Marion Square Farmers Market, Charleston, SC
The farmer’s market in Marion Square has been up and running for three weeks now, and it is lovely. I have made my way downtown the past two weeks, and though my first impression wasn’t great and I was a bit disappointed by last week’s picks, I was happy with what I found this week. My green beans were terrible, the collards were wilting on the table and there really weren’t many local offerings, most of the veggies had been trucked up from Florida.
This week was more of a success, partly because I arrived earlier, and it seemed like there was a lot more that had been grown locally. I bought organic asparagus that is two feet long, a huge bunch of collards that I dread having to wash, a head of cabbage, some beautiful okra, and local honey to help with my allergies.
One of the things that had thrown me off about the farmer’s market the week before were all of the other vendors, I’m sort of embarrassed to admit that. After years of the Union Square Green Market, the outdoor markets in Florence, Prato and Rome, the other vendors taking up space where there could be more tomato stands made me feel like I was at a county fair. Who am I?
The crowds also made it seem like a county fair, which is a good thing. These people didn’t come out only to sell their okra to me. Charleston is a city that thrives on tourism, and tourists staying in the local hotels aren’t going to be buying a 2 pound bunch of collard greens to bring back to Teaneck New Jersey, they want to grab a bit to eat, buy a sweetgrass basket and a necklace from a local jewelry designer. It’s all about contributing to the local economy and buying from local vendors at a market is the best way to contribute.