Hidden from view and located along the quaint, brick streets of downtown Lancaster lies the Lancaster Central Market. It’s a bustling farmers market: it sells an abundance of fresh produce, meats and cheeses, baked goods and country crafts. The market building houses a vast array of vendors and shoppers.
At 120 years old, the building happens to be the oldest operating farmers market in the country. Besides its remarkable history, the friendly atmosphere and supportive community provides a welcoming place for shopkeepers to showcase a variety of food for every taste.
One of Central Market’s very own customers , Lancaster resident John Boyd, has been frequenting the Central Market each morning it has been open for the past twentyfive years and cannot imagine life without it.
“I live alone, so visiting Central Market gives me a chance to socialize,” says Boyd, who thinks of Central Market as an integral part of his day and uses his time there to chat with friends and stock up on groceries. For Bob Meck, owner of Meck’s Produce, the reason he comes every week to sell farm fresh fruits and vegetables is because of the positive interactions he has with customers.
“It is all about the people. I love having a one-on-one relationship with people, and you are able to have that here,” says Meck, who has been working in his family business selling produce at central market for forty three years now.
The popular Lancaster Juice Company, which originally started out as a fresh-squeezed orange juice and bagel stand, has expanded to sell many different smoothies and has been at the moment for more than twenty years. Employee Pam Brenner says that she enjoys working at Central Market because of the wonderful customers she is able to serve.
Make sure to try their most popular seller, “the Number One”, which is a blend of mango, strawberry, banana, and orange juices. The variety of food offered is incredible; a few of the ethnic choices available include The German Deli, Delgiornos’s Italian Specialties, and Narai’s Exotic Thai Cuisine. Get your candy fix at Simply Sweet or eat a homemade Amish donut from the Stoltzfus Homestyle Bakery.
While Central Market primarily sells food, there are many different home décor items such as homegrown flowers, Pennsylvania Dutch crafts, and glassworks available. While the most popular day to shop is on Saturdays from 6a.m. to 2p.m., the market is also open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6a.m. to 4p.m. With the huge assortment of delectable food and garden and country décor, make your way to 23 North Market Street to spend the day.