Travel: Shady Maple Farm Market, Lancaster County, PA
Shady Maple Farm Market sign
Novels of Amish Romance
If one lives near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, this name inevitably bubbles into conversations regarding authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. The Shady Maple Smorgasbord always garners high recommendations. However, the good folks who brought the world the smorgasbord restaurant created an equally marvelous food market. If you are vacationing anywhere near, it is worth a visit to the restaurant and to the supermarket.
FARM, not Farmers, Market
The official name is Shady Maple FARM Market. If a vision of a farmers’ market with plain, gray concrete floors and multiple booths each with its own cash register pops into mind, please erase it. This is not a conglomeration of slightly competitive independent vendors selling slightly overlapping farm products. This is NOT a farmers’ market. Instead, it is a gorgeous wide-aisled uncommon supermarket in a building updated and expanded in 2010.
One of the Foyers of the Farm Market
Super-Clean, Spacious, and Beautiful
Beauty in a food market? This never happened in my prior experiences with supermarkets. There are natural stone fountains bubbling on wall!
Peaceful Sound of Running Water
Mennonite Fung Shui
All the fountains and maple leaves in floor tiles and décor remind me of unique ethnic décor of the first Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. Not only is that a casino, it is an art museum and educational space. The Shady Maple Farm Market is not an art museum, but it is much more aesthetically pleasing than any other supermarket I’ve visited. I do not want to use the term ”designer décor”, because that conjures up visions of wealthy, trendy, interior decorator baloney. This market is visually pleasing – containing fountains and a maple leaf theme in the flooring and throughout the walls. In one corner, one even finds a re-creation of the maple trees under which the family market started.
Not surprisingly, the Shady maple Farm Market is immaculately clean – which is a hallmark of Mennonite culture. Is this Mennonite Fung Shui? The owners have created a very wholesome atmosphere. Employees are scrubbed-face and ever so helpful and kind. Many of the women employees wear knee-covering dresses and white lace prayer caps.
Tree Lovers' Delight inside the Market
Shady Maple Farm Market
if you are anywhere near, it is an amazing place!
- Music Destination: Cafe Waldorf in Reading PA
Live jazz musicians perform upstairs every Friday night at this American cuisine restaurant in Reading PA. The Cafe Waldorf is minutes from Berks Jazzfest venues, the Reading Royals, and the Reading Phillies.
- Farmers Markets in Berks County
In Berks County, PA, as real estate developers gobble up farmland to make housing tracts, townhouses and condos suburbs, the people clamor for old-fashioned Farmers' Markets. In recent years, many townships and boroughs are creating such markets.
History of the Shady Maple Farm Market
Members of the Martin family sold produce during the summers at a stand in front of their home, coincidentally under the shade of mature maple trees. In 1970, a daughter of the original Martins built a 65 by 65 foot square block building (4225 sq ft) to sell produce and groceries. She( Miriam) and her husband, Marvin Weaver, continued the business. Each following year saw successes requiring additions and expansions. By bicentennial year 1976, the farm market included an in-store bakery and the entire facility covered 45,000 square feet with ten cash registers and 130 employees. In 2009 major renovations began in the complex culminating in a grand re-opening of this fantastic facility in Sept 2010. It looks it!
Departments and Features
Special Pennsylvania Dutch foods that are made and sold include whoopee pie, shoefly pie, chicken pot pie and scrapple. Departments include Bakery, Bulk Foods, Dairy Products, Deli, Meats and Smoked Meats, Seafood, Gourmet, Grocery, Frozen Foods, Party Trays, Produce, Soup and Salad, and Pharmacy. Also, there is a small cafe adjoining the market.
A Cafe at the Market
The family lives by the motto: “Give the customer quality food and service and you will have a customer for life.” I will add that the prices are always reasonable, competitive and frequently the prices are an exceptional value ( lower than one expects.)
Additional kudos go to the Weavers for their commitment to green, earth-sustaining practices. They have installed solar photo-voltaic energy systems for their complex of market, smorgasbord, and shops. This renewable energy production reduces their carbon footprint.
From their website: “Ultimately, Marvin, Miriam, and their three married sons, Philip, Curtis, Linford, their wives and families (eleven grandchildren), give the Lord Jesus Christ the glory for any success that has been accomplished over the years.”
In keeping with their beliefs, everything at the Shady Maple complex is CLOSED ON SUNDAYS.
On-Line Shady Maple
Foods can be ordered on-line. The website is quite comprehensive:
And, it is certainly worth stopping by the physical market for a hands-on experience!
Photos and text copyright 2012 Maren E. Morgan, all rights reserved.