I thought I would share a glimspe of the culture of Lancaster, Pennsylvania (my home). The photos are taken at Central Market, the oldest farmer’s market in the United States and one of the top ten in the world. The market offers food culture from around the world but its uniqueness lies in its concentration of Amish and Mennonite vendors, which is what I’m focusing on in this post. If you would like a more detailed look at this historic market, I wrote about it here last summer. Thanks for taking a peek.
Lancaster’s Central Market
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.