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