Farmers Market in Charleston

Declare Independence

Digitel CHS Farmers Mkt Photo

This year on the Fourth of July declare your independence from mass market products and focus on fresh foods, condiments, and produce that are made or grown in your town, your state and your region.

Embrace and use products that are made with integrity. Like Slatherin’ Sauce or locally raised grass fed beef or butcher made hot dogs.

Right now in the United States we are at a tipping point. It is increasingly easy to find foods made without gluten or without preservatives. Just three years ago, it was hard to find chicken that was raised “free range” and without hormones in a regular supermarket. However, now, with the support of organizations such as Lowcountry Local First, your area farmer’s market and your supermarket have a wide range of products available each week. Websites like Local Harvest can help you find local products from local farms in your area.

And supermarkets have changed drastically. In our state, stores like Piggly Wiggly Carolina have been leading for the last several years with produce from within our state and explicitly marking it to reflect the source farm. And even WalMart announced last year that they sell local produce.

So remember as you light your grill, is that chicken local?

Photo credit: flickr user Charleston’s TheDigitel

Farmers Market in Charleston

2010 Charleston Farmer's Market Poster

One of the benefits of living in Charleston, is that our winters are mild, our growing season long and we have many incredible farmers who carefully plant, tend and harvest food for our tables. With the recent spate of mild days, I can feel the earth waking up, getting ready for spring.

As a child on John’s Island, February made us get our garden plowed, and ready to be seeded as soon as the nights began staying warm and ground temperatures were at the right point of germination.  Charleston’s Parks Conservancy offers recommendations and says you should have your seeds now.

Want to learn how to plant your own garden? The Parks Conservancy has classes coming up this weekend.

If you don’t like to get dirt under your fingernails, you can rely on our farmers who bring their produce to market. One of my favorite stops in-season is the Charleston Farmer’s Market. The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs is in charge of the market which takes place alongside Marion Square. The market opens for the 2011 season on April 9th.

And I can’t wait!