~A Fresh Greenville~
Downtown Greenville’s evolving popularity may be uncomfortable for some residents who are unaccustomed to the electric buzz of tourism. Segway tours and the sudden need for reservations on a Friday night may seem shocking to some locals, especially since the area has only been in resurgence for a short while.
Still, residents of Greenville have the luxury of enjoying its special amenities much more regularly than tourists, and one such luxury is the ability to shop at the TD Saturday Market.
Millennials and other health conscious Americans have recently contributed to the rise in a culinary movement dedicated to serving clean, local cuisine. Highly acclaimed restaurants like Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns which has been featured on a Netflix series called Chef’s Table have even shifted their focus to only use fresh, seasonal ingredients in an effort to encourage people to discover nature’s crucial role in the dining experience.
Luckily for Greenville’s visitors and residents, it’s not necessary to fork over a ton of green to gain a farm to table dining experience. With a little help from Pinterest and a visit to the TD Saturday Market, it’s possible to purchase and prepare locally grown, nutritional foods on a budget.
My husband and I have made morning trips to the market for the last three weeks, so I am going to offer some ideas for first time visitors. If you are used to grocery shopping exclusively at BiLo and Aldi, it may comfort you to know that I was too. You absolutely do not have to be a full-time hippie to fit in or enjoy the market in Greenville; every week from 7:00 to noon, Main Street bustles with a kaleidoscope of diverse characters who happily coexist with each other and bond over a love of tasty fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and much more.
While it does pay to get an early start, my husband and I typically arrive downtown around 10:00. What can I say, I like to sleep. Be aware that some vendors sell out of their best baked goods and produce before then, so if you have your heart set on seeing the market’s full selection, I encourage you sacrifice some sleep in the interest of beating the crowds.
Richardson Street Garage, located beside the Mast General Store, offers free parking on weekends and is extremely close to the market. My husband and I typically leave our car there and take a cooler full of ice with us so we can carry temperature sensitive items like fish or pasta while we shop at other booths. As some final advice, I suggest that first time visitors eat breakfast at the market and remember to bring cash; while many vendors do accept cards, it is courteous to spare them the fees that they may incur for accepting plastic as payment.
~TD Market Favorites~
As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I have recently been experimenting with produce and other goods from the TD Saturday Market. These are some of my favorite vendors, items, and dishes that we have tried so far.
Bake Room: For breakfast, I have to recommend that you try to beat the crowds to this vendor. They have the most authentically flaky chocolate croissants (pain au chocolat) that I have had since I was an au pair in France in 2014; however, the good stuff goes quickly, so if you find that Bake Room booth is out of pastries, try Soby’s on the Side. They also have delicious breakfast options.
Sea Eagle Market: I am no stranger to frozen shrimp and prepackaged salmon, but I was amazed at the quality and selection of fresh fish at this stand. Additionally, the vendors here are fast, knowledgeable, and polite. My husband and I have bought shrimp and tuna steaks already. We plan to make Sea Eagle a regular Saturday destination. I strongly recommend that you pick up a tuna steak, and grill it for dinner. If you decide to go with a pound of shrimp, allow me to suggest that you also visit a pasta stand.
Naked Pasta: I should be fair and note that there is another pasta stand at the TD Market, but this one has homemade, frozen pastas that are easy to cook and impressively tantalizing, especially for someone like me who is in no way a pasta snob and generally considers all noodles to be the same. The pastas here are reasonably priced, and this vendor also sells sauces.
Forx Farm: One of my friends recently told me that cheese is the way to her soul, and I would have to say, “Amen!” There are multiple vendors peddling cheeses on Saturday mornings, so if you look long enough, you’re sure to find something that suits your unique taste. I personally, loved the sharp Gouda we got from this adorably sweet couple at the Forx Farm booth. They have samples available, so you can easily find a cheese you like, buy it, and then stuff some burgers with it for some melted gourmet goodness.