Sunday, August 3, 2008

Roadside Profits

Buy Fresh, Buy Local

The small town where I grew up had a brick a market building. On Saturdays, it housed local farmers selling their produce from behind whitewashed plank stalls with sea-green tops.

Tomatoes from Washington Borough, sweet corn from Hempfield—no need to squeeze or strip—it was all fresh and ready to eat. Refrigerated cases housed cuts of meat from local butchers. Eggs that were under chickens the day before sat on counters by the dozen. Neatly stacked in pressed cardboard cases, no factory labels, just the words ‘fresh eggs’. There was no truer advertising.

There were Utz potato chips, served warm in paper bags gritty with salt, and Hassebach’s soft pretzels. You can still get Utz chips in local groceries, but their not fresh from the fryers. And the soft pretzels? They were made by a very local mom–n–pop business that made nothing else. As it goes with most local flavors, they disappeared when the owners retired. My mother still mourns the pretzel vendors that would linger on the steps of the local banks and churches downtown. The warm pretzels wrapped in oil stained towels and stuffed in wicker baskets. You could get two for a quarter.

Buying local has become popular once again. But in Lancaster County I don't think it ever went out of style. The Central Market in Lancaster has been in operation since 1889, and if you keep your eyes open, you can still find a good road side stand.

I love local.

3 comments:

Joe said...

Though we had a farmers' market somewhere around here when I was a wee lad and still have one now on the public square on Thursdays, I remember even more fondly "the huckster" as he was called - the guy who brought a truck full of veggies through the neighborhood daily during the summer months. He had a warm twinkle in his eye unlike the evil looking rag man who also came around in a truck to buy up scrap cloth and to whom my grandma often threatened to sell me when I misbehaved. There was also a bakery truck, along with the milk man, the soda man, and "Hokey Pokey" the ice cream man competing for the neighbors' pennies. THAT was local - we didn't even have to leave the block.

Steve Williams said...

Reading about the UTZ potato chips reminds me that I want to take a ride to Hartley's and Middleswarth chip factories (?) to see if I can get in and sample some right out of the fryer.

I just love potato chips.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Sojourner rides said...

One of the pleasures of riding for this city girl is to get out of the city and head for the country roads to buy from farm stands and take in the simple pleasures of yore.