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Check Out the Country’s Oldest Continuously Operated Public Farmers’ Market

Check Out the Country’s Oldest Continuously Operated Public Farmers’ Market

While attending an event at the Lancaster County Convention Center, or staying in the adjoining Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, you’ll find yourself in the heart of historic Downtown Lancaster, one of the nation’s oldest inland settlements. One of the wonderful things about the “Red Rose City,” established back in 1729, is the seamless interweave of venerable heritage and living, breathing, day-to-day culture. A prime example of that is the Lancaster Central Market, a mere stone’s throw from the Convention Center and hotel!

The Oldest Farmers’ Market in America

The Lancaster Central Market lays claim to being the oldest continually run public farmers’ market in the country, having been started in 1730 in the city’s earliest days. Andrew and Ann Hamilton provided the 120-square-foot plot for the market, which showcased the rich and varied produce of local farmers.

As the Central Market’s “History” page on its website explains, that local bounty and the centrally located emporium for it led King George II to designate Lancaster an official market town, and its 1742 royal decree stated that the city would host “two markets in each week […] of the year forever in the lot of ground already agreed upon for that purpose.” 

The array of farm-fresh goods on offer today at the Lancaster Central Market is the truest embodiment of the historical linchpin traditions of the city, but the building itself is also an iconic architectural landmark: the Romanesque Revival-style Market House, built in 1889 and very much its own signature attraction.

Visit the Lancaster Central Market

The Lancaster Central Market, situated at 23 North Market Street within shouting distance of the Convention Center and Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, is open for business from 6 AM to 4 PM on Tuesdays and Fridays, and from 6 AM to 2 PM on Saturdays.

More than 60 vendors fill out the Market’s laden stalls with locally grown produce, herbs, and dairy, plus North Atlantic seafood, prepared food products, crafts, flowers, and other treasures. 

A mere sample of standholder businesses indicates the variety of goods on offer: Spring Glen Fresh Foods (Stand 27), Country Meadows Farms (Stand 44), Amish Family Recipes (Stand 21), Stoltzfus Homestyle Bakery (Stand 52), JB Kelly Seafood Connection (Stand 1), Horseshoe Ranch (Stand 47), PA Dutch Gifts (stand 42), Wendy Jo’s Homemade (Stand 12), Kauffman’s Fruit Farm (stand 62), Central Market Flowers by Perfect Pots (39). Needless to say, Lancaster County’s greater “foodshed,” and plenty of its native creativity, craftsmanship, and entrepreneurship, take center stage here.

Tap into some amazing local history and homegrown bounty at the Lancaster Central Market!