If you weren’t aware, April marks the official beginning of Farmers Market season in Charleston! The Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market had its opening day at the very beginning of the month and many others have opened back up since then. April is also known as “Eat Local Month”, deemed by the lovely people at Lowcountry Local First. This organization encourages people to shift at least $10 of their grocery budget towards eating local during the whole month of April. We loved the idea of this and wanted to show our readers how we are eating local this month. We also wanted to show our readers that its possible to eat local on a budget.
We kicked off Eat Local Month by attending the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market. Here we found a wide variety of fresh tomatoes, corn-on-the-cob, cucumbers, squash, and fresh strawberries! We also picked up a jar of homemade ketchup, made with strawberries and dates for just $6. We found a lot of stands at the market selling homemade pre-made meals for just $10 or less that would feed at least 2 people or just 1 person for multiple days. There was live music and food vendors as well, making for the most perfect afternoon at the market.
We continued through Eat Local Month by supporting Lowcountry Street Grocery’s Community Supported Grocery program. You might remember our interview with LSG’s founder, Lindsey Barrow a couple months ago, but we’ll give you a bit of a refresher. Lowcountry Street Grocery is in fact a mobile grocery store (yes, its on a bus!) that offers fresh local produce and other local goods at an affordable price. They strive to accommodate the people with decreased access to healthy foods, and therefore travel mostly to lower income neighborhoods, though you can often find them at a few locations downtown or at some farmers markets. The best way to access their offerings however is through their weekly CSG (Community Supported Grocery) program. You can sign up for a whole month or just opt-in at the beginning of every week. A single bundle is just $30 (what I opted for!) and gives you a substantial amount of fresh fruits and veggies that will most likely get you through a whole week. Sometimes they even throw in a recipe in case you aren’t sure what to do with your bag of local goodies. What really takes the cake is that they will personally deliver your CSG bundle if you’re not too far away, or you can pick it up yourself at Munkle Brewery…maybe even enjoy a beer while you’re at it!
Supporting local is SUPER important because it not only is good for you, but it also helps local farmers and businesses thrive and stay in business. Additionally, you will find that food bought locally tastes a whole lot better than food that has traveled from many miles away. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. In fact, I found that I’ve spent less than I normally would in a typical grocery store, because I’m not spending money on snacks that aren’t even locally made.
We hope that this post influences you to head to your nearest farmers market and stock up on all the fresh fruits and veggies you can. We also hope that it encourages you to start shifting more of your grocery shopping spending to local farmers and businesses. We want to continue to show our readers ways to buy local, while still staying on your grocery budget, so stay tuned for more tips and tricks!
Farmers Market Locations and Hours:
- Charleston Farmers Market (Marion Square) – Saturdays, 8am-2pm
- Folly Beach Farmers Market – Mondays, 4pm-8pm
- Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market – Tuesdays, 3:30pm-7pm
- West Ashley Farmers Market – Wednesdays, 3pm-7pm
- Sullivan’s Island Farmers Market – Thursdays, 4pm-7pm