In recent years with the influx of “Big Box” stores, also came the closing of many locally owned and supported retail and grocery stores. Yet, growing concerns of depleting natural resources have spurred a renewed interest in supporting local merchants, farmers included. With much of the country still battling Wintery weather of all sorts, the idea of strolling through an outdoor farmer’s market, sun on your shoulders, the smell of fresh cut flowers in the air, may be a bit difficult to grasp. However, here in South Carolina, many of our farmer’s markets operate all year long, or are preparing to soon begin their seasonal operations.
Columbia, SC, the state’s capitol, is home to a great selection of farmer’s markets, many of which feature all-natural or organic produce, beef, eggs, chicken, lamb, pork, grains, honey, flowers, and milk from South Carolina farmers. Located in the heart of downtown is the All Local Farmer’s Market. All Local is held from 8am-12noon, the 2nd Saturday of every month at Gervais & Vine (620-A Gervais Street), and the 4th Saturday of every month in the parking lot of Rosewood Market (2803 Rosewood Drive). The Columbia State Farmer’s Market at 1001 Bluff Road invites customers in seven days a week all year round, providing patrons the opportunity to buy local any time of the week. Also downtown, yet running on a seasonal schedule, Tuesdays and Saturdays, is the Five Points Farmers Market at MLK Park, 2300 Green Street.
If you’re planning an April getaway to historical Charleston, you’ll be thrilled to know that the Charleston Farmers Market, located in Marion Square, will open April 11, and will operate every Saturday from 8am to 2pm, through Dec. 20, 2009. In addition to the huge variety of local produce, herbs, flowers and plants, this unique and longstanding farmer’s market also offers a brunch menu and live entertainment.
Located at 1354 Rutherford Road in Greenville, parons will find the Greenville State Farmer’s Market, also a year round operating facility, is open from 8am to 6pm, Mondays through Saturdays. In Florence, you’ll find the Pee Dee State Farmer’s Market at 2513 West Lucas Street. In addition to providing locals and visitors with year-round fresh food and other locally made products, the Pee Dee State Framer’s Market is one of only three open-air markets still in operation in South Carolina.
Many of the markets also support programs like WIC and accept senior checks as well. The countless number of farmer’s markets in South Carolina provide an endless supply of resources needed to live a sustainable lifestyle. Their presence in our communities is invaluable. Not only do they afford great food and other products, but they usually offer an opportunity to meet new people, mingle with neighbors, and gain a learning experience like never before. For a complete list of state wide community farmer’s markets, visit the South Carolina Department of Agriculture or Local Harvest for additional listings across the country.