A few months ago, my cousin was telling me about a large farmers’ market south of where we live. It is only open one day each week, and I am running out of Tuesdays before school starts! So, a good friend and I decided we were going to go on an adventure to Roots Country Market and Auction in Manheim, Pennsylvania.
I must tell you, we made a day of it! We stopped for pedicures on the way down through, as well as stopping at an education store.
This farmers’ market is on a back road, right beside a set of railroad tracks. We parked in a field. It was an overcast day, and the air smelled a little strange when we got out of the vehicle. We looked over, and saw some canopies set up, so we just decided to dive right in!
The outside vendors seemed a little scattered. There was some semblance of an order, but it took us a little while to figure it out. A few vendors were in a cluster and around corners, but there were also a long row or two of vendors, making it simple to just walk up and down and look at everything they had to offer.
There were a mix of clothing, produce, and novelty vendors outside. Lots and lots of peaches were available! Interestingly enough, there was a particular vendor there that also comes to our local farmers’ market!
As we came to the end of the outdoor vendors, we found a sign that pointed to buildings with stands inside. So we decided to venture indoors. Wow! Our eyes were definitely opened!
These building were crammed with people selling all kinds of goods! Naturally, there were a number of produce stands. But the variety of other stands was incredible!
There were many different food stands. Hoagies seemed to be very popular for lunch, which is about the time we began walking through the buildings. The was Greek and Asian food, and almost everything in between!
There were also several bakeries. A few really stood out to me. We bought whoopie pies from The Sweet Spot bakery. They had a variety of different whoopie pies, stuffed cookies, and other goodies. They offered some unique flavors, including tie dye and Mountain Dew whoopie pies! There was also a vendor who baked sticky buns fresh in their stand. They looked so tempting, and I am not even a huge sticky bun fan! There was also a bakery that made giant cookies.I did not take notice to the names of the last two bakeries.
There were many flea market stands with a variety of goodies available for purchase. We did not look at many of their items, mainly because that was not really a big part of our reason for going there.
Across the road from the main part of the market was an old mill where they held a larger flea market. We look at the contents a little bit, but I was more impressed by the building itself. It was a beautiful old building, and the inside had nice, old wooden floors.
After we walked through the buildings once, (and were slightly surprised we did not get all turned around and lost!) we decided to eat some lunch. There were three barbecue places outside that we took notice to. There was also a stand with crab cakes and fish sandwiches, which was a little tempting. We decided to eat at Hess’s Log Cabin Barbecue. I got a smoked chicken sandwich, and my friend had a pulled pork sandwich. They were both delicious!
There were a few other buildings around for us to explore that were not full of vendors. One of the things that stood out to me was the produce auction. We did not go into the room where they were auctioning items, but we peeked through one of the windows, and I was intrigued. I would imagine that is a good way to get bulk produce at an inexpensive price. I did not need any large amounts of produce at the time, though!
We decided to walk around, attempt to compare prices as best we could, and purchase what we came for. My goal was to purchase a variety of hot peppers. I also found acorn squash (which my husband and I enjoy, but forgot to plant in our garden this year) at one particular stand, and we were trying to remember where it was so I could buy one.
Check out some of the random goodies we saw on the way:
We actually did not do badly! I found a stand with inexpensive hot cherry and hot banana peppers. The man running the stand was very friendly, and asked what I was planning to do with these vegetables. He also made sure I knew to wear latex gloves when handling these peppers. I found that out the hard way last year!
We went back into the buildings, purchased our whoopie pies for our families, and wandered around until we found my acorn squash. I was surprised at how quickly we found it, considering the buildings seemed to wind in every direction and we had trouble keeping our bearings about us! I made a tasty dinner with acorn squash and loose sausage the next evening. Check back for the recipe!
We then went back outside to a produce stand and I purchased serrano and jalapeño peppers while my friend bought wax beans. We decided to take our goods out to the car and then come back in for one last sweet treat.
There were two or three ice cream stands that I took notice to. Some offered hard ice cream, but one trailer offered soft serve ice cream. Their ice cream was delicious! I ordered chocolate, naturally! The ice cream was advertised as homemade at the dairy (of which I cannot remember the name!), and even though I was a little apprehensive about the thought of eating soft ice cream from a trailer at first, it was very tasty!
So as we were walking back to the vehicle, we were discussing our thoughts. We agreed that when we first arrived and all we could find were the outdoor vendors, we were underwhelmed. But when we began weaving around the insides of the buildings, we were impressed! The variety of goods available was interesting in itself. One drawback, in my opinion, was the number of produce vendors. Yes, I liked that there were so many with such a large variety, but it was nearly impossible to compare prices! I think it would be a nice trip maybe once or twice a summer, especially if there is something specific I am looking for. (For example, fresh, local strawberries towards the beginning of summer or large quantities of tomatoes or hot peppers at the end of summer just in case our plants don’t thrive, like our sad pepper plants this year.)
So, if you are a fan of flea markets, produce auctions, and farmers’ markets with all kinds of goodies, Root’s Country Market may be a nice place for you to visit! And if you’ve been there, I would love to read comments about your favorite things about this market!