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Photo of a man giving a ham over a counter to a young boy
Jacob H. Thomas gives a ham to 3-year-old Billy Hess, 1946

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Central Market in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
A Local Legacy

You've probably been to a supermarket more times than you can remember. But have you ever been to a market where the people who produce the food are the ones who sell it?

Lancaster's Central Market is one of the oldest continuously operating public farmer's markets in the nation. For 270 years, the people of Lancaster have come to the central market square area to buy foods from local growers and producers. People began meeting here to sell and shop in the 1730s. The current building used for the market, called the Central Markethouse, was built in 1889.

Nowadays we are used to visiting the local supermarket to buy fruit from California or meat from Chicago. In Colonial times, people had to eat whatever was available to them locally. In the winter, they ate root vegetables such as turnips and onions, rather than tomatoes or green peppers, which were only available in the summer. Today, people still like to seek out locally grown food for its freshness and taste.

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