, nothing really all that bad - if you're already nearby, it would make sens - but not a special trip even from another part of Berks.

              1. The West Side Farmers Market in Camp Hill just across the river from Harrisburg is excellent. They have an excellent fish monger, several butchers, several excellent poultry vendors including one where you can get fresh ducks, capons and turkeys. You can also order fresh turduckens. There are also several farmers offering fruits and vegetables; also several delis and bakers including one that specializes in fresh baked dog treats. Its definitely worth a special visit. I believe its open on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

                1 Reply
                1. re: porkpa

                  You can also get some of the best damn cheese in the area at the West Shore Farmers Market. I don't know the name, but the deli spans the north wall. The Broad Street market in Harrisburg is smaller but has good and cheap Vietnamese/Korean

                2. I really like these two, but they're seasonal (i.e., not now):

                  (check out winter market info - I rely on it, but it's not the full-scale market by any means


                  Clark Park Farmer's Market <-- I've heard mostly organic
                  43rd St. and Baltimore Ave
                  Philadelphia, PA 19104

                  1. I think that cheese vendor mentioned in the West Shore Farmer's Market is S. Clyde Weaver. Got some great meats, as well. The Weaver group is a presence in many (if not most) of the farm markets in central PA. Selection varies from market to market--I suspect they've got it worked out.

                    Not mentioned is Roots, near Manheim. Although it's Tuesday only, it's worth a stop if you're anywhere in the area (it's not far from Lancaster.). Five buildings, outdoor food vendors, a flea market and auction. There's a Dutchman in one of the outbuildings that sells some absolutely superb smoked ham (he'll chip it for you, as well,) for 3.50/lb. http://www.rootsmarket.com/

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bookhall

                      The Dutchman referred to above runs the meat and cheese stand known as "King's." No finer product anywhere! He also operates at the Green Dragon market in Ephrata on Fridays. Everything he sells is top shelf, but the hickory-apple smoked bacon is out of this world. Very little shrinkage in the frying pan, and flavor to die for!

                    2. I've grown up in Lancaster, PA and now live in Philly. The Roots and Green Dragon Markets have both been mentioned before and have plenty of things going on. Roots, as mentioned is only on Tuesdays and Green Dragon (last I remember) was Fridays only.

                      In Philly, there's the Reading Terminal Market (11-12th and Market/Filbert Sts.) which feature a combination of local vendors, farmers' vendors and such. In nearby Ardmore in the Suburban Square mall, there's the Ardmore's Farmers' Market, it is a bit smaller than most of the ones I'm reading but these plus Clark Park are probably going to be the closest if you are in the Philly metro area. The first two are open on Saturdays, I do not know about the third.

                      1. within a hours drive of the renningers in kutztown is a renningers in schuylkill haven on rt. 61.it is on saturdays and sundays and sunday also has a flea market but the farmers market part is much larger than the kutztown one.

                        1. I agree, Roots is a must-visit. Also, Palmyra, on the other side of Hershey, has a nice producers-only market that's open seasonally. And the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg has a seasonal farmers' market in its parking lot, open from May - November from 11 a.m. 'til early evening.

                          1. I am from Lancaster and I am amazed that no one has mentioned the Lancaster Central Market. I find it to be the best market by far in quality, diverse and interesting offerings, friendliness... Some of the best farmers produce in the summer, outstanding organic meats, cheeses, dairy products, produce... Some great bakerys and some great prepared foods... some of my favorite stands are Green Circle Organics, Barrs Produce, Carr's Meats and Cheeses, Wendy Jo's Homemade, The Goodie Shoppe, Lancaster Juice Co., S. Clyde Weavers, and Espresso Yourself... many more! I think there are something like 60 vendors here and they are open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, year round. I go there every week, especially in the summer.

                            1. I really like the market in Ardmore. I think its called Fruit and Veggies?
                              but its small and nice. Its local and all of its products are fresh and healthy :D
                              i love it!!! and the workers are real friendly and really try to get to know you.
                              it also has a lot of healthy foods.... basically has everything traders joes has just cheaper

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: cocolover

                                None Such Farms in Buckingham/Doylestown, PA. It's the best.

                                I just loaded up on apples the other day. Did you ever have a Keepsake apple? Unbelievable! It's apparently one of the species that goes into the honeycrisp cultivar.

                                1. re: ndelson

                                  Never heard of the keepsake apple, but we love honeycrisp so I'll be looking for keepsake the next time.

                              2. I like the Lancaster County Farmers Market
                                Route 30 And Eagle Rd, Strafford, PA 19087

                                1. I'm a fan of Funk's farmers market in Millersville . This is not a huge market like Roots or Green Dragon . It's more of a nursery that has grown to include baked goods & such . I mainly mention them here , due to the fact that they have the BEST pies there I have had . Short of going home & talking my mom into baking one , that is . They also have really good soups & chicken pot pie . Their potato soup is my favorite .

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: gtifan

                                    Alas, Funk's is gone, another casualty of "progress." The market and farm itself are victims of development. Its quite a shame.

                                  2. There's a list of farmers markets in the PA, NJ, NY, DE area at http://www.eshfoods.com/locations.html along with some links to some of them.

                                      1. Went with family to Allentown farmers market around Thanksgiving. It had a great selection. Better than anything I have in CT.

                                        1. Any great farmers markets or farm stands in western PA?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jelevin

                                            The East Goshen Farmers Market is great - Thursdays 3 - 7 PM in the summer in the East Goshen Park, located on Paoli Pike just east of Route 352. Lots of fantastic vendors - all food, producer only.

                                          2. Check out the Allentown (PA) Fairgrounds Farmers Market. It's on the way from New York to Harrisburg. It's been there for over 60 years It's year round on Thurs, Fri and Sat. Great place.