Around Rochester: The Public Market

By: Stefanie

Publicmarket One of my favorite things to do on Saturday mornings the last 2 years is head downtown to the public market.  I don’t know how I managed to neglect this Rochester staple for the first 4 years I lived here.  Our public market opened on this site in 1905 – making it one of the longest continuously running farmers’ markets in the country (the first market started in 1827 in a different location). 

I can still remember the first time I visited and thinking that it would be a quiet scene with just a few farmstands selling to a small group of people.  Boy was I mistaken!  I wasn’t prepared for the sheer size of the grounds or the crowds.  There are 2 open sheds and one enclosed shed which house close to 300 farm stands as well as a few buildings containing such specialty stores as a coffee shop and a cheese shop.  You can find people shopping here of all ages and nationalities, young urban couples, and parents pulling their kids in wagons. 

And prepare yourself to be shocked – the produce is cheap!  My friend always jokes that she can bring less than $10 and have groceries for a week!  There is quite a variety of goods offered in addition to an array of vegetables and fruits (a few organic!) – baked goods, cheeses, dried pasta, herbs, meat, and fresh fish to name a few.  Check out one of my favorite stands (owned by a Mennonite family) which sells one of the best cookies I have ever tasted – frosted pumpkin cookies.  Delicious!

And not only are you saving a ton of money, you are helping the local economy – certainly things to feel good about!

The market isn’t just about shopping however.  It’s a gathering place for families and friends, a place to people watch, and to learn about other cultures.  Food is a common denominator that joins people together and our Rochester public market is a great vechicle for that.

The Rochester Public Market is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Saturdays from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. year-round.  Get there early for the best selection and to beat the crowds.  I hope a visit to the public market becomes part of your weekly routine!

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