One of the best things about summer is the fresh produce at your local farmers market—juicy tomatoes, sweet corn, colorful peppers, refreshing cucumbers—and it’s a sad sign of the end of summer when they close up for the year. But don’t worry—there are some farmers markets in the Upstate that stay open through the fall and even into the winter, with lots of fall and winter vegetables like kale, winter squash, beets, cabbage, and more. So you can go from salad season to soup season, still using fresh, local ingredients!
The Mauldin, Easley, and Palmetto (in Williamston) markets closed at the end of August, although there will be one more Palmetto Market at the 7th Annual Homesteading Festival on September 14th.
Several markets’ summer hours extend through the end of this month: Clemson’s is on Thursdays through the 26th; Fountain Inn, Simpsonville, Travelers Rest, and Pumpkintown all have Saturday market hours through the 28th of September.
Although a lot of farmers markets do sell other items besides vegetables, meat, and eggs, Woodruff’s Farmers Market and Arts & Crafts Market welcomes a variety of vendors selling food items and non-food-related crafts each Friday from 2:00–6:00 p.m. through November 8th, and they officially end their season on November 15th with the Woodruff Christmas Stroll.
Gaffney Station Farmers Market’s summer schedule, with Tuesday and Thursday evening as well as Saturday morning, will continue for another week (through the 14th), and then it will only be Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to noon through November. In addition to your usual farmers market produce items, Gaffney Station also sells other agricultural products such as Christmas trees, potted plants, ornamental shrubs, and firewood—and they are hosting a Farm to Table event at Old Paths Farm on October 12th (tickets can be purchased at the Gaffney Visitors Center & Art Gallery).
Hub City Farmers Market in Spartanburg runs its Saturday market through December 14th as well as mobile market stops through October 3rd. With its mission of increasing the supply of and access to healthy, local food in Spartanburg, HCFM also runs an urban teaching farm, a community garden, and a seed-to-table enrichment program for classroom students to learn about food cultivation. Helping to fund those initiatives is a Farm-to-Table dinner on October 17th.
Greenwood’s Uptown Market is open year-round (closed only on December 25th and January 1st), and they provide a handy chart showing produce availability by month. Starting in October, the market switches to winter hours—10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.—both on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The market awards $10 in Healthy Bucks for SNAP users per $5 spent, distributed on Wednesdays; also on select Wednesdays, healthy recipe samples are available, with recipe cards so you can prepare the dishes at home.
Farmers markets are one of the best ways to support local farmers—so even if your local market is closed for the season, why not take a drive this weekend to visit another one?
by Sharon Purvis