Local Flavor: Farmers Markets

Going to the market? Know your farms
Courtesy of iStock

The 7th Street Public Market is far more than a farmers market. The city market in uptown Charlotte, which has found its home in the space formerly known as Reid’s Fine Foods, certainly celebrates local and regional foods and supports area farmers, but as Executive Director Christy Shi will tell you, aims to offer much more. “This place is a magnet for people interested in food,” she says. Chefs, farmers, and members of the community can gather in one place to shop for local products and talk about what they eat and how it affects their health. With flexible weekday hours (and a convenient location right off the light rail), the market offers convenience for those whose schedules don’t mesh with weekend farmers markets. Ellison Clary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, which is a sponsor of the market. He and his wife make frequent trips to the market from their home in Fourth Ward. “The vendors are friendly and approachable and I don’t know of many folks who have visited without taking home something they found unexpectedly appealing,” he says.

Shi recalls a memorable market meal she put together back in January. “From Dawn’s crab cakes (Meat & Fish Co.), to Dennis’s pasta (Rio Bertolini), to Suzanne’s goat cheese dressing (Cheval Farmstead Dairy) for the Rivendell Farms salad greens, to Sara’s bread (The Dough Bowl), topping everything off with Erica and Roland’s (Cloud 9 Bakery) brownies.” She adds, “How many places do you know where you can do that and know all the money you spend is going directly back into your local economy, and also know the story of those who produced all your food?”

Part gourmet foods store, part farmers market, 7th Street Public Market was created to promote local food culture and serve as a source of fresh, locally grown foods and artisan products in uptown. The centerpiece of the market is a farm stand featuring produce, meat, eggs, and dairy products from dozens of regional producers such as Beam Family Farms, Big Oaks Farm, and Homeland Creamery. The market also acts as an incubator for boutique food businesses. Wed-Fri 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat-Sun  9 a.m.-4 p.m., individual vendor hours may vary, 224 E. 7th St., 7thstreetpublicmarket.com

Nestled in the heart of historic South End, the Atherton Market is the reinvention of the Tailgate Farmers Market. In its new location shoppers find a variety of vendors selling locally grown produce, prepared foods, seafood, meat, cheese, and more. The largest selection is on Saturdays. Tue 3-7 p.m., Wed 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 2104 South Blvd. (in the former Charlotte Trolley barn), charlottetailgatemarket.com

Piedmont Farmers Market, a nonprofit organization that operates four farmers markets throughout Cabarrus County, manages this year-round market in partnership with the North Carolina Research Campus. The indoor market is located in a seventeen-thousand-square-foot building that once housed a grocery store, the Cannon Mills company store, and a furniture store. Inside you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, free-range eggs, baked goods, and local carts, plus cooking demonstrations and free yoga classes. Thu 3-6 p.m., 120 West Ave., Kannapolis, ncresearchcampus.net

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services operates this large, year-round market, which is one of five farmers markets owned by the state of North Carolina. The facility includes four open-air sheds, where vendors offer fresh flowers, produce, prepared foods, baked goods, cheeses, and even handmade crafts at the Craft Barn (open Saturdays, March through September). Look for the “Local Farmer, Local Food” flags—they distinguish local farmers from other vendors. A greenery shed offers plants, trees, and shrubs. Tue-Sat, hours vary by season, 1801 Yorkmont Rd.


More than thirty-five farmers from within one hundred miles of Davidson participate in this year-round market, which began as a grassroots effort in 2007. Since its debut in May 2008, the market has offered locally grown fruits and vegetables, meats, and cheeses produced through sustainable or organic methods. Breads, flowers, and soaps are also available. Winter season: Second and fourth Sat, 9 a.m.-noon; spring season (beginning April 7): Sat 8 a.m.–noon, 216 S. Main St., Davidson, davidsonfarmersmarket.org


Opened July 2011, this fledgling market was created by Chef Trey Wilson of Customshop and features seafood, meats, honey, prepared foods, baked goods, and organic produce from small, local producers. Opens for spring April 15; Sat 9 a.m.-noon, 1521 Elizabeth Ave., elizabethavefarmersmarket.com

The Gastonia Farmers Market is open from April through December and boasts a large selection of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, crafts, honey, meats, flowers, and plants. Each participating farmer receives a grower’s certificate from the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service and a farm visit from the market’s committee. Days and hours vary seasonally. 410 E. Long Ave., Gastonia, gastoniafarmersmarket.com

Managed by Piedmont Farmers Market, this market opens for 2012 on April 16 and runs through September. Mon 4-7 p.m., 6960 Robinson Church Rd., Harrisburg

Sponsored by the Town of Huntersville Parks and Recreation Department, this weekly market runs from May through October, offering produce, flowers, and baked goods along with jewelry, plants, and crafts. Sat 7 a.m.-noon, 103 Maxwell Ave., Huntersville

Established in 1991, Matthews Community Farmers Market operates all year and is one of the area’s largest. All of the food and products sold at this market are grown, raised, or made within fifty miles of Matthews. Managed by a board of directors elected from the market’s active membership, this market features more than fifty vendors during the regular season (April through November) and twenty-five during the winter season (December through March). Sat, hours vary by season, 188 N. Trade St., Matthews,

The oldest in North Carolina, this market is still in its original location—a small, red brick building in Dilworth—and was founded in 1937 by the Mecklenburg County Home Extension Club. As with regular vendor Beverly’s Gourmet Foods, many of the vendors are descendents of the original founders. Wed 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Thu-Fri 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat 7 a.m.-3 p.m., 1515 Harding Pl., mecklenburgcounty market.com

Located in the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village, this market runs from May through September and offers produce, meats, handmade crafts, baked goods, and plants. Sat 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 7601 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd., Mint Hill, minthillhistory.com


An intimate year-round venture, the Mount Holly Farmers Market is open from May 12 through September offers local produce, flowers, cheeses, baked goods, and more. At the educational tent in the center of the market, the market’s chef-in-residence offers free cooking workshops. Sat 8 a.m.-noon, 130 S. Main St., Mount Holly, mounthollyfarmersmarket.com

Open May through October, this market at Cedar Walk in south Charlotte offers a variety of fresh food options from vegetables and fruits to herbs, eggs, meats, and prepared foods. Tue 4 p.m. to dark, 11038 Cedar Walk Ln., meetingstreetmarket.com

This market in Rock Hill is open on Thursdays and Saturdays in June through August and is a combination farmers market and handmade market, featuring locally grown produce alongside handmade work from local artisans and crafters. Children’s activities and live music are also a draw. A new location in Rock Hill is in the works for 2012. 803-417-4067, onlyinoldtown.com/market

Pineville’s Downtown Farmers Market expects to open for a second season in early May. Look for local produce, baked goods, and handmade crafts in the parking lot of the Pineville Police Department. Tue and Thu 3-7 p.m.; Sat 8 a.m.-1 p.m., 300 Main St., Pineville.

The Bradford Store offers many of the things you’ll find at a typical farmers market—local produce, preserves, prepared foods, cider, meats, and cheeses—in a unique setting. A registered historic landmark, the store was established in 1912 on William Bradford’s cotton and corn farm to provide the community with a store, cotton gin, blacksmith shop, and sawmill. Wed-Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 15915 Davidson Concord Rd., Huntersville, thebradfordstore.com

Waxhaw is home to many local farmers, and many of them are represented at the seasonal Waxhaw Farmers Market, which opens in April. Look for dairy products, produce, fruits and berries, baked goods, flowers, local honey, meats, and more. Sat 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 116 McDonald St., Waxhaw, waxhawfarmersmarket.com

Meat & Fish Co.

In the butcher shop space at the Seventh Street Public Market, behind the tanks of swimming fish and crustaceans, you’ll find Dawn LaVecchia, along with the freshest selection of seafood and meats in the city.

As the protein source for the market, Meat & Fish Co. works with farms around the Carolinas, sources local and regional fish, as well as grain- and grass-fed meats. But high quality does not always mean the highest prices. In fact, LaVecchia says it’s the highest quality you can get and almost at wholesale prices. Whether a customer wants to pay five dollars for a pound of ground beef or $40 for a pound of Kobe beef, “We want to cater to everyone and educate them about food,” she says. “Our passion is the food.” meatandfishcompany.com, 704-910-2048



Categories: Food + Drink, Guides, Local Flavor, Restaurants & Food