Have you been waiting for that first vine-ripened tomatoes of the season? How about a fresh garden salad with homegrown vegetables? Looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth? Maybe you need a unique gift and don’t know where to find it? Grab your wallet and head on out to the Ship Market today!
Open every Thursday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Southampton (Cumberland) Township Park, located at 180 Airport Road, the market is bursting at the seams with farm fresh goodness. Hosting a variety of local and area vendors each week, shoppers have a big selection of products from which to choose, including fresh garden fruits and vegetables, homemade jewelry and soaps, freshly picked flowers and arrangements, meat products, honey, doughnuts, sweet rolls, artisan cheeses and other dairy products, herbs and spices, wood crafts, kettle corn, a variety of delicious wines and so much more.
Having items produced and grown by local farmers and artisans, or created by local craftsmen, is what the market is all about -- giving a taste of home right here in the local community. In its fourth year, the small market has continued to grow in size, both by the number of vendors and people who visit the market each week.
According to Shelly Varner, market organizer, foot traffic has been great this year so far. “Knock on wood, everything is going really well this year. We see anywhere between 300 and 400 people stop by each week, which really makes me happy,” Varner said. “We continue to learn each year what works and what doesn’t. We tried rotating the event, but weekly seems to be the option of choice for our shoppers.”
She said some people enjoy coming out each week just to see what’s new, while others like to stop by and pick up staple items each week like fresh vegetables or something quick to add to their supper menu.
“It really just depends on what people are looking for,” she added. “A lot of people tell me they just came to the market to browse, but end up leaving with several items in tow.”
Pam Doyno of Johnstown is babysitting her grandson this summer in Shippensburg, and has enjoyed being able to stop by and grab something each week. “I think this is a great idea to have a local market where you can stop by and pick up something. I have really enjoyed coming each week, and I’ll definitely miss it when I go back home,” Doyno said. “Everything is fresh and there is such a nice variety of items to choose from.”
Varner said she gets a lot of good comments on the variety of vendors each week, but has determined that folks in the community definitely have a sweet tooth.
“Finger Lickin’ Eats N Sweets, Duck Donuts of Mechanicsburg and Sweet Rollers always seem to sell out or darn close to it each week,” she said.
They also have three food trucks that join them at the market, a staple being Uncle Eddie’s BBQ, which features local BBQ master Tim Crider, along with Taco Trap House and The Italian Job that rotate every other week.
“All three trucks always have a line of people waiting to place their orders,” Varner said.
The Pineapple Shoppe, a small homemade jewelry business run by 16-year-old Kasey Sollenberger and her mother, Amanda, say business is always good.
“Each week we have a great deal of people stop by and browse, many of which usually purchase something,” Kasey said.
She came up with the idea of making her own jewelry line after seeing ideas on Pinterest and also seeing other people making jewelry. Kasey thought to herself, “I can do that,” and so she began designing her own creations and things just took off from there.
“I really like setting up here at the market because I meet lots of people and that helps to give me more exposure, and hopefully more people will come and check out my designs,” she said.
The young entrepreneur makes dainty necklaces, beaded bracelets, earrings, and rings, and uses a variety of materials to make each item unique.
Fresh flowers are another popular item among shoppers.
One shopper, who wished to remain anonymous said, “I absolutely love coming here and snooping around. You never know what you might find, this week it was these beautiful fresh flowers!”
She explained that the stand where she purchased the flowers was really busy.
“They were almost out when I bought mine,” she noted.
The stand was Michael and Rebecca Taylor’s stand, Taylor’s Garden and Flowers.
“This is such a great place to be right now,” Michael said. “It’s a beautiful day, we have lots of fresh produce and business is good.” His wife, Rebecca, was amazed that she sold out of fresh flower arrangements within the first hour of opening the stand.
“I had some really pretty arrangements made from flowers that we grow in the garden and around the house,” Rebecca explained. “Zinnias, gladiolas, yarrow, you name it-just all kinds, and they went like hotcakes today!”
Both say with the exception of the tomatoes and apples available at their stand last week, everything they offer is grown on their Roxbury Road farm.
Varner said she is really pleased with the wide variety of goods at the market this year. “Everything from gourmet popcorn to everyone’s favorite kettle corn made by the Shippensburg Fly Fishing Club, to artisan cheese, fresh meats, sweets and spices, handmade self care products, jerky, local honey and even craft beer,” Varner noted.
Coming up on Aug. 20, the market will host World Youth Entrepreneur Day, and will feature a host of local youth vendors. Those interested can call: (717) 532-9646, Extension 111, for details. If you are looking for something good to eat, maybe a unique craft or hard to find gift item, or maybe you just don’t feel like cooking on Thursdays, stop by the Ship Market. It’s well worth the trip.
The market is to help support local sustainable growers, artists and entrepreneurs, while promoting a healthy lifestyle encouraging balance, moderation and a variety in a family-friendly atmosphere.
For more information, check out the Ship Market Facebook page.