Top 5 Charleston Farmer's Markets & CSAs
Top Charleston Farmer's Markets and CSAs
Charleston is rich in many ways; history, culture, excellent restaurants, world-class accommodations. Charleston is also rich in agriculture and there is no shortage of avenues by which you can take advantage of this. From local farm stores, farmers markets or even a buy-in approach of CSA membership, if it’s fresh produce you want, Charleston will provide. Below is a list of the top five CSAs and Farmers Markets in the Charleston area.
Before we get to the list, however, its possible that some readers may not know what a CSA is and we need to make that right. Allow me to introduce you to the wonderful world of Community Supported Agriculture or CSA. By subscribing to a CSA Membership, the member is essentially paying for seeds, soil, fertilizer, water, equipment and the labor that it takes to run the farm at the beginning of the season. In return, the farm agrees to provide each member with fresh produce throughout the term of the membership. Some CSAs offer seasonal memberships or annual memberships. Certain CSAs will deliver your produce to your house, but it is most common that they have a central pick-up site where the community comes to gather their shares and sometimes talk to the staff from the farm they support. It is a very cool way to support local agriculture (which is a tough business to be in) and Charleston is full of them!
Now that you know more about CSAs, we are assuming you’re familiar with Farmers Market concepts so let’s get into the best places to do both here in the Holy City:
- Charleston Farmers Market - Marion Square, Charleston, SC (http://www.charlestonfarmersmarket.com/#&panel1-5)
Saturdays, April - November from 8am-2pm
The Charleston Farmers Market is big and fun! Located right in the heart of historic downtown Charleston in Marion Square, it offers a great space to stroll the aisles, grab some lunch from a local food truck and relax in the sun in the open fields of the park. There is usually a jump castle at the far end of the park so that restless children, who couldn't care less about local jams and cured meats, can “get their wiggles out” while parents look on from the grass, taking in a rare moment of relaxation. Amongst the various vendors, sometimes more than 100, you will find local farmers, artisan ingredients, crafts, food trucks and more. I recommend getting some of the fresh local made pasta and local meats. Be sure not to pass up local peaches during the height of their summer season!
2) Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market - Moultrie Middle School - 645 Coleman Blvd, Mt. Pleasant, SC (https://www.facebook.com/MountPleasantFarmersMarket/)
Tuesdays, April - September from 3:30-7pm
“Get Fresh With The Locals” is the slogan for the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market and we think it’s a great one! An evening Farmers Market is already a great idea, add that it’s on a Tuesday and we’re thrilled. A very family oriented event, this Farmers Market is one of the best attended that we’ve ever seen. Live music, face painting and free parking are just some of the perks here. Located on Coleman Boulevard at the edge of Mt. Pleasant’s Old Village, it couldn’t be more central to all the goings on of this town. Make sure you pick up some fresh flowers while you’re there, the best selection in town, as well as fresh local seafood - it can’t be beat!
3) Sunday Brunch Farmers Market - The Pour House - 1977 Maybank Highway, James Island, SC (http://www.sundaybrunchfarmersmarket.com/)
Sundays, March - (mid)December from 11am-3pm
James Island is hopping every Sunday for most of the year. We love that this Farmers Market is open so many months of the year so that our Farmers Market fix can be satisfied at one of the best. If the weather is nice, they will even start it up in February as they did this year. Though it’s a fun place for kids as is any Farmers Market, this is usually attended by a younger crowd. Though on the edge of James Island’s popular neighborhood, Riverland Terrace, young hip families can be seen wearing their babies as they buy local cured meats. The Pour House hosts live music on their big back deck which ranges from female led soul/funk bands to acoustic cover artists. Known for curating talent in the Charleston area, the performers are always worth their salt. You’ll find local produce here, but even more craftsmen and women selling incredible handmade wares like one-of-a-kind cutting boards, plant hangers and more.
4) Legare Farms CSA - John’s Island, SC (https://legarefarms.com/pages/csa-program)
Legare Farms has offered their CSA for membership for more than 10 years and are one of the oldest farming families (est. 1725) in the Charleston area. Legare Farms takes the community aspect of their CSA to the next level as they staff the pick-up locations with friendly farm staff ready to meet and greet each member. Staff is on-site to chat about farm happenings, how the crops are doing, share recipes or just offer friendly conversation about Lowcountry life. Legare Farms offers two membership periods per year, one beginning in April and running nine weeks, and the other beginning in October and running six weeks. They have full share and half share options and five pick-up locations around town: James Island, John’s Island, North Charleston, West Ashley and Mt. Pleasant.
5) Ambrose Family Farm CSA - Wadmalaw Island, SC (http://www.stonofarmmarket.com/ambrosefamilyfarmcsa.html)
The Ambrose Family CSA is robust and offers much more than just fresh produce. Through the Stono Market & Tomato Shed Cafe, located at 842 Main Road on John’s Island, Ambrose Farm offers additions to your produce share. Easily purchase additions through their online store to have them deliver items such as local meats, cheese, honey, eggs and shrimp along with your regular produce. Ambrose Family Farm CSA offers weekly or bi-weekly delivery and has nearly 25 pickup locations in the Charleston Area. Memberships can be paid for yearly or seasonally and they offer 4 seasonal subscription options in three share sizes: small, medium or large. Even if you don’t take advantage of the CSA, it is worth a visit to the Market & Cafe to see more of what Ambrose Family Farm is up to.
This list is not exhaustive and there are countless other local farmers who deserve attention. Yelp put together a decent list here: https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=farmersmarket&find_loc=West+Ashley%2C+Charleston%2C+SC, if you’re feeling especially inspired. With the spring season upon us, there’s never been a better time to get out and get your hands on some of the literal fruits of our local earth here in Charleston, South Carolina.