Good Life

Spring brings local farmers markets back outdoors

Ardry Farms displays fresh radishes and onions for sale on Tuesday at the Boalsburg Farmers Market at the Pennsylvania Military Museum.
Ardry Farms displays fresh radishes and onions for sale on Tuesday at the Boalsburg Farmers Market at the Pennsylvania Military Museum.

A parking lot in spring is a most wondrous place.

How strongly you feel about the above statement will directly correlate to your appreciation for homemade donuts and white potatoes. Come to think of it, an unspoken fondness for large tents probably couldn’t hurt either.

It was still a solid half-hour before the Boalsburg Farmers Market was scheduled to open on Tuesday in the Pennsylvania Military Museum parking lot. Jason Turnipseed had already fired up a small brick pizza oven next to the Gemelli Bakers booth — you know, just in case the idling assortment of pound cakes, ciabattas and apple turnovers already on the table didn’t do the trick.

“We’ve brought about 15 rack-loads of bread and each rack holds about 12 loaves,” Turnipseed said.

In addition to Boalsburg, Gemelli Bakers maintains a presence at three other Centre County farmers markets — Millheim, North Atherton and the one in downtown State College.

Turnipseed has occasionally left the museum parking lot with nothing but a single basket of goods tucked under his arm. He attributes that success in part to the fact that farmers markets are kind of having a moment.

“It’s hip, it’s cool and it’s perceived as pretty healthy,” Turnipseed said.

Samantha Ardry, one of the co-owners of Ardry Farms, thinks that people might just be anxious to get their hands on latest from nature’s fruit and vegetable line this season.

Some of the most popular draws — like strawberries — won’t arrive until summer.

“Once June hits it’s like wall to wall people. It’s really exciting,” Ardry said.

A fourth generation family farm, Ardry sells produce to major grocery chains like Wegmans and Giant. Farmers markets like the one in Boalsburg give them a chance to cut out the middleman and interact directly with the customer.

“It’s a weird way to meet people but it’s a great way to meet people,” Ardry said.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

Bellefonte Farmers Market

Hours: 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays

Location: Gamble Mill parking lot, 160 Dunlap St., Bellefonte

Boalsburg Farmers Market

Hours: 2-6 p.m. Tuesdays

Location: Pennsylvania Military Museum parking lot, 51 Boal Ave., Boalsburg

Downtown State College Farmers Market

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fridays

Location: Locust Lane off College Ave

Lemont Farmers Market

Opens: May 31

Hours: 2-6 p.m. Wednesdays

Location: 133 Mount Nittany Road, Lemont

Millheim Farmers Market

Hours: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays

Location: 112 Legion Lane, Millheim

North Atherton Farmers Market

Hours: 10 a.m-2 p.m. Saturdays

Location: Home Depot parking lot, 2615 Green Tech Drive, State College