Region’s farmers markets tout quality
When comparing apples and oranges, is there a difference when comparing apples and oranges from a grocery store, or those purchased from a local farmers market?
Mary Jo Dries, who owns and operates Dries Orchard with her husband says there is indeed.
“Your products in the supermarkets are entirely different. Peaches in the supermarket are picked when they are really hard (unripe). We’re picking them a week to 10 days later than those ones picked to ship across country,” Dries said.
The later picked peaches have longer to ripen and are sweeter, Dries said.
Greg Rosenthal, public affairs specialist for the United States Department of Agriculture and a farmers market customer, says that there is a growing demand by the general public to buy local.
“There’s a demand for local food and people like to know where their food comes from,” Rosenthal said. “As those numbers grow the more economic opportunity and profits local farmers are going to see.”
People want the good, wholesome, delicious food that farmers markets offer, Rosenthal said.
Dries and her husband sell their wares at a variety of farm stands and are vendors at farmers markets including the Silver Moon Market in Lewisburg.
Dries says the demand for locally grown produce comes and goes with the times.
“You have it from time to time. It sort of drifts from buying local and what-not to commercial,” Dries said.
She has seen a rise in the number of produce shoppers though.
“It’s mainly the produce. It all depends on who is looking for the product and the product has to be in season,” Dries said.
While the fresh produce keeps customers coming back, for some farmers markets the supply is limited due to a number of factors.
“It’s not year round we can offer some products. It’s not like going to the supermarket where they get products from all over the world,” Dries said.
Other factors such as drought, insects or disease can effect fruit crops and vegetable harvests and thereby effect farmers markets.
A P Lorson Fruit Farm in Williamsport said they lost most of their summer produce but will be back open in the fall for the apple season.
Dries think people shop at farmers markets not only for the fresh produce but also for the experience.
“I think they like the idea of these outdoor markets and it’s sort of an event. Lewisburg Farmers Market has been in business for probably a good 50 years or more because of that,” Dries said.
According to a press release from the USDA Pennsylvania currently ranks seventh in the most farm stands/markets with 297.
The state Department of Agriculture provides visitors to its website a chance to search for area farmers markets and stands by entering their address, or area of the address they wish to search in.
A recent search of a fifty mile area in and around the greater Williamsport area yielded 222 results, including the Silver Moon, which is open every Wednesday and is off of Route 15 outside Lewisburg.
Farmers markets/stands in Lycoming County (hours are listed if available and confirmed):
654 Farm Market
7613 State Route 654 Williamsport
A P Lorson Fruit Farm
292 Lorson Road, Williamsport
Beech Grove Farm
3410 Route 184, Trout Run
35 Riverview Road, Linden
Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Carpenter Pumpkin Farm LLC
75 Carpenter Lane, Linden
Green Barn Berry Farm
7299 Armstrong Road, Muncy
Jersey Shore Farm Market Route 44, Jersey Shore
Lanes End Farm
1221 West Route 973, Jersey Shore
Marshalek’s Fruit Farm
1875 Quaker State Road, Montoursville
Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Montoursville Outdoor Growers Market
457 Route 187 Highway, Montoursville
Pauling Tree Farm
663 Evergreen Road, Hughesville
1954 East Third St., Williamsport
Route 87 Growers Market
1853 state Route 87, Montoursville
Route 87, Montoursville
Star Wind Farm
212 Narber Fry Road, Pennsdale
152 Apple Lane, Williamsport
Tebbs Farms & Greenhouses
1620 Four Mile Drive, Williamsport
Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. & Saturday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tom Styer Farm & Market
215 Shady Lane, Muncy
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. & Saturday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Williamsport Outdoor Growers Market
Pine Street, Williamsport
Wengerd Market Place FS
1630 John Brady Drive, Muncy
Wentzlers’ Fruit Farms
205 Lycoming Mall Road, Pennsdale
Out of the county:
Route 15 Flea & Farmers Market/Silvermoon Flea Market
150 Silver Moon Lane
30 E. Wellsboro St., Mansfield
Lock Haven FM
E. Main St., Lock Haven