It’s farmers market season in our community, and Columbia boasts many great farmers markets that are well worth exploring! From farm-fresh produce and hand-crafted home goods to delectable frozen treats, the farmers market has an array of products for everyone.
Today, I’m going to give you a list of local markets to check out, and some tips for navigating them.
Local Farmers Markets Worth Checking Out
Doko Meadows Park, 171 Langford Rd, Blythewood, SC 29016
Wednesdays, 4 – 7 p.m.
100 Lake Carolina Blvd, Columbia, SC 29229
Wednesdays, 3 – 7 p.m.
1300-1600 Main St, Columbia, SC 29201
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
3483 Charleston Highway, West Columbia, SC 29172
Monday – Saturday, 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sundays, noon – 6 p.m.
2329 Charleston Hwy, Cayce, SC 29033
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sundays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 West Main Street, Lexington 29072
Saturdays, March – September 25, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Oftentimes, sellers do not have bags available. Bringing reusable bags has been a time saver, reducing the number of trips back to the van. I try to keep a set of reusable bags in my vehicle at all times.
Have cash on hand
I cannot count the number of times that I’ve had to run to the ATM for cash. Nowadays, a lot of the vendors take electronic payments but there are still a few who only take cash.
Dress for the weather
Most farmers markets are outdoors, so dressing for the elements is important. Wearing hats and sunscreen is recommended. You may also want to have an umbrella handy, in case rain is in the forecast.
Have entertainment options for your children
Standing outdoors for a long period of time can be boring for kids. We like to make it fun by bringing bubbles to entertain the children while standing in the lines. If you have little ones, bringing ear protection has also been very beneficial for my family. The loud music and entertainment often startle kids.
Ask the vendor about their products. Oftentimes they’ll gladly offer recipes and cooking tips. Typically vendors at the farmers sell locally grown, farmed raised, handmade items, but that is not always the case. I once purchased a watermelon from a farmers’ market with a Mexico label on it. It was in February, and I should have known better. So, do not be afraid to ask where the item came from. You might be surprised to find out the source.
Try new things
Visiting a farmers market allows you to try new foods. It was at a farmers market where I first tried mini donuts. They are so delicious! And it was a fun treat for the family that I would not typically purchase. I’ve also bought the best kettle corn I’ve ever had at a farmers market as well.
Being able to get items cheaper than at the grocery store allows us the flexibility to seek new foods. Oftentimes it’s also less expensive. Being able to establish a relationship with the vendors is also a nice benefit of visiting the farmers markets.
Here is a fun quick recipe you can make with your farmers market purchases!
- 3 pounds Assorted Zucchini squash
- 2 Teaspoon Oil (olive, vegetable, canola, or avocado)
- 1 Tablespoon Seasoning such as paprika garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut vegetables into slices then cut the slices and half.
- Cover with oil and seasoning
- Roast vegetables at 380° for 20 minutes or until vegetables char
- Serve immediately and store leftovers in an airtight container