As I mentioned before, I’ve completely changed my meal planning practices. I used to buy meat in bulk at the grocery store and then plan my meals accordingly. Ever since we moved to Greenville, I’ve gone in the opposite direction. First, I hit one or both of my farmers’ markets and buy whatever looks good, then I go to my butcher, and finally I hit the grocery store to fill in the gaps. It might sound overly complicated, but everything is pretty close to home. It’s much cheaper than shopping at the grocery store and it means that I rely on produce to drive my meal planning. As a result, the wife and I only eat meat about half the days of the week.
The first market I visit on Saturday mornings is G&G Retail at the Agriculture Department’s County Market. It’s less than a mile from my house.
They don’t have the most comprehensive inventory, but what they have is usually good.
They carry locally produced dairy products, cured meats, and farm-raised rabbits. I’ve been meaning to braise a rabbit, but the wife had a pet bunny as a kid. I think I’m going to have to push the idea a little more before she goes for it.
This market is best for beans, greens, root vegetables, and refrigerated produce. This is a view from inside their large walk-in refrigerator.
The second market I go to on Saturday mornings is the Tomato Vine Market.
It’s a few miles away, but they carry a lot of stuff that the other market doesn’t. There are a lot of Hispanic chiles, fruits and vegetables.
Their refrigerated section isn’t as large as G&G’s, but they have a great selection of dried fruits and nuts (in scoopable bins like at Whole Foods), bottled drinks, Latin cheeses, and a section devoted to shelf-stable products. I’ve been meaning to smoke some pork in banana leaves, Hawaiian-style.
Through the warmer months of the year, downtown Greenville hosts a Saturday Market that brings farmers from the region to Main Street for an event that runs until noon each weekend. The street is lined with tents, trucks, and the obligatory one-man acoustic band. This market is where all the foodies go show off their CSA street-cred. They pay a sizable premium to buy the same produce that you can get for next to nothing at the markets mentioned above. But at least they don’t have to rub elbows with the hoi polloi while they’re sipping their iced mochaccinos and making sure everyone overhears them when they loudly ask, “excuse me bro, but is this local, organic, and in-season?”
The wife and I go once or twice a year. It’s a pretty cool atmosphere, but it reminds me why I hit my markets so early in the morning before the ‘food as fashion’ crowd wakes up.