In old town Bluffton, nestled among the natural beauty of the Lowcountry, history flirts with the vibrant and new. Every Thursday on Calhoun Street, from 2:00 to 7:00 P.M., locals and tourists alike gather to browse and purchase the freshest, locally grown fare, from fruits and vegetables, to flowers and herbs.
Ranking as the number one Farmer’s Market in South Carolina, the Bluffton Farmers Market is really more than just the phenomenal produce it boasts week after week. It also offers delicious prepared food, live entertainment, educational programs and an opportunity to make new acquaintances, as well as visit with old friends.
Agriculturally based and open year round, the Bluffton Farmers Market’s vendors change weekly, depending on what crops are in season, averaging 35-40 vendors per market. Here, everything has to be grown locally from North Carolina, South Carolina or Georgia, and all vendors must grow (or make) at least half of what they sell. If that doesn’t grab your attention, there is even a chef program, where local chefs teach market goers how to best use the crops that are in season and available at the market.
While most markets offer the same products, the Bluffton Farmer’s Market offers more. It’s the hard work and the energy of the vendors and the staff that keep the market going. It’s loving and appreciating what our lands gift to us, and finally, it’s the community that the Bluffton Farmers Market creates by offering a chance to fellowship in this beautiful place we call home.
We took to the streets to find out from vendors and market goers what makes this market so unique:
“The people watching at the market is so fun! You have your good days and bad days, but really, it’s all about meeting people, building lasting relationships and educating them on your product.” —Rachel, Adam’s Farm, Richmond Hill, GA, vendor
“It’s different all the time, from the vendors to the events. Where else can you purchase top quality, locally grown produce and check out all the funky shops and art galleries at the same time? It’s really a unique market!” —Barbara, visitor
“I like everything! But mostly, that the people get along and everybody sells different things. The ones that do sell the same things have no conflict. Everybody gets along like family.” —Olivia, Otis Daise Sr. & Son, vendor
“Everything here smells so fantastic. You know how you shouldn’t shop hungry at the grocery store? I think that it’s totally acceptable to do that here!” —Wayne, visitor
“There is just a good feel to being here. There is a lot of positivity, and it smells so good (his booth is by the kettle corn). I love all the local content and the camaraderie.” —Chip, the “Honey Guy”, vendor
“The highlight for me is for the market to be three years in the running as a top market in the state; and it’s great for our town. The coolest thing is for a town of this size to have this kind of market for as long as it does, with as wide a variety of vendors and products; it’s pretty rare.”
—Milt, Corner Perk, vendor
“It really becomes more of a social gathering of friends and neighbors. There are kids playing, adults relaxing, music, great food and company. I wouldn’t want to do anything else on a Thursday afternoon! It brings Bluffton together, and welcomes visitors with open arms and tasty delights.” —Sonya, visitor
“You have to work hard. [The vendors] put their hearts into it, and there is always that artist aspect. And then, they put even more work into selling it. We sell to 150 restaurants and do two dozen farmers markets. You just keep playing until you find something people really like. What I really like is that we always have repeat customers and people requesting things.”—George, from “The Pasta Guy’s” booth, vendor
“I look forward to Thursday’s because I know that I can take home fresh produce to cook my family a healthy meal.” —Trish, visitor
“Today I had a couple from Alabama who had bought this big five-acre lot two years ago. They planted two apple trees 15-feet apart; one died and one didn’t. I asked them, and they said it looked healthy, but it just died. It was due to improper planting! They told me how they planted it and it was definitely wrong! They were so excited that I was able to help them figure out the problem. My favorite part is to help people and educate them!”
—Sheila, Master Gardener, vendor
“I love how fresh everything is! I like the vegetables; Dave always goes straight to the chocolates. The chef program and recipes are always wonderful!” —Donna and Dave, visitors
“The Bluffton Farmers Market is the epitome of how it should be in a small town. It’s the ‘Bluffton state of mind’. Everyone has a common goal and works toward that goal together. It’s a family. It’s a community.” —Margie Backus, Marketing & Advertising manager