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Jan 22 2016

‘Keep Shopping Local Y’all!’

Staff Report for The Island Connection

John's Island Farmers' Market is Charleston area's only year-round market.

John’s Island Farmers’ Market is Charleston area’s only year-round market.

Just because all other markets in town are closed until Spring, doesn’t mean locals must give up their farmers market pleasures. Homegrown Johns Island Farmers Market launches into its third year of consistent full year operation on Saturday January 9th. 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, across from the Johns Island Public Library.

The market started on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 with 20 weekly vendors and has expanded to an average of 50 local farmers and artisans, delicious prepared food vendors, and live local musicians. The goal of the Johns Island Farmers Market is to be a one-stop shop to satisfy everything on a shopping list sourced locally and sustainably while also educating the community, establishing connections, and helping to shift lives in a loving, greener direction.

The year round market is always accepting new vendors throughout the area who need a way to distribute goods and connect with locals. Founders Frasier Block and Blue Laughters want to spread the excitement about these offerings, which provide for local people who believe in buying what they can from fresh, local sources. Their vision for the Johns Island Farmers Market is to not only strengthen our local economy, but also enrich the health and lifestyles of countless citizens.

Goods range from organically grown local produce, freshly baked SC grain breads & pastries, sweet treats, local seafood, free range farm eggs, fresh cold pressed juices, hand crafted cheeses, locally extracted sea salt, olives & olive oil, locally roasted coffee, all natural pet food, and even kombucha brewed from local ingredients. Other vendors include kosher honey, organic SC grains (i.e. rice, grits, peas), pasture raised beef and pork, free range chicken, local raw dairy products, hand blended chicken & seafood salads, pimento cheese, pesto’s, jerky varieties, pickled products, jams & jellies, handcrafted pastas, heirloom hydroponic tomatoes, and aquaponic greens. An array of prepared food is available each week such as rotating food trucks, kettle corn, Baguette Magic, Pysars Pantry Crepe Stand, and the Coffee Cabana 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 all natural skin and bath products, handmade jewelry, knitted items, framed nautical charts, to therapeutic essential oils and clothing.

“We are thrilled to support and encourage hard working farmers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs,” said Frasier Block. “It’s important that you get to know your local farmer and entrepreneur in order to strengthen our local economy, and our market provides that opportunity to connect with the community each week.”

Education is also a key component to the overall vision of its founders. “It is important for us to incorporate interactive learning practices in an effort to teach the benefits of making more informed sustainable lifestyle choices.” The Johns Island Farmers Market is working closely with area schools to promote the talents of students in the community throughout the year. Local non-profit groups such as Clemson Extension Master Gardeners and various Horse Rescues are on hand each week to answer questions, take soil samples, and give pony rides.

The market features a permanent bounce house for kids by Bounce Moms, as well as interactive activities designed with all ages in mind. Live music is a weekly staple on the grounds. “We want this to be a place to spend every Saturday relaxing in the field, eating good food on site for breakfast or lunch, listening to live music, meeting new people, and of course shopping for the weekly groceries,” added Block. You will get to know your farmer/ artisan while enjoying a fun filled day with friends, family, and pets (all of which are welcome).

Free, convenient parking is offered in an expanded field adjacent to the market, as well as cozy fire pits to keep patrons warm in the cooler months.

For more information regarding Homegrown Johns Island Farmers Market, please visit www.johnsislandfarmersmarket.com.

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