Morningside Farmers Market, Atlanta GA
I love going to farmers markets and I have been going through withdrawals since I moved back to the States and to the South for that matter. I was lucky enough to work in Union Square for three years when I was living in New York and took advantage of the green market every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, buying all of my fresh veggies from New York’s and New Jersey’s farmers. Up the street from my apartment was the Essex Street market, where my butcher, Jeffrey, would always say hello and have suggestions for the menus I was planning. The fish would stare me in the face telling me whether or not they were fresh. These, I must mention, were years on a very limited budget, when local wasn’t yet trendy and these markets were enticing not only for their freshness, but because of their low prices.
Florence, Prato and Rome, in the European tradition, all had daily markets scattered throughout the cities. They were open all year round, even in the coldest months and all of the vendors were local farmers. The local trend is centuries old in Italy, even though you can find heads of lettuce imported from Brazil, Italians would rather buy lettuce that they knew grew close to home. And similar to the new laws for selling fish here in the States, in Italy it is required that vendors provide the location of where their vegetables came from, I found this very comforting.
During my visit to Atlanta my mother and I went to the Morningside Farmers Market in our neighborhood which is housed on North Highland every Saturday morning from 7:30 to 11:30. All of the vendors are local and only sell organic vegetables and goods. Though it is a small market, it is wonderful. There were delicate lettuces and rainbows of swiss chard bunches. This wasn’t a market that existed when I was growing up and it is exciting that Atlanta, along with the rest of America, is starting to pick up on the importance of food and the importance of supporting local farmers who will sell you real products. No genetic modifications, no mass production, real food.
Even with the fact that Charleston has a very strong local food culture, the restaurants take a big role in promoting local meat and produce, there is a local section in the produce sections of almost every grocery store, I really wish that the farmers markets were open all year round. I am eagerly anticipating the Marion Square market opening on April 11th, can’t wait to see what Spring will bring! I’ve read about other markets in the Charleston area, all with spring and summer openings which I will be visiting. But with such a mild climate, why not stay open all year round? They do it in New York where it is still bone chillingly cold and I sitting here barefoot in a t-shirt with all of my windows open.