FOOD AND AGRICULTURE IN HARRISBURG
Exploring Broad Street Market and Millworks

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE IN HARRISBURG
Exploring Broad Street Market and Millworks

By Hans Baldauf, FAIA

I recently had the opportunity to visit Harrisburg, PA with BCV’s New York Studio Director Neil Hoyt, at the invitation of my friend and colleague Brett Peters. Brett is a Partner at the Office for Planning and Architecture (OPA), which is in the final stages of completing the first General Plan that Harrisburg has had in over forty years. It is a tour de force of urban analysis and visionary planning. Among its many features is a strong understanding of the role of sustainable food in creating vibrant cities. 

I have long been interested in the relationship between Pennsylvania’s urban areas and agricultural communities – the state is blessed with a vibrant small farm culture, some of which stems from the strong presence of Amish farmers. I have written previously on the beautiful Lancaster Central Market, which traces its history to the development of a public market in the town in 1730.

The Broad Street Market, in Harrisburg, is the oldest continuously operated market house in the US, and is a beautiful assemblage of two double-aisled halls – one in stone and the other in brick. 

Adjacent to the Market is the three year old Millworks, which was developed by Joshua Kesler. Working within an old wood mill, Kesler has created a vibrant assembly of art galleries and studios, a brewery and a restaurant, along with a rooftop biergarten.  

Here we met Executive Chef Lance Smith, who is creating fabulous food with amazing local ingredients. He brought us out some pawpaw – a fruit that is native to the Eastern US and grows wild in the region. One farm has been able to create an orchard of them and Millworks purchased the entire crop to use in making beer. The fruit reminds me of mango and banana with cinnamon. It was delicious raw and I am excited to try the beer. 

We were joined at lunch by Mark Zimmerman, who after a career in the tech world is creating a digital platform for cheese and charcuterie makers in the region to sell to restaurants and wineries as well as the public. His company, Revittle, has just opened a stall in the Market Hall. Certainly Harrisburg has suffered from the loss of the steel industry but it has an amazing architectural legacy. It is great to see that the food world might prove a way to ignite a new vision for the City.