Lancaster's Central Market, the nation's oldest (1730s) publically owned, continuously operated farmers market, is changing its rules - and not everyone is equally happy about it. The non-profit Central Market Trust, which was formed a year ago to take over management of the Central Market from the city, has decided to enforce the hours that standholders will be open for business.
The present Central Market building, built in 1889, is pictured here to the right of the Heritage Museum. The market's hours have traditionally been 6:00 am to 4:00 pm Tuesdays and Fridays, and 6:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturdays.
Standholders had up until now been allowed a certain amount of leeway in their own hours, depending on their customers' buying patterns. Now, the Central Market Trust is planning to enforce those hours for the benefit of the public.
A few standholders, not wanting to get up at the crack of dawn, are planning to retire or sell their stands to newcomers. Others are thinking about what they could add to their inventories to justify the newly enforced hours with increased business.
Along with the traditional farm market produce, meats, baked goods, crafts and flowers, some newer products are making their way into the market - like home made soy candles and ethnic foods. If you're downtown Lancaster on a Tuesday, Friday or Saturday, stop in at the Central Market - it's rated as one of the best farmers markets in the country!