Local Farmers Markets and Farm Stands in Erie
Supporting local farmers and businesses never tasted so good
There are few greater pleasures than cutting into a fresh tomato, taking home blueberries at their peak, or biting into a local ear of sweet corn slathered in butter. Though the growing season in Erie is brief, it makes these moments all the more exciting. As August arrives, so does the summer harvest. It is the perfect time to take advantage of all the fresh produce local farmers and gardeners have to offer. Luckily, the city and surrounding county offer many farmers markets and farm stands for a variety of budgets, as well as other activities and live music for everyone to enjoy.
Lake Erie Arboretum hosts the LEAF Open Market biweekly on Saturdays from June through September on the Eighth Street side of Frontier Park. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. visitors can check out a wide range of diverse fruits and vegetables, oils, honey, baked goods, art, and other locally-made products. Werner Books, one of the local businesses vending at the market, also presents a storytime for kids at 11 a.m. and noon.
The Downtown Farmers Market provides residents with fresh fruits and vegetables every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Perry Square (601 State St.), with a chance to enjoy performances by local musicians at noon. Patrons are encouraged to use their SNAP/EBT and FMNP vouchers as well. David Tamulonis of Erie Downtown Partnership describes the market as part of their mission "to utilize our public spaces to their fullest potential and make Downtown Erie a safe, fun, and welcoming place for all to enjoy." The market will continue to showcase a variety of local businesses and farmers through Labor Day.
This farmers market in North East is a great option for residents outside of the city. Vendors and local farmers gather at Gibson Park (at the intersection of Lake and Main streets) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays to showcase fresh fruits and vegetables, dry goods, artisanal crafts, and art. They often host special events like flea markets and book swaps alongside the regular farmers market.
The Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network (SSJNN) holds this market every Monday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 331 W. 18th St. in the Little Italy neighborhood. The goal of the market is to "incentivize healthy eating and help stretch food budgets for individuals and families," according to their website. From the end of June to the end of September, the market provides fruits and vegetables from the SSJNN Urban Farm Project, grown by teenagers from the neighborhood, as well as goods from other local farms. On the last Monday of each month they offer special events including music, children's activities, and other non-food vendors. The market provides dollar-to-dollar matches for vouchers such as SNAP, WIC, and FMNP (Farmers Market Nutrition Program).
The folks from Our West Bayfront are continuing the farmers market aspect of their weekly July West Bayfit events at Bayview Park (West Second and Cherry) through August. Local produce from Burch Farms will be available on Wednesdays through Aug. 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. A free $5 voucher is available to anyone 18 and over each week. Visit the Our West Bayfront tent during the markets to learn more and sign up for the voucher.
A budget-friendly option is the Parade Street Fresh Food Farm Stand, run by co-founders and local farmers Stephanie Ciner and Stephanie Thauer. The farmstand opens every Tuesday through October from noon to 3 p.m. on East 15th and Parade streets. The farmstand employs a Pay-What-You-Can model, accepts FMNP vouchers, and provides produce from local farms and gardens, including the founders' own Wild Field Urban Farm and Raintree Farms. Ciner states that the farm stand was created to mitigate the lack of access to fresh and healthy foods in the neighborhood. "Wealth shouldn't be the only entryway to having good food."
This pop-up market will be held on Aug. 2, 16, and 30 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 650 East Ave., featuring local produce from farms and gardens. This stand also operates through a Pay-What-You-Can model. According to their website, the market was created to provide the neighborhood with better access to fresh food.
Grow and Glow Urban Collective
This Pay-What-You-Can stand will provide locally-grown produce to residents every other Thursday from noon to 2 p.m. starting Aug. 10 at 2304 Parade St.
Edinboro Community Farm Stand
Take what you need, give what you can, and pay it forward with your own extra homegrown produce. This pay-what-you-can farm stand serves the Edinboro area and is organized by the folks at Raintree Farms and Wild Field Urban Farm. This local produce stand is set up at Unity in Edinboro at 130 Meadville Street from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Monday through October.