Friday, May 05, 2006

Central Market

So far this Eat Local Challenge has been fun. And I'm learning that a lot of the products that I use every day are made locally. Last night I had breakfast for dinner and I used local bacon, local eggs, and local bread. My veggie supply is running low, so on Saturday I will make a trip into Lancaster City to shop Central Market, the country's oldest farmers market, continuously operating since 1730. I used to go there quite a bit, but now I usually only go when my nieces are staying with me. They call it the 'old-fashioned' grocery store. On a Saturday Morning the place is filled with people doing their shopping and stand-holders cheerfully selling their products. The 'current' building was built in the late 1800s and the wood floors are well worn. It's a great place to people watch too as it is an interesting blend of 'plain' people, tourists, Lancaster City residents, and progressive young people and older people that have probably only ever shopped there.

I'm lucky to live in an area that has so many farmers markets. Roots is close by and starting in early summer, both Elizabethtown and Mount Joy will also have small farmers markets opening in local parking lots one day of the week. Farther out in Lancaster County, there are other weekly farmers markets, so that on any given day but Sunday there is a large farmers market open somewhere, along with many, many smaller ones. Roadside stands are also prolific here and should start popping up towards the end of this month.

One thing that I hope other participants in the eat local challenge are aware of is the importance of land-use issues. Agriculture is Lancaster County's number one industry and even though there is more development occurring than I'd like to see, the County does a pretty good job of protecting valuable farmland and making sure it stays in cultivation. This area has the most fertile, non-irrigated farmland in the country and we want to keep it being farmed. So in addition to figuring out where your food comes from, find out about how farmland is protected in your area and how you might help or contribute in terms of protecting farmland and encouraging farmers to stay in the community.


Blogger EFB said...

I didn't know Lancaster has the oldest famer's market in the country. I would love to visit it one day. I also didn't know about how fertile the soil is. I do hope they keep it for farming!

11:19 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

Pretty cool huh? You would love the market building. I'll take you there next time you come down. When do you think you'd like to visit? May is pretty busy but June looks good. Let me know.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Judith said...

You really are very lucky to live in an area with so many farmers markets. We have one local but then there are others to drive to. These are all becoming much more popular these days (finally!). You live in a special farming area.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I'm glad you're having fun with the ELC... it really should be enjoyable to find food that comes from where you live. I don't understand people who think it's too hard.

You have so many great choices, living near Lancaster. I haven't been since I was in collge, but it's such a special area.... it's nice to know that preserving agricultural land is taken seriously there. It should stand as a model to the rest of the country.

8:55 AM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

I guess there are some areas of the country where the ELC would be hard, but with the popularity of farmers markets these days, there has to be something nearby.

9:42 AM  

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