Farmers market kicks off 23rd season

By Joe O'

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Charleston Farmers Market kicked off its 23rd season Saturday morning. Marion Square was packed with 133 local vendors selling fresh produce, hot food, jewelry and clothing.

"Today is absolutely the largest pack of people we've had in the market," said farmers market manager Karen Williams. "We are estimating between 5,000 and 10,000 people. It's hard to tell, because its people going in and out."

Williams said this market is unique compared to others in the area, because every vendor must be local, living east of Interstate 95.

"We want to support local," she said. "Keep feeding into the local economy and right here where we live."

Many tourists like Steve Hambric from State College, PA had the trip to the market in their itinerary.

"We're here for the farmers market. Enjoying the food, music, and great atmosphere," Hambric said.

Charleston resident Jessica Grimm came down to the square to grab some hot foot and do a little people-watching.

"It brings out a bunch of locals and a bunch of tourists to enjoy the local food," she said. "A lot of people really enjoy it."

Robert Fields, a farmer from Johns Island said that his profits fluctuate early in the market season. He said many of his crops aren't ready for harvest, but he has enjoyed setting up his stand every year the market has been at Marion Square.

"It's a lot of locals and a lot of tourists," Fields said. "It's nice for the farmers."

Marion Square will host the Charleston Farmers Market every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. until December 15, 2012.