It's rare to find something that really appeals to everyone.

But the Green Dragon Market in Ephrata, Lancaster County, holds just that appeal. One of the largest farmers markets on the East Coast, the Green Dragon has been in operation for more than 80 years.

The market -- which originally opened as a garage and repair shop, later turned into a speakeasy, and now operates as a farmers market -- has been run by the Rohrbach family since 1961 when it was purchased by Bill Rohrbach. The business is currently run by Bill's two sons, Rob and John.

The market sits on 30 acres of land at 955 N. State St. and sees up to 600 vendors on its busiest days, Rob Rohrbach said, with produce, furniture and a wide variety of other items.

"We have anything from soup to nuts, so to speak," Rohrbach said.

He estimates the market sees 20,000 to 25,000 visitors on Fridays, its only open day each week.

The Green Dragon boasts a variety of foods, including homemade baked goods, sandwiches, pretzels, wings, burritos and even empanadas. Rohrbach said he thinks all the food is good, but "not necessarily good for you," he joked.

In addition to the vendors, the market hosts auctions of hay and straw, household goods and small animals, a favorite among kids.

The Green Dragon is a great way to spend the day with the entire family, Rohrbach said. Vendors offer a number of items that appeal to children, including toys and ice cream.


"Basically anything you love when you're a kid," he said.

The market is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays year round, and parking is free and ample.

Eat up: One of the longest-running businesses at the Green Dragon is Jake and Leona's Restaurant in Building 6. Run by Nancy Burkholder and her husband, Randy, the restaurant was opened in 1955 by Nancy's parents.

The restaurant serves a variety of Pennsylvania Dutch favorites and has stuck to its roots through the decades.

Green Dragon Market in Ephrata, Lancaster County
A girl fetches a hanging plant for a customer at one of the many flower stands at the Green Dragon Market, 955 N. State St., Ephrata. The market is open Fridays year-round. (Randy Flaum photo)

"We still use my mom's recipes," Burkholder said.

It was her mother's love for cooking that gave life to the family-owned restaurant. Burkholder and her husband took over the eatery in 1986. Since then, her four children have also worked at the restaurant, making it a three-generation business.

The restaurant was originally a place to get your food and go, Burkholder said. Her parents didn't have stools in order to "keep people from staying too long." But over the years, it grew into a full-service sit-down eatery.

The business is only open on Fridays, same as the market, and Burkholder says that's fine with her. On those days, Burkholder is on her feet from 6:30 a.m. to about 8:30 p.m.

"It keeps us fairly busy," she said.

Burkholder does most of the cooking for the restaurant at home during the week, where she whips up a variety of pies and homemade puddings, among other things.

The menu has not changed much through the years, and neither have the cooks. In fact, the restaurant has only ever had two head cooks. The current one has been working for the family for nearly 37 years.

The restaurant also still uses the original root beer and birch beer barrels from when the restaurant first opened, Burkholder said.

Another thing that has not changed at the market? The lack of air conditioning in the main buildings, which presents a challenge during the warmer months.

Throughout the years, Burkholder and her family have had countless people come through their restaurant, but they can always count on their regulars, whether they are locals who come in every Friday or out-of-staters who return year after year.

"We get to know our customers," Burkholder said. "It's a very friendly atmosphere."

Check out more photos from the Green Dragon Market in the York Dispatch photo gallery.

Weekend Travels is a travel series highlighting fun attractions within a two-hour drive of York City. Want to suggest a place for a future travel feature? Contact York Weekend editor Mel Barber at (717) 854-1575, ext. 458, or or travel writer Kristen Putch at (717) 505-5444 or