Finding fresh, local goods at the Port Royal Farmer’s Market
Spotted: Melina and Bob Cunningham and family, Margaret, Amelia and Jeff Evans, Louis and Kit Bruce, Marjorie Gray, Robin Kopperneas, Rosemary Cuppia, Angel Gray and twins, Beek Webb, Vic Varner, Dr. Gene Grace, Laura Lee Rose, Urbie West, Maryanne Payne, Cilla and Marvin Dukes, Maura Rhodin, Bonnie Hargrove, Louise Coleman, Joe Bonturi, Wanda Scheper, Campbell and Marvin Dukes III, Edward Dukes, Rob Marek and new friends, Grey Brendle and his wife.
By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer
July 14, 2011
The Lunch Bunch, sans the bunch, went to the Port Royal Farmers Market on Saturday morning. That’s right, I went without my posse, but fortunately brought a friend to experience the local phenomenon. I’ve driven by the Farmer’s Market, located at Heritage Park next to the Naval Hospital, many Saturdays and noticed the crowd. It’s always packed, and for good reason: It is simply awesome. Just notice the “Spotted List.” Everyone was there. And, if I missed you…sorry. I was busy filling my hungry belly with all the amazing food.
When I say it’s crowded, I mean the parking lot is full, but there’s plenty of room to walk around, enjoy the atmosphere and inspect all the quality locally grown produce, specialty items and prepared dishes. Beek Webb and Vic Varner play bluegrass while kids run around and play. It’s just such a fun way to spend a morning and a great way to stock up on the necessities for the week.
A typical Saturday in the summer will feature items like local honey, handmade soaps, potted plants, biscotti, boiled peanuts, locally grown tea, free range eggs, and the list goes on. The market also hosts vendors who sell dog treats, Beignets, Chinese dumplings, ravioli, sweet rolls, tomato pies, Baklava, authentic homemade breads and handmade Italian pasta.
And talk about produce! Regional farmers come to Port Royal with all the summer fixin’s you’ll need: Yellow wax beans, fresh garlic, green onions, chives and herbs — sweet basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, mint, oregano and tarragon. Also at the market are tomatoes, eggplant, green peppers, squash, okra, cucumbers, onions, yellow pear tomatoes, hot peppers, corn and fresh local shrimp.
While I was there, I sampled a few prepared dishes from local vendors. Janie from Janie’s Breads gave me an amazing cup of shrimp and grits. And the owners of House and Soul (which will soon open on Ribaut Road next to Family Dollar) served me a delicious piece of fried fish.
My friend brought Chinese dumplings and barbecue from Palm Key Catering, topped with a mix of the spicy and honey gold sauces. Both were dynamite.
After all that, I managed to save room for a crepe, made by Claudine’s Crepes out of Bluffton. The popular vendor is always packed with eager fans of savory and sweet crepes. I ordered the Monkey Bee, filled with Nutella, bananas and honey. It was worth the short wait, I can attest! And Claudine, who is known to give away one crepe per Saturday, gave it to me, free of charge. Thanks, Claudine!
But there was so much more at the market I wanted to try. So I bought some homemade ravioli made by Lindsay Dickson; a bag of salted boiled peanuts; some tomatoes from Urbie West of Rest Park Farms; and two bone-in ribeyes from Mi Bek Farms. I wanted to try a tomato pie made by Mr. Garrett of Lowcountry Produce, but he was sold out!
Throughout the week, I tried all the purchased items. I sampled the truffle lobster, ricotta and lemon and four-cheese raviolis, which were so yummy! I had a tasty tomato sandwich on white bread with Duke’s mayonnaise (always a summer hit). I savored the ribeye with a simple rub of garlic salt and pepper, and I devoured the boiled peanuts in a single sitting. Needless to say, my week has been deliciously filling!
Kit Bruce and her husband, Louis, started the Farmers Market in Port Royal seven years ago. It is definitely a hit among the locals, and tourists tend to flock there as well. The market is open from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Saturdays. To get more information on becoming a vendor or to get on a weekly e-blast about upcoming events and seasonal items for sale, email firstname.lastname@example.org.