Although I’ve lived in Gastonia most of my life, I never visited the Gastonia Farmer’s Market until this year. And it’s my new favorite place! I’m a big fan of summer fruits and veggies, and I’ve found that this is the best place to shop.
The Gastonia Famer’s Market is only a few minutes away from my apartment. It’s at 401 E. Long Street and is open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Local farmers, bakers, and artisans have an array of different items on sale and all products are locally grown, raised or produced.
Saturdays are the big days, with the market packed with lots of different merchants. I went two Saturdays ago, around 8:30 a.m. and the place was already packed! I figured I’d be good if I went early, but by 8:30ish, it was already crowded with shoppers. On Saturdays there are more merchants on-site and you can get local meat and baked goods. On Tuesdays and Thursdays there are fewer merchants, but you can still get some amazing stuff.
There’s a tomato farmer who is always set up at the first table to the left when you walk in the market. I cannot remember the name of his farm, but his tomatoes are the best I’ve ever had! I buy some as soon as I walk in. They go great in recipes and are amazing by themselves, with a little salt and pepper.
I don’t know if it’s my taste buds or what, but I’m addicted to heirloom tomatoes this summer. One of my favorite summer meals is heirloom tomatoes on toast. My go-to recipe uses Publix Tuscan Roasted Garlic Bread that you can find in their bakery. I take a few slices and toast them. Then I put goat cheese on the bread, add some fresh heirloom tomatoes (or just fresh tomatoes). I add salt and pepper and top it with some chives. It is delicious! If you aren’t a fan of garlic bread, and crusty bread will do. It’s quick and easy and so yummy!
There’s also a florist at the market on Saturdays that has the most amazing flowers! And again, I cannot remember the name of the couple that sells them. Usually, they have giant bouquets of flowers on sale for $25. The bouquets are a bit too big for me, so the owner will make a $10-$15 bouquet for me. And it’s a big bunch of flowers! So many that I have to use two vases to put them all in and they last for about two weeks if you change the water. The sunflowers are stunning! You can really get some inexpensive flowers that are gorgeous from these folks. Their table is usually on the left-hand side, in the middle of the market.
I’ve also gotten some very tasty cucumbers, blackberries and peaches. Truth told; the peaches are the sweetest I’ve ever had. I’ve cut some up and cooked them quickly in a bit of butter and put them on some protein pancakes. So good!
I love supporting local folks and shopping in my hometown. I’m shocked it’s taken me this long to hit the market. If you’re ever in Gastonia on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, you definitely need to make a stop. It’s so worth it!