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Lancaster East Side Market at Musser Park

By Torrie Martin

A new farmers market is open each Sunday in Lancaster from late May to early October, featuring locally-sourced organic produce, honey, baked goods, ready-to-eat food and a full event calendar of family-oriented activities and live music each week. Lancaster East Side Market runs May 25 to October 26, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Musser Park, at the corner of East Chestnut and North Shippen streets.

Each week, in addition to the core vendors, the market features a guest vendor and a local chef or food truck on site. The aroma of ready-to-eat fare (including vegan and vegetarian options) and live music drifts through the park. The family fun includes skill shares or workshops offered on topics such as organic farming, bicycle repair, art and craft projects, yoga and even live alpacas.

The market is run by a group of women with a passion for providing the freshest of field to table fare and family-friendly fun. The board is comprised of five vendors, EmmaKate Martin, Caitlin Brady, Lori Stahl, Emily Keller and Rachel DeVitry. They are former vendors, along with volunteer Cheryl Alvarez, of the former Eastern Market, located on East King Street which closed at the end of last summer.

Above and banner photo credit: Michelle Johnsen.

According to Cheryl Alvarez, the new Lancaster East Side Market master, "After Eastern Market closed, we were able to work with the city of Lancaster to agree to house this new market at Musser Park and are letting people know that this market is a fresh start for us--a new venture--offering fresh ideas and events for families. The market is successful as people come out each week; vendors find it worth their time, as we support small businesses and as more people find out about us and want to come because it is so much fun."

EmmaKate Martin, farmer, agrees, saying, "Our mission is to make market a weekly destination for families and community, to be a place to meet your farmer, beekeeper, baker and be able to have personal interaction to learn how our market fare is grown, made and prepared."

Vendor Caitlin Brady, adds, "It is great for families as there is open green space to spend some time here, to experience skill shares and workshops-—free events as well as specific kids' days and festivals. I think the families that usually come to the park can also come around and have their children learn about organic farming. It's important because parents are always involving their children to learn new things, and we offer that local connection. I work hard to provide the healthiest produce possible. To have people enjoy it, that brings me joy."

Lori Stahl, beekeeper, says "I rate success in smiles, of the children and families each week."

Cash and checks are accepted now, with plans to take credit cards and EBT cards soon. Alcohol is not allowed in the park. The list of vendors, food, musicians and event schedule each week is available at the East Side Market website and on Facebook.

Lancaster City Living - Lancaster, PA