Farmers markets are such an integral part of the Southern lifestyle with fresh produce, seasonal ingredients, artisanal products and a thriving, local community culture growing up around them. They have boosted local economies since the time of the Great Depression, and it is no surprise that they’re still growing at a faster pace than farmers markets in the Northern states. (Especially in Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and North Carolina.)
Most farmers markets in the South celebrate their regional identity with great pride and local specialties, and they’re a wonderful place to visit to see a social snapshot of the area that links rural and urban populations and helps farmers reduce carbon footprints and costly overheads by selling farm-fresh goods directly to their consumers.
To enjoy these markets like a true Southerner, do not go there with pre-conceived notions about what meats, fresh produce and fruits you’re going to buy. Stroll through the market first, and get inspired by the seasonal selection before deciding on what meal you will prepare.
Second, purchase at least one new and untried thing each time you visit the farmers market.
Third, talk to the producer you’re buying from and be amazed by the tips and ideas you can collect from the people who really know their products best.
Fourth, involve your senses in the purchase. See, touch and smell the produce and relish the wonderful freshness of vegetables and fruits that have been plucked at the height of their flavor.
We have curated 10 of our favorite farmer’s markets in the South in no particular order. With over 750 unique markets spread all across the southern states, it’s a difficult task indeed to compress our choices to only ten.
Please do send us a quick comment on your favorite farmer’s market, so the rest of us can get inspired to go visit them on one of these beautiful summer weekends!
# 1: Downtown Farmer’s Market
# 2: Mississippi Farmer’s Market
# 3: Pepper Place Saturday Market
# 4: Nashville Farmer’s Market
# 5: Midtown Farmers Market
# 6: Red Stick Farmers Market
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
# 7: The Chattanooga Market
# 8: Hernando Farmers Market
# 9: Hattiesburg Farmers Market
# 10: Charleston Farmers Market
Charleston, South Carolina