Farmers on the Square: tradition in the heart of Carlisle

Carol Etzel, Magazine Editor-in-Chief

At precisely 3:00 pm every Wednesday, a bell is rung in Carlisle’s town square. This tradition dates back to the seventeenth century, signaling the opening of the farmer’s market.

The smell of delicious food and live music attracts people from all backgrounds to Farmers on the Square. The market is open from 3:00 to 7:00, rain or shine. Customers can buy fresh vegetables, meats, bread, eggs, desserts, drinks and more that are all producer-made within the community.

Farmers markets are held all over the country, but there’s something special about the weekly gathering in Carlisle.

All of the vendors must live in a 50 mile radius from the town square, so everything being sold is truly local. There are not many other markets in America that can live up to such standards.

Not only does the market have a good atmosphere and product selection, but it also has a rich history. The first farmer’s market held in the square dates back to 1751. From the very beginning, the markets were always held on Wednesdays.

According to Ann Light, a former Market Manager with four years of experience, “There is a strong understanding in the community about supporting local agriculture.”

People in the community know the value in choosing healthy, local foods and many buyers continue to return every week.

The market is located at 2 North Hanover Street, directly in the center of town. Noise and lack of parking can sometimes be a problem. However, current Market Manager Julie Lesman believes even with these challenges, “it’s more of an advantage to be downtown.”

Due to its location and quality products, she notes that it’s important to see “people of different socioeconomic groups” come together. The market is a great chance to see the diversity in our town while also supporting local farmers.

However, the cooler weather will impact location for the late fall/winter.  On November 2, Farmers on the Square moves to Dickinson’s Project Share building for the winter season. Their hours will be 3:00 to 6:00.