Left at the Fork

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Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market, Allentown PA

REVIEW

We tend to think of farmers markets as a source for locally grown tomatoes and corn, sweet and pristine berries picked that morning, and root vegetables still caked with moist soil. So a farmers market in Pennsylvania steel and coal country, in December, would turn up little of interest, right? Not so!

The pierogi are as good as they look.

The pierogi are as good as they look.

The Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market is a meat-eater’s mecca, a carnival for carnivores, a festival of flesh, a … well, you get the idea, there’s some good meat to be found here. Particularly interesting is the selection of various locally processed and smoked meats. We picked up some of the meatiest slab bacon we’ve ever seen (cooked, it was extraordinary), along with an assortment of the local ring bologna.

Doughnuts are twisted into the classic Pennsylvania folding-arms pretzel shape.

Doughnuts are twisted into the classic Pennsylvania folding-arms pretzel shape.

There are regional specialties like souse and scrapple, all homemade. Even for area residents familiar with the blocks of Habbersett scrapple sold in supermarkets, it is fascinating to see all the different varieties of scrapple available here, along with arcana like liver pudding and sliced tripe and homemade headcheese.

We sliced this bacon thick and cooked it slow. It was almost all meat, smoky and sweet.

We sliced this bacon thick and cooked it slow. It was almost all meat, smoky and sweet.

There’s plenty to eat on the spot, too. We had some warm, homemade pierogi with sautéed onions from a stand that also sold some of the most tempting chicken pies imaginable. Savory pies, not just chicken but corn and cheese also, are to be found all over the market, as is that sweet local specialty, shoofly pie.

These two ring bolognas came from different stands. The one on top is a garlic ring. Excellent warmed with cheese and mustard and bread.

These two ring bolognas came from different stands. The one on top is a garlic ring. Excellent warmed with cheese and mustard and bread.

We saw some incredible-looking giant stuffed pork chops, two bones thick and softball-shaped, cooked and ready for devouring then and there, or to cook at home. Generous samples of the butchers’ wares are available too, and it’s fun tasting and learning about the differences between the various smoked sausages and ring bolognas.

There's a mind-boggling assortment of various loaves made from various pig parts.

There’s a mind-boggling assortment of various loaves made from various pig parts.

There’s much, much more available: homemade jams and jellies (we picked up some locally prepared horseradish), bakeries, produce stands, doughnuts, a fish market, a poultry market, Italian food, flea-market-type stands, and the list just goes on and on. There’s even a full supermarket at one end of the large brick exhibition building which houses the market. The merchants are country-store helpful, and prices are amazingly low.

Filling covered in gravy from Dan's. Whatever you decide to eat from Dan's, be sure to get some of this weighty stuff.

Filling covered in gravy from Dan’s. Whatever you decide to eat from Dan’s, be sure to get some of this weighty stuff.

The market is open from Thursday through Saturday. We wouldn’t dream of passing through Allentown when the market’s open without stopping at this Pennsylvania treasure.

Dan's offers a number of ways to carbo-load. Pierogi (potatoes in dough) are one good way.

Dan’s offers a variety of ways to carbo-load. Pierogi (potatoes in dough) are one good way.

1825 West Chew Street
Allentown PA 18104
610-432-8425
Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market’s Website
Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market on Facebook
Across from Dan's is one of the most garishly lit dining areas imaginable. We tried every which way to make this photo look appealing but it was beyond our talents with the photo editor. Trust us, it was all good.

Across from Dan’s is one of the most garishly lit dining areas imaginable. We tried every which way to make this photo look appealing but it was beyond our talents with the photo editor. Trust us, it was all good.

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BEST THING TO EAT: Slab bacon

Here's a food item we can't imagine craving: jars of pickled hot bologna chunks (although "with variety meats" almost gets us). We figure you need a few beers before the desire kicks in.

Here’s a food item we can’t imagine craving: jars of pickled hot bologna chunks (although “with variety meats” almost gets us). We figure you need a few beers before the desire kicks in.

Stands that sell their own smoked meat are found throughout the market. The fetching aromas are a constant companion to those strolling the aisles.

Stands that sell their own smoked meat are found throughout the market. The fetching aromas are a constant companion to those strolling the aisles.

We purchased a poppy seed Hungarian roll from The Kiffle Kitchen. Hungarian rolls are a type of strudel made with pastry dough. It was fantastic! Kiffles are little bowties of crust wrapped around fruit or nut fillings.

We purchased a poppy seed Hungarian roll from The Kiffle Kitchen. Hungarian rolls are a type of strudel made with pastry dough. It was fantastic! Kiffles are little bow ties of crust wrapped around fruit or nut fillings.

If there's any kind of pickle, horseradish, or mustard that you must have, you'll probably find it somewhere in the market.

If there’s any kind of pickle, horseradish, or mustard that you must have, you’ll probably find it somewhere in the market.

The market is worth a good two hour visit if you love local food.

The market is worth a good two-hour visit if you love local food.

Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market is located in an early 20th century fairgrounds building.

Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market is located in an early 20th century fairgrounds building.

 

1 Comment

  1. We will be visiting Allentown in October of this year. Will your farmers market be open then?

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