Central Market in downtown Lancaster is key for us if we are going to go zero-plastic-influx. The produce stands not only provide unpackaged produce, but for you locovores out there, there are also some producers. Earl Groff and his wife provide veggis year-round, the Barr boys always have some of their own stuff, the Stoners rock some local veggis, Mrs. Thomas’ applesauce is wonderful, Lancaster Farm Fresh is on the scene, Ben Weiss (grower of the absolutely most fantastic squash ever to be grown on planet earth) is over near the NE corner should you wonder, and there are local meats aplenty amidst a smattering of locally produced processed foods and goods. The place seriously rocks the East Coast.
During a conversation with the Market Master, Jessica Mailhot, the topic of her plans for Market came up. Her goal is to make Lancaster’s Central Market a go-to destination not only for visiters to Lancaster County, the home of Amish and smorgasbords, but for visiters to the East Coast in general. I don’t think that goal is unrealistic. Market is awesome. It has everything (including Amish quilts from China – made by Chinese Amish and sold by Lancaster Amish). And it is a seriously important part of Lancaster’s social fabric. Sure, you can get some of the best produce in the world (if you know which stands to go to), but you can also see all of your neighbors and make connections with some wonderful people.
Make no mistake, folks who visit see that. They see the regulars go belly-up to the meat cooler or produce stand or spice rack. They hear us greet standholders by name. They wait while we talk about all sorts of things. They wonder what this place is. Then they buy a whoopie pie, and wonder what the hell is going on in this small town in Central Pennsylvania that is leaving the Amish and Lincoln Highway behind. Tot ziens! (It’s on purpose.)