JI Farmers Market more than doubles in size

  • Saturday, June 7, 2014

Homegrown Johns Island Farmers Market recently celebrated a four-month anniversary in mid-May. Charleston’s only year-round market is open every Saturday, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 3546 Maybank Highway.

The market started on Saturday, Jan. 11, with 20 weekly vendors and has expanded to an average of 50 local vendors, with an additional 15 vendors on the waiting list. The goal of the market is to be a one-stop shop to satisfy everything on a shopping list that is sourced locally and sustainably while also educating the community, establishing connections and helping shift lives in a loving, greener direction.

Goods range from freshly baked breads and pastries, sweets, herb and spices, all-natural pet food, butter and even pizza sauce sourced from local ingredients. Other vendors include kosher honey, organic handmade granola, pasture-raised beef, chicken and pork, cheese and milk, pickled products, fermented foods, cold-pressed juices and hydroponic tomatoes. Prepared and packaged goods to go are also available for purchase and food trucks are on site to satisfy any breakfast or lunch cravings.

In addition to food, a wide assortment of local artisans are participating with wares and crafts varying from skin and bath products, handmade jewelry, furniture made from reclaimed wood, to sweetgrass baskets and fresh flowers.

“We are thrilled to support and encourage young up-and-coming farmers and small businesses,” said Frasier Block, co-founder of Homegrown Johns Island Farmers Market. “It’s important that you get to know your local farmer and entrepreneur, and our market provides that opportunity to connect with the community each week.”

The market now features a permanent bounce house for kids by Bounce Moms as well as interactive activities designed with all ages in mind. Live music is now a weekly staple on the grounds. “We want this to be a place to spend every Saturday, relaxing in the field, eating good food, listening to live music, meeting new people and of course shopping for the weekly groceries,” added Block.

Education is also a key component to the overall vision of the founders. “It is important for us to incorporate interactive learning practices in an effort to teach the benefits and ease of making more-informed, sustainable lifestyle choices.” Scheduled events include a weekly cooking demonstration beginning May 31 by area restaurant chefs and a visit by the mobile “Tiny House” in July with builder Zach Thomas on hand throughout the day to discuss the surge in popularity of the small/eco house movement.

The Johns Island Farmers Market recently became the recipient of a $500 grant from AgSouth to support community-based local farmers markets. The cooperative awarded 41 grants throughout South Carolina to use for promotion and advertising purposes. Drew McClam with AgSouth stopped by on May 31 for a check presentation and to distribute 250 reusable tote bags with the campaign “Think Outside The Store” logo.

To accommodate the growing number of shoppers, additional free convenient parking has been added in an expanded field adjacent to the market.

For more information regarding Homegrown Johns Island Farmers Market, please visit www.johnsislandfarmersmarket.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homegrownfarmersmarket or on Twitter @HomegrownJIFM.

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