My first few weeks in State College were rough. I was a shy out-of-state kid with no friends and few acquaintances, so life was pretty lonely. One day, I was hopelessly wandering down College Ave. (probably trying to find Chipotle), when I stumbled upon the Farmers Market. I walked through the various stands and sifted through the produce until I came across this carton of raspberries. Using a combination of severely wrinkled dollars and spare change, I purchased the berries and proceeded to eat the entire container in one sitting.
Although it may seem trivial, those berries really made a difference to me that day. Sometimes it’s just the small things, you know? Ever since then, the State College Farmers Market has held a special place in my heart. Aside from raspberries, the State College Farmers Market features everything from fresh produce, baked goods, hot sauce, to even soaps. Every Tuesday and Friday, these vendors come to Locust Lane for a few hours to sell their goods. Here are just a few of the many vendors of the Farmers Market:
Sarah Berndt, Lacksmirk Manor
Specializing in house plants and perennials in the spring, Berndt has been participating in the market for five years. “I grow everything I sell thirty miles from here, so I have all the information for each of these plants,” said Berndt. As for her experience at the Farmers Market, Berndt has nothing but great things to say. “I love the students,” she said, “I love getting to meet people from all over.” Her flowers are so pretty, you know you want to carry them down College Ave and get jealous looks from everyone that passes by, yeah, they’re that good.
Dan Lowenstein, Red Hawk Premium Peppers
If fruits and vegetables aren’t really your style, Red Hawk Premium Peppers’ spicy sauces are definitely a must at the Tuesday Farmers Market. Lowenstein, a two time Penn State graduate, has created a variety of hot sauces by using peppers the company grows. One of the more creatively named sauces is called Grounds for Divorce, and there’s a pretty hilarious story behind it. Hot sauce, kisses, and martial antics ensue. But I really don’t do the story justice. I would encourage you to pay him a visit and ask him to tell you about it.
Tom Drake, Sweet Root Orchard
Drake started his three acre orchard in 2004 as a retirement project, and now sells ten varieties of apples from August to October at the Farmers Market. These beauts are super cheap too, about seventy-five cents per pound (which, if you’re wondering, is significantly cheaper than the price of apples at a normal grocery store). The apples are a sold as picked, so they might look a little rougher than you’re used to. But trust me, they are delicious. Tom was kind enough to give me a Golden Delicious apple to try, and it was like I picked it off the tree myself.
So whether you’re a lonely freshman who needs a produce pick-me-up or you just have a few extra dollars to spend on some delicious local produce, swing by the State College Farmers Market. Great food and even greater people, what more could you ask for?