I know I have written all about my favorite food places in Lancaster, including the now famed “cheese tour” but I don’t think I’ve quite devoted enough time to talking about the wonders that lie within the town of Ephrata itself. A passerby may think Ephrata has lost some of it’s charm, after the closing of the famed Donecker’s complex, but if you look closely you will find there is still plenty of magic in this suburban town.
And what a better place to find magic than at a market named after a mythical beast- The Green Dragon. Located less than 2 miles away from the 1777 Americana Inn Bed and Breakfast, the Green Dragon Farmers Market & Auction has been a long standing staple to the Lancaster communities. Every time I pass by the market (which I for the longest time could have sworn was located off of 422 in Amity- it is not) I am filled with nostalgia. My mom often speaks about her experiences at the market 40ish years ago, when my grandfather would take her and her siblings there for a treat on Fridays after a long work week. I personally, have vague recollections of being drug through the market aisles, smelling the potent farmland air, and picking pumpkins; but what fills me with nostalgia is the simple green dragon totem that serves as the landmark to the famed market. No matter how much time passes, that notable green dragon stands tall on 272 and beckons people into its jaws every Friday from 9am-9pm.
So what is so magical about this Green Dragon, you ask? I’ll tell you, it’s all in the simple saying, “If you can’t buy it at Green Dragon, it chunst ain’t fer sale!” The 30 acre market features everything from “soup to nuts” and has been successfully operating since 1932. Farmers, crafters, food vendors, and merchants alike gather here every Friday and watch as 1,000’s of people stroll in and out of the outside and 7 inside market buildings. Recently the resilient market even survived a crippling fire to a very popular inside building, and within one week the Green Dragon community reopened its doors and flooded the vendors who lost their stands with support.
Now because you all tune into these crazy ramblings for advice on where to go and what to try, here are a few of my favorite “don’t miss” stands at The Green Dragon.
- Literally any of the produce stands- I tend to prefer the outside stands, but make sure you shop around and look for the best color, texture, and price on the fruits and veggies you are searching for! Best time of year to go to Green Dragon for produce in my opinion is during CORN season- you can get about 20 husks for 2 bucks, it’s amazing!
- Roseanne’s Stuffed Pretzel- this is a must try! Freshly baked Lancaster pretzels stuffed with anything your heart desires- steak and cheese, ruebens, ham and cheese, chicken cordon bleu and they are ONLY $3.00!!!
- Beiler’s ‘Taste of Home’ Bakery – STICKY BUNS…need I say more.
- Chef Tim’s Stand– This guy knows how to make the BEST sweet balsamic dressing!
- Meats and cheeses galore! Horseradish cheddar, beautiful fresh steaks, homemade jerky and incredibly tender sausages flood the aisles . . slow down to sample a few while you are there!
- The artisan crafts are of course not to be missed, there are hand crafted wood pieces, locally quilted rugs, candles, soaps, and toys for children of all ages.
What may be the only turn-off of this unyielding beast of a market you ask- over the past few years the outside portion of the market has seen an influx of penny merchants and wholesale vendors, while these may be useful and entertaining to some, I prefer to shy away from that particular section and focus my day on the local stands and people.
So, if you are staying at the 1777 Americana Inn B&B and it happens to be a Friday, I highly suggest you make your way up 272, witness the iconic Green Dragon landmark and follow the beast into one of the best farm markets around. Happy Shopping!