By Sandra Zunino
Once inside the Amish Country Farmers Market in Easton, you can’t ignore the heartwarming aroma of fresh baked breads from Fisher’s Pastries, or the appeal of mouthwatering homemade fudge and other confections from “You Deserve It” Fudge Shop.
If the tantalizing display of rich amber honeys, jams and spices from The Little Bulk Food Store or the bright local fruits and vegetables, fresh from Wings Landing Produce doesn’t entice you, fine Amish craftsmanship from Lanco Handmade Furniture, Lapps Furniture or Backyard Collection is sure to win you over. And everywhere, jovial camaraderie prevails.
Since ancient times, a trip to the marketplace has been more than just a way to gather a variety of essentials; it was a connection to the community. At the Market that tradition continues.
Friday evenings are social nights, when customers not only enjoy delectable meals like homemade soups and salads from the Soup and Salad Corner, or barbequed wings or baby-back ribs from Stoltzfus BBQ, they can mingle with local and Lancaster County neighbors.
“We are different here and we want to be different,” explains Eli Stoltzfus, of Country Cheese and Salads. “Our goal is to keep the Amish atmosphere.”
Eli says his customers often reminisce about how the fresh foods and prepared meals are “just like mother used to make,” and that is just what he likes to hear.
Another appeal is the nostalgia of the way life used to be, with milk sold in glass bottles, fresh from jersey cows, and eggs from free-range chickens. Many foods are certified organic, but even those that are not, are grown as naturally as possible. Producers meet customers face-to-face. “We are very concerned about quality,” says Eli. “We like to hear feedback.”
Customers are often impressed by the presentation of open displays and views into the food preparation areas. The Amish are meticulous about their kitchen cleanliness and that doesn’t go unnoticed.
While the majority of the vendors are Amish, traveling from Lancaster, a few such as Wings Landing Produce, are local. Nature’s Nutrients, an apothecary offering vitamin supplements and natural holistic products, also not Amish, is a local business owned by Pamela Shoacre CNHP. Local artisan, Kathryn Kaye from Easton runs a booth bringing pottery, handmade jewelry and other gift items representing several local artists.
Founders of the market, Dan Esh, Merve Lapp and Merve Fisher (also market vendors), are credited for bringing this concept back to the Eastern Shore. Years ago an Amish farmers market operated out of Queenstown, but that market moved to the Annapolis area.
A fondness for Eastern Shore customers enticed the partners to open a new market. Almost two years ago, the site at Easton Plaza became the Market’s new home. Slightly off the beaten path, on 101 Marlboro Ave., the Market is nevertheless convenient to shoppers visiting Target, Lowes or other Easton shops.
“We’ve had a great response from our customers,” says Eli. “I’m just amazed at the Eastern Shore people… how patient and friendly they are.”
A pig roast in the parking lot, complete with pulled-pork sandwiches, homemade donuts and lemonade helped get the word out. Since then, satisfied customers spread the word. Now pig roasts are held four times a year, with the next event on March 12, 13 and 14.
For more information about the Amish Country Farmers Market or its vendors, visit www.amishcountryfarmersmarket.com. See their ad in the UPDATE or visit wordpress-547-1846-2922.cloudwaysapps.com for specials and hours.