At the Market
Where to Go and What to Get Around the Upstate
When I was a kid growing up in Greenville in the 1980s my parents would often tell me that we were going to the farmers market. Back then that meant one thing:
We were going to The Farmers Market, Greenville’s staple for farm fresh produce on Rutherford Road. Now there are nearly 40 markets across the Upstate offering the best of what our region’s farmers are contributing to our local food system. The options are endless, and our kitchens are better off for it.
Anderson Area Food & Farm Association’s Community Farmers Market
A trip to the farmers market usually feels like a Saturday morning activity, but A.A.F.F.A.’s weekly market gives everyone a reason to go out on a Tuesday night. The primary focus is fresh, local and sustainable offerings from area farms, but a wealth of other attractions at at the Farmers Market Pavilion make this a fun event for the whole family all market season long.
The big news this year is the new twist A.A.F.F.A. is putting on their annual Market Chef competition—historically, a bracket-style tournament that pits local chefs against each other until a winner is crowned at the end of the season. The professionals are taking this season off, however, and the competition is now open to the public. Area residents who think their home culinary skills are worthy of the spotlight will compete for the top prize. (Rumor has it that the season’s finale might see the winner of this year’s tournament take on the past pro winner.)
As always, all of this will be accompanied by farm fresh meats and produce, weekly classes, demonstrations and live music. Grits & Groceries and other favorite area restaurants set up so guests can enjoy dinner while they shop.
A.A.F.F.A. Community Farmers Market
The Farmers Market Pavilion
402 North Murray Avenue
Tuesdays 5pm – 8pm, May 5 – August 25
“Good Food” is an understatement at the A.A.F.F.A. weekly market; Early Bird has the worms (for the fishing, composting and pet food markets) and naturally grown vegetables to boot; Putney Farm’s Rainbow eggs are almost too pretty to crack but we do it anyway; Botanically speaking, blackberries are not technically members of the berry family, but who wants to eat, or even say, Black Aggregate Fruits?; Tomatoes of all shapes and sizes will flood the market later this summer. (And we couldn’t be more excited!); “Honey, I want one of everything… I hope we brought enough bags.”
Simpsonville Farmers Market
The Simpsonville Farmers Market offers a more traditional experience. No live music, no demonstrations, and no other bells or whistles. With the wealth of vendors, we doubt you will miss a single thing.
Now entering its sixth year, the Simpsonville Farmers Market looks to host about 40 farms and vendors. Organizer Dianne Carson laughs when she admits that in the beginning “We got excited when anyone would show up at the market. It was a pretty big deal back then!” They keep costs lower than many area markets to benefit the farmers and, with the continued growth in participants, the consumers reap the rewards in the form of a wide variety of fresh, healthy options.
Once a month the Simpsonville Farmers Market welcomes the Greater Greenville Master Gardeners to set up shop and offer gardening advice. Being a grassroots sort of organization itself, the market has a strong commitment to nonprofit agencies. Last year also saw the Greenville Lions Club selling blooms to help raise money for their service efforts.
Simpsonville Farmers Market
Simpsonville City Park
East Curtis Street
Saturdays 8am – Noon, May 9 – October 31
On Saturday mornings in Simpsonville there is really nowhere better to be; Joey Armstrong’s free range eggs are a weekly staple; Boiled peanuts have been a part of Southern tradition since they were known as “goober peas” in the 19th century; It is hard not to smile when you stand before such a healthy display of farm fresh tomatoes; Stop by Ritchie Farms for a variety of jarred peas and beans; The official snack food of South Carolina.