Farm to Table is the new buzz phrase.
People are looking for fresh foods from local farmers to bring home and serve.
This isn’t anything new to me. I have always loved markets so last week, I was so lucky to visit several local markets and shop their tables. Each market is so different and has its own vibe so I can’t say one is a favorite or the best because I dislike ranking things but I can say each one has a special quality that makes it unique and worth a visit.
This market is in my hometown so I had to list it first. I love this markets’ city feeling and community spirit. The market is in a parking lot of a bank. Around 9 AM, vendors setup along the sides. The market opens at 10 AM and closes at 2 PM.
When you arrive, you will have to search for parking on the streets but you will find a spot. And always bring cash and a personal shopping bag to collect your goodies.
As you walk the market, you will find all sort of vendors from wine, coffee, salsa, olive oil, fresh veggies, bison, honey, dairy products, bread, meats, and cupcakes. I need to include Switchback Pizza, too. The list could go on forever.
This market is bustling with activity. You can find live music, chalk for the little ones, and friendly vendors waiting to assist customers. If you visit, you may find extra special events happening like free massages, a kid performance, or local organizations promoting something.
Ever since this market opened in 2003, my family has made it a Sunday thing to do. I usually grab a cookie from The Flour Shop and coffee grinds from the Backyard Bean Company. Last week, I picked up lavender oils, flowers from Tooth of a Lion and olive oil from Mediterranean Delicacy.
If interested in who is there every Sunday, here is a list.
This one seemed to follow so here I go. The Macungie Farmers Market is on Thursdays from 4 -7 at the Macungie Park. You can easily find a spot and walk vendor row. This
market is easy to shop, has tons of different vendors, and great parking options. I also love that it is attached to a huge park so if you would like to take a walk after you shop the park is right there waiting.
When I visited this market, I discovered Lehigh Valley Kombucha, The Lavender Farmette, and Warm Sugar. I spotted some other vendors that I was already familiar with at other markets but those three stood out to me. Of course, I purchased some Kombucha, picked up
flowers from the farm, and brought brownies home to share. I did run into a friend who is starting up an olive oil business called Healthy Delight Cooking Oils . I had to sample. YUM!
If you are in the area, there is a very awesome ice cream parlor around the corner called Parkside Oasis! No one can say no to that.
If interested in who is there every Thursday from 4 PM -7 PM, here is a vendor list.
This market is open early on a Sunday. Like 9 AM. I was there right when it opened and it was hopping at 9. I was impressed that people were up and shopping so early on a Sunday but for that market, I can see why. This market is so very different from the first two because it sits along side the D&L trail
and it is set in a park. The setting makes this market super family friendly and active. I found bikes parked in racks and people walking by. Everyone was doing something. I also loved that I found a free library right there and a playground full of kids.
The market itself was special because the typical vendors that I see weren’t there. As I walked the market, I discovered new vendors from the south of Hellertown selling food, wines, and goods. Some were the same but many vendors were new to me which I enjoyed.
relaxed after that combo. Body Bank made me feel so amazing and after the massage, I was presented with a cup of lavender infused water. The cooling drink hit the spot.
I usually don’t drive out to Hellertown but after my visit, I would definitely add it to my Sunday routine. I love that it open early, the park is right there, and of course the new vendors (at least to me).
If you are interested in this market, check out their site for the list of vendors and events.
This market can be found at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown. Through a friend, I was told to check out this market. So on a Saturday morning, I swung over.
First I noticed that there was plenty of parking which I loved and the market was again filled with friendly vendors will to help me pick up some fresh, local foods to take home.
While I was there, I was able to listen to live music and watch a 9:30 Yoga Class by West End Yoga. I was in a dress so I had to watch but next visit I will wear yoga pants and jump right in. The class was held right by the track under a covered tent. The class is $10 and is about an hour. Also, bring a mat and wear fitness clothes.
If you want to see something unique, you can watch young kids learn to ride the track from about 8 AM to 10 AM. Check the calendar for the current event listings.
My biggest recommendation when shopping at markets is: bring CASH. Yes, some vendors have the Square but most are still cash only and if you are on a date and your date says I would love that and the vendor only deals with cash you may feel embarrassed because you didn’t bring cash. I have experienced this several times and it is awkward and totally can be avoided if you bring cash with you. Depending on your market spending, you may bring $20 or more to shop the vendors. Definitely, bring $20!
After I shopped the market, I strolled over to the Rodale Cycling and Fitness Park. Amazingly, this park was specifically created for fitness and family. The park includes a loop track with lanes. The lanes keep everyone organized. There are lanes for bikers, roller bladers, and walkers. The track travels a loop that measures about a mile.
So after you shop, walk over to the park and take a walk. Some of my favorite features of this market are the easy parking, the walkability, and the combo of the track and the market. There was so much to see and do in a such a small area. I was busy taking it all in.
Fresh Fridays in Downtown Allentown is a newer market in the area. It in on the corner of 7th and Hamilton. It runs every Friday from 4 PM to 7 PM. The market includes Godshall Farms, Bread Box Bakery, Wind Hill Orchard, and Wild Fox Farm. Here is the complete list for later.
Unlike the rest of the markets, this one has a city feel. I mean it is right there across from the PPL center, Starbucks, The Hamilton, and brand new construction. I love the city so it was fun for me to be in the action.
I also loved that this market is truly trying to push healthy eating and bringing farm fresh to the city. I love their mission.
If you drove into this area, don’t forget to visit the Art Walk, Queen City BBQ and other city attractions. The Art Museum isn’t very far from the market and if you walk the other way the Liberty Bell Museum is right there. Both great places to visit while in the city.
Since this market is in the city, make sure you are ready to hunt for a parking spot. When you drive in, try to have a plan. There are plenty of spots you just have to be patient or have a plan. Depending on the availability, I will find a spot on the street or just park in a lot. I was able to find out that your first 30 minutes in a lot is free so if you are a quick shopper that may be the way to go. If you like to shop and chill, you may want to download the MOBILE NOW app so you can register your car’s spot and adjust your time as you visit the city.
Now everyone can go to a market but can everyone make it a date. Probably not. So here are some tips to make your market visit a DATE.
- Take your time and explore each table
- Test samples
- Bring cash
- Talk to the vendors
- Pick up a few items for later
- Try a new vendor
- Hold hands
- Share a shopping bag
- Bring a recipe that you wish to try and buy local ingredients to cook with
- Stay for a while and enjoy the vibe
- Listen to the music
- Participate in any of the activities
- Enter a Raffle
- Smile and Talk
- Buy a drink to sip while shopping
Remember you make the date great so use your time at the market as quality time with your partner. Also, don’t forget to create fun and excitement even if it is the thousandth visit. Markets are a great place to chat, enjoy food, and have a date.
I will try to review them in another post!
If you are not in my area, you can find tons of Farmers Markets in PA. Click on the link to find more in PA: Pennsylvania Farmers Market Directory
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