I believe there’s something almost magical about Farmers’ Markets.
You’ve most likely been to a Farmers’ Market at some point in your life and perhaps even purchased something, but have you ever taken a moment to absorb the atmosphere around you?
The colors surrounding you are more rich and vivid than any candy store could ever offer. They vary from the deepest purples to the lightest yellows to the brightest greens. These colors represent months of care – the very people that are selling them have spent a season of their lives toiling in the dirt, curing soaps, planting seeds, feeding cows, and carefully tending to each part of their process. The farmer knows each plant by name and how a pound feels in their hands, while the maker know their process and product like the back of their hand.
In addition to the colorful life stories that are being sold, I’ve noticed that there is an acute sense of life in the people themselves. It’s like the produce and goods are emitting a breath of energy into those who pass by. There’s chatter between strangers, but it’s pleasant and about more than just the weather. There’s excitement for the blackberries that just ripened, the fresh baked bread, or the new samples of goat cheese three booths down. I’ve watched children roam without worry next to their grown-up counterparts because the market is a safe space where it’s okay to touch – in fact, it’s almost encouraged.
As exciting as it is at the Farmers’ Market, it’s just as exciting once you get home. Returning home with your spoils, to me, feels like Christmas. Unloading your bags full of color and planning their delicious end builds a sense of accomplishment. No, I didn’t return from the fields with dirt compacted under my nails from a hard day’s work, but I took time to support the person that did. I didn’t pray for the rain to come, but I thanked the farmer had been looking to the skies for months. I didn’t slaughter my cows in the backyard, but I supported a farmer that took good care of his livestock right up until the end.
I went to the first Greenville Saturday Market of the season this weekend and I was not disappointed by the crowds, the produce, or the treasures I found. The vendors’ tents went on for blocks and they were filled with fresh strawberries, potent herbs, hand-made wares, and artisan foodie treats. The King of Pops line was probably the longest of them all, but who can pass up a Blackberry Ginger Lemonade pop? No one. That’s who.
My friend Amber and I wandered through the sea of people and stopped at several booths along the way. Oddly enough we both walked away with live plants in tow instead of edible ones. Once we were done at the Market, we continued exploring Greenville until we stumbled onto a bustling food stand outside of Community Tap. We weren’t sure who they were or what they were serving, but their menu board said “Brunch” and that’s all we really needed to know. Three minutes later I was resisting the urge to order my weight in generously-topped biscuits from the friendly folks at Biscuit Head.
Do you believe in love at first bite? Because I do. Their menu was an eclectic collection of expertly-paired flavors which all sounded like heaven to me. I decided that two biscuits would be more than enough so I promised the Chorizo and Gravy that I would be back another day and ordered a Strawberry Thyme Biscuit and a Blueberry Bacon Biscuit. Amber ordered a Blueberry of her own and an Ancho Braised Brisket Biscuit (which you can see below in the “Money Shot”). They’ll be opening up on Church Street in a few weeks… you can best bet that I’m going to be making more trips to Greenville. These biscuits were seriously amazing.
Buying local is so very important. Eating locally produced food not only supports your local economy, but it cuts down on waste, reduces gas consumption, and builds better communities. Help keep the magic going and visit a local farmers’ market this week. Whether you’re in the Upstate or not, try to make a point to pick something up from a local vendor this week.
Are there any local places that you love? I’m always excited to learn about more farms, restaurants, and makers that I can connect with!