Lancaster County is the Garden Spot of America, and nowhere else is that more evident than at our farmers’ markets. The foods are picked-that-day fresh, conversations are neighborly, and the character is undeniably welcoming. It’s that same character that flows through the towns that these markets call home - Lancaster, Bird-in-Hand, Columbia, and Ephrata - they’re the Market Towns that offer a truly fresh taste of all Pennsylvania Dutch Country has to offer.
The original and biggest of these Market Towns, Lancaster is America’s oldest inland city and was even the nation’s capital for a day in 1777 when the Continental Congress met downtown. Fitting perfectly into that history is Lancaster Central Market, the nation’s oldest continuously-operating farmers’ market, offering fresh meats and produce since 1730.
Today, housed in a magnificent 1889 Victorian gem, Central Market offers locals and visitors the opportunity to buy everything from fresh-from-the-farm meats and produce to locally made artisan cheeses, delectable desserts, and even creations made from special family recipes from around the world. Open every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
Explore the streets and alleyways that branch off from the historic Market building and you’ll find:
Many local restaurants feature the same fresh ingredients you’ll find at Central Market. See firsthand why this historic Market Town is so unique.
Travel out of the city along scenic byway Route 340, and you’ll soon arrive in the quaint village of Bird-in-Hand, which has been providing rest and refreshment to travelers for years.
At the center of it all is the Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market, a mecca for hand-rolled Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels, fresh produce, local crafts, and a countless supply of those colorful Pennsylvania Dutch jams and jellies. Sample the day away on homemade fudge, smoked meats, or Pennsylvania Dutch funnel cake as you rub shoulders with local Amish farmers offering the harvest of farms just down the road.
Columbia Once hailed as the gateway to the west, the river town of Columbia makes its home along the Susquehanna River with quaint shops, unique museums, and the Columbia Market, Lancaster County’s most recent addition to the farmers’ market scene. At this restored riverside market you’ll find fresh produce from local farms, local crafts, and even wines made from grapes grown along the banks of the mighty Susquehanna.
Ephrata “If you can’t find it at the Green Dragon, it chust ain’t fer sale!” So say the regulars at the Green Dragon Farmers Market & Auction in northern Lancaster County just outside the borough of Ephrata. These folks should know – they and others like them have been gathering at this farmers’ market every Friday since 1932! Each week, more than 400 growers, merchants and craftsmen offering everything from funnel cakes to livestock gather here to offer the best goods around to locals and visitors.
While you are in the Ephrata area, be sure to swing by Historic Downtown Ephrata and the Ephrata Cloister Museum, just 2 miles down the road!
Where To Stay
1786 The Limestone Inn|
A bed and breakfast in a 200 year old house in the heart of historic Strasburg.
What To Do
Springerle House Cookie & Tea Café|
German tea and cookie cafe. Specializing in the traditional German "picture cookies," locally-made folk-art ornaments, cookie molds and teas.
Where To Eat
Artisan bakery and cafe located in historic Downtown Lancaster.
Where To Shop
Oasis at Bird-in-Hand
Real live food!