I am just back from a road trip to celebrate a new marriage (father-in-law) and a birthday (husband).
We talked, we ate, we laughed, we watched baseball in the sunshine (twice).
Among the highlights of our journey was the grand opening of the newly renovated Central Market in the center of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This market is the oldest continuously operating indoor farmers’ market in the United States. It’s a stately brick building in Lancaster’s center and my ancestors and my husband’s ancestors shopped there in bygone days. That’s one of the many reasons I love it. I’d like to think my grandmother Esther is one of the women running through the rain in this historic picture.
When we lived in Lancaster briefly in the early 1990s we went to market every Saturday to buy fresh produce, fish, plantains, and baked goods. I’ve returned to my favorite coffee stand for years, and even though there is a newer, hipper, coffee shop with lattes and other delights, I remain loyal to my original coffee guy (Market House Coffee). The Mennonite and Amish farm stands that would have filled the market in my grandparents’ day, now are interspersed with Middle Eastern, African, and Latin American vendors. It’s a rich and joyous tapestry of food, flowers and handmade goods.
The Central Market is open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. We were in town long enough to enjoy breakfast at Market two days in a row. At the Willow Valley Bakery stand we found Dewey Buns (a soft, long pillow of a doughnut coated in confectioner’s sugar). My grandmother, Esther, always had Dewey Buns at her house when we visited her in Lancaster. She got them at Pfannebecker’s Bakery, a bakery that no longer exists. I’m happy to see that Willow Valley still makes them and they brought to mind Esther and many family stories. My daughter loved them and was coated in white powder with a big grin on her face. Actually, we were all covered in white powder with grins on our faces!
Wherever I go, I seek out markets, and each one is measured against this one—the first one I ever went to, and one that wraps me in happiness, memories, and joy each time I revisit.