Lehigh Valley International Airport is trying its first pop-up market, and it could be the first of many.
This Thursday, the airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, will be home to a one-day fruit stand, giving travelers and others the chance to buy an Asian pear grown by local grower Subarashii Kudamono, which has a farm in Kempton.
The stand will be on the second level of the main terminal from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the public will get free parking for the first hour when they visit the stand and purchase an item.
“We are always focused on the customer experience, and this is really a unique idea to have here at the airport,” said Colin Riccobon, public information officer for LVIA. “I think there’s the possibility for future pop-up farm stands like this. It’s a great opportunity, we hope to have more in the future.”
Riccobon described the airport as a transportation hub that generates a lot of foot traffic.
“If you are trying to get your product in front of people, why not the airport?” Riccobon said.
Lutron Electronics of Upper Saucon Township is owned by the Spira family, who also own Subarashii Kudamono, said Holly Harter, marketing director for Subarashii Kudamono. In the 1970s, Joel Spira and his wife Ruth Rodale Spira began an orchard in the Lehigh Valley, planting Asian pears. It grew into a commercial business and now ships to customers all over the nation, Harter said.
The fruit is grown on a working farm and is available in local stores, including Wegmans, Whole Foods and boutique stores, Harter said.
Subarashii Kudamono also is planning other pop-up stands at several local events.
“Everybody loves farm stands, so we are always looking for interesting places,” Harter said.
The stand has been at the Lehigh Valley Mall for several months and has also made appearances at local hospitals, but Harter said she was looking for a different place. She remembered being at the airport a few months ago and was impressed with its ease of access.
Harter said she collaborated with Ashley Hari, manager of marketing and advertising for LVIA, who also supported the idea.
The stand will offer a variety of Asian pears as well as dried Asian pears, honey, pear spread and gift boxes. Any member of the public can visit during those hours.
While farmers markets and stands traditionally are open on the weekend, Harter sees value in having one open during a workday, and particularly at the airport.
“During the week, it’s great. People are trapped in offices and people are traveling at the airport,” Harter said. “We are such a great market here. The plan is to see how this goes. I’m confident it’s going to be fantastic, having a semi-fixed venue where people can stop in.”