Foodie on the Half Shell: Pittsburgh farmers' markets


Photo: Olivia Beals

You may think that farmers’ markets in Pittsburgh will be closed now that summer is over, but that is incorrect! Most farmers’ markets actually go into November, selling fall favorites, such as pumpkins and apples.

Farmers’ markets are not just a place to go and buy produce; they are also a great place to buy local products such as organic beauty products, baked goods, and fresh pasta. I love going to the markets all around the city to see new business ideas and catch great deals on incredible goods. My favorite markets are Lawrenceville’s, East Liberty’s, and the North Side’s because of their size and the vast amount of unique vendors.

Lawrenceville’s market is unique in the sense that they have specially placed the market in the middle of the neighborhood where there aren’t accessible groceries stores in walking distance. By placing the market there, it allows people who do not have easy means of transportation in the area to buy reasonably priced food near their home. One of the cool features of this market is its broad range of quality vendors, like A519 Chocolate, which makes artfully decorated chocolates and colorful macaroons; and Fallen Aspen Farm, which brings fresh chicken and duck eggs every week. Lawrenceville’s farmers’ market is open every Saturday until Halloween from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Closest to Chatham’s campus is East Liberty’s market, which is easily one of the largest. You can come here and buy veggies and fruit from at least ten different vendors that range from your basic carrots and tomatoes, to the farms that are selling unique items like romanesco and purple bell peppers. Even if you aren’t looking to buy a bunch of veggies, it’s a great place to wander around and maybe get an all-organic basil lemonade slushy (best lemonade I’ve ever had). East Liberty’s farmers’ market is open every Monday until Thanksgiving week from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

North Side’s market is my favorite because it’s in my neighborhood and my favorite farm crew, Freedom Farms, is there. If you know anything about Freedom Farms then you know that they had a TV show, that their produce is incredible, and that you won’t find better looking farmers. Seriously, though, these “farmers” look like movie stars, just with a little more dirt under their nails. You can also get some amazing snacks at this market such as kettle corn and some of the best gyros and pepperoni rolls that the world has to offer. I’ll even go here for dinner, sometimes! North Side’s farmers’ market is open every Friday until Thanksgiving week from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Farmers’ markets are booming here in Pittsburgh, which is a great sign for businesses, farmers, and even customers. Fresh and local food is more important than one can imagine. The nutritional density of fresh food is so much more than frozen or canned foods, and the impact that buying local has on the environment and the economy is incredible. Taking a little extra time to check out these accessible markets can make a huge difference to the businesses in our city and to your own health.