Central Market “All walks of life come to Market. It’s a meeting place for everybody and anybody.” -Sharon, owner of Lancaster Pet Bakery.
of Lancaster County By Angela Mayo
A Brief History
of the modern Central Market Lancaster’s Central Market is the oldest farmers’ market building in the United States. Beginning in the 1730s, farmers have brought their goods to display. Selling their best meats and vegetables, locals would come often to purchase items. A lot of today’s stand owners have been running their spots at Market for many decades. Today, anyone can come to buy raw vegetables and fresh meats, as well as premade meals and baked goods. Some of stands even offer cheeses, breads, flowers and crafts. Market has been around for over 275 years, and remains the same. Nothing has been changed. In 1995, it was named one of the “Great Public Places” in the country.
Central Market is located in West King Street in Lancaster’s historic city. It is open all year long, no matter the weather on every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
A Heritage Deli In early April 2011, Joel Shenk and his fiance Christina Stoltzfus bought the Riverbound stand from his aunt and uncle. The stand officially opened up in 1948, and is one of the oldest stands at Central Market to date. However, the Shenk family has been selling their products around Lancaster since the 1880s.
Lancaster Pet Bakery at Central Market
Sharon, the owner, has been in business at Central Market for five years. Her favorite part of working at her stand is interacting with customers about dogs. “I get to talk dog talk all day long,” she said. Ranging from peace sign shaped dog treats, to peanut butter eggs for people, anyone can find a delicious snack here. “All walks of life come to Market.”
Ric’s Bread Owned by Mike and Michelle Stauffer, Ric’s Bread stand was established in 1995. The employees at Ric’s especially enjoy the “community” they have created with other stand owners. Their products include several types of breads, as well as different baked goods like muffins and danishes.
Wendy Joâ€™s: Homemade
Run by two sisters, Wendy Joâ€™s has been selling baked goods at Market for the past eight years. The eldest of the two, Wendy Hess enjoys the intereaction with the customers, as well as the many friends she has made in the community through her stand. The holiday themed cookies are always a hit with the consumers.
Flower Garden Crafts Selling anything from pillow covers to quilts to oven mits to landscape paintings, Flower Garden Crafts can meet everyoneâ€™s needs. Being open for 32 years, anyone can find a product that represents their passions. Anna King, a volunteer worker, especially enjoys the variety of choices, and themes that the people like.
Spring Glen Fresh Foods
Since the stand opened 13 years ago, Karen Napolitan has been selling fresh Pennsylvania Dutch goods. Being known for their potato soup, they also sell red beet eggs, as well as macaroni salad, chicken salad and black bean salad. â€œMy favorite part about Market is the social aspect,â€? Karen said.
Stoltzfus Fresh Meats Run by a local Amish family, Stoltzfus Fresh Meats tends to be one of the more popular stands. Their products include Hickory Smoked bacon, sausage, ribs, steaks, ground beef and ham. They also sell stuffed beef, filled with their homemade stuffing.
Willow Valley Bakery
Possibly the baked good that Lancaster County is most known for is the beloved Whoopie Pie. The Willow Valley stand is the best place to go to. They feature the original, red velvet, chocolate with peanut butter, and pumpkin. Along with the several Whoopie Pies they sell constantly, they also sell other popular baked goods such as peanut butter eggs.
PA Fudge Company Founded in 1994, the Pennsylvania Fudge Company amazes tourists with their delicious treats. All of the fudge is made from scratch at the ownerâ€™s home everyday. Each batch takes up to three hours to make. Their flavors include the usual vanilla, chocolate and peanut butter. They also offer mint chocolate chip and their newest invention Tiger Butter.
Wilkum This popular arts and crafts stand at Market has been around since 1984. Owner, and craftsman, Ron Peters enjoys the socializing. “It’s a fun place to have a stand,” he said. Wilkum is a collection of dolls, wooden signs and Dutch Country souveniors. They even sell the Lancaster County card game called Dutch Blitz.
Angela Mayo was born and raised in Lancaster County, and spent a lot of time at Central Market with her family. Going often, she created friendships with many of the stand owners.“I think Central Market is a huge part of Lancaster. It is a place to visit with family, and a place to bring friends.” Now a photojournalism student at Temple University, Angela hopes to start a career as a freelance photographer working in sports or portraits. “My favorite part about being a photographer is capturing memories. It is easy to tell a story, but it is more effective to show a moment captured in time.”