Gwen Fowler



Greenville's Saturday Market is much more than just food

Posted 7/10/2011 12:56:00 PM

Downtown Greenville turns into a farmers market on Saturday mornings, with about three blocks of Main Street closed to traffic and booths lining both sides of the street.

Saturday Market has a real festival feel, complete with entertainment and lots of children along with their parents for the shopping. And there’s a lot more than produce here -- a number of artists are regulars, and you can buy handmade candles, decorated gourds, soaps, and all types of flowers, herbs and plants. Soby’s on the Side serves breakfast, and West End Coffee Co. serves gourmet coffee.

I happily wandered through the market in late June and couldn’t resist buying a few things, even though I was too far from home to stock up on the beautiful produce. I took home a jar of goat milk feta cheese, in oil with sun-dried tomatoes and green olives, from Split Creek Farm in Anderson. I can already tell we will eat this up so fast I’ll have to order some more online.

Buddy May of May Farms in Greenville sells his honey at the market in cute little bear containers. I had to have one because fresh honey is delicious but also because beekeepers are so important to our food supply. About 30 percent of what we eat has to be pollinated, May said.

As if their baskets of organic peaches and plums weren’t attention-grabbing enough, vendors Alicia Cato and Reid Watson of Watsonia Organic Farms wore bright gold T-shirts that said: “Peaches make you sexy!”

At the Banana Manna booth, owner and baker Chancey M. Lindsey-Peake sang out the names of the varieties of banana bread she had for sale – cranberry banana bread, fully loaded banana bread, chocolate banana bread and so on – while she passed out samples.

Greenville has had a downtown farmers market since 2002, first named the “Poinsett Curb Market” in honor of Joel Poinsett, the South Carolinian who was a statesman and botanist who is probably best remembered for bringing the poinsettia plant to the University States.

In 2007, the market was moved to Main Street and renamed the Saturday Market. This season, more than 50 vendors are listed on the market’s website. The site also provides recipes for shoppers who might be looking for new ways to use produce.