Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, October 24, 1998, Image 80

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    Blfrfoncaster Farming, Saturday, October 24, 1998
Zern’s Market Attracts 25,000 To 30,000 People Weekly
Lancaster Fanning Staff
ery Co.) “You’ve got to do a
story on ‘Zemies,’” reader Kermit
Laub wrote to this paper. “It sure is
something to see.”
Laub’s been going to the market
for about 50 years. “I went when
there wasn’t much there,” Laub
Today, between 25,000 and
30,000 people visit Zem’s Farmers
Market in Gilbertsburg every
Folks come to buy fresh picked
produce, sample Pennsylvania
Dutch treats such as funnel cake,
com relish, and shoo fly pie. They
come to bid on used furniture,
search for a nostalgic treasure at
the flea market or participate in a
Bingo game. Some even come to
have their hair cut and their glasses
“We sell everything, from A to
Z," said Kim Kline, who took over
management of the market two
years ago.
With more than 400 stands,
Zcm’s draws a unique mixture of
customers. Some come because
it’s a family tradition.
“My grandparents came, my
parents came, and now I come
every Saturday night,” said a
The market began in 1922 with a
handful of farmers who brought
excess garden vegetables, hay, and
straw to sell to sell in the Zem fam
ily’s yard.
“They sold off the back of their
pick-up trucks,” Kline said.
Farmers still come and bring
freshly picked vegetables and
fruits to sell. But the market has
long expanded to varied merchan
dise and even to holding special
events and shows such as a Native
American Show, an Elvis
weekend, and a community choir
This summer, a new marketing
concept was birthed at Zems.
According to Kline, an antiques
=md collectible bid board was
started. Customers enter a written
bid on display items. At the end of
the month, the items go to the high
est bidders.
Jim Smiley, who manages the
Vid board, said that the concept
represents an efficient way of
exposing and selling antique and
collectible pieces, including estate
Bidders who are reluctant to bid
at the fast-moving pace of a public
auction can examine the items
closely, make a reasonable bid,
and even return to the bid board
and increase the bid if they see it is
Lives On
Toy Projects
FREEDOM (Beaver Co.) In
life, Mary-Lee Steel wove her
love for sewing with her desire to
do community service through the
Pennsylvania State Grange’s
Stuffed Toy Project.
So strong was her passion for
this particular women’s activities
project that her home was trans
formed every fourth Tuesday of
the month into a Santa’s work
shop, of sorts, as Grangers ga
thered to use their hands to craft
toys. Upon completion, the toys
are donated to ambulance ser
going to another bidder.
Participation is high and both
Smiley and Kline expect the giant,
silent auction to attract thousands.
According to Kline, Zem’s is
one of the nation’s largest markets.
Kline likes to tell the story of
how one of the auctioners fell in
love with a young lady from Phi
ladelphia in 1949.
She persuaded her father to
come to the secluded country set
ting to see the market. Her dad,
who had an interest in the clothing
business, found the market fasci
nating, and a lot different than he
was accustomed to on South
Street, Philadelphia. Ben Silver
persuaded his employer Morris
Lipton to accompany him to the
the market
The Philadelphia entrepreneur
visited the market, saw the poten
tial of a profitable venture, and
purchased it in 1949.
Together Morris Lipton and Ben
Silver guided the market’s expan
sion. Old wooden rafters and dirt
floors formed the setting for the
market. Vendors hung clothing
from the rafters and candles were
used for light during evening
Three fires almost destroyed the
market during the 1960 s and
19705, but each time, it was
rebuilt. The main building now
stretches a mile long.
Lipton and Silver both died, but
it’s still a family business, accord
ing to Kline.
Although the market is only
opened weekends, it’s an every
day workload for Kline and a crew
of workers.
Stand rentals, promotion, build
ing repairs, maintenance, meeting
with township authorities, insur
ance, legal manners, and survey
competition are part of the behind
the-scenes work required to oper
ate the market and such added
fringes as a midway section, plant
and flower auction, and a tractor
“We’ve added a few new things,
but it still maintain flavor of far
mers’ market,” Kline said.
Customers can shop at the mark
ets on Fridays from 2 p.m. until 10
p.m. and on Saturdays from 11
a.m. until 10 p.m.
Directions to Zems; From Phi
ladelphia, take Schuylkill Express
ay (Rt. 76 W) to Exit 268. Take
Route 422 W to Pottstown to Rt.
100 N, go 7 miles to Rt 73 (Boyer
stown exit), turn right. Zems is a
half mile on the right
If you get lost, call (610)
Free parking and admission.
vices, hospitals, homes, women’s
shelters, and police stations to
help calm children during a trau
matic experience.
When Mary-Lee, who was
women’s activities (WA) director
in Beaver County, unexpectedly
passed away last March, her pas
sion didn’t die with her. In fact,
the very flame that fanned that
passion has spread to Grange
members all across Beaver
“We were at her house just two
days before she passed away and
Kim Kline manages Zern’s Farmers Market. Although it continues to grow, Kline
wants it to maintain it’s farm market flavor.
More than 400 merchants sell produce under one roof that is said to stretch
more than one mile long.
she jokingly said we should shoot
for 1,000 toys this year,” director
Deb Elliott said. “At the time, we
all kind of laughed at what she
said. Then, after she passed away,
we decided we would do it (make
1,000 toys) in memory of her.”
As a rural and community ser
vice organizatoin dedicated to
improving the lives of all Pennsyl
vanians. the Pennsylvania State
Grange has led the nation in the
number of toys made the past six
consecutive years out of the 22
that the National Grange has spon
sored it In 1997, Pennsylvania
Grangers made nearly 9,000 toys
in what has become commonly
known as a “Labor of Love.”
“When you are working on
these you can’t help but think
about the kids who will be getting
them,” Elliott said. “But when you
see them get the toys or hear that
they are being put to good use it |«
so much different than just thinkig
about it.”
Reaching the 1.000-toy goal
was quite a task considering the
Pomona (county) Grange mem
bers were increasing their output
by nearly 60 percent over last
year. PA State Grange Women’s
Activities Director Becky Michal
ka said Beaver Pomona members
made over 400 toys in 1997.
At the Beaver Medical Center Mariann Murtha, pediatric
nurse, left, and Deb Elliot, women’s activities director for
the Grange, talk to Grange President Bill Steel about his late
wife’s legacy that lives on through the toy project.
“We have been working on toys
at our Grange (Hookstown) before
the meeting,” Elliott said. “And
everyone has been involved
men, women, youth members and
Junior Grangers one way or an
other. Whether they were sewing
or stuffing them with polyester
fiber, everyone has pitched in to
Mary-Lee’s husband. Bill, who
is the president of the Pennsylva
nia State Grange, is proud that the
members have met their goal.
“I’m delighted that they ac
cepted the challenge and that they
have carried through with it,”
Steel said. “Mary-Lee was quite
active. She also participated in the
needlework contest and made
quills for at-risk babies and lap
robes for nursing home residents.”
Elliott said the toys will be box
ed at Hookstown Grange and ship
ped to various charitable organiza
tions in Beaver and Allegheny
counties, East Liverpool, Ohio
and West Virginia.