Get to Know Your Farming Neighbor- Visit a Farmers Market
Posted: June 7, 2012
Throughout the week, in Gettysburg alone, there are four different farmers markets offering a variety of products from fruits and vegetables, fresh eggs and cheese, meats and honey to flowers and sticky buns. Each market offers an array of fresh food as well as specialty items such as soaps or animal treats.
On the Square Gettysburg’s Lincoln Square Market
The Gettysburg "Saturday’s on the Square" Farmers’ Market has been in operation since 1991! It is open Saturdays from 7am-noon surrounding the beautiful Lincoln Square. With plenty of outside seating this popular location is an enjoyable experience every weekend.
Hollabaugh Bros. Inc. of Biglerville has been a vendor at this market since its beginnings and assistant business and market manager Ellie Hollabaugh Vranich views the market as a "great asset." She praises the market for its wonderful downtown location, and among its many benefits says that "for us personally the market is so nice and convenient it helps people learn we have a retail market outside of Biglerville, as well as helps us educate the public about what we do and what farming is like today. We always take a wide selection of fruit and vegetables; as long as you grow it, you can take it, so a wider variety is one more reason not to go to the grocery store."
Gettysburg Gardens and Grateful Acres selling perennials, herbs and small veggies are two vendors who have also been participating in the market for a long time. The square is also host to Beeman’s Baked Goods, Swartz’s Pumpkin Patch, Quarry Critters Alpaca Ranch, Kalpana’s Fine Soaps, Keswick Creamery as well as a host of other vendors!
Ellie Hollabaugh Vranich says that, among health and economic benefits of shopping at a farmers market, consumers get the chance to "talk with the source of your food, if you have questions about how it’s grown, if it’s fresh or need recipes—you’re standing in front of the person who grew it."
Adams County Farm Fresh Markets at the Outlet Shoppes and Gettysburg Rec Park
The Adams County Farmers’ Markets Association is host to three markets at two popular Gettysburg locations- the Outlets and Rec Park. The Association began in 2008 to lead the effort of increasing opportunities for new and existing markets. Recognizing the important role agriculture is to our local economy, Kathleen Glahn, President is proud of the innovative and timely accomplishments that have been implemented in just four short years. Gettysburg is a gateway to the fruit belt and a hub of activity during the region’s peak growing season. Connecting more consumers with the diversity of what Adams County growers provide is a win/win for everyone. The Association implemented an effective marketing campaign, increased branding, implemented SNAP –food stamps as the number of families in need of food assistance dramatically rose and developed community program partners.
The Rec Park has a weekly market Wednesdays from noon-4pm and the Outlets have two weekly markets held Fridays 9:30am-5pm and Saturdays 9:30am-2pm. The Association also offers EBT and Debit services for shopping convenience.
Vendors include Boyer’s Nurseries & Orchards, K&J Farm, Shearer’s Mountain View Farm, Chapel-Ridge Beef, Mickley’s Orchards, Five Points Farm and others providing seasonal fruit, berries, produce, meats, eggs and cheeses (13 varieties!), Lavieve with fresh lavender products as well!
While Gettysburg markets bring a local retail space, many producers find themselves traveling all over PA, MD and DC to other markets. Local fruit and vegetable grower Ben Wenk from Three Springs Fruit Farm participates in markets in Carlisle, Shippensburg, Camp Hill, Washington DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia!
The farmers markets are a great way for producers to make a decent margin on their product, as opposed to selling for processing, but Ben Wenk enjoys markets for another reason. He says that "one cool thing people don’t realize is it helps your morale--at a farmers market people just rave and rave and thank you for being there. Having that relationship with people who are going to eat your food, meeting your customers, knowing them and learning how to serve them better makes me hopeful for the future of local foods."
Among popular farmers markets the most advantageous in terms of customer base seem to be the urban markets in nearby cities. While local food in Adams County means one most likely knows the whereabouts of the farm, this is not the case for our urban neighbors. Ben Wenk recognizes that "central PA can always have food grown 30-40 miles away whereas DC will be 60 miles away. In DC they decided we don’t want agriculture in our back yards, as a result we’re some of the closest farms to DC. The fact that people in our area do care about these issues makes me hopeful that we can continue to have farms so long as people stay committed."
Adams County Agricultural Hub
Local farmers markets are not the only developments showcasing and promoting Adams County agriculture. Many restaurants have committed to buying local and consumers can see this with the Adams County Farm Fresh logo. This local initiative is much like the PA Preferred- Made in Pennsylvania state marketing program.
The Gettysburg Wine & Fruit Trail offers the chance for tourists to enjoy the landscape of the South Mountain Fruit Belt as well as locals who may already know the roads but could use an excuse to pull over. The trail includes wineries, lodging, restaurants, nurseries & greenhouses, Christmas tree farms and fruit markets and orchards—a little something no matter what season one visits.
While Gettysburg has been a tourist attraction for history buffs, Adams County has been an agricultural hub, especially for tree fruits and now a prospering wine grape industry as well.
If you haven’t been to a farmers market yet, take time this week to visit and support local agriculture at any of the three Gettysburg markets. Markets are easily accessible and open rain or shine, so even if it’s raining a bit—make the trip out, the farmers sure will. Markets are also a wonderful source if you have questions about growing practices or need recipe ideas. Take a day and get to know your farming neighbors!