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Saturday, November 13, 2010

One of my very favorite things about being home.

I love coming home to South Carolina these days. That's not to say that I haven't always loved spending time with my family and seeing old friends, but Columbia just hasn't always been on the top of my list of destinations in which to see them. There are a number of factors contributing to this (and I won't get into it all here), but one factor that has recently contributed to changing these feelings about Columbia in a big way is a small market I learned about during a quick trip home in May. 

When I first visited the All-Local Farmers' Market in Columbia, I was well into my love affair with Los Angeles' amazing, expansive Hollywood Farmers' Market. Hating to miss the market (which I would visit every Sunday) prompted me to seek out something similar here. What I found at the All-Local Farmers' Market was nothing at all like the Hollywood Farmers' Market, but I loved it from the moment I first set eyes on it. The Hollywood market spans at least four Los Angeles blocks and is so packed with people you can barely move. Columbia's All-Local fit inside one small building with a slower vibe and a real sense of community. Charming.

Oh, and, while I'm at it, here is a more general recommendation: If you ever have reason to visit Columbia, S.C., late April/early May would be an ideal time. Just lovely.

I was attending a wedding that weekend, so I knew I wouldn't be cooking, but I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to buy some delicious South Carolina-grown goodies, and I decided to give them as a wedding gift to the bride and groom.

Anyway, that was a very long introduction to a simple statement, which is this: I am very happy to have spent a beautiful morning at the All-Local Farmers' Market this November morning.

I have high hopes for the market for Thanksgiving, which my sister and I are cooking this year. (After the market, we did a little menu planning.) This morning, I was eying a pumpkin and some hard cider, which I think would make especially nice additions to the meal. I ordered a heritage-breed turkey at the beginning of October from Doko Farms, a Blythewood farm that does sell at some Columbia markets, though not the All-Local.

The All-Local Farmers' Market is every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon, at 711 Whaley — except on home-game days when it moves to (another very cool thing in Columbia these days) City Roots.


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