Destination: Harrisburg, PA
You hear the term Farmers Market and what comes to mind?
Well, it depends where you live.
Some towns have a Saturday market, often set up in the downtown Square or on a picturesque street. They offer everything from clothing to fresh baked items; and, vine-ripened tomatoes to freshly picked apples. Items may be seasonal, and vendors may be your neighbor down the street or an Amish family from outside the city limits.
Some operate out of the back of a series of trucks, often on a mall parking lot, and others are seasonal roadside stands.
Other towns have weekend or even daily markets. We’ve featured a few on The Food Channel before, such as the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.
Well, if you want a somewhat smaller—but still excellent—version of that, try going just down the road a bit to Harrisburg’s Broad Street Market. It’s open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, perfect for winding down after a long workweek and stocking up on a few market staples.
Of course you can find fresh vegetables. This time of year the rhubarb stands out, its ruby red color taking center stage. As in the Philly market, many of the stands are run by Amish or Mennonite families, presenting the tried and true recipes that bring people back time and again. Think whoopie pies, pot pie squares, and fresh sticky buns with nuts or raisins.
At this market you can also find a couple of delightful treats, such as the Arch of Happiness offered by the Italian family running the Nonna Ilva stand. It’s essentially a phyllo dough filled with fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries, and it is both eye-catching and scrumptious. And who doesn’t need an ARCH OF HAPPINESS in their life?
Try downing it with a cappuccino from one of the market’s “we have everything” stands, where you can get a really large cup for just $2, with plenty of rich real cream included.
If you go at mealtime, stop at Let’s Pretzel and get a breakfast log or a stuffed pretzel. The steak, egg and cheese log has the same steak used in many Philly cheesesteaks, and is a nice switch-up from the usual fast food breakfast sandwich. The pizza pretzel also gets high marks, and, if you ask the people who work there, you just may find that it’s their favorite, too.
If none of that appeals, you might enjoy one of the French Toast breakfast sandwiches (with your choice of excellent pastrami or turkey) also found at Nonna Ilva. Or, perhaps you’ll choose a non-traditional chocolate chip whoopie pie, a lemon-filled doughnut or any of the myriad pastry choices scattered throughout the market.
You can also find potted flowers and, well, a variety of just about everything. There’s nothing like farmers market shopping AND eating. Find one in your area!
Most photos by Paul K. Logsdon