It’s no secret that I love the farmers market. Most every Saturday I get up and have coffee, leash up Meatloaf, and drive down 321 to the State Farmers Market to see what produce is available. Of course, this isn’t a year round venture, I usually go from April-ish through October or November, depending on the weather. Going regularly for an entire year (or warm weather season) is a real game changer when it comes to eating in season.

You can see the early spring produce: the strawberries, cucumbers, and greens fade into the squash overload, the many types of tomatoes, and the huge rush of melon and cantaloupe farmers who take up their own whole shed. Peanuts make a brief appearance, the prices higher the sooner they show up, then falling. Slowly, the peppers, corn, and watermelons slip away as the scuppernongs appear. Following the grapes, the shed turns orange with pumpkins everywhere. Pumpkins, harvested wheat stalks, and apples signal that fall is happening whether you like it or not. Post Halloween, the pumpkins remain, but much less of them, and cool weather greens reappear, plus other winter squashes like butternut, pattypan and other strange looking ones. After that, who knows, maybe Christmas trees? I usually stop going before or right at Thanksgiving just because it’s too cold in the mornings for me to want to bundle up and leave.

farmers market collage

Right now we’re in the last throes of true summer, but the Southern summer lasts a bit longer. This year I’ve been very into preserving, trying to save those tastes of sunshine and inexpensive produce, but there just isn’t enough freezer space right now to do too much. I did go on a daylong, 25 lb box of tomatoes canning spree and probably should do it again this weekend, just to feel productive. At least canning doesn’t need to go in the freezer! My hope is that next year we’ll be able to put a chest freezer in the garage to help with my hoarding preserving.

I should also note: some of these photos are items I purchased from a fairly new produce stand in West Columbia, Latham’s Produce that opened in July, I believe. They are located in the cutest little wooden building on the corner of 9th and Meeting streets, at 906 Meeting Street, to be exact.