Root’s Country Market & Auction: Your Personal Tour

Are you hankering for chocolate-covered bacon, do you want to buy a rooster for your flock? A hat for the next Downton Abbey gala? Welcome to Root’s Country Market and Auction, a fixture from my childhood my sisters, husband, and I re-visit near Manheim, Pennsylvania.


Root’s, with over 200 stand-holders, is the oldest single family-run country market in Lancaster County. Beginning as a poultry auction in 1925, Root’s “has evolved over the years to become a piece of Lancaster County heritage.” Come walk with me along the aisles of stands, some housed in long sheds, others outdoors under awnings.

Did I say you can get all gussied up for next Downton Abbey series? At our first stop, we try on funny Brit hats rivaling those of Princesses Beatrix and Eugenie we remember gasping over at the William and Kate’s royal wedding.

purple hat

From fancy we meet plain at many of the produce stands either selling or buying vine-ripe tomatoes.



Here is a trusting book-selling, my new online friend, Kathy Heistand Brainerd, a distant cousin, whose mother Esther Longenecker is the author of Pitchforks and Pitchpipes, a pictorial and narrative portrait of one branch of the Lancaster County Longeneckers.


Yes, there are household items and books galore, but many stands cater to shoppers wanting fresh meats, produce, deli and bakery items–and flowers. This farmer boasts fresh blooms from his Manheim farm.


I promised you chocolate-covered bacon. Here is a look at a taste-tester. Yes, I had a bite too!


Then on to pickles, funnel cakes, and shoofly pies with wet bottoms satisfying the sweet and sour tastes:


Root’s is a market, and yes, we buy from not just photograph the vendors, but the market is also an auction house. Walking from one of the parking lots, we spy a warning sign urging bidders to uphold the integrity of the auction:


Wanna bid on a coop of roosters?

Our tour ends with Rosa, who graciously invites me to sample and buy one of her multi-colored angel-food cakes, pies, or whoopie pies at Miriams’s Pies. All home-made, of course. That’s the only way in Pennsylvania Dutch land. When I asked her permission to photograph and promote her wares, she admits with shy pride, “One of our customers put us on Facebook!”


I wonder . . . is there a piece of your past you want to re-visit? We are dying to know the “what – where – who” of your story. As always, you are invited to be part of our conversation.


36 thoughts on “Root’s Country Market & Auction: Your Personal Tour

  1. Oh, Marian what fun you had …taking pictures. I take pictures too, often to show how the seasons, produce and shoppers attire change with the seasons~snow in winter, the rain in spring and heat in summer….but no matter the weather folks come to Roots on Tuesday. However, we vendors have a saying “if it is raining or snowing it must be Tuesday”.

    Thanks for the pictures too, even tho I don’t sell many books from the outside table, the sign encourages shoppers to come “upstairs” in Building 9. So often we hear, “I’ve been coming to Roots for years and I had no idea this was here”.



    1. Maybe this post will promote your book sales – I’m all for book sales! We enjoyed our quick visit to your counter. I notice the book you’re holding summarizes our friendship: A Memory Between Us. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Kathy.


  2. What a fun place to enjoy a day. It would be nice to have one here in Jacksonville. Thanks for sharing your day with us.


  3. Marian – Chocolate-covered bacon? On my blessed word! I’d probably steer clear of that, but…the 7-day sweet pickles had my name written all over them. Yes, that’s what I’d fill my basket with (right next to the funnel cakes)…

    You asked, “is there a piece of your past you want to re-visit?”

    My sister and I used to ride our bicycles through orange and grapefruit groves to the base of Eagle’s Peak where there was a little creek. We’d each take an empty pickle jar with a hole-punched lid, and fill them with creek water to house the pollywogs (tadpoles) we caught. Then over the next weeks we’d watch in amazement as they developed legs and arms, transforming into frogs. Once fully “frogified” (that’s a made up word) we’d take them back to the creek and turn them loose.


    1. I see your creativity and love of nature written all over your anecdote. It’s always so interesting how traits that now nourish others as adults have their roots in early inclinations. Love your story with the memory to cherish. It could be part of your memoir, Laurie!


    1. “How they do that?” I marvel. I never learned to yodel and I can’t imagine contorting my lips into auctioneer mode. The audio segment you saw lasted 16 seconds but his spiel must have gone on for hours. Glad you liked it, Dolores.


  4. I mentioned you today–my family and I were discussing the place we used to go to in Wildwood when I was a child. It was the place with the old wringer washing machine. So we were kind of discussing the past–and with you, in a way. 🙂

    It looks you had a great time at the market. I will have to tell my daughter about it. She is living in that area of PA now–although I don’t know how close she is to this market.


    1. The Market is in rural Manheim, PA area. Your daughter could google it @ I am sure there is an address and directions on the website.

      I do remember now your comment about the old wringer washer at your vacation spot. My Aunt Cecilia, who is still living at age 99, not too many years ago went to Cape May, which I think is part of the greater Ocean City area. We always associated “the shore” as we called it with summer fun – escape from work! I’m honored that you are including me in your reminiscences, Merril. Thank you!


      1. Thank you, Marian. I sent her the link to your blog post. She’s about to start a new teaching job and looking for an apartment, so she may not get to the market for a while.

        Cape May is at the southern tip of NJ. There is a ferry between Cape May and Lewes, DE. My husband and I usually got to Ocean City, which is closer to us, but we’ve been to Cape May, too.


  5. You had me at ‘chocolate-covered bacon.’ Did you like it? I’ve had bacon in chocolate chip cookies and it was very tasty. Some of the foods you mentioned reminded me of when I was a kid and we lived in Pennsylvania: pickles, funnel cakes, and shoofly pies. I think I had them all. My Mom and I made pickles when we lived in the country. We made dill and gherkin. They were wonderful.

    We visited favorite places and friends in July when we returned to our former stomping grounds in Central New York. Beautiful wooded areas, gorges, waterfalls, lakes, etc. I left there with mixed feelings. 😉


    1. I did like the chocolate-covered bacon, but I would feel too guilty about eating more than just a taste because it would ruin what waistline I have left not to mention cholesterol concerns! I see you like “sour” too. Research out now shows the benefits of vinegar and vinegar-based recipes.

      Your comment about the mixed feelings on seeing former stomping grounds probably speaks as much about the changes in our own perception as in the subtle changes in the actual setting. Thanks, Judy.


      1. Some might think it weird, but I always loved the smell of vinegar.

        It’s also good when you mix 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar in a COLD cup of water. This counteracts acid reflux which I had been plagued with during part of the summer. 😉


  6. What a delightful post. A lovely tour, thanks Marian. Oh, and you made me hungry :(. Chocolate bacon sounds yummy! And thanks for asking, no, I’m not really interested in visiting my past. 🙂


  7. I love Rosa, the plain girl who knows about Facebook, but chocolate dipped bacon? You are brave. My best market experiences were in Mexico and India. I don’t see local farmer’s markets much because I have more than I can eat from my own garden, but the Ithaca Farmer’s Market is one of the best places to take visitors. Friends tell me the Amish Market about 45 minutes from here is wonderful. You make me want to take a field trip with my camera.


  8. Marian … sounds a bit like the Iowa State Fair …. this year’s special was deep-fried Oreos (last year’s was deep fried butter on a stick) But I don’t think they’ve gotten to chocolate covered bacon .. maybe I’ll introduce that …


    1. Chocolate-covered bacon, so awful it’s wonderful – like the deep-fried Oreos you mention. I would guess a little goes a long way! Thanks for add another morsel to the conversation, Mary.


      1. Oh, Marian, We have deep fried Oreos at Roots along with deep fried pickles, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, pepino peppers, cheese, broccoli and cauliflower. Next time you come I’ll show you, it’s just around the corner at my building.


        1. Oh, Kathy, I had no idea. It just goes to show you that you can go dozens of times and still not see it all. Next time, you can be my guide so I don’t miss all the oddities you mentioned. If you read the message below you see that Thomas Longenecker, Market Master, plans to use this blog as promotion on the Root’s Facebook page.

          Thanks for adding this juicy morsel to the conversation!


  9. Marian,
    Thank you very much for taking the time to visit and to report on life at Root’s Country Market & Auction. Our market has been an 89 year experience for standholders and customers alike and has been a family tradition for four generations so far. My great-grandfather, A.W.Root, started the auction in 1925 and then added the market soon after that. I now occupy the job of Market Master as a fourth generation family member and have several children involved already representing the fifth generation. It is our desire that Root’s be around for quite a long time to come.
    I would like your permission to list “Your Personal Tour” on our facebook page. I enjoyed the story and the photos and feel many of our customers and followers will also.
    Thank you very much,
    Thomas Longenecker
    Market Master,
    Root’s Country Market & Auction, Inc.


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