In Westmoreland County
by Karen Fetter
Over the years, the popularity of farmers’ markets has grown significantly.
People want to know where their food is grown and want it
fresh. Westmoreland County residents are fortunate because there are
thriving farmers’ markets in the area providing seasonal produce on a weekly
One of the largest groups of agricultural vendors is the Central
Westmoreland Farmers’ Market. This is a cooperative of vendors in the
greater Greensburg area which provides four different farmers’ markets
throughout the week. Paul Sarver, the owner of Sarver Hill Farm in
Greensburg, leads the group and coordinates the markets. Paul has been
involved with the association since 1991, but has participated in farmers’
markets since their inception in the 1970s.
The season for farmers’ markets begins in April and lasts through the
beginning of November.
While the vendors mainly provide seasonal produce such as fruit and
vegetables, they also offer other products such as baked goods, jellies,
honey, sauces, and other seasonal items.
Four Central Westmoreland Farmers’ Markets
- The first farmers’ market is held on Tuesday afternoons from 3 p.m.
to 6 p.m. in the Westmoreland Museum of American Art's parking lot on
North Main Street in downtown Greensburg.
- The second farmers’ market is held Thursday afternoons from 3 p.m.
to 6 p.m. at Sarver’s Farm along Route 66 North. This particular
farmers’ market doesn’t begin until July, but will last into November.
- The third farmers’ market is held Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to
12 noon at Lynch Field Parking lot on Rt. 819 North by the Kirk S. Nevin
- The fourth farmers’ market also takes place at Teddy’s Restaurant
along Route 30 W in North Huntingdon on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to
Enjoying Seasonal Produce
According to Paul Sarver, people interested in learning about farmers’
markets need to learn about the experience of eating local, seasonally grown
“No one can say that they can’t tell the difference between a fresh
tomato and one that is bought out of season in a grocery store. There is no
comparison,” said Sarver.
While grocery stores offer a wide selection all year long, such produce
is often shipped over large distance, even from foreign countries. That
often means the food needs to be grown with shipping requirements in mind,
not freshness or taste. When produce is refrigerated and shipped long
distances, it loses its flavor and vitality.
Fresh, local produce can only be harvested at certain times of year and
then it is over, making the experience of succulent, flavorful fruits and
vegetables a precious treat. For example, strawberries and blueberries are
available in June, tomatoes are ready in July and August, and apples are
harvested in September and October.
“Our stuff comes right out of the fields. We pick it and bring it
right to market,” said Sarver.
Healthy Fruits and Vegetables, Fresh from the Farm
What has increased the popularity of farmers’ markets is that people are
more health conscience and they want a closer, more personal connection with
the farmers who are growing their food.
Paul Sarver of Sarver Hill Farm explains, “People are busy and live in a
hectic world. It is hard for them to grow their own food. Farmers’ markets
get them as close to “home grown” produce as possible. But it isn’t just
about shopping for weekly groceries. Friendships develop and farmers’
markets help build a sense of community,” said Sarver.
With such a focus on healthy fruits and vegetables, fresh from the farm,
some market goers experience withdrawal during the winter months when the
market closes. Some serious customers will commute into Pittsburgh to try
to extend the season, but the freshness is still not the same. Sarver tries
to extend the local markets as much as possible into November to accommodate
The Central Westmoreland Farmers’ Market vendors also participate
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which allows people to buy
subscriptions to receive a basket of produce that is in season each week.
The program lasts about 20 weeks and involves 110 families.
Farmers Markets in Latrobe and Ligonier
The Latrobe Farmers’ Market
In addition to the Central Westmoreland Farmer’s Market, there are also
highly popular markets in Latrobe and Ligonier.
The Latrobe Farmers’ Market takes place on Tuesday afternoon from Noon
until 4 p.m. under the sponsorship of Latrobe Community Revitalization
organization headed by director Annette Couch.
The Latrobe Market is located at the Legion Keener parking lot in downtown Latrobe. The vendors offer
fresh produce, crafts, prepared foods, and more. Vendors have to make it,
bake it, or create it to participate in the market. This year the number of
vendors increased to 29! Lunchtime at the market is also increasing in
popularity due to all the tasty foods offered.
“This has become a community event where people come to interact with
each other. It also helps promotes a healthy lifestyle with farm fresh
produce. How can you beat it?” said Annette Couch.
This is the sixth season for the market and it holds a steady
customer base. In addition, every other week there is a contest through the
local newspaper, the Latrobe Bulletin. Contestants clip out the Farmers’
Market ad from the newspaper and bring it to the market for a chance to win
a local restaurant gift certificate.
The Latrobe Farmers’ Market continues weekly through October 23, 2012.
The Ligonier Country Market
One of the most widely known farmers’ markets is the Ligonier Country
Market that takes place every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the Loyalhanna
Watershed Farm near the intersection of West Main Street and U.S. Route 30
This market has over 100 vendors offering a wider selection than the
typical farmers’ market. Vendors sell fresh picked produce, a wide variety
of flowers from annuals to perennials to fresh cut arrangements, farm beef,
poultry and eggs, along with specialty breads, pastries, hot cooked foods,
honey, and maple syrup. Also available are handmade crafts including
jewelry, purses, country crafts, wood items, pet items, dog treats, and
In addition, each week there is different special guest featured. Some
guests appearing for the 2012 season include the Penn State Extension
Service offering tips on canning and freezing your Market produce, the
Riverside Players, the Cigar Box Guitars by Speale, Celtic Fiddle by Terry
Greene, Westmoreland Botanical Society, and Edible Allegheny Magazine.
The Ligonier Country Market began in 1976 when Ligonier was celebrating
its bicentennial. There were just 12 vendors set up that year, but their
enthusiasm more than made up for their small numbers. These founding
vendors moved forward to incorporate the market as a non-profit organization
,and it has only grown since then. There are fifteen volunteer members of
the board, a paid manager, and an operations manager that help make it so
Despite the fact that the site for the market has changed several times,
it has not changed its appeal to the customers or vendors. This has made
the Ligonier Country Market one of the oldest and largest farmers’ market in
Farmers Markets in Jeannette and Mount Pleasant
Other markets of note include Jeannette Farmers’ Market on the 500
block of Clay Ave. from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, and the Mount Pleasant
Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays from 1 -6 p.m. in Memorial Square on Main
No matter where you live in Westmoreland County, take the
opportunity this summer to enjoy fresh, locally grown produce and visit one
of these Farmers’ Markets today!
Make a change, eat healthier
and support your local farmers' market!
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