Mayor Sorace and Market

May 17, 2018

She walks into the Market Office toting a canvas bag filled to the brim with fresh produce, and asks for help in not forgetting to have her empty milk container filled before she leaves. Chuckling, she notes that this is “‘legit’ how I walk around.” Her honesty is refreshing.

We are grateful that Mayor Sorace was able to carve out a few moments in her freshly busy days for a chat with us about Market. And while her new schedule makes it difficult to visit as often as she’d like, she is as passionate as ever about its importance in her life and the relevance it still holds in modern day Lancaster.

It is a blue-skied Spring day, and she quickly recounts her feelings on the walk in, which leads us perfectly into our time together: “I have to say, just walking down here today – it’s like Market is a heartbeat.”

Her relationship with Market began many years ago when she and her husband first moved to the area. As a newly minted Lancastrian with an 18-month-old daughter and a husband who traveled for work, she said, “We would walk to Market two, sometimes three, times a week, and it was where we just started meeting people.”

She continued, “Actually, I met one of my now-best friends at Market. I saw her at Market with a daughter about my daughter’s age, and I just thought, ‘I need to meet her.’ And now ten years later, our daughters are celebrating their twelfth birthdays in June, and we’re taking a trip together. It’s been like creating a family.”

This family is one that includes fellow Market-goers and Standholders alike: “There’s the Standholders, too, that I’ve gotten to know over the years, who have been just wonderful. So my relationship with Market has been a ten-year, evolving relationship.”

It was a relatively natural space for her to feel comfortable, as access to fresh food is something she holds near and dear after growing up in a rural area with a family who always had a garden, and it was “such a treat” to find fresh food in abundance after moving to Lancaster from New Jersey.

She reminisced with a laugh, “I would get totally out of control, because I would come here and buy all this stuff. And then my husband would ask, ‘Who are you even feeding?’” Her bags would be filled with bulk lima and green beans to blanch and freeze from Earl Groff, who she affectionately refers to as “Earl the Pearl.” Or apples for applesauce, et cetera. So to her, she says, “It, coming to Market, was just connecting to the agricultural heart of what Lancaster County is, and to my roots growing up.”

The idea of connection is woven through nearly our entire conversation. Connection with her roots and her family. Connection with the Lancaster Community. And even connection with the deeply historic nature of Lancaster, of which she said, “That this Market is the one that is still here and still strong after all these hundreds of years is pretty remarkable, and for the Lancaster Community, it will hopefully continue to be that gathering spot.”

We hope so, too, Madam Mayor.

Before we part ways, we take a stroll along the south aisle of the Market House for a photo, when I hear her say, “Oh, let me say ‘hello’ to Gene.”

She takes a few moments to catch up with him, introduces us, and then proudly exclaims, “See, another connection!” Stay tuned, Market friends, and you’ll get to meet him next week.