Does spring make you think of anything special? I think about what kinds of things I can freeze and can during this time of year to make the bounty last throughout the year. There are so many places to get fresh food that the choices can be overwhelming for some.
There is the obvious choice, the grocery store. Each has a produce section full of fruits and vegetables, some conventional and some organic. If you prefer organic, look for the organic sign at or on that particular item. Either way, you can get a large selection of what you are looking for all in one place.
Farmer’s markets are a great place to look as well. The one that most people know is the Augusta market. This is held most Saturdays in downtown Augusta on Reynolds Street. They have a large selection to choose from and you can take your time and have lunch there.
In North Augusta on Friday evenings, we have the Brick Yard Market at Hammond's Ferry. It offers tomatoes, squash, cucumber, okra, lettuce and more. All of the offerings are grown in Hammond's Ferry at the Blue Clay Farm, which is known as the “first organized urban farm in the Central Savannah River area,” according to the Hammond's Ferry Web site.
Aiken has a farmers market on East Richland Avenue. It is on the National Register of Historic Places because of its continuous operation in the same location since the 1950’s. The market is open Monday through Saturday from May to September and four days a week in April and October through December. Along with fruits and vegetables you can buy fresh eggs, churned butter, cheese and beef, to name a few.
The South Carolina State Farmers Market is in West Columbia. Riverbanks Zoo will start its market soon. It is held on Wednesday afternoons, and the Western North Carolina Farmers Market is a must see.
If you are interested in having fresh, organic choices every week but don’t have the time to head to the farmers markets, there is another choice. The Aiken Veggie Co-op, run by Jane Alger, is a fantastic way to purchase items you need. They have two pickup locations: Aiken and North Augusta. They are working on a Web site now, but you can go to their Facebook page and request to be added. Once there, if you click on the “about” page you will find the order forms. There are half and full baskets, plus individual add-on items. You get to choose what you want, such as greens, fruits, vegetables, eggs, Hickory Hill milk, organic meats and more.
There is always the tried and true method – grow your own. With a little bit of room, some sun, water and patience you can have vegetables that you have worked to grow. Depending on how much room you have is the outcome of your harvest. If you have a patio, you may only get to have a a couple plants in containers. If you have a larger area that gets more sun then you may have a full garden.
No matter what you decide to do, now is the time to eat fresh and possibly stock some up for later.
KAREN GREEN CAN BE REACHED TO TEACH COUPON CLASSES AT BUDGETCOUPONS@COMCAST.NET.