Lancaster’s Central Market: A World Class Ranking


I love where I live.  It is so rich in history and quiet beauty. For instance, the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the oldest inland city in the United States.  It should come as no surprise, then, that its best known farmers’ market is also the oldest of its kind in the country.  Central Market has been around since the 1730’s – a very long time in the short life of America – and was actually granted permanent status by none other than King George II in 1742.  Today, the market is housed in a beautiful old building that was designed by James Warner and built in 1889.  On Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, locals and visitors alike wander the aisles filled with fresh produce and flowers, baked goods, meats, seafood, ethnic foods, and souvenirs.  It is nothing short of a festival for the senses.  Whenever I visit, I end up with a basketful of gorgeous fruits and veggies, a bouquet of flowers, and a goodie (or two).  Perhaps part of the draw for visitors is the fact that many of the stands are operated by Amish, pronounced Ah-mish (like a contented sigh), or Mennonite families.

I don’t really need reinforcement to support my belief that Lancaster County is the bomb.  Even so, it’s always a pleasant surprise when the powers that be take notice of my home town.  That’s why I was delighted to read this link my sister-in-law posted on her Facebook wall which listed Lancaster’s Central Market in the top ten fresh markets of the world.  Allow me to repeat: Top ten of the world!  Among cities like Tokyo, Barcelona, New York City, and Hong Kong, humble little Lancaster holds its own.  I am so proud! – not that I have anything at all to do with it.  I do live here, though, and I do visit the market, so I’m happy to bask in this recognition simply by association.

As a grown-up Fun Friday just for me, I made a visit to the market today.  Instead of shopping, I took my camera, thinking I would have some fun capturing the hustle and bustle.  It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I felt self-conscious, the lighting was difficult, and I didn’t want to offend anyone who might not want to be photographed.  Even with these limitations, I hope I was able to capture at least a bit of the vibe that makes our little Central Market unique and world-class.

Central Market is truly a festival for the senses.

16 thoughts on “Lancaster’s Central Market: A World Class Ranking

    1. It’s interesting that you mentioned The St. Lawrence Market because it made the Top Ten Fresh Markets of the World list as well. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.

  1. A really rich market full of vibrancy. It is not often you see this. I really love your set of images and I can see that this is a photographers paradise no doubt as well as being spoiled for choice regarding provisions, all of the senses being bombarded at once

    1. I’m so honored that you enjoyed this post because you are such a talented photographer. Your land-, sea-, and skyscapes are full of incredible drama and beauty. And you are right, Central Market is a very special place. Many thanks for taking a peek at my blog.

  2. This is a beautiful and informative post Stephany… nicely taken photos too :). I hope you are enjoying The PIcture of Dorian Gray 😉

    1. Hi, Paula.

      Thank you for the compliments! I’ve just started Dorian Gray but I’m enjoying it so far. The writing is a pleasure to read but I’m having a hard time stomaching Lord Henry. I’m afraid he’s having an evil influence on Dorian.

  3. But of course! I would be proud when the community I reside in gets that wide recognition. Actually, after seeing the photos, you should be proud of that market with or without the achievement.

  4. I love markets like these! I haven’t been to Lancaster, but I have spent a considerable amount of time at Redding Terminal in Philly. Definitely making my crave American food!

    1. Lancaster’s market is a smaller, brighter version of the Redding Terminal Market with the added benefit of Amish venders. There is nothing quite like Pennsylvania Dutch food. 🙂

  5. I’m from Lancaster, I live in Australia now, and have many wonderful memories of Central Market. The smell of fresh horseradish, flowers, fresh produce, and apple cider, all burned forever in my memory. And the Victorian pub, The Lancater Dispensing Co. is just out back!

    1. Wow! Australia. That’s about as far from Lancaster as you can get and someplace I hope to visit one day. I’m so glad I was able to help you take a little trip down memory lane. 🙂

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