‘Rad’ weather doesn’t spoil market’s opener

By on May 25, 2016
Radishes thrive in cool, wet weather, so it's been a great spring for the crunchy salad staple, even though the rest of us have been rooting for a little more sun and warmth. Still, the rainy morning of May 21 didn't dampen the spirit of fans of the Lititz Farmers Market, which is now open for the season. This week's forecast looks to be a bit brighter. Photo by Laura Knowles.

Radishes thrive in cool, wet weather, so it’s been a great spring for the crunchy salad staple, even though the rest of us have been rooting for a little more sun and warmth. Still, the rainy morning of May 21 didn’t dampen the spirit of fans of the Lititz Farmers Market, which is now open for the season. This week’s forecast looks to be a bit brighter. Photo by Laura Knowles.

It was a soggy morning for the opening day of Lititz Farmers Market on Saturday as a steady crowd braved the showers and came out anyway.

“I don’t really mind too much. Everything is covered and it’s just so nice to be back at market for the season,” said Susan Stoltzfus of Susan’s Garden Patch, who has had her stand at the market since it opened nine years ago.

She sells a variety of freshly grown produce, baked goods, noodles, jams, relishes, honey, and handmade fry pies. As a charter member of the market, she enjoys seeing her regulars return for a new season.

“It’s wonderful to see everyone, and to see all the new faces at market. Can’t let a little rain spoil it,” she added.

Bretta’s Breads. Photo by Laura Knowles.

Bretta’s Breads. Photo by Laura Knowles.

Aunt Mary. Photo by Laura Knowles.

Aunt Mary. Photo by Laura Knowles.

In addition to Stoltzfus, veteran vendors of the a market include Bretta’s Breads (formerly Two Ladies Baking), Charles Family Farm, Sugar Whipped Bakery, Thom’s Bread, My Aunt Mary’s pasta sauces, Wish Café, and McCall’s Ferry Farm.

Opening day was a foodie festival with international flair, as some of the newcomers offered tasty dishes from Laos, Burkina Faso in West Africa, the Middle East, France and Italy. Handmade pima cotton and alpaca knitted clothing from Peru were also being sold.

“We have lots of new things here at market, and I hope everyone comes out to support out local farmers, chefs and artisans,” Kelly Withum of Venture Lititz said. “And it looks like the rain is slowing up a bit.”

It did eventually stop around 11 a.m., with another hour to go.

Rain or shine, there is plenty to savor at market.

Isabelle Warfel of Isabelle Cuisine brought the flavors of West Africa with tasty offerings like creamy chicken peanut soup, West African rice balls with a fragrantly spiced coconut sauce, curry chicken mango salad, and curried black bean soup. Many of her recipes came from her homeland of Burkina Faso, and the sauce for the rice balls was a family recipe. She also had French crepes and fresh fruit stuffed French toast with crispy bacon.

“I love to cook, and this is my first time at Lititz Market. I am hoping to start a business,” she said. “Things are going very well.”

Jen Erickson was also getting a good response for her new market stand, TropiPop. She had refreshing homemade frozen pop treats in unique flavors like honeydew basil, cucumber fennel, strawberry kiwi lemon, and rhubarb elderberry. Her daughter, who lives in Florida, had suggested the frozen pop business, since it was all the rage in the Sunshine State.

Even in Pennsylvania on a rainy day, the frozen treats were a fresh take on locally grown produce and herbs.

Street food like Asian egg rolls and fried rice were combined with Caribbean-inspired empanadas at Banana Blossom food truck, also in its first year at market. Shaina and Keng Lo, originally from Laos, were offering tasty walking-around food, like the egg rolls filled with Asian vegetables and the empanadas with chicken or beef. They used to have a stand at the Leola market, and decided to open their stand in Lititz after the Leola market closed.

Andrew Harrison of Amarath Bakery. Photo by Laura Knowles.

Andrew Harrison of Amarath Bakery. Photo by Laura Knowles.

Andrew Harbison was another newcomer at Lititz Market, working at Kristen Ippolito’s Amarath Bakery stand. Amarath Bakery specializes in gluten-free breads, rolls, cakes, cookies, chocolates, cupcakes, and flat breads. There were also vegan and dairy-free items.

Harbison said that he and his wife Ashley became big fans of the bakery since she has celiac disease and cannot digest gluten. The gluten-free options made it possible for people to enjoy breads, cakes and other baked goods that were once off limits.

Amos Miller and his son Ephraim were all about goats at their new Misty Creek stand. The local farmers raise the animals, and their stand showed that goat’s milk has many tasty and healthful uses. A array of goat’s milk, and a few cow’s milk cheeses, included gouda, colby, and smoked varieties. Kidchego was a goat’s milk variation of Spanish Manchego cheese. There were even creamy goat’s milk caramels.

Misty Creek also offers a soothing selection of goat’s milk soaps and lotions in herb scents.

Across the way, Blue Spruce Farm from Myerstown was also making its market debut with an abundance of produce like potatoes, peas, blueberries, strawberries, onions and more. Melisa Weaver was assisted by her two young sons, Henry and Westin. She was also selling mustards, dressings and sauces using recipes from her late mother-in-law Thelma Weaver.

Woodcrest Daylilies was new on the Lititz Farmers Market scene with locally grown flowers that were getting ready to bloom into an array of colors and patterns.

“This is a new business from our garden on Woodcrest Avenue,” said Michele Bingham and Denise Freeman, who grow some 500 varieties of day lilies. “They are a good hardy plant, and they are beautiful.”

Twisted Sisters Ice Cream was premiering with Leiby’s premium ice cream in six flavors which will change from week to week. On Saturday, their offerings included salty caramel truffle and mint chocolate chip. The two “twisted” sisters are Janelle Carper and Tina Geiger. They added that they are just two of the sisters among siblings that total four sisters and two brothers. And they love ice cream.

Luisa Tapia, who has a shop called My Peruvian Treasures at 119 B N. Broad St., Lititz, offered soft cotton clothing, alpaca sweaters, accessories and embroidered items from her homeland of Peru. She is a fashion designer who started her business to help support the artisans of Peru with fair trade opportunities.

The rest of the opening day line-up included Bretta’s Breads with sticky buns, breads and baked goods; Thom’s Breads with rosemary olive oil bread, chocolate boule and more; Grumpy Bear Granola with sweet and savory granolas; Sugar Whipped Bakery with muffins and baked oatmeal; and Global Kitchen with quiche, hummus, bruschetta, and more.

Charles Family Farm had fresh produce. Aunt Mary’s pasta sauce was back with Mary Gambale’s original marinara and her new spicy sauce. Wish Café teamed up with Wise Oak Herbs for a selection of teas, spices and herbs. McCall’s Ferry Farm had pasture-raised beef, pork and farm-fresh eggs.

Matt Wenger and Jeff Bragg. Photo by Laura Knowles.

Matt Wenger and Jeff Bragg. Photo by Laura Knowles.

Matt Wenger and Jeff Bragg entertained the crowd by playing acoustic guitars and singing in the rain, with songs by Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan.

“Even in the rain, it’s a great day to come out and enjoy market,” Withum said. “But we are hoping for some sunshine next Saturday.”

Lititz Farmers Market will be open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, now through Oct. 16. The market is located in the parking lot on North Water Street, now owned by BB&T Bank, previously Susquehanna Bank.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes reader feedback at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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