Part of the ‘green’ revolution is the so-called slow food movement. This includes purchasing fresh ingredients produced locally and making the act of cooking, serving, and eating food a more enriching experience. In the Charlotte area, which includes Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union, and Gaston counties, there are dozens of farmers’ markets set up for locals to purchase produce and other products that come from the immediate surrounding areas. Buying locally reduces the carbon footprint of the agriculture industry and often ensures the safety and integrity of the ingredients people use in their food.
Due to the nature of farming, fresh produce is hard to find during the local winter. For North Carolina, the primarily available winter crops include apples, pecans, peanuts, and sweet potatoes. End-of-season produce that can be found in winter sometimes includes broccoli, cabbage, and other leafy greens. The availability of fresh produce at active farmers’ markets decreases considerably after Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t disappear altogether. Here’s a list of great places to buy local and buy fresh, even during the winter months:
Waxhaw Farmers’ Market http://www.waxhawfarmersmarket.com/
Phone: (704) 764-8948
This location closes down on December 19th, right before the official beginning of winter, but it’s a great last-stop for end of season produce. Open from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Tuesdays and 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturdays, you can also pick up baked goods and Alpaca wool, when available.
The market is located at the corner of Church Street and McDonald Street in downtown Waxhaw, behind Stewart’s Village Gallery.
Charlotte Regional Farmers’ Market
Phone: (704) 357-1269
Open year-round, the Charlotte Regional Farmers’ Market offers seasonal produce plus decorative plants and pottery. Baked goods are also available. Winter hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.
The market is located on Yorkmont Road, near Parkway Plaza.
The Market at Atherton Mill
Phone: (704) 335-0777
Open on Tuesdays from 11:30am to 6:30pm and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, the Atherton Mill market in the old Trolley Barn space is a great place to visit for seasonal produce plus local meat, eggs, cheese, and baked and canned foods. They even offer knife-sharpening on site.
Atherton Mill is a great mill revival site at the corner of South Boulevard and Tremont Avenue.
Davidson Farmers’ Market http://davidsonfarmersmarket.org/
Winter hours for the Davidson Farmers’ Market are 9:00 am to Noon on every other Saturday. In addition to local produce, you’ll often find cooking demonstrations and fund raising booths for schools and other non-profit organizations (and even live music). You’ll find the market next to Davidson Town Hall between Main Street and Jackson Street.
North Carolina Department of Agriculture, http://www.ncfarmfresh.com/