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Local farmers markets help county residents get spring spirit

Courtesy photos
Left: Got a green thumb this year? Get plants for your own garden at the market. Above: Lydia Carpenter, Nicole Philbeck, Kay Senn, Beth Woodside sell snow cones at the Farm-Fresh Market at Clemson University. Right: Dave Lindsay canes a chair at the Easley Farmers Market.

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

The arrival of spring means that more people are looking for ways to get outdoors. The many farmers markets in the area provide a way to do that, combining freshness and fun. It won’t be long before the markets open for their 2016 season. They are a great way to enjoy the fruits of the season while getting to know the farmers themselves. We’ve put together a guide to the markets in the Pickens County area.

Easley

“Downtown is the place to be on Saturday mornings,” Easley Farmers Market manager Lisa Chapman said.

The market in Easley will celebrate its eighth season this year, kicking off on April 2.

The first farmers market of the season will be held in conjunction with Easley’s Spring Fling Arts Festival. The market will have special hours that day and will be open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. After April 2, the regular market hours will be 8 a.m.-noon each Saturday, concluding with another special market in conjunction with the Fall for the Arts Festival on Oct. 1.

A special holiday market is being planned for sometime in November, Chapman said.

The bounty is plentiful at the Easley Farmers Market.

“We have 19 farmers lined up so far who will offer a variety of vegetables, plants, honey (and) fresh eggs,” she said. “I have a vendor who is doing Thai herbs and Thai peppers. We have Walker Century Farms, who will be selling grass-fed beef and pork.”

In addition to produce and products from area farms and gardens, the market offers much more, Chapman said.

“I’ve got 14 vendors lined up who are value-added vendors, who will be doing a variety of jams, jellies, salsas, etc.,” Chapman said.

Shem Creek will be back with its South Carolina shrimp.

“They’re going to expand their line and offer a bigger variety of seafood other than just shrimp,” Chapman said.

New vendor Rock Farms will be offering products made from goat milk, including lotions and salves. Elysium Pottery will be selling handmade ceramics, including plates, bowls and mugs.

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“We’ll have bakers doing breads, cakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, muffins and all that good stuff,” Chapman said.

Attendees will also be able to have breakfast at the market, courtesy of the Starving Artist Cafe booth, which will be selling biscuits, coffee and other goodies.

The market will host a variety of crafters throughout the season.

“We’ll have a couple of authors,” Chapman said. “We have a couple of people doing jewelry and home decor. We have a lady selling note cards and framed photos from nature photography that she does — excellent photos.

“We have a variety of crafters,” she continued. “Dave Lindsay will be back doing chair caning. He actually demonstrates his work on Saturdays. He actually canes chairs.”

Lindsay’s sister, Cathy English, is a weaver.

“She also demonstrates how she weaves her scarves, table runners and things like that,” Chapman said.

Chapman is working with a local chef to set up cooking demonstrations.

“He can demonstrate how to make simple dishes with fresh vegetables from the market,” she said.

She’s working on setting up live music at the market.

“Any local people that would like to come out and play, I’d be glad to talk to them,” Chapman said.

Chapman is pleased with how the market has grown year after year but says she still hears from people who are surprised Easley has a farmers market.

“Word is slowly getting out,” she said. “We have a good core group of vendors who have been with us from the beginning.”

The Easley Farmers Market is also on Facebook and Twitter. On Friday afternoons, Chapman posts a list of who’s slated to be at the next day’s market. On Saturday mornings, she updates with a post about which vendors are there.

“So people will know if their favorite vendor is there or not,” Chapman said.

Visit the market’s website at easleyfarmersmarket.org.

Six Mile

Six Mile gives an old building in town new life while connecting farmers to customers.

The Six Mile Farmers Depot operates on Thursdays in the old fire department building next to Town Hall on Main Street. The market will kick off its 2016 season on Thursday, April 21, and will run until the last Thursday in September. Market hours are 4-7 p.m.

The market’s vendors may sell plants, flowers, vegetables, fruit and arts and crafts. Cakes, pies, jams and jellies may also be sold, as long as they are made in a DHEC-approved kitchen.

The market is seeking vendors for the 2016 season. Those interested in being a vendor should contact market manager Jim Hayes at (864) 650-5078 or james_hayes@sixmilesc.org.

Clemson

Head to the Village Green at Patrick Square on Friday afternoons for the Clemson Farmers Market.

“Our mission is to provide healthy food options for the community while promoting local agriculture and the farmers in our area,” market manager Kathi Dimmock said.

The Clemson market, which started in 2010, will kick off its 2016 season on May 13 and will run until October 14. Special market days will also be held on Nov. 4, a harvest market, and on Dec. 2, a holiday market.

The Clemson Farmers Market is open rain or shine from 3-6 p.m. on Fridays during the market season. It features fresh local produce, farm products, specialty food items and homemade arts and crafts.

“The majority of our vendors come from Anderson, Oconee and Pickens,” Dimmock said. “I think our vendors are the best in the Upstate.”

The vendors “run the gamut,” Dimmock said. Produce offered at the market include corn, tomatoes, squash, green beans and much more. Other products include local honey, health and wellness products and products made from goat milk.

“We have two or three people that make fresh bread,” Dimmock said. “We have people who bring in handmade items such as jewelry and candles. We have someone who brings in her loom and spins. We have someone who does chair caning. A lot of our vendors have their farm fresh eggs.”

The Happy Berry of Six Mile offers blueberries and blackberries.

“If it’s on the farm, it comes to the farmers market,” Dimmock said.

The first Friday of each month, beginning in June, the market hosts special entertainment, including vendor demonstrations and taste testings. On those days, Patrick Square brings in a giant inflatable for the kids, Dimmock said.

On opening day, May 13, in addition to regular market vendors, the Clemson market will host its second annual Healthy Living Expo, which will give customers a chance to learn about businesses and organizations that offer healthy living products and services.

“We’ll have health screenings at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute,” Dimmock said. “Val and Katie from Friends Farm and Catering will perform a healthy cooking demonstration. They’ll be using products from the farmers market.”

Opening day will also feature family-friendly activities including live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, a chance to sample vendors’ products and more.

Vendors are still being accepted for the Healthy Living Expo. Contact Dimmock at (864) 654-3918 or kathi.dimmock@att.net for more information.

The Clemson Farmers Market is open rain or shine from 3-6 p.m. on Fridays during the market season.

If you would like to be a vendor at the Clemson Farmers Market, find more information, including market guidelines, at the market’s website, clemsonfarmersmarket.org.

Clemson University

A Clemson University organization brings fresh food right on campus.

The Clemson Farm-Fresh Market will kick off its 2016 season March 31. Other market dates are April 7, April 14 and April 22. The market is held from 2-5 p.m. at the Carillon Garden on the campus of Clemson University.

According to market manager Zoe Osborne, the market focuses on small businesses.

“We believe that you should know your farmer when purchasing your food,” Osborne said.

Businesses represented at the market this season include Growing Green Microgreens and Herbs, Forx Farm Gouda Cheese and FOH Ministries Guatemalan Coffee.

“We even have one of our students, Sam Lopane, who makes his own granola under the name ‘Mount Gilead Granola’ who will be at our markets,” Osborne said.

The market began as a Creative Inquiry team at Clemson University.

Currently the market does not receive any funding from the university, Osborne said.

“We rely heavily on the local community to support us,” she said. “We have come up with new ways to supply the cost of reserving the market area, renting tables, etc.”

Last semester the market sold T-shirts. Some of those shirts will be used to make reusable produce bags that the market will sell to help cover costs, Osborne said.

During the markets, live music will be provided by Tiger Paw Productions. Stop by the Nutrition Club’s booth to learn some fun food facts.

Other Clemson organizations have been encouraged to use the market to help promote themselves.

“We believe that we can build each other up when we all come together,” Osborne said. “We’ll also be setting up informational booths promoting sustainability and having small activities for attendees to participate in. Right now we’re thinking of small potted planting painting and tutorials on how to make your own compost.”

Those from off campus wishing to visit the Farm Fresh Market should park at one of the metered spots in the parking lots near the Carillon Gardens.

For more information on the Farm-Fresh Market, visit clemson.edu/cafls/farm_fresh_market/.


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