Spring Art Walk – 2012

It is Spring Art Walk Weekend in Lancaster! One of my favorite weekends of the year… Yea, there is art everywhere BUT I the reason I love this weekend is because the town is bustling with people!

Art walk is usually the first weekend in May and there is a lot going on. The weather is beautiful and it feels great to be outside walking around in the fresh spring air. You can find the map to the art walk stops for 2013 here. If you are in Lancaster, you still have tonight and tomorrow to check out some of the happenings.

I thought I would share some photos from our day out last year. I walked around on Saturday with my friends Janeen and Emily.

We started our day with brunch at On Orange. I recommend their Swedish oatmeal pancakes… I don’t really recommend the vegan sausage.

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Since we walked around on Saturday last year, we made a stop at Lancaster Central Market.

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Across the brick alley from the market is a little shop in the upstairs of an old building. It is called Herbs from the Labyrinth.

They have all kinds of interesting things to look at. Like…

magic spectacles for reading… IMG_5718

Magic wands… IMG_5722

and magic crystals…

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They have some really comfy looking yoga clothes and up-cycled clothing and bags that are pretty cool too.

We continued to move towards the East side of town. Lancaster is a great small city to walk around.

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During art walk, a lot of interesting displays pop up. Sometimes there is music, sometimes there are people with information, sometimes you get to wander behind buildings that you don’t normally wander behind.

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The 300 block of north Queen street is home to many small shops. Some with art, some for shopping, some that are just fun to walk through, and some to window shop.

The Art and Glass Works is a fun store to walk around, you just have to be really careful not to touch or break anything because it is all glass. The Glass Works has a really interesting back yard with treasures hanging all around.

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They had a make-your-own Fairie house activity. Janeen really wanted to make one for her own backyard…

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…but she didn’t follow the warning signs and we had to leave. Oh well, there’s always this year.

We continued on North Queen and stopped at the Candy Factory.

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This space was home to a pretty neat flea and craft fair. I ended up buying a small wooden cheese board from our friend Handmade by Kanga. She also has a display in Building Character; all hand carved wooden jewelery and kitchen items.

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Upstairs from the Candy Factory in the Keppel Building, are a few artists and their studios. You should venture up the stairs to check it out if you are walking around this year. David Stallings is a wonderful painter and can be found on the top floor. There are some other forms of art up there as well.

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Building Character (that I mentioned above) always has some neat finds and it is ever-expanding. It is now home to an old Lancaster printing press. There is usually a person there to show you how it works and you can print something yourself. The shop also gets in some really interesting antiques… check out the Skee Ball machines they had last year. You can easily spend hours in Building Character looking through all the stuff they have collected there.

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The majority of the galleries in Lancaster are on Prince Street in downtown, but there are a few galleries on Walnut Street. We walked though one that had an extra room opened up with some artists working on an old piano. For the past two summers we have had decorated pianos spread over the city. People donate pianos, artists turn them into a piece of art, and they are placed all over town for people to play and enjoy. Its called Keys for the City.

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Our Art Walk Saturday ended with a performance by The Vinegar Creek Constituency, one of my favorite local bands. They performed in the evening at a store & gallery down town called Tellus 360, which is going to be opening another floor as a music venue this year. IMG_5772

I am going out again tomorrow for brunch with more of my girlfriends and to walk about the Art Walk. I hope you get to experience Art Walk in Lancaster – if you live here or if you are visiting! It’s a great weekend to be out and about.

Central Market: some new stands for 2013!

There’s some new stands popping up at the Lancaster Central Market  this year. I thought I spread the word about a few…

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Pureblend Tea serves up specialty tea lattes and Matcha – all organic. I’ve had two tea lattes so far and they were both really good! I tried the blackberry chaikhana and the chocolate chai latte. I liked the teas, just one heads up – some of the lattes have flavor syrup in them. My blackberry tea had blackberry syrup – which wasn’t bad – I was just expecting blackberries in with the tea leaves. Sometimes the syrups are a little too sweet for me. The chocolate chai was yummy, it only had a hint of chocolate right in with the tea leaves. I did decline the square of organic dark chocolate that could have been added to it. I am sure it is good however you order – like a hot chocolate chai.

I am really excited for the opening of Oasis. I saw a sign on a corner stand (that used to be Senorita Burrita) advertising their opening. They will have organic dairy products. I have recently switched over to organic milk instead of drinking soy milk all the time. I’m sure this stand will help me with that.

Also new for 2013 – I am trying really hard not to shop at big grocery stores. I am only allowing myself one visit a month to a chain grocery store like Giant. My husband has gone on a little health kick and has changed his diet – I am following suit. Mostly our switches are to organic dairy products, different types of sugars, cutting out the white flour (I haven’t cut the pasta yet), and making sure we are getting plenty of veggies. I am also trying to buy as local as I can this year. I think that we eat pretty healthy already so it hasn’t been to hard – So far it is going very well. I am definitely cutting down the grocery bill, mostly because I am not buying a bunch of unnecessary items at the grocery store.

But back to Market…

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Rooster Street Provisions specializes in awesome pork products!!! I got their italian sausage this past saturday. I added it to some homemade sauce and poured it over pasta. I loved it! it is worth all these exclamation points!! I can not wait to go back and try some of their other cured meats. I’ll visit them on saturday and pick out something else extra special to snack on. If you want to see some pretty pics of their products – check out their instagram page @roosterst. I also love their yellow framed chalkboard and wooden counters at their stand. Beautifully done!

On the other side of Rooster Street Provisions is…

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Shady Maple – chock-full of baked goods. I haven’t tried anything from here yet… I just noticed that their new sign is huge! What a contrast to the Rooster Street stand. Everyone loves a little variety, right?

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I did pick up a lonely looking cupcake at Wendy Jo’s. This stand has been at market for a while and it continues to be delicious.

Right next to Wendy Jo’s is a food stand called Comfort Bakehouse. They make all kinds of foods from meatloaf to eggs… all in muffin tins! All of their offerings look quite tasty. I’m going to give them a try this week. I’ll have to decide between breakfast or lunch… or maybe I’ll just get both!

I’ve tried Thom’s bread a few times now. They make a pretty solid loaf of bread – actually it is pretty crispy and fresh, not quite solid. The rosemary has been my favorite – but get there early – they have been sold out the last two weekends that I went to market. I have also enjoyed the kalamata olive – we had it with some delicious pasta last weekend. It’s perfect for dipping into sunday sauce.

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I made this super sandwich with a Rustic Italian boule from Thom’s on Saturday. Everything else on this sandwich was also from market – avocado, alfalfa sprouts, mustard greens, smokey turkey and sharp cheddar cheese. If you didn’t notice… there’s my carrot cupcake… it was scrumptious and I enjoyed it very much… I ate all of it!

Remember Central Market is open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays! Hope to see you there!

Downtown for the Holidays in Lacaster

I had a great Saturday with my girlfriends in downtown Lancaster. We went out for a day of shopping and holiday fun.

Here’s how our day went…

We started with brunch at Rachel’s Cafe and Creperie. They have a bunch of special holiday crepes right now and a few special coffee drinks, like peppermint mocha and gingerbread chai served in nice big white mugs.

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We stopped at Lancaster Central Market to pick up some veggies.

Doesn’t everyone look excited!?!

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Saturdays at Central Market are part of my weekly routine. I have been cutting my grocery store visits down a lot and getting everything I need down at the market. I have been picking up the essentials that I can’t get at Central Market at some of the other smaller groceries near my house. I could walk to most of them, like Lemon Street Market. Buy Fresh, Buy Local!

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There’s a new store on King Street! It’s called Seasons Taproom and it is dedicated to quality olive oils and vinegar. I tasted some oils and flavored vinegars and they are excellent quality and the flavors are delicious. I plan on going back to taste more and to maybe make a few purchases. I’m trying to cut back on buying more olive oils because I have many bottles at home that I have to use up. They don’t last forever you know… but I joined an olive oil club that I just can’t quit so I have a lot. Seasons is a great place to buy some nice hostess gifts or something for that friend that just loves to cook.

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And they have those large metal dispensers that I love… just like the other oil shop in Lititz, Pa.

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We walked up King Street to Lancaster’s Eastern Market. A holiday craft market was scheduled from 9-5pm and we wanted to check out the goods. They had a variety of items including cheeses, wines, cards, jewelery, belts, hats, and all kinds of homemade goodies.

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This market is open regularly in the summer months and has a bunch of food and veggies stands. They do have some special seasonal events, like this craft market, at other times throughout the year. They also run skill share weekends that showcase some local talents where you can learn a thing or two. Check the website for upcoming events.

On our way back to the heart of the city, we stopped at Tellus 360 – a shop full of reclaimed wood furniture (beautiful, but out of my budget) and sustainable gift items – some made in Lancaster and some from some major brands. Definitely worth a stop when you are in town! They even have live music some nights and an art gallery in the back.

Here’s our town’s official Christmas tree! If you’re lucky enough to be here on the evening right after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), you can catch the Mayor’s tree lighting and Tuba Christmas.

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Tuba Christmas is an old tradition in Lancaster City where – you guessed it – a whole lotta tubas play Christmas music, everyone stands around outside and the Mayor lights the Christmas tree. Good old-fashioned family fun 🙂 It actually is fun – and there are lots of shops open welcoming customers, market is open late, and there are a good bunch of cozy bars right in the area to choose from to warm your self up in afterwards. Like the Spring House Taproom, Lancaster Dispensing Company, and Annie Bailey’s.

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Onward we marched down to the 300 Block of North Queen Street to visit the antique stores and a huge sort of co-op store called Building Character. They have lots of old stuff turned into new things. Like these magnets:

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It really is fun to look through everything in this warehouse-turned-fancy. You can get an old hinge to match the other old hinges in your house, if you need that kind of thing. You can get second-hand clothes and housewares. You can get new handmade furniture. You can get cards and other crafty stuff. You can even get a rubber duck with a snorkel. It’s also the home to the old printing press that used to be in the Heritage Center. There is a guy there that will show you how to work the press and even let you use it! Building Character also hosts fun events. Check their website to see what’s going on soon!

We ended the night going to see one of our local favorite bands – Vinegar Creek Constituency. We made the trek across the Susquehanna to Burning Bridge tavern. A night of awesome music and lots of friends – and I had this awesome beer to top it all off! Friendship Brew by Green Flash Brewing Company.

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So… I had an awesome day in Lancaster, PA! If you find yourself looking for something to do, go downtown and spend a day just wandering around. There are so many cool shops to stop in and explore.

Check out the Lancaster website for events and information. There are two more weekends before Christmas for you to shop downtown and lots of upcoming events!

Strawberry Festival Saturday!

I haven’t posted on here for quite some time! I have less than a month to go until my wedding day and planning has been keeping me pretty busy. I have had so many culinary adventures in the last month. I’ll be posting about some of my new kitchen equipment soon, so please check back.

Today was the strawberry festival at the Lancaster Central Market. My friend Janeen and I put on our fancy hats and headed down for so homegrown goodness.

I knew it was going to be a good morning when we saw this dreamy guitar player outside getting ready to strum some of his lovely tunes:

The very talented Leo Disanto provided the soundtrack for our strawberry breakfast.  Check him out, buy a record, you won’t be sorry 🙂

The Friends of Central Market had strawberry shortcake outside, made with Lancaster County strawberries, whipped cream and homemade shortcake. It was fresh and delicious!

We paired the berry breakfast with some iced coffee drinks from my favorite coffee stop: Mean Cup. I love this barista… oh sorry, I don’t think he likes to be called a barista… the infamous Vogan Gabor!!!

He remembers my coffee drink every time I go there: iced soy Chai charger. It makes me feel like a VIP. I don’t even have to place my order, he just gets it ready for me before I get through the whole coffee line. It makes me feel like “yea, I’m awesome” when I get my coffee drink and everyone else looks and wonders “who’s that cool girl?”

I love you Mean Cup… Don’t ever go anywhere because my market experience just won’t be the same with you.

There were strawberries for sale at most of the stands but they were selling out pretty quickly. I am going to head back down on Tuesday to see if I could get a few more cartons of the little ruby-red gems. I am going to try to make some home-made strawberry jam this year!

Enjoy strawberry season! It will be here and gone before you know it!

Harvest Breakfast

This Saturday was the annual Harvest Breakfast at Central Market. One of my favorite events of the fall, Harvest Breakfast celebrates the harvest season with food, music, and festivities.

I continuously say that I wish someone would put some tables out in the market alley so people could eat breakfast and lunch outside. This is one weekend where that happens! Tables are set up and some of the usual  stand holders from inside come out into the alley and cook breakfast. There is music playing, pumpkin painting, alpacas to pet, and fall air to enjoy.

The Vinegar Creek Constituency was playing (one of my favorite local bands) and hay was flying in the air (thanks to some kiddos who were really having fun and jumping in it like a pile of freshly raked leaves).

Dan and I enjoyed breakfast outside. We shared the wild mushroom Quiche and the cinnamon french toast.


Both were yummy and breakfast was followed up by some bangin’ coffee and Chai from Mean Cup. I got a whole bunch of nice fall vegetables and turkey sausage from the Turkey Lady. I’m going to make a warm fall meal perfect for a chilly day – sausage with fall veggies and beans – a hearty dish, kind of like stew but no quite. Look for a post later in the week with the recipe.

I had a great day walking around market and all around down town with Dan. I come down town pretty much every weekend, but Dan has been away so much that I haven’t gotten to spend a Saturday wasting time walking around with him in a while. It was really nice and I had a ton of fun being kind of touristy.

We visited the record store, some of the shops on Prince Street, went to a flea and craft market at the Candy Factory, and went in and out of the shops on the 300 block of North Queen Street.

We ended out tour of Lancaster with a stop at The Fridge. The new beer and pizza joint craft beer and fancy flat bread pizza place on the west side of town. Look for a post detailing this place (one of our favorite new stops) later this week.

So… what a great Saturday!

Dan said it was the “greatest hits of Lancaster” in a day: harvest breakfast, Vinegar Creek playing, central market, walk up prince street, record store stop, flea and craft market, historic queen street antique shops, rummaging through Building Character, and afternoon beers.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a day…

Lovely Saturdays

I brought a visitor to market with me this weekend – my Mom! My parents were visiting and I showed my mom around downtown.  She loved it! It makes me really happy to share the places I love with the people I love. The weather was a little dreary but we still had a great time walking around.

I had a great Saturday last weekend as well… I have been feeling like this lately:

*letter pressed post card created by Moxie House and available at FIG Central.

Let me tell you about last weekend…

Last Saturday I went down to Central Market as usual. My intent was just to run down and get some veggies, make my way home and get some house work done. Instead I ended up spending all afternoon downtown enjoyably wasting the day.

The day started off pretty gloomy and rainy. By the time I was ready to leave the house it started clearing up so I decided to take my chances and walk downtown. It turned out to be a beautiful day! The sun came out – it felt so good! We have been having so many rainy days lately it was nice to be outside as the summer days are turning into fall.

I wandered in and out of a few shops along King and Queen Streets. I stopped in Fig central and Party Perfect, Zanzibar, Festoon and a few more places. I like to go in and out of the downtown shops from time to time just to see what’s new. I usually don’t end up buying much but it’s pretty fun to look at all of the odds and ends that are hidden inside.

Market was hustling and bustling. All the vegetables are starting to change. The bounty of summer is becoming the harvest of fall. Which is ok with me, it just means warm comfort foods will start being made in my kitchen. For a few short market days, you can get the last of the summer veggies and the first of the fall veggies at the same time.

I bought my last box of local multicolored cherry tomatoes last week, along with my last bunches of local basil with giant leaves. I didn’t find any of them at market this week. I am sad to say good-bye to some of my favorite ingredients but happy to start buying squashes again.

There is a pepper boom right now. Everyone has homegrown peppers. One thing that I love about the homegrown peppers around here is that they are always a mixture of colors. The yellow peppers are always yellow and green, the red and red and green, and the green are green and purple! Peppers are also really cheap right now (3 for $1!) so I bought a bunch and decided that I am going to make stuffed peppers this week.

I made a very welcomed discovery while inside market… there is a stand that carries local garlic! I can’t believe I haven’t noticed it until now. I always wanted a steady source of local garlic at central market. Occasionally, the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative carries local garlic, but it sells out quickly and it’s not there all the time. I was really happy to find that Rafiki’s Deli had a special table dedicated to garlic from Promised Land Farms.

I chose to two varieties to try: Artichoke and Siberian. They are both really fragrant. I definitely notice a difference between the local garlic and the varieties imported from California and China. There is so much more flavor! One thing I can not understand is why we import garlic from so far away – It seems really silly when you think about how much it must cost to ship it that far.

I was meeting Janeen for lunch and I decided to wait outside for her since the sun was shining. I sat looking at market alley wishing that someone would put some tables out there…

They already block off the entrance so cars can’t drive down here. And what a prefect place for tables! You would be able to get food inside of market and sit outside, enjoying your lunch in the fresh air. It would be awesome! A restaurant could even take over that area. I would love to have a good lunch with a lunch-time beer outside.

We had lunch at Spring House Brewery’s TapRoom. Which is inside, but there are a lot of big windows so at least it was sunny and bright.

We tried the Mango IPA and Braaaiiins (pumpkin ale). The mango IPA was fruity but not too sweet. I thought it was going to be too flavored for me but it was delicious, a really nicely balanced fruit beer.

I always like a good pumpkin ale, so I was hoping Braaaiiins was a good one. Spring House’s version of pumpkin beer tasted like pumpkin pie, nice and spicy with a hint of nutmeg. Not my favorite pumpkin beer (more on that one at a later date), but I have to say, Braaaiiins is pretty solid. It will probably be my beer of choice whenever I go into the TapRoom this month.

This was my first time eating lunch at the TapRoom. I’ve had a few bar snacks there at night like the pulled pork quesadilla. I was never disappointed with the bar food so I assumed lunch would be pretty good. I had the split pea and ham soup and a garden salad. Both were good and the basil balsamic dressing on the salad was excellent.

A rainy day experiment at central market

I went down to central market really late yesterday. I don’t really like going later in the day because a lot of the items I want are sold out. However, sometimes going late pays off and you get a bunch of good deals. Some of the vendors will throw a few extra veggies in your market bag because they want to get rid of things before they pack up and head home. You often get half price bread if there is a lot left and it is nearing 2pm. You can talk to the stand holders a little bit longer because they are not as busy. I guess it is pretty nice and relaxing to show up late sometimes.

Yesterday was dreary and rainy so there was still a lot left at market by the time I arrived. Hurricane Irene was moving up the coast and I think many of the regular market goers stayed in. I did notice a surprising amount of hustle and bustle in the market area even though it was pouring outside. Millersville University has been bringing their new freshman class into the city the weekend before school begins for the past two years. There were MU tour groups entering and leaving market getting a glimpse of downtown Lancaster. I enjoy seeing them out in the city. I actually really wish they brought me in to town when I first arrived at Millersville. It took me a while before I discovered the greatness of downtown Lancaster. Venturing out of campus wasn’t really encouraged or advertised when I attended school as an undergrad. I’m happy they are making more of an effort to introduce new people to downtown. It is a great place to visit and spend your time. I like it so much I decided to call it home.

I was really pleased with my shopping trip. I didn’t buy a ton of stuff but I went home feeling like I got a great amount of veggies for a great price. I feel like that every week when I buy lemons and limes that are 3 for $1.00 and then I see then in the grocery store at crazy prices, like lemons for $.89 each!

I decided to have a sandwich for lunch from Delgiorno’s Italian Specialties.

I chose the “Laundry List” sandwich. I also picked up an iced Chai from Mean Cup and was lucky enough to find a table to sit at and eat.

As I sat and enjoyed my lunch, I wondered how much all of my veggies would cost at the grocery store. Was I really saving money by shopping at market? I certainly know that the veggies are higher quality. Even if I wasn’t saving that much money, I knew that I was getting better, mostly organic, homegrown stuff. I would probably pay more for it anyway. I decided to figure out the math and see if I was really saving money.

Here’s what I got:

From Sweet Annie Produce: small red onions, cucumber, parsley, and a little piece of thyme (all homegrown, organic) – Total $5.00

From Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative: Bok Choy, yellow wax beans, green heirloom beans, purple pepper (all homegrown, organic) – Total $7.50

From Meck’s Produce stand: red, yellow, and green peppers, cucumbers, yellow squash, jalapenos (all homegrown), cilantro, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, sweet onion (not homegrown) – Total $11.20

My grand total from market was $23.70!

I went to Giant to price the veggies. The total for all of these veggies if I purchased them at the local grocery: $30.97!

So it was a comparable difference. I definitely think I am getting a way better bargain at market. This was kind of a light shopping trip for me this week. I usually purchase a lot more things like eggs, bread, and tomatoes. I will probably do another comparison with some of those items next time.

I would also like to add that I did notice that Giant was carrying some local produce. As you walked in the door, they were advertising tomatoes, zucchini, and green peppers that were all from Lancaster county – nice to see!

 

Pickle Success

The other day, I decided to make some pickles…. I just threw some salt and pepper in a pot with water and brought it to a boil. I stuffed some sliced cucumbers, dill, and garlic in a jar. I poured the hot water into the jar and stuck it into the refrigerator. The next day…

PICKLE FAIL!

Ugh – They were gross… really, really salty. I definitely thought about my method a little more before I tried again.

Needless to say… my next batch was very well thought out. Here’s how I made my brine:

3 cups water

1 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp kosher salt

1 tbsp whole black peppercorns

I got my cucumbers from the Lancaster Farm Fresh stand at central market.

One jar included pickling cucumbers, dill, and smashed garlic cloves.

Another jar included a sliced lemon cucumber, sliced small white cucumbers, smashed garlic, and dill.

The last little jar included the left over pickling cucumbers and some sliced red onions.

I boiled the brine and poured it over the cucumbers in each jar. I screwed on the lids and left them in the refrigerator for at least one day…

…PICKLE SUCCESS!

I am proud to say that these pickles came out splendid! I think the small white cucumbers made my favorite pickles. The pickles with pickled onions were Dan’s favorite. He suggested making relish out of them, which I think is a great idea. The pickle and onion mixture would be a great topping for a hot dog, perfect for summer.

Lancaster Central Market

It seems fitting to begin this blog with a post about Lancaster Central Market. The market is my main source veggies. I avoid buying produce in the grocery store as much as possible because I have this great source of local foods right near my house. I go down to the market at least once a week and I usually base my dinners on whatever is in season.

The market is at its peak right now with fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the farms of Lancaster. I’ve been lucky to go more frequently since it is summer and I have my weekdays free.

I chose some yellow wax beans for a pasta dish from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative today. I love this stand! It always has great food. They only operate from spring to fall but everything they have is local and organic. I also picked up some green tomatillos and jalapenos because I bought a bunch of Jetstar tomatoes earlier in the week from the Wahsington Boro Tomato Barn (more on Jetstars tomorrow). I have a plan to make fresh salsa later.

One of my staple items that I always pick up is a dozen of free range eggs. I love how bright yellow the yolks are and I think they taste better.  I was tempted to buy the duck eggs that I saw at the Farm Fresh stand but I wasn’t too sure about it…maybe next week.

Some of my favorite flowers are coming into bloom right now. I was happy to see the sunflowers this morning.

I decided to take a bright pink and red bunch of zinnia home with me to brighten up the kitchen.

It was a great morning at market!