Farmers’ Market Dining: Enjoying Breakfast & Lunch at Area Farmers’ Markets
by Angela Bristow
Summer is here and many people are bringing home the bounty of fruits and vegetables to be found at area farmers’ markets. But one of farmers’ markets best kept secrets is they are a great place for breakfast or lunch. The variety of seasonal, often organic, food and ethnic flare will amaze even the most finicky foodie.
Emmaus Farmers’ Market
This outdoor farmers’ market held in the parking lot of the National Penn Bank, 235 Main Street, runs on Sundays.
Food from the approximately 26 vendors can be enjoyed at picnic tables and chairs set up for the market. The Emmaus Market has vendors such as Switchback Pizza Company which brings their own brick oven.
“The Flour Shop makes paninis and soups, and they use a lot of the local ingredients from the local farms. They have bakery treats, too,” said Steve Shelly, president of the Emmaus Farmers’ Market. BAD Farm brings their homemade yogurts; Lemon Tree Lane Kitchen offers fresh salads; Eat This makes a variety of jams and marmalades; and Easton Salsa sells prepared salsas.
Once you’ve selected your food, you’ll need a beverage. Be sure to stop by Backyard Beans Coffee Company for hot, cold, or on-tap cold coffee. Wine is available by the bottle or glass from Blue Mountain Winery.
“It’s a produce-only market, so people there produce their own actual products,” said Shelly.
See them on the web at emmausmarket.com.
Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market
With over 60 stands, the indoor Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market, at 1825 Chew Street, has been operating for 63 years. “When you go to a stand you’re usually meeting the owner. So they take more pride in what they’re doing because they want you to come back. It’s all handmade, homemade stuff,” said Laurie Wuchter, who co-owns the market with her husband Daniel Sr.
A sampling of the vendors you will find at the Allentown market, include Stark Juice where customers can enjoy raw, cold-pressed juices such as The Fuzzy Carotene. Once you have your beverage, you may want to stop by Lil Miss Organic which offers items from organic and gluten-free cakes to portabella mushroom pizzas. Other savory stands include Dan’s Bar-B-Que, where you can find everything from chicken, ribs, and pork to vegetables, sweet potatoes, and chicken pot pie.
If you’re looking for more of an ethnic taste, check out Loan’s Authentic Vietnamese Bistro for traditional pho soup and rice pancakes. Or perhaps stop by Foods of the Mediterranean, where kibbeh, tabouli, and gyros will tantalize your taste buds. Customers can also enjoy Mexican and Spanish food at Sweets Grill & More where you’ll find everything from tacos to guava juice. Bee Lee Sushi has a full line of sushi from crunchy crab to salmon.
Sandwiches, salads, and paninis of every variety can be found at Mariam’s Café, Two Sisters Bagels, Billy’s Pretzel Wrap & Fried Chicken, and Billy’s Seafood & Ribs, that also offers tasty items such as coconut shrimp.
Bring your appetite if you check out Bada Bingg where you can get breakfast and lunch. With sandwiches such as the three-meat Big Pig, no one is going home hungry.
Among the many vendors offering baked goods, Mary Ann Donut Kitchen has “probably the best donuts in the United States …,” Wuchter said.
Open Thursday through Saturday, you can check out their website at fairgroundfarmersmkt.com for exact hours.
Easton Farmers’ Market
On the other side of the Lehigh Valley, you’ll find America’s oldest open-air market, the Easton Farmers’ Market. Held at the Centre Square, it draws about 3,500 people each Saturday.
“One of the benefits of buying food at the [farmers’] markets is that you are supporting local farms and entrepreneurs at the same time,” said Megan McBride, Easton Market District Director.
With 35 vendors at the Easton Farmers’ Market, foodies can follow the tantalizing smells coming from a variety of stands. Full of Crepe, purveyors of both sweet and savory crepes, makes seasonal ingredient crepes, and offers vegan and gluten-free options.
The Sycamore Grille has gastronomic delights such as breakfast burritos, grilled cheese of the week, a beef slider, salads, fritters, and fresh lemonades with strawberries or peaches as the season changes.
New to the Easton Farmers’ Market is the State Café & Grill. Here hungry patrons can enjoy breakfast sandwiches, grilled zucchini and cheese, or a BLT. They team up with Breakaway Farms for their organic, pasture-raised meats.
The Aladdin Middle Eastern stand makes foods such as falafel sandwiches, a grilled garlic chicken sandwich on pita, tabouli, and smeed.
Among the bakery stands, you’ll find the Flour Shop Bakery where you can get a pear, bacon, and brie crostini or a spinach and cheese croissant.
Fieldstone Coffee Roasters & Tea offers both hot and cold coffee along with their locally sourced teas.
With a similar community and local-source vibe is the nearby indoor Easton Public Market. Six of the 10 vendors are restaurant oriented. Food lovers can find stands such as Mister Lee’s Noodles and the Texas barbeque specialist, More Than Q. Some of the vendors at the Easton Farmers’ Market also have stands in the Easton Public Market.