By Christine Mouser
When you head to those big-chain grocery stores, you may be getting a slight deal when it comes to buying veggies and fruits. But what you’re not getting is the freshest product. Instead of putting your money into these chains, head to your local farmers’ markets. When it comes to good health and fresh products, it’s definitely worth it to spend a little extra. Plus, you’re supporting your local, hard-working farmers who will directly benefit from your business. Here’s a guide to some great farmers’ markets that will offer you the freshest products out there.
2216 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Hours: Sat, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The Farmers@Firehouse Market is perhaps the most popular farmers market in all of Pittsburgh. Located in the Strip District, this market attracts tons of shoppers looking on the lookout for some of the freshest and, more importantly, organic products around.
Founded in 2002, this market was started by organic growers who wanted to give Pittsburgh its first organic market. And they’re more than serious about standing by this standard. A standout feature of the market is that, for the most part, the person selling the product has grown it. Also, every week, emails go out to customers informing them of what’s new to the market as well as upcoming food demos. Another
Their produce section is equally as impressive. In the past years, they’ve sold garlic, cabbage, broccoli, turnip greens, arugula, escarole, endive, pea greens, spinach, salad mix, kale, bok coy, fresh cut herbs, mushrooms and tons more. Occasionally you will even find plants for your garden. For Those looking to hit the grill this summer, you can choose from several different proteins, like organic beef, sausage, chicken, pork, lamb and fish.
Other items to look out for? Duck charcuterie, peanut butter, preserves, yogurt, cheeses, breads, cut flowers, Lebanese foods, honey, coffee, maple syrup, hand dyed yarns, bagels and even more. There really is no better way to spend a warm day out than shopping around the Strip District and hitting up the Farmers@Firehouse Market.
Farmers’ Market Coop of East Liberty
344 N. Sheridan Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Hours: Every Sat, from 5 a.m. – noon
The Farmers’ Market Cooperative of East Liberty is unlike anything else in the city of Pittsburgh. While most farmers’ markets are open only during the summer and early fall months, this East Liberty market is open year-round on Saturdays and is conveniently located indoors.
Open for over 70 years, this market is owned entirely by farmers, a welcomed detail by those looking for the freshest products around. There are many vendors that you’ll always find here, as well as some new ones popping up here and there.
Every kind of veggie is in stock as well as fruits, jams, jellies, honey, maple syrup and cider. Coffees, cheese, meats, olive oils, hummus, fresh donuts, pasta and dried organic fruit are also staples at the market. Handmade goods also appear frequently at the market, in addition to locally grown flowers. This place offers so many fresh products, that even local chefs come here to pick out fresh products for service.
The best thing part is that the market only works with small, family products and deal directly with them, thus paying the farmer everything that he is owed. Come down whenever you want, and you’ll be guaranteed some of the freshest products around.
Market Square Farmers Market
Forbes Avenue & Market Place
Hours: Thurs, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Every Thursday, Market Square is the place to be for fresh produce, a great lunch and some wonderful entertainment. Thursdays in the Square offers a great farmers market that is a perfect stop during your lunch break. According to their website, over 50 varieties of produce are offering, giving shoppers an incredible amount of fresh options to choose from.
So what can you typically expect from this foodie haven? For fruit nuts, check out the berries, jams, pies and wines. For baked goodies fans, browse through the cakes, chocolates, pies, homemade breads, cookies, scones, pastries and more. For meatheads, you’ll find anything from smoked meats, sausages, jerky to bacon and salmon.
For every other taste, take home authentic salsa, devour homemade pierogies, test out artisan soaps and peruse through bouquets of beautiful, fresh flowers.
During the summer months, there’s simply no other place to be downtown.
Mount Lebanon Uptown Farmers’ Market
Mt. Lebanon Municipal Building
710 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
Hours: May 14 – Oct. 29; Sat, 9 a.m. – noon
The Mount Lebanon Uptown Farmers’ Market was founded in 2005, with the intent of creating a vibrant community. Fast forward seven years later, and that’s just what happened. The farmer’s market is located right in the heart of Mt. Lebanon’s Uptown Business District, and the vendors are spread throughout the district. The market is walker-friendly and is perfect for a summertime stroll.
There are many different products available at the market, with many different participating vendors. Most of the vendors appear every week, while others appear occasionally. Some items include herbs, cheese, wine, salsa, breads, honey, lemonade, fruits, veggies and more. What’s even better is that the farmers directly sell to the consumers, which means the freshest products for shoppers and more compensation for the farmers.
Lisa Winschel Barnes, manager of the market, is proud of what the Mount Lebanon Uptown Farmers’ Market offers.
“Through we are one of the smaller markets (vendor-wise), I like to say we have all of the essentials and none of the state fair toppings.”
In addition, this year will be Mount Lebanon’s 100th year celebration. So, come out every Saturday starting in May to support this great town and its farmers.
Sewickley Farmers Market
200 Walnut Street
Sewickley, PA 15143
Hours: Sat, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m
For the past few years, St. James Church in Sewickley has held a great, little Farmers’ Market meant to support the local farmers. Generally 30-35 local farmers set up shop and showcase some of their finest products. They typically feature some great meat products, like pork, goat, lamb, poultry and salmon. A large variety of freshly grown veggies line the market, while pierogies and pasta are quick options for dinner.
If you want to take a quick stroll to grab what you need for dinner, the Farmers’ Market in Sewickley is a great option.
Christine Mouser is currently living in the Pittsburgh area, where she is an editorial intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. She has written for HappyValley.com, Town&Gown magazine and Penn State’s Valley magazine.