If you weren’t already aware, this month was Lowcountry Local First’s Buy Local Month. Lowcountry Local First is an organization that encourages the local Charleston community to support local farmers and artisans. Every year during the month of April (deemed Buy Local Month), this organization puts on the “Eat Local Challenge”. Consumers are encouraged to shift at least $10 of their weekly grocery spending towards the local food system. They are also encouraged to post their food photos on social media with the #eatlocalchs tag. A winner is chosen at the end of each week and the prize is a gift card to Verde!
April is also the time of year when many of the farmers markets start opening back up, so its the perfect time for Buy Local month to happen! Every year I try to support Lowcountry Local First’s Buy Local Month initiative and I am usually able to spend close to the same amount of money that I would usually spend on fruits and veggies at the grocery store. I also find that the fruits and veggies that I buy at the farmers markets taste so much more juicy, fresh, and flavorful than the veggies that have been transported miles and miles to the grocery store.
MT. PLEASANT FARMERS MARKET
Last week I paid a visit to the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market. This market is open every Tuesday from 3:30-7. I love this market because there’s always such a happy vibe with the live music playing, children running around with King of Pops popsicles, and people running into other people they know. There is also quite an amazing selection of farm fresh vegetables and fruits that are generally at a pretty affordable price. They also have some food vendors as well, so you can purchase a snack while doing your grocery shopping.
While I was there, I decided to purchase some spring rolls at an Asian food stand. They were only $5 for 6 spring rolls, so I went ahead and bought some! Unfortunately, these spring rolls were not the tastiest and I was definitely regretting not purchasing their dumplings instead. They were selling a carton of dumplings for $5 and I tried a sample of one and thought it was delicious, soft, and quite flavorful. If you find yourself at the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market and come across this Asian food stand, I would definitely suggest going for the dumplings over the spring rolls!
As for groceries, I only needed to get a few things, one being fresh greens to make salads with. I found a stand selling large bunches of freshly grown kale, so I opted for that. I will say that as I was scanning the rest of the market, I saw other stands selling kale for less than $2, so I would definitely suggest looking for those stands when looking for good, fresh greens to purchase. Many of the stands had a very wide variety of farm fresh vegetables and fruits, and were priced very reasonably. Just make sure you bring some cash with you, because many of the stands do not take cards or require at least a $5 minimum purchase to use a card (still worth it!).
CHARLESTON FARMERS MARKET
On Saturday, I did a quick scan of the downtown Charleston farmers market. I saw a lot of stands that I had seen at the Mt. Pleasant farmers market, but also saw some different stands as well. This market had similar prices when it came to the fruits and veggies, but seemed to be a bit more pricey when it came to buying nuts, jams, and other sauces. I did however, score two small jars of freshly made strawberry honeysuckle jam for just $5 from a stand called “Porch Rockin”. This market also has a wide selection of vendors selling food you can buy and enjoy under the trees, while listening to easy-going, live music. I was feeling pretty hungry so I decided to purchase a bowl of grits with a scrambled egg served on top at a stand called “Charleston Right on Que”. It was only $6 and it was a pretty large portion of food. Unfortunately, I felt that the grits were smothered in a bit too much salt and could have been a lot better if more spice had been added to them instead. A lot of the food vendors have good food options, but tend to be more on the pricey side, so I would say its probably best to not come to the market too hungry! You’re better off buying cheap local produce and making something with those purchases instead.