A bounty of kale, bread and strawberries strains the seams of my canvas bag while excited chatter and music drift across the parking lot. Children dance as their parents browse tables overflowing with produce. As the sun streams down, I eat my ice pop slowly, savoring the raspberry and mint that smack of summer. I have come to this market alone but I feel like I am a part of something greater: the inviting community and the people who sustain it.

Summer has finally arrived in Pittsburgh and the city farmers markets are in full swing. Seven days a week, hundreds of vendors bring local produce, bread, meats and more to locations all over the city. (Carrick has a great new location in the Historic Dairy District Marketplace.)

 While some of the best food in Pittsburgh can be found at these markets, farmers markets are more than just shopping stops. They are community centers, a place to bring the whole family for a short visit or a couple of hours, a place where we celebrate people and neighborhoods. Check out a few of the markets you won’t want to miss this season and see the list of others that follows. Then let us know your favorites in the comments below. 

Bloomfield Saturday Market

When: Saturdays, 9 a.m. — 1 p.m.

Where: 5050 Liberty Avenue (public parking lot)

What’s in your bag: A loaf of bread from Mediterra Bakehouse, fresh chevre from Goat Rodeo, a heaping pile of produce from be.wild.er farm and Freedom Farms

Why it’s worth the trip: Part festival, part market, the Bloomfield Saturday Market (run by the Bloomfield Development Corporation) is one of the most vibrant weekend scenes in Pittsburgh. Held each Saturday in a Liberty Avenue parking lot, the market is the kind which allows you to stock your whole pantry, with several rows of vendors selling produce and value-added goods. Picnic tables and umbrellas encourage shoppers to linger and enjoy the day’s events, such as cooking demos run by 412 Food Rescue and a rotating lineup of local musicians. 

Photo by Caroline Walden

Lawrenceville Farmers Market

When: Saturdays, 1 — 4 p.m.

Where: Arsenal Park, near the 40th St. entrance

What’s in your bag: Maple syrup from Paul Family Farms, a carton of ripe red tomatoes from Dillner Family Farm, hand salve from TaigaBees

Why it’s worth the trip: With a new location in Arsenal Park (right by the 40th Street entrance) and an expanded vendor list, the Lawrenceville Farmers Market market offers an arsenal of food and fun. Every Saturday afternoon, the market pops up amidst baseball diamonds, a playground and ample green space for picnicking. Thirteen permanent vendors and seven rotating vendors line the sidewalk with meat, produce, baked goods, coffee, cheese and more. The market also hosts a revolving series of events (including yoga, boot camp classes and a bee lesson from Burgh Bees) and features live music every fourth Saturday of the month.

Photo by Caroline Walden

Squirrel Hill Farmers Market

When: Sundays, 9 a.m. — 1 p.m.

Where: Beacon/Bartlett Parking Lot

What’s in your bag: Zucchini from Who Cooks For You Farm, hummus from the Greek Gourmet, Queso Blanco chevre from Cherish Creamery

Why it’s worth the trip: Located just off of Murray Avenue, the Squirrel Hill Farmers Market is a tucked-away gem that pulses with life. Live music mingles with the scent of fresh popcorn and it seems everyone, from the farmers to the customers to the dogs, knows one another. A handful of produce vendors, several cheese vendors, and a wide variety of value-added goods (popcorn, coffee, and pastries, to name a few) cater to the needs of every kind of market-goer. Despite being located in a parking lot, the market is a warm and welcoming community gathering. And the Squirrel Hill Farmers Market, like all Citiparks markets, accepts Fresh Access tokens.

Photo courtesy of the Bloomfield Saturday Market

Market Square Farmers Market

When: Thursdays, 10 a.m. — 2 p.m.

Where: Market Square, Downtown Pittsburgh

What’s in your bag: A few heads of garlic from Enon Valley Garlic, a bottle of olive oil from The Olive Tap, greens from Breezy Hill Farm

Why it’s worth the trip: The Market Square Farmers Market showcases the city at its very best. Nestled within beautiful historic Downtown, this market invites tourists and residents alike to soak in the essence of Pittsburgh. Each week, Market Square comes alive with a beautiful display of summer produce, gorgeous flowers, cheery local vendors, and live music to brighten up the Thursday lunch hour. Whether you’re looking to fill a bag of groceries or just need an afternoon pick-me-up (like cobbler from Cobbler World), the Market Square Farmers Market has you covered.

Be sure to check out all the great Pittsburgh Farmers Markets:

Mondays:

East Liberty (Citiparks): 3 — 7 p.m., Station and North Euclid Ave.

Tuesdays:

South Side (Citiparks): 3 — 7 p.m., East Carson and South 18th Streets

Wednesdays:

Carrick (Citiparks): 3 — 7 p.m., Carrick Dairy District (1529 Brownsville Road)

Farmers at Phipps: 2:30 — 6:30 p.m., Phipps Conservatory

Thursdays:

Beechview (Citiparks): 3 — 7 p.m., Intersection of Broadway and Beechview Ave.

Fridays:

Downtown (Citiparks): 10 a.m. — 2 p.m., Mellon Square (Smithfield and Sixth)

North Side (Citiparks): 3 — 7 p.m., East Park, (East Ohio and Sixth Ave.)

Saturdays:

East Liberty,  5 a.m. — Noon (year-round) Farmers Market Cooperative of East Liberty, 344 Sheridan Ave.

Caroline Walden

Caroline is working towards completing her Masters in Food Studies at Chatham University. She is an avid runner with a penchant for tiny spoons.