After a fun visit to the Midtown Scholar bookstore in Harrisburg, my friend Ellen and I headed across the street to the Broad Street Market: a historic brick building with dozens of vendors selling all sorts of local foods, from fresh produce to sweets to the unforgettable whoopie pies.
From the market’s History page: “At its peak in the 1920s, the Broad Street Market had over 725 vendors, many of whom leased outdoor space and waited years for an indoor stall to become available. John N. Kinnard, the Market Master of that era, noted that one small farmer might sell just a few dozen eggs while another “sold more than $2,000 worth of live turkeys in one day.”
The Broad Street Market back then was known as the “Dutch Fair” because of the predominance of Amish and Mennonite vendors. Nevertheless, Kinnard claimed it also could have been called the “Congress of Nations” in view of the ethnic diversity, which then included “Germans, Austrians, Italians, Russian Jews, Hungarians and full-blood native-born Americans.”
The Market was and remains today as a community gathering place.
This is the perfect spot, if you’re looking for some great food local to the south central Pennsylvania region. I’m so glad we stopped in, because otherwise my foodie experience of Harrisburg would have been based on the countless breweries and other meat-focused eateries along 2nd Street (plus the wonderful food at City House, of course). Here, I encountered some foods I’ve never seen before, like potato candy (!!), and ate the best whoopie pies in the world (I’m sure of it; I’ve tasted them all).
Oh, those whoopie pies are a thing of beauty. We bought a mocha whoopie fie and an oatmeal cream whoopie pie. They were so full of flavor: you could taste the spices and the richness of the chocolate. They were such a bargain, too!
And because I was on a mini vacation and insisted on trying the best of Pennsylvania Dutch baking, the next course is my dessert lunch was a giant, salted pretzel. It was buttery, warm, and chewy with the slightest crisp on the edges. Heavenly.
You can, of course, also eat a proper lunch at the Broad Street Market: deli, barbecue, kabobs, and more. The market is located three blocks from the Capital Complex and is open from 7 AM to 5 PM on Thursdays and Fridays, and 7 AM to 4 PM on Saturdays. Be sure to stop by if you’re ever in Harrisburg!
The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard. –Joel Salatin
Those whoopie pies look delicious!! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one, but it’s basically frosting/cream inside of cookies, right? If so, then I know I’d love them!
Yes, I highly recommend them if you ever get the chance! Thanks for visiting, Alex!
These are ALL fascinating. I love the cream in the whoopie pie. I love the pretzel. I’m intrigued and maybe scared by the potato candy but I would buy it!
Ha, I love that you’re intrigued/scared but you’d buy it anyway 🙂
Fabulous! My husband and I love markets and go in every city that has one that we know of. Thank you for the heads up on this one in Harrisburg. 🙂 We will add it to our list.
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Oh, I’m glad! You’ve mentioned some places I’m planning on checking out in the next month or so, too!
The pretzels and whoopie pies look DELICIOUS!
They are, I’m still thinking about them over a month later! 🙂
OK, I’m hoping I get to try those pretzels someday. I want to share this post with my friend, Jean, whose son and family live outside of Harrisburg. You make everything sound just scrumptious, Christy! Keep up the sharing of your explorations!
Yes, share it! 🙂 And I’ll need to try some Maine whoopie pies next month so I can compare the ones from Pennsylvania.
Whoopee Pies look heavenly…..wonder if they ship nationwide? Have fun ‘ploring!
I’m not sure, Michael. I couldn’t find any info on shipping on the website.
This place does look like a local treasure! I’d be down there every week if I lived nearby! Yum!
I think I would too, Amy!
Oh how delicious- I love the look of the food!
I keep looking at the whoopie pie picture and wish I could get one like that here in NY, haha.
This alll looks so delicious 🙂 SO much history how wonderful! It’s always fascinating going to places like that because you can just imaging people going about their own lives decades ago.. How different life was back then compared to now. Share the food! Have a great one Christy! -Iva
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I feel the same way! Long dresses, men in hats, gathering purchases in baskets and paying for them with different money than we have now. So much fun to think about.
I love finding markets like this. Those pretzels look divine. And though the whoopie pies do look delish… my blood sugar is going crazy just looking at them!
Yes, they are sweet, but I like that they’re little guys and not the huge things you’d here in NY!
I suddenly have the urge to visit Harrisburg! The one time I was in Harrisburg, I was there for a conference, so I didn’t have time to really explore. I would love to visit just to visit one day though and this will probably be the first place I check out! It looks like it has a wide variety of really yummy food!
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It’s not too big, so one day to explore the city is fine! I’m glad I happened upon the Market, it’s totally worth a visit.