It’s Homegrown: 8 Farmers Markets to Peruse in Columbia SC
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 2:00 PM by Dayna Cantelmi
Good news, everybody! It just so happens that the peak season for locally-grown produce in SC runs from April through October, so you’re just in time to nab the freshest finds from our region’s farmers markets. Here’s eight markets that each offer a different experience to locals and visitors alike.
Soda City Market
Saturdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Every Saturday morning, rain or shine, head to Main Street to find this downtown farmers market stretching three city blocks. At Soda City, you’re as likely to find waffles and avocado toast as you are arepas and island noodles. Fresh-cut flowers, jewelry, produce, handbags and more are some of the handmade (or hand-picked!) options you can take back home with you. Buskers add to the ambience and everywhere you look, you’re sure to see a cute dog. Now that’s what we call a win.
South Carolina State Farmers Market
Sundays 12 – 6 p.m., Mondays – Saturdays 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
In West Columbia, the state-of-the-art South Carolina State Farmers Markets welcomes vendors of all kinds to the different sections of the market. Stop by the Farm Fresh Sheds for – you guessed it – seasonal fruits and veggies from statewide farms. Or, check out the Market Pavilion where you can dine at the Market Restaurant, sip on offerings in the Market Tea Room or add a few more items to your take-home basket at the Market Country Store. Be sure to stop back by for annual events such as the Commissioner’s Cup BBQ Cook-off and Festival and the Midlands Plant & Flower Festival.
Richland Library Farmers Market
Wednesdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The Richland Library may be the last place you’d expect to find a farmers market, but get used to surprises in Columbia SC. Pop in the main branch downtown to pick up a book, indulge in one of Chef Sarah Simmons’ delicious paninis or flatbreads from The Café and take in the tables upon tables full of fresh, seasonal selections from local farms.
Town of Lexington, SC Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Opens May 5th)
Bring the whole family out to downtown Lexington, where the town farmers market sets up shop in Lexington Square Park. The community-friendly atmosphere pays special attention to educating patrons on the benefits of eating local, as well as supporting local artists. Homegrown ingredients and art? Count us in.
City Roots Farmers Market
Thursdays, 4 – 7 p.m.
Part farmers market, part night out, the City Roots Farmers Market offers the best of organic offerings and evening entertainment. Shop for produce grown at City Roots farm (as well as other local farms changing from week to week), pasture-raised meats, free range eggs, artisan baked goods, fresh dairy selections and various other products. Then kick back with a craft beer or wine and nosh on something tasty from an on-site food vendor.
Healthy Carolina Farmers Market at USC
Tuesdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
A University of South Carolina health and wellness initiative, the Healthy Carolina Farmers Market goes beyond the vendor-consumer relationship and includes interactive opportunities such as cooking demonstrations, health screenings, stress management consultations and workshops. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of locally-grown or sourced produce, baked goods, juices and more available for purchase, too (plus free samples!).
Sandhill Farmers Market
Tuesdays, 2 – 6 p.m. (Opens May 1st)
Home to regional farmers who are required to personally grow a certain percentage of the items they’re selling, the Sandhill Farmers Market goes beyond the usual suspects – produce, eggs, honey, etc. – and also includes greenery such as plants, flowers and shrubs. There’s even an “Ask a Master Gardener Booth” for anyone who wants to learn how to cultivate their green thumb. Music and healthy lifestyle demonstrations are additional components, as well as special themed markets from time to time.
Irmo Farmers Market
Tuesdays, 5 – 8 p.m. until June 3rd
Head back to the halls of high school for this weekly opportunity to shop from all-local businesses. In addition to cage-free eggs, pasture-raised meats and all your other grocery needs, you’ll also find locally-crafted kombucha and handmade natural soap products at the Irmo Farmers Market. We think this one has earned itself an A.
For more #RealColumbiaSC fun, check out the Things To Do page on our website!
Cover photo credit: Helene Dujardin