Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Artisan Indoor Farmers Market – A great way to ‘buy local’, even in the winter!

Summer outdoor farm stands have long been part of the American culture but now shoppers no longer have to wait until June to experience fresh produce. Open Saturdays, 10 AM – 2 PM, since early December, the Artisan Exchange in West Chester (208 Carter Drive, West Chester, PA 19382) is the first indoor farmers market of its kind in the region.

The tag line for Artisan Exchange is “local foods for a sustainable community – a small business collaboration”. According to their website, their mission is “to provide an affordable environment that supports entrepreneurs committed to producing hand-crafted, sustainable foods while sharing sound business practices that have a positive social impact”. My next-door neighbor John Sacharok, founder of Golden Valley Farms, a national coffee company, is the driving force behind this project, creating a space that leases small-scale individual food related manufacturing workshops in his 27,000 square foot distribution center.

Artisan Exchange is a fast 20 minute drive from Malvern, down Route 202 South – I visited a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed a behind the scenes tour. When I asked about the approval process for the market, John shared that the local government was supportive and offered that several of the township supervisors had stopped by since it opened. He explained how the market is helping to sustain many small Chester County businesses, especially during the winter months, when opportunities for this type of venue are more limited. At this point, the plan is for the farmer’s market to remain open each Saturday through April. Wouldn’t it be great to have an ‘Artisan Exchange’ farmer’s market in the empty Genuardi’s store in Chesterbrook.

Over 25 various Chester County vendors offer their organic products, including gluten-free, natural, organic, vegan and vegetarian products. Merchants offer local produce, fresh eggs, baked goods, pasta, special doggie treats, truffles and much, much more. With live music, hands-on demonstrations, crafters and food samples to satisfy, a visit to the indoors farmer’s market is a treat you don’t want to miss. And for those that arrive hungry (or get hungry while they shop), there’s a couple of far from typical food trucks parked outside offering breakfast and lunch … LuLu’s Cafe featuring Mediterranean flavors in their wraps and sandwiches and Ka Chi, serving “Korean with a twist”!

Artisans Exchange

Homemade truffles at Artisan Exchange

Inside the market, look for these Artisan members:

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  1. The empty genuardi’s in Chesterbrook would absolutely be a good place for a market like this. Do you know if John Sacharok was involved in setting up the East Goshen farmers market which happens to be in an old Genuardi’s? I think John’s Golden Valley Farms also sells their coffee in that market – mong several others in the area including the one you wrote about. Is there any chance he is interested in getting something like this going in Chesterbrook? That shopping center seems to be struggling with the absence of Genuardi’s and with the economy as it is.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Trader Joe’s move into the old Genuardis in Chesterbook either.

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