Lancaster, PA Harvest Guide
Here in Lancaster County, we take fresh produce seriously. With rich soil and acre after acre of farmland, farmers offer their plentiful bounties at farm stands and local markets, while chefs are taking advantage of the freshest offerings to add to their seasonally-changing menus. It’s truly a beautiful thing when passionate growers share their hard work with the community that embraces their craft with open arms (and market baskets).
Want to find tomatoes and strawberries at their peak? Not sure what seasonal eats to pick up during the winter? Our harvest guide is here to help you find and celebrate each month’s harvest. So as you pass the fields and farm stands, be sure to keep your eyes out for these fruits and vegetables, picked at the peak of freshness just waiting to be enjoyed.
Even in the chilly months, there’s something growing in Lancaster County. For the beginning months of the year, we’re celebrating celery. This veggie is great for snacking, in soups and stews, and in salads. Stop by Sweethearts of Lancaster stand inside Lancaster Central Market for some crisp celery, plus recipe ideas and tips from some celery experts!
Since mushrooms can be grown indoors, they’re another ideal cold weather crop. Pennsylvania has great soil for these fungi. Iron Hill Brewery in Lancaster highlights the mushroom with their Kennett Square mushroom soup, named for the town of Kennett Square in neighboring Chester County that is known for producing this crop.
Have you ever seen how asparagus grow? It’s quite the sight to see! The stalks grow right out of the ground, just waiting to be cut and roasted. Be sure to pick some up at one of our Farmers Markets to serve with your spring dinner.
This tart fruit (well, technically vegetable) is spring’s prize crop. Rhubarb is often paired with sweeter fruits like strawberries or made into jam with plenty of sugar. Kitchen Kettle Village celebrates the Rhubarb harvest with a two-day festival, with plenty to tasty treats, activities, and the world’s only rhubarb race-car derby.
June brings juicy, red strawberries to the fields and farm stands across Lancaster, PA. Strawberries are actually the first fruit to ripen each year. For the chance to wander the fields and pick your own, visit Brook Lawn Farm Market and Shenk’s Berry Farm – but be sure to call first to check availability and picking times.
July: Tomatoes + Corn
For July, we couldn’t pick just one! The corn and tomatoes harvested this month are both super tasty, and can be found at the majority of roadside stands and farmers markets.
Tomatoes can be found in all shapes, sizes, and colors – from the bright red, small cherry tomatoes to the bumpy purple heirlooms. Each summer, Washington Boro holds the Annual Tomato Festival, full of tasty tomato dishes and family-friendly activities, typically taking place in mid-July.
What has hundreds of ears, but cannot hear? A corn field! Corny jokes aside, late July brings ears upon ears of sweet, juicy corn from the fields and to the farm stands. As many locals will tell you, the place to go for great deals is the Corn Wagon in Millersville, PA. The corn fields even make for an exciting family activity as mazes are carved through the fields, like the maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm.
When the August heat sets in in Lancaster, PA, nothing is more refreshing than a slice of ripe watermelon. Watermelons are perfect for picking and savoring this month. If slicing such a melon seems like a daunting task, Lancaster Online’s article has step-by-step instructions on cutting watermelon “sticks” for cleaner eating as well.
Toward the end of September in Lancaster, fall is in the air – and there are plenty of apples just waiting to be picked. Orchards around the county grow a variety for baking, saucing and snacking, and can guide you to the apples that will fit your taste and purpose. Orchards like Cherry Hill Orchard in Lancaster and Weaver’s Orchard in Morgantown even offer hayrides for added family fun.
October is prime pumpkin picking time here in Lancaster County. Pumpkins and gourds are waiting to be turned into jack-o-lanterns or pies, and both varieties can be found in our fields or at a road side stand, like Fisher’s Festivals. If you want to search for the perfect pumpkin, check out one of the fantastic pick-your-own farms and explore the patch for yourself.
Hail to kale in November! Bundles of this leafy green are harvested in the fall to be cooked or used as a festive fall decoration. Craving a savory kale salad? According to Yelp, eaters love the kale salads at Checker’s Bistro and Luca.
You can’t beat the beets in December in Lancaster, PA. Root vegetables, like beets, are a common winter harvest as they get plucked from the freezing ground. If you’re in search of the perfect jar of pickled beets, head to Kitchen Kettle Village’s Jam & Relish Kitchen. They also have great recipes to jazz up their traditional canned variety.