After work today I met my family at the Florence (SC) Downtown Farmers Market. Here’s my trip report of who we met, what we bought, and what we thought.
It was warm but truly beautiful outside in the Breezeway on West Evans. Making our rounds among the booths lining this new urban park-like section of the street, we picked up some South Carolina goodies for the weekend. We also managed to make a few new friends and chat with some old ones.
First, we visited with Michael Atkinson. He and his wife, Stacy, are owners of Lone Palmetto Farms. Michael is scheduled to be a guest on a future episode of the Pee Dee Food Show. I’m looking forward to learning more about their operation and their unique products, including goat milk, specialty cheeses, and homemade soaps.
Next we moved over one booth space and picked up some thick cut pork chops from Gra Moore of Carolina Heritage Farms. I love a good pork chop and I can almost smell them cooking now. We’ll save them for Saturday night, I think. Gra also regularly has whole chickens, sausage, bacon, and much more available. Here’s a tip for you if you do as we did. Bring a small ice chest or cooler bag to take your meat home, especially if you have a stop or two before you get there.
Moving toward the West Evans end of the Breezeway, we then visited with Rocky Dickson. Rocky is featured in Episode 021 of the Pee Dee Food Show, along with Alan Cooke of Rebel Pie. In that episode we talked about “farm to table” trends, including how Rocky and Alan connected. The produce grown by Rocky and his wife, Jannie, can often be found as ingredients for Alan’s restaurant. From Rocky, we purchased a really nice-looking spaghetti squash. At his suggestion, we plan to bake it and then use the “spaghetti” as … well … spaghetti with a bit of marinara. Should be fun for our daughter and delicious.
Walking back toward the live music area, which they always have at the Downtown Farmers Market, we stopped and picked up some garlic & rosemary goat cheese from Lone Palmetto. We neglected to do that earlier when we were chatting with Michael.
We then ran into Allene Glapion-Tellis with the Florence Downtown Development Corporation and we had a great conversation. It turns out she’s got family in Louisiana and we’re going to set-up a dinner date for our families to enjoy some gumbo and jambalaya. She is so much fun!
A short few steps later and we were in Bryan and Lindsey Tayara’s booth, Orangeland Seafood. Prompted by the recipes that they had available, we purchased some fresh Mahi Mahi fillets and earmarked them for use in fish tacos. Clams which were just harvested Monday found their way into our bag, as well. I’ll experiment with those myself. Not yet sure what I’ll do, but I’m so glad Bryan suggested we give them a try. They also have live blue crabs and whole, fresh fish of various kinds.
Finally, we said “Hello again!” to Jessie and Jeremy Smith of the Midnight Rooster Coffee Shop & Eatery in Hartsville, SC. They were at the Downtown Farmers Market for the first time today. We couldn’t resist catching up with them for a minute or two. You may recall that we held an Eats! Club Dinner at the Midnight Rooster last Fall. Today, we took home some of their famous pimento cheese and hummus. Melissa sneaked an iced latte to-go, which she just finished as I’m typing this post.
Before we left the Breezeway we also ran into Ray Reich, director of the FDDC. He was featured in Episode 020 of the Pee Dee Food Show. In it we talked about downtown, the plans for its revitalization, and its growing food scene. He even had an exclusive announcement for us, but you’ll have to listen to it to hear it.
So what did our visit to the Downtown Farmers Market cost us today? Well, apart from about an hour of enjoyment visiting with friends (priceless!), our purchases totaled $49.90, including tax. They itemized as follows:
- Pork Chops (4) from Carolina Heritage Farms: $14.00
- Spaghetti Squash (1) from Dicksons Organics: $ 5.43
- Garlic & Rosemary Goat Cheese (1) from Lone Palmetto Farms: $ 4.21
- Mahi Mahi Fillets (3) & Clams (12) $19.26
- Pimento Cheese (1) & Hummus (1) from the Midnight Rooster: $ 7.00
We’ll get three or four meals from today’s haul after we add a few staples from the pantry. I call that a great value and oh-so convenient for us.
By the way, if you’ve never been to a farmers market, don’t be intimidated by the act of stepping away from big box stores occasionally. It actually makes eating healthier much easier. With farmers markets you know where your food is coming from and you know the people that produced it. That’s what eating local and eating fresh is all about.
If you’d like to learn more about this trend and meet others with the same interest, join Slow Food Pee Dee through Slow Food USA. Slow Food is an international organization that advocates for good, clean, and fair food for all. You can learn more about the local founders and the new chapter in Episode 024 of the Pee Dee Food Show.
And one more thing …
READER REWARD OPPORTUNITY
I’m so excited by our visit today and the people that we met that I want to encourage you to go to the Downtown Farmers Market next week. It’s open every Wednesday from 3:00pm to 7:30pm. What’s the opportunity? So, if you sign-up for our new Friends Newsletter before Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 6:00pm Eastern, we’ll put your name in the proverbial hat for a rather cool prize drawing. It’s for a Pee Dee Foodie Shopping Bag from our logo shop.
That’s an $18.99 value. It’s green and it’s green — good for the environment, I mean. It’s collapsible and reusable – perfect for your next (or first) farmers market visit.
SUBSCRIBE HERE to be eligible. Note that current subscribers are also eligible and the winner will be randomly selected and announced here on the blog [on Monday] night.
About the AuthorKevin Barron is a husband, father, self-described geek, and enthusiastic founder of PeeDeeFoodie.com. He also hosts its companion podcast, the Pee Dee Food Show, which can be found on iTunes and the blog. Learn more about Kevin under the Contributors tab above.
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Mary, I agree. Can't wait to use what we bought on Wednesday this weekend. Look for us there, let's say "Hi" if we can.
I bought a beautiful red snapper that was delicious for supper, also heirloom tomatoes, okra, and wonderful bread from the sweet lady at The Taste of Spain. I think I'll go back next week for the olive oil she recommended. I love being downtown!