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SHOP LOCAL: 11 GO-TO FARMERS MARKETS IN CLT

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ERIKA EDMONSON

JUL 14, 2020

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IMAGE VIA CHARLOTTE REGIONAL FARMERS MARKET | FACEBOOK

Picture yourself rolling out of bed on a lazy Sunday morning, making pancakes, and sipping on freshly brewed coffee. As you bask in the beauty of such a morning, you mentally jot down a list of local produce you’ll pick up at the farmers market later that day. Pretty amazing, huh?

While Charlotte has a bunch of unique markets to discover, we’ve sorted through all of the different characteristics that make each one special. So, all you need to worry about is whether those pancakes are gonna be banana or blueberry.

Southeast of the city, the Matthews Community Farmers’ Market has been at it over 25 years, providing the Charlotte area with fresh, seasonal veggies. The Saturday morning market is perfect for a quick grocery stop, or a leisurely morning listening to live music, chowing down at a food truck, or getting to know the local farmers over coffee. Saturdays, 8am to 12pm, April to November (8am to 10pm in winter months).

Burrowed in the Parks-Cramer Mill Building of South End, the Atherton Farmers Market showcases vendors that specialize in artisanal crafts from handcrafted jewelry to enchanting terrariums. This is an indoor farmers market, so come rain or shine, this is the place to be. We suggest checking out Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen for healthy cooking classes created for various ability levels — it’s healthy, it’s fun, it’s BYOB. Saturdays, 9am to 2pm, year-round.

Serving Charlotte residents since the early 1940s, Kings Drive Farmers Market is your go-to for all things local. Browse the various vendor tents for fresh produce and local offerings while keeping an eye out for their more seasonal items such as spring flowers, fall pumpkins, and winter Christmas trees. This iconic little red and white building off of Kings Drive never disappoints. Tuesdays and Fridays, 6am to 6pm; Saturdays, 6am to 3pm, April to December.

Sometimes life can get so hectic, it’s hard to make it to the grocery store let alone the farmers market. Luckily, that’s not an issue for Uptowners who can visit 7th Street Market, nestled in the heart of Charlotte’s city center. This urban farmers market is home to several local artisans and is the perfect spot to grab lunch or pick up local ingredients for a fresh homemade dinner. Open seven days a week, year-round.

The Charlotte Regional Farmers Market is one of the largest in the city and is one of five farmers markets owned by the state of North Carolina. So, grab your reusable grocery tote (or two!) and browse the aisles like you would a normal grocery store because this place has just about everything. Most vendors even offer samples… we’re talking wine, bread, and cheese (you know, the essentials). While most merchants accept debit and credit, payments vary by vendor, so carry cash just in case. Fitt Tip: if ill-prepared, there’s an ATM located near the restrooms at the front of the market. Tuesday to Saturday, 8am to 5pm, October to April; Tuesday to Sunday, 8am to 6pm (12pm to 6 Sunday), May to September.

There are almost too many reasons why we love farmers markets: they offer foods that are fresh, local, sustainably farmed, etc. Well, Friendship Gardens Mobile Market is taking it one step further by bringing fresh produce to members of the community who have limited access to healthy food. You can find them serving up veggies and smiles at the CATS Transit Center in Uptown. Volunteers are always welcome. Thursdays, 3:30pm to 6pm, March to October.

You know you can expect high quality when each vendor is vetted by the market’s board, and that’s exactly what you get at the Cotswold Farmers Market, situated just off of S. Sharon Amity Rd. Not only does this market have the usual lineup of produce, breads, and eggs, but also offers fresh flowers and handmade soaps. FYI: Only service dogs are allowed in the market, but volunteers are standing by to hold your “non-active duty” furry friend for you while you shop. Saturdays, 8am to 12pm, May to October.

Blink and you might miss the tiny brick building with double white doors positioned at the corner of Harding Place next to the CMC campus. And such a shame it would be to miss this market, as it’s the oldest in North Carolina (and still in its original location). The Mecklenburg County Market opened in 1937 and is typically less crowded than many of the other markets in the city. Ample parking, dog-friendly environment, and vegan/vegetarian prepared meals are only some of the unique offerings that this spot provides. Open seven days a week, year-round.

After you grab a coffee at Smelly Cat Coffeehouse, wander behind the building to get your Saturday shopping on. NoDa Farmers Market is a producers-only market, meaning they only select vendors who grow their own produce (aka the best of the best). A major bonus: this dog-friendly market moves indoors down the street at the Neighborhood Theatre during inclement weather, so you never miss a Saturday. Saturdays, 9am to 12pm, year-round.

Every Tuesday during the Summer, the Rosa Parks Farmers Market sets up shop at the Mecklenburg County Health Department’s NW campus location. This market is a joint effort between the city’s health department and community to make local and healthy food accessible to food stamp customers by accepting EBT/SNAP cards. Enjoy taking the kids to this family-friendly market where they can learn about gardening and nutrition in the designated “kids zone”. Tuesdays, 10am to 2pm, June to September.

Just north of Charlotte, in the Huntersville-Lake Norman area, The Bradford Store functions as both a registered historic landmark and local farmers market. With most of the produce grown right on the Bradford farm surrounding the store, this is as local as it gets. Whether you’re browsing for dairy products, meat, baked goods, or natural dog soap (as we all are), there’s more than meets the eye in this piece of Charlotte history. Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm, April to December.

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