It is that time of year when the local farmers markets are in full swing, and it is a chance to partake in the local food system in Center County. You can go to a local farmers market or farm stands and browse the wide variety of local produce and other goodies available from the vendors. Many of these markets follow the flow of produce from early spring produce to the large abundance and variety of summer produce to the fall produce and some even move indoors for winter markets.
Farmers markets can be a great time for socialization with the local growers and to find out about their operations and the growing systems they employ on their farms whether it is certified organic, conventional or is a hybrid system. I wanted to provide a brief rundown of some of the local farmers markets found in Center County.
The first is the Downtown State College Outdoor Market, which is open Friday from 11:30 am-5 pm from May to November at Locust Lane between College and Beaver avenues. The market has a wide variety of local produce, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, dairy products, wines, flowers, baked goods, sauces, organic soaps, personal products and more. Like the markets in Europe there is a large array of fresh flowers and pretty plants that can grace the dinner table. Tip: Parking in any of the municipal parking garages can be validated at the market.
The Tuesday State College Farmers’ Market is open June through November on Tuesdays from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm It is located on Locust Lane in downtown State College, same as the Friday farmers market, but they both have different vendors.
Next comes the North Atherton Farmers Market that is open 10 am to 2 pm Saturdays from May through November and is located at the Home Depot parking lot on North Atherton Street and has more than 30 vendors that line the Home Depot parking lot on summer Saturdays with everything from salmon and trout to fresh Produce, breads, and even in-season fruit (peaches, cherries, pears, apples, depending on what’s in season) from a farmer in Bloomsburg. There are food trucks that serve grass-fed beef burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, ice cream and other goodies.
We move on to the Boalsburg Farmers Market that is open 2 to 6 pm on Tuesdays from the beginning of May to the first week of November and is located outdoors at the PA Military Museum parking lot along routes 322/45 in the village of Boalsburg. They have about 25 permanent vendors plus a smattering of guest vendors offering a wide variety of goods, from Alaskan-caught salmon to homemade cakes and pies to all the in-demand, in-season produce that you can imagine. They say that this market is the place to wet your whistle, whether you want to purchase locally made kombucha, sample some wines from Seven Mountains Winery, buy something from Good Intent Cider, or purchase a growler from Elk Creek Café’s beer truck. You can purchase but no drinking allowed on-site, though.
Next, we venture out a little further to the Millheim Farmers Market that is open 10 am to 1 pm Saturdays from the beginning of May until the end of October and is located at the American Legion pavilion, 112 Legion Lane in Spring Mills. They have about a dozen vendors offering apples and apple products, maple syrup, honey, lamb, wool items, beef, cheese, pork, chicken, flowers, garlic, ginger, sauces and ketchup, plus tons of fresh veggies.
We move on to the Bellefonte Farmers Market that is open 8 am to noon Saturdays from early May through mid-November and is located at 160 Dunlap St., Bellefonte. The market has an array of locally grown veggies and fruit, farm-fresh eggs, cheese and meat, natural home products and delicious baked goods. When summer moves into autumn, you can find pumpkins, mums, and other fall staples here.
Next, we move across Center County to the Pine Grove Mills Farmers Market that is open 3 to 7 pm Thursdays from mid-June through September and is in the St. Paul Lutheran Church parking lot on state Route 45. The market has an array of locally grown produce, meat and eggs and offers a wide variety of other goodies including honey, wine and spirits, coffee, sweet and hard cider, artisan breads, soaps and more. Again, you might buy some dinner from the World’s Fare Catering food truck while you browse and chat with the vendors.
Another market on the way out of town is Hillside Amish Farmers Market open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 am to 4 pm located on the grounds of the State College Assembly of God, 2201 University Drive, State College. They have a wide variety of fresh picked vegetables and other goodies to satisfy your palette.
If you live over in Philipsburg, then you can visit the Philipsburg Farmers Market that is in the parking lot of the Moshannon Building on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm May through September.
In addition, you can shop at Harner Farm located at 2191 W. Whitehall Road, State College. They are open May through December, 9 am until dusk on Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 pm on Sundays. Tait Farm is located 2.5 miles east of Boalsburg on US Route 322. They are open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm, 9 am-5 pm on Saturdays, and 10 am to 5 pm on Sundays. Mountainhome Farm is located at 605 Single Lane, Julian. They are open from 6 pm to dusk Monday through Friday, the first week of June through early mid-August. Way Fruit Farm is in Port Matilda. They are open from 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday and 8 am-5 pm on Saturdays. White’s Farm Produce is located near Center Hall. They have strawberry picking daily from 9 am to 8 pm and black raspberry picking in July.
As you can see, we have many opportunities in Center County to purchase fresh, local produce and goodies, so take time and support your local growers and vendors. Check out their websites for more detailed information.
Bill Lamont is a professor emeritus in the department of plant science at Penn State and can be reached by e-mail: email@example.com.