Lancaster East Side Market is a gathering place where members of the community offer their products and expertise to develop a sense of local pride and create a vibrant, family friendly space. Our vendors and volunteers are passionate about supporting small businesses in their mission to bring your family the very highest quality products. By hosting a weekly farmers market with live music, skillshares, and children’s activities, we provide a way for all residents to share the experience and shape the very special cultural identity of our city.
According to the City of Lancaster, the original Eastern Market operated from 1883 thru 1918. (Some sources cite dates as early as 1882 and as late as 1927.) It was one of the original Lancaster City Market houses which included: Northern, Eastern, Western, Southern, Fulton, West End and Arcade markets. Some of these buildings are still standing, including the historic Eastern and Southern market buildings.
In 2005, the Eastern Market building at 308 East King Street was purchased by Tabor Community Services. The following year they re-opened Eastern Market. Its mission was to provide community space and improve food access for an under-served neighborhood. Early champions that helped make this happen included Linda Aleci at Franklin and Marshall College’s Local Economy Center (LEC), Lancaster Buy Fresh Buy Local, the Threshold Foundation, Assets Lancaster, the Lancaster County Community Foundation, and Tabor’s East King Improvement District (EKID) project.
Early vendors were numerous. That list includes: A Loaf of Bread, True Expresso, Slow Rise Bakery, Rafiki Deli, Expressly Local, Lime Valley Produce, Abundant Earth Co-op, Lindendale Goat Cheese, Ornery Ladybug Farm, Gursha, Sweet Infinity, Bancroft Market, The Fed, Carmen & David’s Creamery, Homegrown Edible Landscaping Co., Kingston Caribbean, Shuey’s Hamburgers, Susquehanna Farm School, the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, Ma Tao Tea, MiLi’s Bakery, East Side Community Kitchen, Tamu Tamu Tropical Cuisine, Blue Rock Farm, Green Moon Farm, Farm Fromage Artisan Cheeses, and many others.
The first Market Manager of the contemporary Eastern Market was Fritz Schroder (2006-2008), then Jessica King (2008-2009), followed by Douglas Smith (2009-2010), David Fraile (2010-2012), and Cheryl Alvarez (2012-2015). In 2013 the vendors formed a board to begin managing the market themselves. These original members include Emma Kate Martin, Rachel de Vitry, Caitlin Brady, Lori Stahl, and Cheryl Alvarez. With the cooperation of the Musser Park Civic Association, this new board successfully relocated the market from King Street to Musser park in time for the 2014 season. The market was re-named East Side Market.
In 2016 the board changed over and Alvarez transitioned the Market Manager role to a new team consisting of Sarah McGahran, Thatcher Graham, and Rachel de Vitry. The market re-incorporated as Lancaster East Side Market, LLC. By the end of the season, McGahran had departed and Audrie Marsh de Vitry had joined and in the 2017 season Genevieve Slocum also joined the board. In 2018 year Genevieve rotated off the board but both Jeff Huffert and Carol Brooks volunteered to join our ranks.
We now stand at the threshold of the 2019 season, East Side Market’s 7th, 14th, or 137th year depending on how you prefer to count it.
Rachel de Vitry
Since 2006, Rachel has grown organic vegetables on farms both large and small throughout the state of Pennsylvania, utilizing mechanized and non-mechanized methods, intensive planting, and year-round growing techniques. This experience has been put to use managing her own small farm, Ornery Ladybug Farm, LLC., and overseeing two urban farms for Urban Tree Connection, based in Philadelphia, PA. Rachel is currently the Operations Manager at Kitchen Table Consultants and is a founding board member of Lancaster East Side Market.
Jeff Huffert & Carol Brooks
Jeff and Carol have been operating the Whistlestop Cafe for 9 years. Formerly a brick and mortar cafe on McGovern Avenue in Lancaster City, they have been vending at Lancaster East Side Market for 5 years. They are a proud addition to our board. Despite working a full time day jobs in addition to Whistlestop, and volunteering on the board, they both enjoy spending time with their grand kids.
Thatcher grew up on a farm in eastern Connecticut and moved to the Philadelphia area in 2003 after stops in New York City and Atlanta, GA. He moved to Lancaster in 2013. He has at different times been a public radio host, music promoter, music columnist, project manager, data analyst, booking agent, and a purchasing manager. He has been a volunteer at Lancaster East Side Market for 3 years and joined the board in 2016.