The Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market Thrives
Only two miles away from campus, The Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market has 54 vendors, including: hot food, seafood and sushi, baked goods, poultry, specialty foods, produce, deli, wines and spirits, meats and specialty shops. Vendors love the market because of its familial atmosphere, diverse selections and unique old-school vibe as well as the relationships they form with their customers.
“Every vendor has things that you can’t get from any other place,” Bill Steele, owner of Mr. Bill’s Poultry Market said. “And every vendor [has] secrets only people in-the-know are aware of. There’s things that we do only the regular customers know.”
Some vendors from the market include Amish Village Bake Shop, Amish Village Kitchen, Bee Lee Sushi, Clover Hill Winery, Country Pantry, Dave’s Vacuum Service, David’s Italian Market, Foods of the Mediterranean, Heffelfinger’s Coffee and Tea, Johnny’s Fresh Meats, Mink’s Candies, Mr. Bill’s Poultry Market, New York Pickle, The Olde Tyme Watch & Clock Shop, Two Sisters Café featuring Blondie’s Cupcakes and much more.
The Amish Village Kitchen and Bake Shop, both owned by Rosella Fisher, offers hot food as well as baked goods. They only use family recipes and are dedicated to their craft. They make their soup from scratch and hand-form their hamburger patties and sausages.
“We have real food,” Fisher said. “We love young people. Send them down and we’ll feed them.”
Margo Cottone, manager of David’s Italian Market, loves feeding people as well. She enjoys sharing their fresh, authentic Italian food to people who wouldn’t normally try it. Students can freeze their sauces, desserts and soups.
Jimmy Ghobrial, the owner and chef of Foods of The Mediterranean, alson wants to share his love of food with Cedar Crest students. He uses his grandmother’s family recipes to share his culture with the community and provides the community with healthy options while continuing his family legacy.
Chad Smucker, third-generation owner of Johnny’s Fresh Meats, also knows a lot about continuing a family legacy. His grandfather, Johnny, founded his business. They sell only western USDA Angus beef and their products can be frozen in freezer ready bags they provide.
“It’s all quality beef and pork products that we sell,” Chad Smucker, the third-generation owner, said. “Everything is cut here fresh every day.”
Two other options for high-quality meat are Mr. Bill’s Poultry Market and S. Clyde Weaver. Mr. Bill’s Poultry Market has been open since 1992 and only offers food they would serve to their own families. They love forming relationships with customers but also their local meat providers. They provide healthy and clean options as well as only premium meats, including duck. Their products can be frozen as well, which is convenient for students.
Steve Everett, the manager of S. Clyde Weaver, said he values customer relationships and trust as well. His sister-in law worked there before him and the business itself has been open since 1965. Everett said shopping at the market is one of the best shopping experiences a student can have. Most of their products are freezable, other than their mayo-based products.
“Come visit us,” Everett said. “See the Weaver way, or the market way, and form a relationship.”
For students over the age of 21, there are also places to get wine and beer at the market. Clover Hill Winery sells a variety of farm-to-table wines from grapes that are mostly grown locally. Clover Hill Concord Wine is the top selling local wine in Pennsylvania. Manager, Janet Gaston, stated she stands behind their wine because she feels really good about it. They’ve been in the market for over 20 years.
At The Proper Little Pub, beer is served along with traditional Irish and British meals. Jay Coleman, co-owner of The Proper Little Pub, also offers imported European goods at the market and believes in traditional hospitality. His co-owner sells goods online at britishfooddepot.com and customers can pick up orders at their shop if they put it in the remarks section during check-out.
The Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market is not only filled with various meat vendors and alcohol vendors. The market is so much more. There are many specialty shops students can enjoy. For all the coffee drinkers on campus, Heffelfinger’s Coffee and Tea is the place to go.
“We have great drinks, friendly service, [and] are very responsive to our customer’s needs,” Todd Heffelfinger, owner of Heffelfinger’s Coffee and Tea, said. “And it’s just a great place to shop at the market.”
Heffelfinger’s also sells various olive oils and dressings. Further away from Heffelfinger’s is Country Pantry. There you can buy different varieties of jellies, jams, and honey. Kim Stein, a Country Pantry employee, recommended students try their honey for its health aspects.
Another vendor that focuses on health is New York Pickle. New York Pickle provides customers with more than just pickles. Their products, such as their sauerkraut, pickled olives, have probiotics in them. They also sell farm-fresh eggs from Tamaqua and southwest salsa.
Next to New York Pickle, is Mink’s Candies. Buddy Mink, co-owner of Mink’s Candies, loves giving his customers a variety of candy to choose from. They sell over 300 types of candy and customers can pick and choose what they like. They are one of the only original vendors left from the original market building from the mid 50’s.
Right next to each other across from Mink’s Candies are Bee Lee Sushi and Two Sisters Café featuring Blondie’s Cupcakes. Ko Gay, owner of Bee Lee Sushi, handmakes her sushi every day so it’s fresh. She personally recommended the Shrimp Tempura Roll for Cedar Crest students.
Shawn Salter, manager of Two Sisters Café featuring Blondie’s Cupcakes, has been in the cooking field for over 30 years and has a passion for making people happy through food. He believes in his food and its consistent quality, like all the vendors in the market.
The market also offers services that are not related to food. Dave’s Vacuum Service has been in the market since 1961 and The Old Tyme Watch & Clock Shop has been open since 2002.
Dave Odenwelder of Dave’s Vacuum Service works with his son, Jeff. At their business, they will personalize your service before, during, and after the purchase, unlike the Internet. Both Odenwelders recommend buying German Miele vacuums because they are the best by far.
John Simone, owner of The Old Tyme Watch & Clock Shop, stated his shop specializes in a dying art and is always looking for people to train. He wants someone to continue to provide the needed service they’ve been giving the community.
The Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market, located at 1825 W Chew Street, is open every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. All the vendors hope Cedar Crest students stop by soon.