I Love Memphis 2011 Farmers Market Guide

May 5, 2011 2:36 pm8 commentsViews: 173

In case you weren’t already excited about farmer’s market season in Memphis, know this: 2011 going to be a huge year for locally-grown food in Memphis. There are three new farmers markets (all located in neighborhoods that have a huge need for fresh food), all of the usual markets are still open, and there are a few year-round options.

Here’s a list of all of the places to score some locally grown goodness this spring and summer:

The Newcomers:

South Memphis Farmers Market (Thursdays, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., 1400 Mississippi Blvd.)

The South Memphis Farmers Market brings inexpensive, fresh produce to one of the city’s biggest food deserts – an area where fresh food isn’t easily accessible. Their vendors carry everything from apples to peppers and potatoes and Italian Ice. The market is open every Thursday afternoon until October 27th, and they accept EBT cards.

Urban Farms Market (Tillman and Sam Cooper, Tuesdays 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

The Urban Farms Market is a twice-weekly outdoor market. They sell produce grown at a three-acre urban farm in the middle of Binghampton (another food desert). In addition to fruits and vegetables, they’ve got a selection of locally made goodies. They accept EBT cards.

Church Health Center Farmers Market (Church Health Center Wellness, Tuesdays 10 .m. – 2 p.m.)

MIFA and the Church Health Center continue their mission of supporting the well-being of Memphis families with their joint market every Tuesday at the Church Health Center’s fitness center. The food is ridiculously reasonably priced (example: red lettuce, $1.75) and the vibe friendly and unpretentious.

The Stalwarts:

Memphis Farmers Market (Central Station Pavilion, Saturdays, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

Memphis Farmers Market Sign

The downtown farmer’s market is arguably the most popular farmer’s market in town. Every Saturday, the pavilion is packed with downtowners (and local chefs) buying fresh produce, flowers, prepared foods and handmade goods. More than just a market, the MFM has live music, cooking demonstrations, kids’ activities and free dog sitting.

Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market (First Congo parking lot, Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

The weekly market in Cooper-Young is fairly similar to the downtown market. There’s live music, cooking demos, activities and dog sitting. There are vendors selling locally-grown fruits and vegetables and plenty of handmade items. But, there’s something about the midtown market that seems a little more relaxed and low-key.

Agricenter Farmers Market (Agricenter International, Monday – Saturday, 7:30 a.m.  – 5:30 p.m.)

I love that the Agricenter Farmers Market is open every day during the week. There is a wide selection of fruits, vegetables and baked goods in housed in the bright red barn-shaped building, and there are plants and flowers sold outside.

Memphis Botanic Gardens Farmers Market (Memphis Botanic Gardens, Wednesdays, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.)

The weekly market at the Memphis Botanic Gardens is still fairly small, but it’s great if you want to stop quickly and pick up something to use for dinner. They’ve got fresh fruits and vegetables, organic meats, and a huge selection of plants for sale. Admission to the farmer’s market is free, and they’re open every week until October 26th.

The Constants:

Midtown Farmers Market, Memphis, Tenn.

Midtown Farmers Market (1632 Union Avenue)

The Midtown Farmers Market is a year-round, indoor market. Their selection varies by season, but they’ve got a lot of anytime items (think cheese straws, fresh/frozen seafood, prepared meals and locally made soaps and honey).

Trolley Stop Market (704 Madison Avenue)

This super popular local restaurant and market is owned by two local farmers (Keith and Jill from Whitton Farms). After you eat one of their tasty pizzas, browse the selection of local produce, flowers and crafts. They’ve also got dip mixes and frozen seafood from Muddy Waters and meat from Neola Farms.

Urban Farms Market Corner Store (Corner of Tillman and Broad)

The Urban Farms Market Corner Store is a tiny, healthy alternative to the usual corner store. Instead of frozen pizzas and canned goods, they carry healthy and affordable basic groceries. They’re open every Tuesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Jones Orchard (7170 US Highway 51 N, Millington, Tenn.)

At Jones Orchard in Millington

Those of you who think things are best enjoyed after hard work (or, those of you who are super picky) should make a trip to Jones Orchard. The orchard has patches of pick-your-own peaches, blackberries and strawberries, as well as a small farmers market and restaurant. It’s about 30 minutes north of downtown on Highway 51.

8 Comments

  • This list is fantastic! I love having this all together in one place. Thanks! I hope to visit them all!

  • Len Pipkin

    In regard to area markets, I love them all equally. Any entity willingly / knowingly cutting out the proverbial middle-person, while using their occupational currency to apply toward organically sane packaging, storage and logistical ideals, is worth championing.

    Amongst ourselves, let’s try to push for a top-notch, nationally ranked CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program: not as a luxury, but as necessity. These programs are underpinned by a philosophy placing the freshest, seasonal fruits and veggies at one’s door, while enabling another to enjoy a reliable, steady, personal income and professional validation… a win / win scenario.

    Important, too, is that the markets strengthen communities, protect diversity and foster sustainability. Example: during off seasons, the populace could be educated (at scheduled gatherings, led by those with specific knowledge) on ‘big picture’ issues in sequential steps from ‘pollination to plate’; beekeeping, water-tables, urban – roof top gardening, economics, fiscal policies, heritage studies, etc.

    The potential for inherent learning moments is truly endless – finding positive, action oriented roles for our kids to play within this ever burgeoning field is an issue to keep uppermost in mind. We are a social creature, that trait is embedded into our very DNA; within the last decade, I have witnessed no better endeavor in instilling a sense of connectedness than that known as the Farmer’s Market. It erases ageism, racism and bigotry while affording times for you to encounter neighbors and befriend the farmers themselves.

    After being involved in two such ventures (Arkansas and Alaska), myself, I know it not only possible to enjoy wild success in Memphis pertaining to FMs, but a statistical certainty. It’s our kids’ world now, folks; as parents, grand-parents, care-givers / exemplars and role models, it is incumbent on us to ensure that ecological inheritance is one of vibrancy, understanding, appreciation, humaneness and thankfulness.

  • We moved from Florida last year where we were weekly patrons of our local farmers’ market, every visit buying homemade hummus from a vendor/family. I can’t tell you how happy we were to visit the Botanic Garden market last week and find homemade hummus (and vegan cookies)…we are far less homesick as a result. The trip inspired my latest vlog for DiscoverAmerica.com…check it out for scenes from the MBG market and updates on other American markets from Portland to Puerto Rico: http://bit.ly/jAVItX

  • Jim Trimpmin

    The downtown farmer’s market is keen. I enjoy it as a social event! It’s the place to see and be seen.

    But it’s somewhat expensive for groceries, clearly. There’s a flower vendor who sells his flowers on Saturday marked up 50% from the price he sells at on Friday on Main Street. There’s a peach grower at the farmer’s market selling peaches for 3x the price he sells them for at WholeFoods. There’s locally roasted coffee beans for $10 bucks a bag–hello! it’s much cheaper at Starbucks (also, “locally roasted coffee” is like saying “locally grilled hamburgers.”)

    It’s sad that the farmer’s market has become a high-end boutique, but at least it’s keeping downtown alive and vibrant and interesting. Thumbs up!

  • Victor Perch

    Trimpmin is on to something there. Farmer’s markets were originaly desgined as places for farmers to sell directly to the public without the involvement of a middle man (grocer). Somehow, this notion has been lost. Much of the produce at the downtown market is on the pricey side. Or at least, it’s not a the type of discount one used to see at farmer’s markets back in the day. I suppose the market will set prices at levels that sustain customer interest. Thus, it must be the customers who are willing to withstand paying up solely for the purpose of supporting local growers and the ideology therein (and the social buzz). There’s certainly nothing at all wrong with that. But maybe the downtown farmer’s market shouldn’t be coined as such. Perhaps it should be something like, the “Downtown Local Growers Boutique.” I don’t know. There’s an odd conflict going on.

  • Rogers Wirthington

    I quit going to the farmer’s market downtown for any shopping what-so-ever. It’s too expensive. I go sometimes to check out the scene but that’s it. You can buy local produce at Whole Foods and at other locations without breaking your wallet.

  • OMG. you guys are so right! the last few entries there have made me few so much better. i though I was a snoot but the farmer’s maket downtown was making me feel like a chump sort of. i love going but my wallet was smarting afterwards. every time it seemed. it got to where i winced before buying anything down there. i still go cause it’s fun. and i get a thing or two. but the luster of a REAL farmer’s market just isn’t there really. it’s a fancy pants place for high rollers.

  • There's a great little farmers market in Bartlett now!!  The Bartlett Station Farmers Market is located inside of Freeman Park in the historical side of town on Bartlett Blvd.  It operates from May through October, Saturdays from 7am until noon.  It's growing and this year is introducing nutritional education programs and family fun programs!  Great prices on locally grown produce, baked goods, and all sorts of stuff!

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