On a Tuesday or Friday afternoon, it’s nearly impossible to walk downtown State College and miss the bouquets of wildflowers or bags of apples toted by the satisfied customers of the Farmer’s Market on Locust Lane. Each week, rain or shine, vendors appear at 11:30 a.m. and stay until 5:00 p.m. to sell their products.
From beautiful flowers to fresh salmon, the Farmer’s Market is a haven for fresh produce and other homemade wares, at astonishingly low prices. But what is that what keeps the masses flocking?
The Farmer’s Market vendors have a customer dedication that can’t be beat. For many vendors, the Farmer’s Market is crucial to their business, and keeping the customer happy is the name of the game.
“The Farmer’s Market it very important to us,” says Raymond Fisher, owner of
Spring Bank Acres farm, which produces milk, cheese, and vegetables. “It’s our main source of income.”
Many vendors share a similar outlook; Barrie Moser of Moser’s Garden Produce
wants customers to be comforted to “know where their food is coming from and to know the grower.” Vendors, therefore, are willing to go to much greater lengths than chain grocery stores employees, just to satisfy their customers.
When talking about quality of the Farmer’s Market products, “The main thing is that they’re chemical free and fresh. Which is a big issue as far as quality and taste goes,” says Fisher. This is huge in terms of health benefits, considering the customer can trust the produce hasn’t been treated with pesticides and is in its natural, unaltered form.
Plus, homegrown products just taste better. “Many of the things we bring are hours old so the freshness is something you can’t achieve anywhere else,” says Moser. Picking vegetables, especially tomatoes when they’re ripe, “gives them a more robust flavor,” says Fisher. So the vegetables will actually taste like…vegetables. Who knew?
Perhaps the biggest positive of the Farmer’s Market is the amazing low prices. Even if you aren’t a health nut, the allure of a bargain is hard to ignore with a college budget.
“I think you can save a lot of money,” says Sharon Way, the co-owner of Way
Fruit Farm. “For instance, Honey Crisps are almost $3.00 a pound at the grocery store and here they’re anywhere from a $1.50.”
This means customers pay half the grocery store price for better, fresher
products: talk about a win-win!
If you haven’t already, it’s time to make the Farmer’s Market a part of your weekly routine. With prices, freshness and unbeatable care, it’s a must for anyone looking to eat healthy while saving a couple bucks.