I live in a small town. There’s lots of small towns near here that are a little bigger, but are still small towns. But, one town has a wonderful farmer’s market! 11 miles away, it’s not far to go and worth the trip. I’m particularly addicted to a bacon, egg and cheese pretzel wrap from one of the vendors there, but there’s so much more.
There’s a big mural on one wall that represents the feeling of these little towns around here.
I’ve mentioned before that this area has a large population of Amish people. They are referred to as “plain” , even calling themselves that, since they don’t have modern things in their lives. We benefit from having their businesses around us, cos many of them make, grow and sell wonderful foods, among many other skills that they have. (Many of the men are also wonderful carpenters. This is evidenced by Amish barn raisings, which they do in 2 days, and you can google.) Their work ethic is amazing: no one gets taken advantage of in any business dealings with Amish people.
So, Jim’s Country Market http://www.jimsfarmersmarket.com/ is a 2 day a week farmer’s market with lots of good things. Quite a few of the vendors there are Amish people. The market is located in an old roundhouse where a train station used to be. Roundhouses were used to store and repair locomotives. This area of Chambersburg has several other buildings near it that were used when the railroad business was more important there, many years ago now.
A wonderful smell hits you when you walk in the door. One vendor bakes the best ham I’ve ever had, and cuts it off for sandwiches and soups. (There are tables different spots inside the building where you can sit down to eat the many good things for sale, or take whatever to go.) I usually buy some of the ham and bring it home to do good things with. Here’s a lady cutting one of the hams. I wish I could send you that smell!
There are several bakeries, with pies and cakes and cookies, including shoo fly pie, a Pennsylvania Dutch favorite. People away from this area don’t know what that is. It’s delicious!
There are several meat vendors, and I buy a lot of my meat from them. Meat from animals raised as animals should be.
One vendor also has some pickles sold the way pickles used to be sold. You don’t see this many places any more.
That lady also sells lots of good jellies and other kinds of pickles in regular canning jar sizes, and lots of deli items. There is another place that has lots of hot foods: whole meals or just a side dish. There is also a vendor that sells different kinds of wrapped candy, and assorted bulk dried beans, nuts, rice and different types of flour.
There is a section of older Avon products, some costume jewelry dealers, and several others that sell all sorts of different non-food things. And one lady sells some amazing artisan soap. It smells so good and I’ve tried some and bought some for gifts.
And there is a produce vendor, who sells things he grows himself in season, and other produce off-season.
The market is an amazing place to spend a couple of hours, have lunch, take good things home to eat later, and just cruise around enjoying a small town farmer’s market. And it’s always busy there, and you’ll probably run into some people you know!
You might even see something you never saw before, if you don’t live in Pennsylvania Dutch country.
It’s a little hard to identify what that is, unless you already know what it is. It’s a hog maw, already stuffed. So, many would say, what is a hog maw? It’s a pig’s stomach, cleaned and the lining removed. It is stuffed and roasted. They are usually stuffed with sausage, potatoes, onions and lots of pepper, and some people add cabbage. The skin of the stomach gets crisp when its done. I don’t like other internal organs of animals, but a good hog maw is……a good hog maw! Some people are now saying ewwww, but it’s good stuff if you grew up in an area where people live closer to the earth. And we do here. And we’re thankful to have our Pennsylvania Dutch traditions and our Amish neighbors.