I’m Sharon Steed and I’m a freelance writer from Chicago. I go to Memphis a few times a year to visit some family I have down there, and this was the first time I went to the farmers market there. I lovecooking, reading, Housewives (the ladies from Beverly Hills are my favorite) and wine. You can follow me on Twitter @sharonsteed.
Farmers Market Update: Memphis
by Sharon Steed
99 degrees. That’s how hot it was at 10:00am when I got to the Memphis Farmers Market. I was in town visiting family for Labor Day weekend, and I wanted to explore something more than the Memphis night-life for this trip. The farmers market was a good way for me to see what else the city had to offer, and it helped me not gorge on yummy southern food for four days.
Memphis is known for a few things including the enormous contributions to American Music (Graceland is a little south of downtown), the Beale Street bars and good old southern hospitality. It’s not, however, known for being a hub for healthy, locally grown food. And that’s where the Memphis Farmers Market (MFM) comes in.
The MFM is a non-profit corporation in the State of Tennessee. They’re dedicated to providing local food choices, improving public health, educating the community on nutrition and serving as a community gathering place.
This was my first time venturing out during daylight hours while in Memphis, and I was pretty surprised at how much the city had to offer. The market is in the heart of downtown Memphis, and only a few blocks away from the Mississippi River and Beale Street. It was miserably hot that day – especially for someone from a cooler city like Chicago. But that didn’t stop the smiling faces and perky families from getting healthy eats.
I love cooking, but I rarely take time out to do it on vacation. Since I was in town for a long weekend, I figured this was a good opportunity to change that up. Spaghetti squash is a little bit time-consuming to cut and carve, but it’s so worth the energy. And I figured I could convince some of my family to have a few bites since it looks like linguini.
I’m obsessed with tomatoes; I put them on pretty much everything. Sometimes I even just eat them alone with maybe a little dressing. They’re a perfect vacation food because you can always find a simple greens to mix them with and it only takes a minute to cut up a couple.
Apples are a good travel food since they’re sturdy and don’t leak. I picked up some for the eight-hour drive home.
About half of the vendors there were selling artwork. This steel heart caught my eye.
I also saw some beautiful wood tree houses and I spent a few minutes talking to a really sweet man who made them by hand.
The granola vendor was the first one I stopped at when I got to the market, and I’m glad I did. Finding good granola is pretty difficult as I gather it’s quite challenging to make. This granola from Groovy Foods was probably the best I’ve ever had.
My mom and I have been enjoying baked stuffed peppers lately, and these were so vibrant and flavorful that it was immediately on my list for an easy vacation meal.
I was really surprised to find out that the MFM was non-profit solely focused on bringing together area farmers to sell healthy foods. The farmers market has its own outdoor facility and is run by a board of directors. The sense of community was so refreshing, and, as an out-of-towner, I was blown away by everyone’s hospitality. Memphis is a special place for me, and the MFM is now a go-to spot for all of my future visits to one of my favorite cities.
What I bought:
- Roma tomatoes
- Dark Star Granola from Groovy Foods
- Spaghetti Squash
- Green and Purple Bell Peppers