Saturday Farmer’s Market, Greenville Style

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Saturdays trump any other of the day of the week. Better than a Friday because you haven’t spent the whole day working, more peaceful than a Sunday because your to-do list isn’t piling up, more wicked than a Wednesday because you don’t have to wait three more days for freedom…Saturday is the blooming hydrangea amidst a smattering of weeds.

Speaking of hydrangeas, I desperately wanted to go to Greenville’s Farmer’s Market to find a mason jar full of fresh flowers to add a touch of hominess to my apartment and to spruce up my coffee table. There’s something about an intricate flower arrangement that makes you appreciate life, life in general. Rain doesn’t seem so bad, waking up early is a blessing, and the sirens of police cars driving by become a part of a natural melody instead of a bothersome bleating.

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Sadly, the market is always on a Saturday and I normally work weekends.  I have been barricaded inside, watching the people pass by with their recyclable bags filled with juicy summer peaches and sugar snap peas instead of jumping in on the action. But this past Saturday I was off, so Noelle and I got up early and walked downtown to peruse the endless street vendors. Word to the wise: get to Main Street early. You will beat the heat and get the pick of the crop in terms of produce selection. It also is always very crowded, so the earlier your feet hit the floor, the more successful your shopping trip.

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This is the best possible place to find your fruits and veggies for the coming week. All local and mostly organic, there are about thirty or so booths set up along the heart of Main where you can stop and sample or try and buy. One of my purchases was a pepper berry chevre, the perfect accompaniment to the buttery cracker, and because I am a dork and keep my Invisalign retainers in 24/7, I had Noelle perform the test taste and give me her seal of approval. The flavor sounded enticing, but I needed it confirmed before I bought it. The station also featured other interesting flavor combinations that I am more than willing to try next time I visit.

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While I tend to be drawn towards the booths that feature sun-ripened fruit or sweet things like Blueberry pies or iced java, Noelle is more attracted to the booths that house fresh herbs and veggies, and there are multiples ones like this so no need to stop at the first one you spy. I suggest walking all the way up the street market and soaking it all in and then walking back to select your purchases.

Noelle picked up some swiss chard and some spicy peppers from a booth that donates some of their profits to the impoverished, which I thought was probably the best booth to purchase from and we both picked up some spicy artichoke salsa in a jar. It is hard not to stop and gaze upon the produce when the colors are so vibrant and possibilities for spicing them up are so endless.

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What I honed in on the most though while zig-zagging around were the three or so flower shops. I normally buy my fresh flowers at grocery stores, and although Trader’s Joes and Whole Foods showcase some beautiful flowers in their displays, they don’t compare in the least to the ones found downtown. And I am not into roses or carnations, flowers that appear so often on desks at work. Note to the guys out there- don’t skimp on the flowers. Buying dyed carnations is a relationship killer if I’ve ever heard of one.

The flowers downtown are so incredibly unique and I am always fascinated by seeing ones I’ve never seen before. You can create your own bouquets at these places too, another reason why I prefer them over the supermarkets. So naturally, I ended up coming home with two arrangements. One for my side table and one for my coffee table. Check out their gloriousness…..

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I wish that the market was all year round because the changing seasons would bring about such a wide selection of produce. It would be awesome if they sold fall apples or winter lettuce but the market only lasts for the summer months and then disappears. It’s like a bear hibernating for the winter, only to pop its head out at the first sign of sunshine. So all of those Greenvillians out there, I urge you to take true advantage of this weekly street festival while it lasts. Buy local, eat clean.

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