Tag Archives: seasonal produce

Roadside Stands & Local Farmers

Growing up in the farm country of Lancaster County. Moving to suburban Philadelphia and New York City for 20 years. Working on Wall Street. Traveling the world as a consultant.

Moving back to Lancaster County gives one an interesting perspective. Of course, even though we lived and worked in New York City and Philadelphia, we’d make frequent trips back to Lititz where my wife and I grew up to visit family. It always felt like a step back in time – more simple, relaxed, friendlier.

I’ve crested 55 and lived here again for just over 10 years. Our youngest daughter goes off to college in a few weeks. Those 20 years out of the area were our family and career building years, not only full of excitement and adventure but sky-rocketing stress, high anxiety and a struggle to master the world. It wasn’t until I got laid off from a very good job, that we decided we wanted a simpler life and moved back to Lancaster County.

One of the things I love about Lancaster County are the roadside farm markets. They’re all over the place. I intentionally drive past my favorite stand on the way from home from my current job at Garden Spot Village. Sometime I’ll stop and simply get a homemade whoopie pie for less than a dollar. That’s right – less than a dollar! Often I’ll pick up fresh fruits or vegetables that came out of the fields surrounding the stand. It’s amazing.

Dinner last night was salad topped with shrimp so I stopped for fresh greens, peppers, carrots and broccoli to add to the shrimp in the fridge. It’s great to know that what you’re eating is organically grown, fresh and wholesome. And this particular weekend, Friday and Saturday, held a special surprise! Fresh Peach Sundaes for .99 cents. Oh yeah! Three scoops of Turkey Hill Ice Cream, topped with fresh peaches that were just washed, peeled, sliced and finished off with a swirl of whipped cream. It was heavenly. Is that crazy or what? Where else do you find fresh hand-dipped sundaes for .99 cents? Certainly not suburban Philadelphia or New York City, I can tell you that!

Having grown up in Lititz, roadside farm stands were just a common thing, something I drove past and ignored. It’s only been in the last several years that I’ve discovered how amazingly incredibly they are. Not only are the baked goods, cheeses and produce wonderfully farm fresh, the families that run them are extremely friendly and helpful. And sometimes they do crazy things like fresh peach sundaes for 99 cents.

If you live in Lancaster County or you visit regularly, do yourself a favor and add visits to local farm stands into your routine. If you’re visiting be sure to stop and check some out. You’ll be glad you did. If you’re feeling like life is too complex, full of unreasonable responsibilities and way too stressful, you might want to do what we did: take a step back in time and make Lancaster County home. For us life got a lot simpler and happier and Lancaster holds that same potential for you. And then, well, maybe a roadside farm stand might be right next door! Imagine the possibilities and adventure of a simpler life!

To read more about Garden Spot Village, go to www.gardenspotvillage.org/blog.


Take home Lancaster’s farm fresh produce

There’s nothing like the crisp, juicy, delicious crunch of a fresh apple, right from the farm.  It’s not the same as an ordinary grocery store apple – there’s still a touch of warm cinnamon sun and sweet fresh air in that bite that makes that ripe apple extra special. This is what draws locals and visitors alike to Kauffman’s Fruit Farm and Market. This quaint farmer’s market is the perfect place to find a fantastic selection of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a variety of locally produced dry goods such as flour, oats, baking goods, and more. Not to mention fresh meats, cheeses, and pies. Kauffman’s is also known, locally and nationally, for their fresh apple cider.

Just inside the door, a display of live honeybees captivates visitors, young and old alike. My eyes wander to the colorful straws filled with fresh, amber honey, and I remember visiting the Topsfield fair (In Topsfield, MA) as a child. My parents would always spoil us with a fresh honey-straw treat. With this fond memory, I smile and turn my attention to the apples and other fresh fruits which are displayed in delightful wicker baskets. Courtlands, Honeycrisps, and Galas; types of apples that make you want to run home and instantly bake some warm apple desserts.  Continuing through the aisles, the aroma of flour and spices remind me of my grandmother’s kitchen.

At the far end of the market is a deli with a selection of sausage, chicken, steaks, and other fresh items. Right next to the deli counter is a mysterious wooden vault-like door, which immediately piqued my interest. I inquired about the thick wooden door, and learned that it is a deep freezer which will chill fresh foods in record time, therefore preserving flavors and freshness that might otherwise be lost. To me, it looked like the secret door to Narnia (a favorite book from childhood) and, if the door is opened under just the right circumstances – my imagination believes there will be snow and fresh pine limbs there to greet the unsuspecting employee.  Another reminiscent smile.

I decided to make one more round of the market to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and this time I noticed the delivery bay at the back of the store where all the fresh fruits arrive.  A collage of bright stickers decorated the wall behind a counter – remnants of sales of apples from seasons past while a cheerful young Amish girl straightened baskets for new deliveries to come.

Before I left, I took a few minutes to sit on the wooden bench in front of the store and just watch the world go by. Several Amish buggies clip-clopped down the road, customers came and went, and on the horizon a few cows grazed happily on the fresh June grass.  The warm sun and blue sky reassured me that summer had arrived to stay. Times and places like these allow you to truly appreciate all the things and all the moments that make life great.

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